HGTV co-founder lectures on emotional intelligence


CW/ Lexi Link

Rylie Curry, Staff Reporter

Susan Packard, co-founder of Scripps Network Interactive and Home and Garden Television, presented a lecture about emotional intelligence and emotional fitness as a part of the Culverhouse College of Business Lowder Lecture series on Jan. 14.

Packard defined emotional intelligence and fitness as being able to effectively manage your own emotions while relating effectively to others, reading their emotions and responding appropriately.

“Emotional intelligence is one of the top ten skills for new people coming into the workplace,” Packard said. “How you advance and successfully navigate organizations is through emotional intelligence.”

In addition to her leadership role at HGTV, Packard also held positions at HBO, NBC and CNBC. Along with HGTV, Packard contributed to several other lifestyle television brands while at SNI, including Food Network, DIY Network, the Cooking Channel, Great American Country and the Travel Channel.

Since leaving SNI, Packard works as a mentor to those looking to grow their potential. She has written two books, including “New Rules of the Game” and her most recent “Fully Human,” which describes Packard’s three-step path toward EQ fitness, or emotional intelligence fitness.

Packard said the three steps to emotional intelligence are willingness to become more self-aware, trust and leading with principles devoted to putting others above yourself.

She said before creating HGTV and other lifestyle channels, she had little knowledge or interest in homes or gardening, but discussed the importance of finding a passion for your work.

Sydney Gabrielson, a junior majoring in finance, math and economics, said Packard’s lecture helped her better understand another side of business.

“The biggest takeaway for me was about having a true trust in everyone you work with and being truly optimistic regardless of what industry you choose,” Gabrielson said. “You have to have a positive outlook in whatever industry you work in, even if you’re new to the industry or have no prior knowledge or experience.”

Packard said she believes the success of HGTV is mainly due to the trust the company’s first employees had toward one another, and she described a different more emotional and empathetic approach to business throughout her lecture.

Margot Cook, a second year MBA student with a concentration in supply chain and operations management said Packard’s lecture was very inspiring.

“I’ve done a lot of self-study, but it’s not something that people talk about, and people aren’t comfortable with being vulnerable to build trust, especially in the age of social media where we often feel that we have to present ourselves as perfect,” Cook said. “It was encouraging to see her be so successful while being open and honest in order to build trust.”

Emma Bliss, associate director of alumni and college relations, organized the event and said Packard’s lecture and other Lowder lectures allow students the chance to gain a new perspective.

“The lectures give students the opportunity to understand different business practices and aspects of business,” Bliss said. “I think it’s really cool that Mrs. Packard focused on the emotional side of business and offered such a different outlook.”