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MARY SUE PIERCE GILES

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Birth Date: 1939
Birth Place: Lincoln, Nebraska

Honored By

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Date submitted: August 22, 2007
Gift: Brick Paver - small
Location on plaza map: B4
Areas of Achievement: Business, Media, Philanthropy
 
Sue Giles easily declared the greatest moments in her life as her wedding, the births of her three children, and the day she read an employment advertisement—"Women's View position available--no experience necessary." She applied and was hired by the Tucson Citizen. Another special day occurred when she received a phone call asking her to attend a meeting with Jim Conley about the new magazine he had established—which ultimately led to her 25 year tenure at Tucson Lifestyle Magazine.

As a Phi Beta Kappa French major at the University of Arizona, she traveled to Paris after her graduation with plans to seek employment; however she returned earlier than anticipated to marry her husband Chuck--she celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in September 2007. Sue classifies herself as part of the generation of women who worked to support their husbands through the completion of medical or law school. As many others of that group, she saw herself quitting after her husband's graduation from law school and attending the Bar Auxiliary's teas with all the other wives.

After the birth of her first child, Sue left the Tucson Citizen. She "retired" following the birth of each child, attempting to be the stay-at-home mother others of her generation were. Sue felt she wanted more. She explained that an astrologer told her that her work life was in Mercury and she “is meant to work.” Sue said, “I need to feel that I have accomplished something at the end of the day. I can't imagine getting up, puttering around, going to lunch, playing a round of golf, and coming home.” That is a weekend day for her, a time she greatly enjoys, but Sue prefers her days to answer the question “What will I have to say about today?”

Her third return to the Tucson Citizen was to take over the position of her retired mentor Betty Milburn as the editor of the social column. Betty not only helped Sue gain confidence as a reporter, but also influenced the type of editor she is at Tucson Lifestyle. Betty gave her a shot by hiring her initially, she was "very encouraging, a wonderful mentor" and created an exciting work environment, freely giving out deserved praise. Sue carried on this tradition at the magazine.

Sue sees her time at Tucson Lifestyle Magazine as the most exciting in her work career because it is like "having a baby every month--you never know how it is going to come out." She enjoys the environment at the magazine; in part because of the talent and youth she is surrounded by, but also because there is always something different happening.

Sue notes variety as the spice of her life. She worked when she had to, but now enjoys the ability to work because she wants to--and she notes the vast chasm between these conditions. She declared that a thirst for variety and fun was confirmed by her astrological sign, Gemini, and explained her work fed this. "Think of a Gemini as a butterfly going from flower to flower."

Her family is the most important aspect of her life. Sue feels accomplished in that she and her husband raised three children whom they enjoy being with today. "I treasure the time with them." Sue also cherishes the time she has with her grandchildren; each Wednesday she leaves work for an afternoon with one of her five grandchildren, and this special time with them is very dear to her--it also helps relax her. Sue has also enjoyed observing her children as parents.

In February 2007, the Tucson Advertising Federation honored Sue Giles with their Golden Pen Award. She was also awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award by the University of Arizona Alumni Association (2000), the YWCA of Tucson Business Leadership Award (2001), and special awards from the Centurions and Una Noche Plateada. In addition, under her leadership, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine has received many professional awards.

Written By: Virginia F. Holmes

Information Sources:
Interview: March 9, 2004

“Golden Pen” Tucson Advertising Federation. Feb 2007