Interview with Suzanne Shanelec
By: Diana T. and Andrea G.
1. What is your full name? Suzanne Greenwood Shanelec.
2. Were you named after anyone? Yes, a fellow student at my Mother's college, Bellhaven in Mississippi, whom she greatly admired and was the the homecoming queen!
3. Where were you born? Burbank, California at St. Joseph's Hospital.
4. What are your parent's names? Jackson Prescott Greenwood (Father) and Sonya Sue Sennett (Mother).
5. What countries, cities, and/or states did you grow up in? Palo Alto, California. We moved there when I was 6 months old so that my father could go to Stanford University.
6. What do you remember most about your childhood? I lived in five different houses during my growing-up years. One house was over 100 years old and 3 stories high, I lived on the top floor that had 2 bedrooms and a bathroom with outside stairs to go down to the roof of the first story. It was great because I would go out at night and sit and watch the stars!! It also had deep closets that curved around corners - my family would play "hide and seek" on all four levels (basement too!) with the lights "out" The closets were great places to hide!!
7. What do you remember most about your childhood? My family was very close, we did all sorts of activities together. We sat down and ate our meals together. Traveled, went to theaters, plays, museums and sporting events. What I remember most was feeling very loved and supported in whatever interested me.
8. What is your background? After high school, I attended one year at a four-year private college: "Ohio Wesleyan." I took one year off to work as an executive secretary. I attended another year at a four year state university: "Long Beach State University." I attended Dental Assisting School and began working in a dental office in Long Beach, Ca in 1978. I moved to Seattle, Washington for 4 months. Then moved back to Long Beach and worked in another dental office for one year. In 1981 I moved to Santa Barbara. I began working for Dennis A Shanelec. I Married Dr. Shanelec in March of 1990, and am happily married and still employed with Dr. Shanelec today!
9. Tell me about your family. My Father died recently. My Mother lives in Fishersville, Virginia - she is 64 years old. My brother, Spencer Prescott Greenwood is 36 years old and lives 4 blocks from my husband and I in Santa Barbara.
10. What is your family background, personal history (grandparents, relatives) and their roles in the community? My Father's Father was of British decent. My Father's Mother was of British and German decent. My Mother's Father was of Irish decent and my Mother's Mother is of Alsatian decent.
11. How long have these significant relatives lived here? My Father's parents lived in Hollywood, California and my Mother's parents lived in Sciotoville, Ohio.
12. What previous professions have they had? My Father's Father was an assistant director with MGM studios under George Cukor (famous director). He worked on all the Spencer Tracey-Katherine Hepburn movies and was responsible for hiring all the "little people" and directing them in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz." My Father's Mother was a full time homemaker. My Mother's Father worked during World War II supplying automobile supplies/parts for all wartime vehicles for the US Government. After the war he started a chain of automobile supply companies, mobile gas stations and was one of the original Board Directors of the "Bank One" financial institution. My Mother's Mother was a full time homemaker and community philanthropist.
13. Are there some other people that have contributed to your success as a community leader? My family and relatives always inspired me to have a good work ethic, to strive for excellence in even the most small task and to always treat others, particularly those who work with you, with kindness and fairness. My Grandfather Sennett (Mother's Father) was a true inspiration. He worked very hard and in his early 20's became very successful. When the 1929 depression hit our country he was extremely generous to his friends and neighbors in his community by giving (not loaning) them money and making sure they had food on the table, clothes on their backs and kept businesses running. He always treated everyone kindly and fairly. In his later years he enjoyed life and lived to be 94 years old. I had a very close relationship with him. He had a wonderful sense of humor. My Father was very much like my Grandfather (this was his Father-in-Law). He instilled in me a good work ethic, love of life and particularly the arts and sports, and to always, always have a sense of humor no matter how tough life can become, because it will always pull you through! My Mother taught me kindness and generosity all wrapped-up with having a "playful outlook" on life when appropriate!
14. Could you describe your profession to me? I am the Co-Owner of Periodontal Microsurgery Practice. We treat the Disease of Gum and Bone of the mouth in addition to placing dental implants. One-third of our business is placing implants, another third is cosmetic tissue treatment and the final third is treating disease all done through a surgical microscope. I run the reception desk, answering phones, scheduling appointments, greeting and dismissing patients, payroll, processing all correspondence and overseeing the management of our staff of 15 people!! I will do whatever job is needed!!
15. Describe the activities in which you are currently involved. My greatest activity is being a mentor to a lovely lady named Diana Tafoya who attends Carpinteria's Main School and is in the 5th grade. I am a member of a Jewish Organization called "Haddasah" which raises monies to medically help "all peoples", regardless of race, color, or creed, in the State of Israel. I support the Transition House here in Santa Barbara. I volunteer for a variety of causes as the need arises. I am an ardent supporter of the rights of animals.
16. What path did you take to become a leader? Perhaps it was by mistake. I don't believe I was a natural-born leader and I am usually not comfortable in the role. I will, however, take on the job if I can surround myself with individuals I can comfortably delegate responsibilities to, or take on the position solely if I'm passionate enough about the cause!
17. What does the term "Civic Leadership" mean to you? A citizen who takes on a leadership role in a community to represent it's citizens about rules and issues confronting the community.
18. Could you list and describe the changes or contributions you have made to the community? Although small and individual, I try to serve as a good example to others in our community as a whole and to small business owners.
19. Describe any changes that have taken place since you became a leader. Greater self-esteem and confidence.
20. How long have been involved in the community? 18 years.
21. Tell me something unusual that has happened to you. Many things in life could be considered unusual. Nothing stands out. I accept all experiences in life as lessons for learning and growth. I embrace the future and whatever life throws my way!
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