2023 Life Sciences Awards: Susan Acker-Walsh with Creo Inc.

Acker-Walsh is the president of an advertising agency that focuses on social responsibility.

2023 Life Sciences Awards: Susan Acker-Walsh with Creo Inc.

Category: Best Consultant (Individual)

Company: Creo Inc.

Title: CEO, co-founder

Portsmouth, Virginia

Education: B.A. from Mount Saint Mary's University, MBA at UNC-Chapel Hill

Age of the firm: 7 Years

Since joining Creo, I have been most proud of ...: impact Creo has had on the world. We do extraordinary work for clients who care about the world. In our spare time, we also choose kindness. Our Creo Cares Program brings together colleagues, clients and the community to work together for good. We want to be part of the building of a better future, no matter where it is being built.

What is your biggest professional achievement in the last year? Creo was named to the Inc. 5000 and the Inc. 5000 regional fastest growing companies lists as well as the Triangle Business Journal Fast 50. The Creo team finds the recognition from their community, as well as the national list, to be very rewarding.

How can Triangle foster a more vibrant environment for the community of life sciences? The Triangle has created a vibrant and active community. The next logical goal is to use the unique opportunity to connect the worlds of health care and life sciences. This would secure this region for future generations.

What's the best advice you ever received from a teacher or mentor? I was fortunate to have many mentors throughout my career, including Don Holzworth the founder of Constella Group who helped me shape my future through giving me leadership opportunities in my late 20s. Jane Smith, of Dorrier Underwood, was a profound coach to me. She would say "Susan, just look." This was a code saying that as a leader you have to be accountable and open your eyes.

Life sciences is facing new challenges. What can we do to alter this trajectory? The pandemic showed us that we can change the course of time and space if we need to. It was a catalyst for accelerating progress. This required real coordination between public and private policies. When we are not faced with an urgent problem, it's easy to overlook those lessons in resilience.