UNDEFINED – Lisa Suggs

As part of our UNDEFINED project, Ooh St. Lou will be sharing bios of the women featured in the original shoot.

Lisa Suggs is Senior Talent Development Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She's had a long and varied career working in the fundraising, politics and the sciences. She's also a proud mom of three.
Lisa Suggs is Senior Talent Development Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She’s had a long and varied career working in the fundraising, politics and the sciences. She’s also a proud mom of three.

Your Name:

Lisa Suggs

What do you do?

I’m a Senior Talent Development Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

What prompted you to take part in the UNDEFINED project?

I’m 59 and have had my share and more of being passed over, objectified, and trivialized in the workplace, my personal life, and beyond. I’ve devoted a lot of time over the past 30 years working to make sure women get taken seriously whether it was in the political arena or professionally. I also have a 30-year-old daughter who is quite lovely, and I’ve spent her life telling people in response to remarks about how pretty she was “And she’s really smart too!”.

I’m 59 and have had my share and more of being passed over, objectified, and trivialized in the workplace, my personal life, and beyond.

It’s discouraging to get to this point in my life to think that a franchised, metropolitan-wide business news journal would have no one on staff who would review a story like ‘in my shoes’ without saying – wait a minute – isn’t this wrong? And what about the women who were featured? I find it inconceivable that not one of them said “forget about it” when they heard what the story was focusing on instead of their professional accomplishments. I saw the UNDEFINED project as a way to raise awareness among women who deserve more credit for their worth than they’re given.

©2016 OohStLou
Lisa Suggs ©2016 OohStLou

What stereotyping have you faced in your career, and how have you handled it?

I was a young married woman working in my third job since graduating from college as a microbiologist in a small quality-control laboratory in the early 80’s. I worked alongside a guy who did exactly the same work as me, but in some way had alluded to the income he made from the position. I was shocked to hear that he was making almost 20% more than I was, and I had more experience than him. I made an appointment with the vice president of the business to discuss this with him as I felt it was innately unfair. After a short conversation with him he leaned back in his chair and explained that this man had a young family to support, so it was only fair to him that he be paid more money than I was. I was livid. My husband is an employment attorney and I talked to him about action I could take to battle them. He discouraged me. I was livid all over again. He explained that I’d ultimately make things harder for myself by allowing them to drag me through the mud in a court case, then eventually put myself in a position of losing my job.

Anything else we need to know?

My husband has teased me about my involvement in the UNDEFINED project – he says I really do care about my shoes!


The Undefined project explores and is a response to sexism in local media, for more information see our original post on the project. UNDEFINED will be on display at SOHA gallery in January 2017, visit the Facebook event page for more information on the show.

What do YOU think?

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