Susan Thomas Lee

Honored by:The Speech Communication Department
Brick location:PAVER:14  map

Susan Thomas Lee, daughter of Robert W. Thomas and Claire Thomas McGee, grew up in Ames, Iowa, with her three brothers. She graduated from Iowa State University in 1974 with a Dance Major.

While at Iowa State University, Susan met her husband, John A. Lee, when performing in summer stock theatre on the Showboat in Clinton, Iowa. In 1973, John and Susan were married. The day after their wedding, they held tryout auditions for "Man of LaMancha" to be performed in the basement of the Memorial Union at Iowa State University. That basement became the Maintenance Shop and the home of Union Board Theatre and Memorial Union Resident Summer Theatre (MURST). John and Susan founded and operated the theatre programs at the Memorial Union for seven years before moving on to California. In 1984, Susan and John were honored by Iowa State University with the "Outstanding Young Alumnus Award."

In California, Susan obtained a position with a marketing and direct mail company, Harte Hanks Communications. Within five years, she had obtained the position of Vice President TMW Marketing and had received the President's Award for Outstanding Accomplishment within the business organization.

In addition to her marketing career, Susan taught, directed, choreographed and performed in television and theatre productions throughout Southern California. Susan taught for the Allard Academy for Performing Arts for over five years and received critical acclaim for her direction and choreography in such shows as Hollywood Bowl, Disney Spectacular, A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Passion of Saint Mathew, Hello Dolly, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem, Starting Here Starting Now and others.

When Preston, Susan and John's son, was born, Susan went into business for herself, founding the company Stagings. Stagings provided film video and live entertainment expertise to clients on a national level.

Susan realized she needed to further her education so she went back to school and received her Master's degree from Cal State Fullerton in Television Production and Communication. The Walt Disney Company became one of Stagings' major clients, finally to the point of requesting Susan to become Creative Marketing Manager and Executive Assistant to the President of Disneyland, an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

Susan joined the Disney company in 1987. Her projects ranged from introducing the Disney company to sports marketing by acquiring permission from the NCAA and producing the Disneyland Pigskin Classic football game to offering stories on ,myths and legends aboard the Queen Mary oceanliner in a year long marketing and entertainment event entitled "The Voyage to 1939." With such television productions as "Children's Miracle Network Telethon from Disneyland" and an entertainment special "Voyage to 1939," Susan established herself in broadcast.

In 1989, Mackenzie, a little girl, was born. With two small children and over thirteen years of professional entertainment and marketing experience under their belts, Susan and John looked back to Iowa as a place to raise their family and further their careers. The Lee family relocated to Des Moines, Iowa, in February of 1990 and went to work for Busby Worldwide, a film and video production company. In 1994 Susan and John joined the ranks of young entrepreneurs in Iowa. Combining the experiences in marketing and entertainment they had acquired over the years, they founded their own company, Bridgewater Communications. Bridgewater Communications specializes in integrated marketing techniques and business communication.