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Judges Profile

Susan Quist

Susan Quist

Cummins Africa Middle East
Category: Economic Empowerment, Women Empowerment in the Workplace

Susan is a seasoned business executive with commercial / P&L, corporate administrative and legal background plus her work experience in the U.S., South Africa and Ghana give her a unique blend of skills as well as a deep knowledge of the West African region and the Ghanaian market. She has a proven track record in developing and executing growth strategies, driving sales, leading improvements in business controls and managing teams.

As Managing Director of Cummins’ filtration segment, Susan had responsibility for delivering profitable growth in a business unit with a $70M
turnover in territories across the Africa Middle East region. A few of her accomplishments are as follows:

  • Grew revenues by 10% in the Africa sub-region;
  • Increased business profits from 7% in 2017 to 20% of net sales in 2018 and 18.7% in 2019 exceeding set targets;
  • Reduced manufacturing expenses by 100% in 2018 and 50% in 2019;
  • Improved business cashflow and reduced past due balance from +30% to 19%;
  • and
    Drove significant improvements in business controls.

Because of her strong leadership and business turnaround capabilities, Susan was given the additional responsibility of leading the Cummins Ghana operations through a challenging period where a focus had to be placed on management and financial controls. She ensured business continuity while creating a safe, productive and efficient environment for employees.
A US-trained attorney, Susan focused on minimizing business risk through a strong control and compliance environment and enterprise risk management in order to improve and maximize profitability and enhance the business’ brand and reputation. She brought her strategic thinking, commercial acumen, and people development skills to bear in her different roles. Susan served on various entity boards including, for example the advisory board of the Cummins Angola entity where she worked directly with the entity’s management team to bring the business into a breakeven position after a few years of challenging business results. Her demonstrated competencies in entity turnaround, enterprise risk management, business controls improvement and corporate governance resulted in her being selected to lead multi-functional teams of 100+ employees and then the filtration business shortly thereafter.
As a member of the regional executive team responsible for Africa and the Middle East business organisation, which operated in 16 countries and had a distribution footprint in all 68 countries in the territory, Susan worked closely with country-based operations teams to push products and service to customers while creating career development tools for 2000+ employees. Susan managed stakeholders both at the local, regional and global level and is comfortable working in a matrixed organisation.
Susan leads with her heart while driving a culture of excellence. She inculcates a high-performance culture in all of the organisations she leads, one underpinned by a mindset of accountability, proactivity, collaboration and customer-centricity. Known for caring deeply about the success of each member of her team and the wider organization and community, Susan rolled out structured talent and career development processes, mentored a number of individuals, and developed and implemented career development programs for the less fortunate youth, particularly girls, across the Africa Middle East region.
Susan is a staunch advocate of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She has pushed for improvements in the representation of women as well as a culture of inclusion in her organisation. She served as the region’s sponsor for the Women’s Employee Network (“WEN”) working with WEN’s executive committee to put together a strategy and framework aimed at creating an inclusive environment for women. Susan established and led the region’s annual women leadership conference in 2013, the first of its kind in the company. These conferences provided a forum for women to develop their capabilities and gain exposure to senior leadership. Susan also developed and delivered leadership training programs for the women in the organization and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of women in sales and engineering.
Susan has a Juris Doctorate from Tulane University and a Bachelors of Arts (BA) in Government, cum laude, with an interdisciplinary in International Relations from Lawrence University.