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Susan Muleme Kasumba: The power of collaboration and community-building

Updated: Jan 23

Susan is a business development manager at one of North America's largest airborne LiDAR mapping companies. Having been in the GIS field for over 25 years, Susan's primary role is to help clients maximize their LiDAR data and attract new customers. She has a deep love for maps and a genuine interest in helping people, making her transition from a technical mapmaker to sales a natural fit.

In every industry, there are people who excel, who work tirelessly to push their field forward and inspire others along the way. These individuals are called Pathfinders, and their stories are worth sharing. Today, we delve into the life of Susan, a (Geographic Information Systems) Professional whose passion, action-oriented approach, tenacity, and humility have helped her become a true Pathfinder in the GIS industry.

Passionate About People

Susan's unwavering passion revolves around connecting with people on various fronts, be it fostering meaningful client relationships, delivering compelling presentations, or devising tailor-made solutions to meet their unique needs. Her authentic care for others fuels a relentless pursuit of ensuring customers derive the utmost value from their investments in cutting-edge GIS technologies. Deeply cognizant of the transformative potential within the GIS industry, Susan firmly believes in the power of collaboration and community-building to bring about remarkable impact.

An example of Susan's passion for people can be seen in how she enjoys making presentations and sitting down with clients to understand their unique requirements. For her, it's not just about selling a product; it's about finding solutions that truly meet the needs of her customers, such as flood mapping to mitigate disasters or helping municipalities manage water mains effectively.

Taking Action and Making Connections

As an action-oriented individual, Susan doesn't shy away from taking the initiative to make things happen. When a sales role opened up in her previous company, she saw an opportunity to leverage her people skills and move into sales. This bold move paved the way for her career as a successful business development manager.

Susan understands the importance of making connections and building relationships. She believes in reaching out to prospects persistently and with value-driven interactions. Her approach of engaging with prospects multiple times before making a pitch shows her tenacity and dedication to building trust and rapport.

Tenacity: The Key to Success

In sales, one must be patient and resilient, as sales cycles can often be long and challenging. Susan's tenacity shines through in her persistent pursuit of potential clients, often following up with prospects multiple times. Her willingness to learn from feedback and continuously improve her approach also speaks to her tenacious spirit.

Another testament to Susan's tenacity is her involvement with BeSpatial, where she spearheaded LIDAR workshops and vendor presentations. Despite initial resistance, she convinced the organization of the value such sessions would bring to the members. These workshops not only educated the community about LIDAR technology but also fostered a sense of camaraderie among GIS professionals.

Humble and Open to Learning

Despite her considerable experience, Susan remains humble and open to learning from others. When faced with setbacks or losing sales, she doesn't shy away from asking for feedback to understand what could have been done better. She values mentorship and actively seeks advice from experienced professionals to gain insights into different perspectives and learn from their successes and challenges.

Additionally, Susan's willingness to share her knowledge and expertise with young professionals further demonstrates her humility. Her involvement in mentoring and sharing experiences with GIS newcomers showcases her commitment to empowering others in their journey within the GIS field.

A Final Note

Susan embodies the qualities of a true Pathfinder in the GIS industry. Her passion for maps and people, coupled with her action-oriented approach, tenacity, and humility, have been the driving forces behind her success. Whether it's helping clients find the right solutions, engaging in continuous learning, or building a community of GIS professionals, Susan's contributions have made her a valuable and inspiring figure in the GIS industry. Her story serves as an example of how dedication, genuine passion, and a people-oriented mindset can lead to a fulfilling and impactful career.

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