Passionate. Committed. Honorable. These three words depict a tenured 26-year veteran in the HVAC industry. A leader, an innovator, a trailblazer of sorts. With a track record of success, leadership and an unmatched dedication to her customers, Susan Herndon is a celebrated pioneer in the HVAC industry.
In 1989, Susan embarked on a journey with Lennox as the first female sales territory manager in Little Rock, Arkansas. Demonstrating keen customer insight and sales leadership abilities, Herndon advanced to district manager and regional sales director.
Facing the traditional challenges of sales leadership, Herndon blazed trails in her territories and regions by employing her passion of tenaciously pursuing new business opportunities. Forging ahead, energizing her team and servicing previously unmet markets, Herndon has remarkably carved an indelible niche in the industry with her customers and beyond, not only by being the female minority, but by doing the one thing that makes any professional successful, listening. Listening to her customers, her team members, her peers and herself.
“You’ve got to show the love,” says Herndon, as she recounts countless stories of positive customer interactions.
When asked about where she feels as though she has made the greatest impact, Herndon hopes that it has been in the lives of her customers. Herndon challenges her team to, “Listen to their customers. Care about their families as much as their business needs. And live with a passion to be great.”
These sentiments are a testament to Herndon’s legacy and have served as the pillars of Susan Herndon’s 26-year career with Lennox Industries.
By asking the right questions and fulfilling unmet needs, Susan tirelessly embarked upon numerous endeavors that not only put Lennox above the pack, but catapulted her to continued successes leading up to her current position of vice president of National Accounts at Lennox.
Throughout her career with Lennox, Susan served at an executive level as the president of Lennox Hearth Products and vice president of sales and marketing for Lennox’s Commercial HVAC division. Her commitment to new business and helping customers grow their businesses, led her to form a successful program called Lennox of Tomorrow, a dealer growth effort.
Herndon recognized the need to create an environment of comradely and inclusion for women in the HVAC Industry. As a founding member of the Lennox Women’s Business Council, Herndon worked to develop programs and platforms aimed at highlighting, promoting and fostering female talent within Lennox and beyond.
All of these endeavors share a singular focus, the customer. Asked what motivates Herndon to tirelessly work to provide solutions for her customers, she simply replied, “I believe in them.”
Susan’s impact on the industry can be felt in the successes of her customers, her team members and the lives of numerous women in the field who have been encouraged by her fearless leadership and accomplishments. The HVAC Industry embraces female diversity due in part to pioneers such as Herndon whose dedication is evident in the lives of all she has encountered.
In an industry historically dominated by men, it is a rarity to find such a seasoned and celebrated female executive. Instead of focusing on perceptions of being a female in a male dominated profession, Herndon focused her energies into what excited her the most, helping her customers grow their businesses.
When asked what she would say to women considering careers in HVAC, Susan simply replied, "Get ready for excitement." Those words alone paint the story of Susan Herndon's admiration of the field.
Her view is one that is painted by loyal customers and trusted associates who have kept the world of HVAC exciting in her eyes. It speaks to the legacy of game-changing innovations that Lennox has produced over the past 120 years.
Throughout her storied career, the genuine relationships that she has formed have continually driven her success. Retiring June 30, 2015, Susan leaves behind a legacy of thoughtful leadership and lasting partnerships with her customers and coworkers past and present. With her husband Garrell by her side, Susan will walk into retirement knowing that she has she has inspired both men and especially women to be the best they can be to service their customers beyond their expectations.
Corrie Brock is the commercial marketing manager for Lennox Commercial, a leading provider of high-efficiency packaged rooftop units, split systems, HVAC controls, furnaces and indoor air quality products for the light commercial industry.