Lin Sue Cooney believes everyone has a story inside and success comes with learning how to become the author. However, nobody writes their story alone. We are all ultimately the product of the influential people and events that shape us.
Cooney shared her inspirational story during the May 3 Professional Women’s Alliance luncheon, taking the audience from her meager beginnings in Taiwan, through her award-winning broadcast career and to the decisions that lead her to join Hospice of the Valley.
“Everyone has a purpose in life. You have free will and you can be whomever you want, but if you don’t ask yourself who you are then you won’t reach your purpose,” Cooney said.
Cooney’s journey really began in Taiwan, with her mother, who she identified as her foremost role model and co-author of her story. Seeking to give her children endless opportunities, Cooney’s mom moved her family to the United States, an intimidating place filled with challenges and a language barrier.
Cooney credits the opportunities she’s identified and utilized to her mother’s sacrifices. Through her mother’s examples, Cooney learned lessons in commitment, modesty and selflessness.
Cooney’s dedication to working hard lead her to thrive in school and pursue the higher learning opportunities her mother never had. She graduated cum laude with degrees in English and political science from Oregon’s Willamette University. She earned a master’s degree in journalism from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Following graduation, Cooney began what would ultimately be a three-decade career in journalism with ABC-affiliate Channel 12 News in Phoenix, during which she interviewed newsmakers, celebrities and politicians, won numerous awards and was honored as the Valley’s Best Anchor by the Phoenix chapter of American Women in Radio and Television.
While she found great satisfaction in her broadcast career, Cooney recalled lessons from her mother reminding her that her broadcasting job doesn’t define her. From that realization, she began quietly searching for something else. Cooney knew her story did not end in news broadcasting. She felt that her purpose in life was to serve and give back to the community that gave her so much. She was ready to start writing her next chapter.
She officially started that chapter last May after her last newscast for Channel 12 gave way to the start of her journey to help others as director of community engagement for Hospice of the Valley. In her new role, Cooney raises awareness about critical issues in health care and commits time to visiting people who need companionship at the end of their lives.
She hopes that the result of this chapter of her life will be that she is defined more by altruism and dedication to serving her community and less by her time reporting the news.
“When people recognize me, I want them to say, ‘there goes that lady that likes to help people,’ not ‘there goes that lady that used to do the news.’” Cooney said.
Cooney encourages all women to not only become the authors of their own stories, but to help others write their own stories. Successes are shared between authors and co-writers – the influential people that provide guidance, opportunities and simply helping when it’s needed.
“You can never lose anything by helping those around you to reach their goals and succeed,” Cooney said.
-Written by Ashley McKnight, graphic designer, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. This article is part of the Chamber’s Business Wise newsletter.