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After 19 Years, I’m Retiring. Here’s How I Measure Success.

Dec 12, 2022 8:00 AM

My Dear Friends,

As the year comes to a close, we naturally turn introspective and draw close to our loved ones. Loved ones include all of you—our loyal, generous supporters. And so, I want to let you know of my decision to retire.

I have thought deeply about this decision. The time feels right. Over the past year, Huntsman Cancer Foundation chairman and CEO Peter Huntsman and I have developed a succession plan for leadership to take our work to the next level. There will be more details about this soon, when we introduce Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s next president and COO.

In 1994, the institute was established to ease the suffering cancer causes. There were no buildings. But there was the promise and belief of the Huntsman family that we could, and should, do better by people with cancer. Institute workers call this their sacred responsibility.

Today, the Huntsman family is joined by more than one million donors who want more kindness and hope for those touched by cancer. When our team defeats cancer, we can all take great satisfaction in having played a part in upholding this sacred responsibility.

At the end of a career, it is usual to list accomplishments to cement legacy. I won’t do this. All that I might claim as an accomplishment is the collective work of everyone at the institute and foundation, and within our committed donor community. And that’s the point, isn’t it? We all have worked hard to solidly establish something better than anyone could have accomplished alone.

So instead of reviewing the milestones of my 19 years, I have selected a poem that I believe says it all about our shared values. Please know of the tremendous gratitude I feel to all who allowed me to be a part of this sacred work. Thank you!

What Is Success
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and
the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure
the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give of one's self;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and
sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you
have lived -
This is to have succeeded.


With gratitude,


Susan Sheehan
President and COO
Huntsman Cancer Foundation

I am appreciative of Susan Sheehan allowing me to write a few words regarding her message to our community. She completed her thoughts with a beautiful quote regarding success. I would like to start my message with a passage from someone I have long admired.

“Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.”
―Oliver Wendell Holmes

While Susan is only retiring, and on terms and timing of her choosing, I can’t help but admire the marvelous work that she has done. The Huntsman family received far too much credit from the efforts of so many who, as my father used to say, “bring home the bacon.”

Susan often stood against the winds and opposition of pessimists and doubters who said it couldn’t get done. Like her colleagues at Huntsman Cancer Institute, she has built a team of high achievers who have made a difference. As I have the chance to look back over the years of Susan’s leadership, I struggle to see how the Huntsman Cancer Foundation could have done more. With over one million donors, we are making a difference.

Susan, your music has played out in a wonderful tribute to making the world a better place than how it otherwise would have been. You have made a difference and made all of us proud to be associated not only with the work of beating cancer, but the goodness and integrity you have brought to this battle.

Many thanks, dear friend.

Peter R. Huntsman
Chairman and CEO
Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Susan Sheehan

President and COO, Huntsman Cancer Foundation