I grew up in a small Texas town and am one of four girls (although my Daddy will secretly admit he wanted four boys to help on the Ranch). I’m very grateful for my upbringing. My Mother was a stay at home mom and always had three hot meals on the table every day. She was a classic southern Mom and insisted we have proper table manners, attend Sunday school, and church, and dress appropriately. She was a great and strong presence in my home growing up and held things together while Dad was out ranching. Although Dad wanted boys, he treated my sisters and I the same as any boy and instilled upon us small town values and a strong work ethic. He never cut us any slack and I was there to help him no matter what he asked (bailing hay, fixing fence, taking care of animals, etc.). He also insisted we understand the value of common sense and be void of entitlement. I respected my father immensely and have always strived to live up to his legacy. I lost him way too early — I was 18 years old and had just completed my first year of college. After he was gone I thought it was my turn to tackle the world, but I had to wait a while longer. I certainly get my strong work ethic and drive from my Daddy and try every day to make him proud.

Suzy Long aeronauticsAfter college, I married and had three wonderful children. My twenties were spent learning about the world. These were anxious times marked by personal self-growth — making bad relationship choices, working multiple jobs, and trying to make ends-meet was the norm. By the time I was in my mid-thirties, I had regrouped, wised up, and began to flourish. We started a restaurant that served the southern dishes of my childhood. I also began to tap into my creative side by creating custom art for interior designers, founding an art academy to provide educational skills to children in our community, and going back to college on an art scholarship. I served as youth director for my church and got my real estate license.

Suzy Long aeronauticsWhile real estate was never a dream of mine, it quickly afforded me to go from four jobs to three, then from three to two. I’ve never had less than two jobs in my life and cannot imagine what I would do with any extra time. My real estate career changed my life. I earned my broker’s license and found that a combination of all my previous work experiences helped prepare me to rise to another level. Running a busy real estate firm consumed me at times, but it allowed me to take care of my children without worry, have a flexible schedule so I would not miss their school events, and put them through college.

Suzy Long aeronauticsWhen my youngest daughter graduated from high school, I knew I finally had the freedom to do something different, leave the small town I had spent my life growing up in, and go explore the world. So after many successful (and stressful) years owning multiple real estate agencies, in May of 2015, I had negotiated the sale of my company, sold investment land, flipped houses and other real estate assets, and moved to Fort Worth. I chose my new hometown not knowing a soul or what my next step would be, but I was certain of one thing . . . it was finally my turn. Two years have passed and I have made countless friends, joined a church, worked with incredible people, and have become involved, and more importantly embraced, in a new community. I had a blank canvas in which to paint the next chapter of my life.

The big question people ask me is how I went from such a diverse small-town background to starting an international aeronautics company? The only answer I have is faith, fate, patience, perseverance, and dreaming Texas big. I am profoundly aware and humbled every day of how fortunate and blessed I am. I think we all too often blame the worst of times on people who have passed through our lives for our misfortune. Forgiveness is crucial to success. Relationships that were debilitating gave me the strength to never be intimidated again. Dead end jobs, cruel and inept bosses, have also provided an enlightened view of who and how I don’t want to be for my employees. Overall, I have been able to dissolve any animosity from my past and turn it into a positive. Close the chapter and be better not bitter. I thank those who were hard on me, pushed me to the next level and gave me the tenacity to say “enough”.

Suzy Long aeronauticsIn creating Long Global Aeronautics, my mission is to create a successful positive place of empowerment and opportunity to those who might often go unnoticed. My goal is not to see how much I can deposit in my bank account, but to leave a legacy of service to others, encouragement, and vision. My parents taught me we are not entitled to anything in this world. We are sometimes our greatest hurdle and road block, but the sooner we understand that the faster we can get headed in the right direction.

When I talk to my children about it now, they don’t remember ever worrying about our security or feeling they were deprived of anything. When women ask me how I had the courage to keep moving forward, I tell them only you will know when it is time to make the changes necessary to live your best life. It doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes it takes years to build the courage. For me, when the known path was scarier than the unknown, . . . I took a deep breath, stood up straight, and took a step forward.

My children say I am their hero. I’m not sure how I got there from where I came from, and I’m not sure if I deserve that from them because I continue to humbly be a work in progress. But, I am sure of one thing . . . I’m just getting started (even if it is again).