Suzan Hughes, NASM, CPT, CSR- Creator of Rollermax, Health Pioneer, Advocate for Children, Philanthropist and a mother.
Not only does Suzan Hughes love staying healthy, but she loves talking about it, too- especially with young children in Los Angeles, since Hughes is both a crusader for health and an advocate for children. Though she had been involved in a lifelong study of health and wellness, it was Hughes's ex-husband Mark Hughes, the founder of Herbalife, who provided an entrée for Suzan. She helped catapult Herbalife into a billion-dollar-a-year business-and, in turn, her work for the company inspired her to take the message of health to local schools. While Suzan was a certified court reporter specializing in medical malpractice and heading up her own agency, she continued to explore her passion of anatomy and physiology. Hughes' passion began developing as she created her own workouts at the early age of 12, using Jack LaLanne as her mentor. Suzan's interest in the human body came from her early realization that you only have one body and only you can take care of it. At 13 she was fascinated by Yogi and their practices and became an expert in the field of vitamins and minerals. This was just the beginning of what is now called Holistic Medicine.
It was when Mark Hughes introduced himself to Suzan that a symbiotic relationship began that catapulted Herbalife into a billion-dollar a year business. Mark and Suzan Hughes were the pioneers in presenting herbs and vitamin nutrition on a global scale, leading the world's preeminent authority on herbal nutrition. Suzan's life long study of health and wellness was the perfect match to Mark's passion for building Herbalife. Together, they formed a perfect union that spawned Herbalife's meteoric rise.
While perfecting the perfect design for Rollermax Suzan become certified by the National Association of Sports Medicine. She then wrote, produced and starred in the exercise video Take Ten to a Better You. A portion of the sales from her video have been designated for child advocacy programs.
-"It still needs to be brought to the forefront of American culture", says Hughes.
She is also the chairperson of the Gem Starr Foundation for Children.
-"Gem Starr Foundation is where I play Sergeant Sue," she adds. "I taught about three classes per week. It was very rewarding."
For the Los Angeles unified School District, Hughes would go into auditoriums and teach both heath and safety to elementary-school students.
"We taught 20,000 students in Los Angeles," she notes. "We would sing songs and do skits-we would demonstrate the message s in a fun way."
She also founded the Herbalife Family Foundation along the way and says, "My work is still being done, it is still going forward".
Hughes feel that being born and raised in Brooklyn gives her empathy for underprivileged children, explaining, "You know the love and caring, the nurturing and family—you understand that and you want to give back to the kids because not everyone gets that."
According to Hughes, the most memorable experience in her life was when her son was born. "I think that was the catalyst for Herbalife Family Foundation," she says.
Hughes has also worked with the Alliance for Children's Rights, Maple Counseling Center, Friends of Sheba Medical Center, City of Hope, and the Alfred Mann Foundation, just to name a few.
She has also been honored with a number of awards, from the Wallis Annenberg Founders Award to the Women of Achievement Award from the Friends of Sheba Medical Center. Her work with D.A.R.E. was acknowledged with the future of America Award.
For now, her top priority is the Presidential Foundation on Fitness. "It brings physical education back into the classroom," she explains. "Because of budget cuts, physical education classes have been cut back to one or two days a week. If you understand the way the body works, you know it needs exercise. [Exercise] affects test performance ad academic ability."
Additionally, her work with Jean-Michael Cousteau is helping save the world's oceans. Whether advocating health and fitness or children's causes, Hughes has one motto she lives by daily: "Take 10 to a better you."
"Each small success builds great success," she concludes. "You have to start somewhere."