Susan was raised in Kyoto and Kobe, Japan – the daughter of missionaries. Attending 4 elementary schools (Kyoto, New Orleans, McComb, Kobe) and 3 high schools (Kobe, New Orleans and Pensacola), she attended the University of Alabama and received her B.A. in International Relations. With an initial career in Japanese business, then Starbucks management, Susan married her husband James in 1993 in Orlando, Florida,and moved to Athens. She has worked at Redeemer since 1998, where their three children have been born and raised.