Hi, I’m Susie deVille, Creative Rebel extraordinaire
Principal for Creative Leadership and Transformation
President & Founder of the Innovation & Creativity Institute
And, most importantly: Your Creative Confidence Catalyst
If I could make fireworks go off as this page loads, I would…that explosive excitement is how I feel about the fact that you’re here right now, and about the possibilities that stand before us when we come together.
Much like you, I’m a seeker.
I’ve been researching and working in the fields of leadership, innovation, and creativity for more than 10 years. In 2006, I launched InnovationCompass to blend the worlds of entrepreneurship, art, design thinking, anthropology, travel/flâneuring, learning how to see, and coaching into life- and business-changing experiences that are deeply transformational.
In 2016, InnovationCompass evolved into the Innovation and Creativity Institute, where I continue to do this work because our world needs leadership that doesn’t come from a textbook. Leadership powered by creativity and innovation. Leadership that sees its self-imposed limits and forges well beyond them.
You, fellow leader, are what we need.
Your spark is what we need to relight. Your mind is what we need to burst open.
You’ve undoubtedly reached great successes; surpassed noteworthy milestones. Yet you know there’s something more.
I, Susie, will help you uncover that something more — and make it your reality.
It wasn’t until I embarked upon my own Creative Rebel’s Voyage that I also became a sherpa to fellow visionary leaders.
I was where you are. Lost. Numb. Frustrated that I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing amidst the so-called success. It was from this place that I sought to become my own Creative Rebel, and it was along this Voyage that I discovered the guiding principles I know to be true of life, of business, and of leadership:
1. We must not dull our self-expression
I bucked classroom policy in the second grade to sit next to a boy who was struggling to write his name. With my hand over his, we wrote it together until he could do it on his own. It sparked my desire to free people; to unlock their power of expression; to drive others to create consistently and contribute to a positive change in the world.
You have a voice. It needs to be heard. Each of us needs all of us to make it happen.
2. An unbound mind is an unlimited mind
Einstein defined insanity best: “Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” You cannot get to where you want to go nor expand what you are capable of by continuing to do the same old things, using the same old methods. Breaking the mold your mind has been conditioned to fit isn’t easy, but it is always worth it.
It’s never too late to change your mind. Your true capabilities lie just outside.
3. Walking through the world in a state of wonder is its own reward
I thank my father for my love of flâneuring, the art of being a passionate wanderer who “removes himself from the world while he stands astride its heart.” He, for one, knew my own path would become clear with enough curious exploration before I did. My studies of anthropology enhanced this, teaching me to become an active observer into others’ lives, coming as an outsider and leaving my biases at the door. It’s a way of thinking that’s enriched my travels, my work, and my personal life.
Openness leads to opportunities, but you have to be willing to stay the sometimes nebulous path.
4. To get ahead, get out of your head
I got my sailing certification on a 24’ boat. After I passed my exam, the teacher decided to have some fun and put the spinnaker sail on and really open it up — teaching me what it really means to haul ass. The only way to manage all that force is to let go and let the boat tell you what to do. I’m in back with the tiller trying to steer, waves coming from behind and beneath. I was totally in my head…and knew I really might be killing us when my chilled-out coach turned to scream at me. I had to get out of my head or die. I’m here, so you can see which option I chose — and continue to choose today.
The quiet voices speak the loudest volumes — but you have to be willing to silence the noise.
5. Art + play are always the way
Art shifted my thinking and re-introduced me to play. Learning how to sketch, paint, and create mixed media art has profoundly shifted my ability to see, to live in awareness, to foster new ideas, to expand my soul and heart, and to deepen my joy. The first time I really saw a peach was in a sketching class at the age of 50. I cried. Art isn’t frivolous; art is courageous. It’s journeying into new frontiers. It detaches us from the outcomes and places emphasis on the adventure. In a world obsessed with metrics, the myopic focus on results can crowd out the very breakthrough thinking needed to achieve those results.
Art unlocks your untapped creativity. Creativity breeds possibility. They’re your competitive advantage.
Every experience I’ve had leading up to now has prepared me for my role in this world:
To guide visionary, entrepreneurial leaders on a mission to lead with courage, realize the heights of personal and business mastery, and contribute uniquely to the world.
The bottom line is this: I get it. I was you. I am you. I’m a parent; a friend; a colleague, a daughter. I’ve owned businesses. I’m growing businesses. And through the years of learning, one thing has become abundantly clear — leaders succeed the most when they have the capacity, authority, and know-how to tap into their creativity.
Let’s unlock your potential
Now, for the formal bio…
Entrepreneurship runs in my blood. I grew up in an entrepreneurial household and worked in the family business from the age of 12.
My initial desire to free people; to help them express themselves and be the best version of themselves is what drove me to study anthropology, to travel the world, to work in publishing, to launch the Literary Council of Highlands and The Peggy Crosby Community Service Center, to become a real estate top producer and launch my own firm, to become a certified life coach, to get a Master’s, and to eventually launch ICI.
I have over 25 years of business experience and have launched multiple nonprofit organizations and startups. I have a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and a BA in Anthropology. I am currently in Stanford University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate Program. I am a certified life coach via NYT best-selling author and O Magazine contributor (and coach to Oprah), Dr. Martha Beck’s coaching program.
But the greatest learning experiences have come from embracing art, inspiring creative confidence in others, and opening my eyes to the world around me.