Sue Strickland


Sue C Strickland
Executive Director
Americas Apparel Producers Network




Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and your career path.

I am Sue Strickland, Executive Director of AAPN since 1990 and CEO of American Garment Council Inc. since 1987. I grew up in rural Georgia when there was a sewing factory in almost every town; my mother made all my clothes (even my first wedding dress); and girls learned to sew in high school. After a career in banking, a divorce and a second marriage I began my official career in the apparel industry. My late husband, Don Strickland, organized AAPN’s precursor, American Apparel Contractors Association, in 1981 and after his untimely death in 1987 I took the helm.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Organizing and hosting the Sourcing Executive Receptions at Material World in Miami (2002 – 2008). Material World was a trade show that focused on the textile/apparel supply chain in the Americas and AAPN anchored an aisle of our members there that was a popular destination and hang out for show attendees. The problem was that the networking ended at 5pm when the show closed. Everyone sort of went their own way with customers and/or prospects. We needed to take advantage of the situation so we decided to organize a Reception that focused on Sourcing Executives --- those were the people we needed to get to know. The first year we gave out awards to Sourcing Executives in front of a sold out crowd at the Wolfsonian Museum. By the time that Material World wound down in 2008 the Sourcing Executive Reception hosted a record crowd at Versaces on Ocean Avenue. People are still talking about those receptions today! That put us on the map.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Making connections. After 30 years on the job it is my pleasure to be able to introduce people and companies from across the globe to each other. Most of the time I never know the outcome but on the rare occasion that someone shares a story with me about a business deal that resulted from an AAPN introduction …. that’s priceless!

What is your morning ritual?

I begin every morning with a 20 minute meditation and some yoga stretches to loosen up my creaky body. The local morning news followed by the Today Show gets me caught up while I am getting dressed and eating my same breakfast every day (homemade granola, fruit & yogurt). Then I make my way downstairs to my home office and get to work!

What is the best career advice you ever received?

“Do what you say you are going to do.” The memory of a broken promise lasts a very long time and it is so much easier to keep your promise.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

My ability to remember names and faces. It’s not something that I have worked on … it’s just something I was born with … thank goodness!