This is the final instalment of a three-part interview with Betty Sue Flowers – you can find the first part here, and read the whole piece as a PDF download here.
Betty Sue Flowers, Ph.D., is a writer, editor, and international business consultant, Emeritus Professor at the University of Texas, and former Director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.
She has been a consultant for NASA and the CIA, Visiting Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Public Director of the American Institute of Architects, and editor of scenarios for organisations including Shell International, the OECD, the University of Oxford, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
She has written scholarly works on Robert Browning, Adrienne Rich, and Christina Rossetti among others, as well as serving as a consultant to television series including PBS’s Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. You can see more of her work and her extensive publication history here.
In September 2020, I talked with Betty Sue about her career, her accomplishments, and her understanding of the diverse fields she’s worked in, from foresight and healthcare to poetry, literary studies, and library leadership.
Your work on a television tie-in book with Joseph Campbell led, indirectly to you working on scenarios at Shell. How did that come to pass?
After I’d written the Campbell tie-in, people were calling me all the time for help with their books, and I turned them all down except for one person, Joseph Jaworski.
He was writing a book on leadership, Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, and though I’d never met him, I decided to say yes to his proposal.
I’ve always gone by this little voice inside that says “Yes”, and if it says “Yes”, I never go against it. It’s gotten me into a lot of trouble – good trouble. I didn’t have time, I was running the honours program at UT, I was a professor, I had a small child, and I wasn’t interested in his topic either – he wanted to write a book about the American Leadership Forum.