Businesswoman receives top award |

Businesswoman receives top award

Steamboat Springs businesswoman Susan Peterson and her son and daughter were invited to the White House this spring to meet President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush after Peterson was named “Businesswoman of the Year” by the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Peterson said the Bushes were very welcoming to her and her 14-year-olds, John Jr. and Jennifer.

“He’s such a nice guy, and I was so blown away I could hardly think of anything intelligent to say,” Peterson said. “He said to John, ‘Son, you come right over here,'” and put his hands on the teen’s shoulders for a photo opportunity.

Peterson and her ex husband, John Sr., own a Herbalife distributorship that has ranked first in the world in volume for the past eight years. Herbalife is a publicly traded company that has achieved $2 billion in annual sales with lines of nutritional, weight loss and skin care products.

The Business Advisory Coun-cil is an independent arm of the National Republic Congressional Committee, with oversight by NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds.

Honorary chairpeople such as Peterson are consulted regularly about issues affecting small businesses, including tax policies and Social Security reform.

“They want to hear directly from small-business owners about what’s hurting business in general and keeping it from being able to grow,” Peterson said.

Peterson said that during a videotaped interview, she told the committee she thinks Social Security reform needs to strike a balance between government management and private sector management options for retirement investing.

Peterson is a former interior architect who has been involved with Herbalife for 22 years. She and her ex-husband established an Internet-based business called Work From Home Inc., to train interested people about how to build a Herbalife distributorship and sales team.

Peterson’s company has offices in Steamboat and Houston, Texas. Key employees include comptroller Craig Fortson, manager Julie Smith, CIO and compliance officer Dr. Steven Lucas, graphic and Web designer Gretchen Patterson and Peterson’s personal assistant, Christine Griggs.

Peterson said the company is in the process of training a team of full-time computer programmers.

— To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or e-mail