Susan Argo is not mildly competitive, somewhat competitive or even quite competitive. “Insanely competitive” is how she puts it.
It can be something simple, like riding bicycles with her friends. She can’t help competing. They’ll be gliding along, and someone will pull forward. Then she’ll inch ahead. Suddenly, they’re pedaling so furiously, you’d think it was the Tour de France.
She was point guard and captain of her high school basketball team. The team made it to the Iowa girls’ finals her junior year. She lettered in basketball, volleyball, softball and golf. She had fun, too, working with little girls at athletic camps.
Her parents grew up in Northern Kentucky. Her mother graduated from Boone County High. Her father finished Covington Latin at the age of 15. Four years later, he was studying in Rome at the Northern American College’s Biblical Institute. Susan has photos of him with the Pope. He was a dean at Villa Madonna College, part of the team that purchased the property in Crestview Hills and in 1968 renamed the school Thomas More College.
He was a priest for 13 years before he and Susan’s mother married in 1969. For a wedding gift, they bought themselves a set of encyclopedias on installment. They moved to Iowa where he taught theology and worked his way up to provost of St. Ambrose University. He was 37 when Susan was born.
“I’m so proud of my parents. Being a parent now myself, I realize what great parents I had. I have an older sister, and they put the two of us first. It was the kind of upbringing where every night, we had to turn off the TV and sit down at the dinner table. Both of them emphasized, over and over again, the importance of education. They taught me that my education was like a piece of property I owned, that it was a major part of who I am and that no one can take it away from me.”
Susan would have graduated from St. Ambrose with a 4.0 if it hadn’t been for that B in ceramics. She says it wasn’t for lack of trying. She probably worked harder in ceramics than any other class. “I am not an artistic person.”
Her office is decorated with dozens of photos of her daughter, seven-year-old Ryon. If you were to ask her for the 30-second Susan Argo elevator speech, she would say this:
“I get results. I’m responsive to the clients' needs, and I’m results-driven. I mainly represent banks, where it’s not so much about, ‘OK, I’m going to sue this person.’ It’s more about analyzing the borrower, determining what’s going on with that business and finding a way to turn the situation into maximum recovery for the client.
“The idea is to get the best with what we have to work with. My clients tell me I do that. One in particular says it’s quite basic. I return his phone calls, I give thoughtful responses and I’m there when he needs me. We’ve butted heads a few times, but he knows I’ll tell him the truth as I see it. He knows I won’t sugarcoat it."
Susan practices in the Litigation Group and is Chair of the Firm’s Special Assets Resolution Group with a focus in the areas of bankruptcy, loan workouts, and creditors' rights. Susan successfully argued The Park National Bank v. Cattani decision in the 12th District of Ohio confirming a receiver’s right to sell property free and clear of liens. She is also Chair of the Ohio Bar Association’s Receivership Subcommittee responsible for drafting House Bill 9 that amends Ohio’s receiver laws. Prior to joining Graydon, Susan served as Assistant Vice President and Counsel for a large regional bank's Legal Department. She earned her law degree, with honors, from Drake University Law School in 1996, and received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Economics and Spanish from St. Ambrose University in 1993.
Susan is a member of the Ohio, Kentucky and Cincinnati Bar Associations. She is Past Chair of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Committee and Chair of the Bankruptcy Judicial Liaison Committee. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Excel Development Co. and the Firm’s Women’s Professional Development Group. Susan is the first person to graduate from three of the Cincinnati USA Regional programs which include the Chamber’s C-Change Program Class of 2006, We Lead Class of 2008 and Leadership Cincinnati Class 35.
Susan and her daughter reside in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.
The Park National Bank v. Cattani