Sue & Chuck Berghoff
Written By Robin Shepherd
ue Berghoff has always been a go-getter.
The UC Berkeley grad climbed the
corporate ladder at Cisco, Intel,
Gateway, and 3Com in the 1980s
and 1990s when women leaders were a rarity in high tech.
Her choice of a second career as an English/ESL instructor at
San José State University says a lot about who she is.
“For years I had worked with engineers who could write
complex code for hardware and software but couldn’t write
a business report or make a presentation,” Sue said. “I saw
how much it held them back in their careers. That experience
inspired me to teach.”
Sue was known by her students as “Professor B.” Word on
campus was that she had worked in Silicon Valley and really
knew how to teach business communications. As a result,
her classes always had a waiting list.
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN
Today, Sue has taken on her third and possibly most
challenging role yet as an advocate for mental health.
A Twist of Fate
During Sue’s last year at San José State, fate threw her a curve
ball. She began experiencing some unsettling changes in her
ability to manage normal day-to-day functions. In the middle
of a lecture she would suddenly fi nd herself at a loss for the
right words. Grading papers and other work took twice as long
as before. Insomnia crept in and her sense of time was
off kilter. Ordinary situations sometimes left her confused
and disoriented, with no explanation.
Sue struggled privately to cope with these issues. At social
gatherings, she was more withdrawn and began to shy away
from planning activities or venturing out. She was acutely
aware that her symptoms were getting worse, but a series