A Face In the Cloud - Sarah Everett, Strategic Operations Lead
In this Face in the Cloud, we meet Sarah Everett who is a Strategic Operations Lead, or as she calls it "fun HR", at Cloudreach. Sarah tells us about the many hats she has worn throughout her career, the women that inspire her, and the ways she empowers those around her to create #BalanceforBetter.
Hi Sarah, thanks for chatting with us today! Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about your journey. How did you end up at Cloudreach?
I joined Cloudreach in September 2018 as a part of the Relus Cloud acquisition, where I had been working for almost four years.
Tell us about your role at Cloudreach and the types of initiatives you’re involved in.
I like to joke that I work in "fun HR."As a Strategic Operations Lead, I get to be involved in a variety of projects that are all centered around employee engagement. This can mean helping out with M&A activities, wrangling content for our weekly company newsletter, organizing departmental town halls, and a million other things in between.
You’ve worn many different hats throughout your career. If you had to choose, which one would you say is your favorite?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose, I would say recruiting-that’s where I started my career. If you ask anyone at Cloudreach what they like most about working here, nine times out of ten they’ll say it’s because of the people. Great companies start with great people and I love being a part of that.
Tell us about a leader who has inspired you throughout your career.
A personal inspiration for me is my mother. Growing up as one of 10 children in inner city Chicago, there were plenty of people who made the mistake of underestimating her. After graduating high school, she enlisted in the Women's Army Corps, which was disestablished and its members integrated into the regular Army in 1978. She was one of the first women to join the Field Artillery branch and, when she completed the ROTC program, she also became the first person in her family to get a college degree (she has since gone on to get a doctorate in Education). My parents met when they were both stationed in Germany, and I love the fact that she always outranked him. She currently splits her time between Atlanta and Alaska, where she is a senior director for a rural school district looking after their special needs students. She’s a badass. My mom’s strength, determination, and compassion for others has always made her a powerful role model for me.
On the more professional side, I work alongside so many women who are crushing it on a daily basis that just being in their orbit inspires me to be better. Whether they’re formally "in charge" or not, they lead from wherever they are in the organization and are people I look up to: Tori Levine, Meghan Walsh, Fiona Greeley, Elke Nijhoff, Leigh Dixon, Christine Geocaniga, Belen Ripoll, and Dominique West, to name a few. I feel fortunate to work at a company with people who inspire me daily in actions both big and small.
How do you make employees feel empowered, engaged, and challenged in the workplace?
To borrow a page from my manager Michael Campbell’s playbook, I’ve made it my mission to try and help remove whatever barriers stand in the way of our employees and the work they love to do. It’s similar to how we help our customers leverage cloud technologies so that they can focus on their core business instead of wasting time managing IT infrastructure. By removing the unnecessary obstacles and distractions, we ensure Cloudreachers' get to spend their time doing what they’re best at.
The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. What does #BalanceforBetter mean to you?
I can remember the first leadership team meeting I attended at Relus Cloud and how intimidated I felt when I realized I was the only woman in the room. I can also remember the sense of pride I felt during a new hire orientation when one of our engineers remarked that this was the first time in her career that she was joining a team that wasn’t all male. So for me, #BalanceforBetter means normalizing experiences like the latter, and seeing less experiences like the former.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what are 3 things you absolutely couldn’t live without?
- The Beatles discography
- All the Harry Potter books
- And of course wine
And besides that deserted island, what’s your favorite travel destination?
My favorite vacation that I’ve taken recently was a road trip from Denver to Las Vegas this past summer. We basically drove 800 miles through Colorado and Utah and stopped at five National Parks along the way (Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse, Bryce Canyon, and Zion). The vastness and grandeur of the American West is humbling and makes you realize what a tiny place you occupy in the world. 10/10 would recommend.