Flexibility has played a big role in the career of Janey Sherman, Alorica’s Sr. Director, IT Client Engagement. Her background in both technology and marketing means that she’s built up experience in two areas that often don’t overlap.
Armed with an understanding of different fields of expertise, she has often been asked to help out on projects that don’t fall into easy categories, and that don’t necessarily map back to her primary job function. Rather than silo herself into an “IT only” or a “marketing only” box, she thrives by taking on challenges and finding solutions across multiple teams and departments. Read her full Q&A below:
Q: What was your strategy for reaching a senior director position in your career?
A: My career trajectory has been very fluid. I’ve been in positions where bosses have asked me to take care of a project and I just have to figure it out, pull in the right people or teams, or learn something new to get the solution. Now, I try to find the opportunities that are causing heartache for the company and ask, “How can I help fix that?” You shouldn’t look at your skill set as a product you can provide, but as an outcome that you can provide.
Q: How important is it to have a career plan?
A: I’m not a big planner of my career (but I am for everything else!); my philosophy and strategy are that if you do good, good will come back to you. Relationships are everything. I love getting to know people! There’s a lot you can learn when asking people about their families and how their weekend was. And, the relationships you create along the way are important. That’s how I came to Alorica. It was a referral from somebody who had worked with me at a previous company. Technology is a lot of 1s or 0s, and you know the technology or you don’t. There’s a ton of people who know the technology, but it’s about wanting to work with that person.
Q: Can you think of an example when you faced pushback at work because you were female? How did you handle it, and what did you learn?
A: I’m not sure if it was my being female, but I can think of when someone talked over me, but after I pointed out to them that they were interrupting me, they stopped. Make sure your voice is heard. It’s easy to be in that follower mentality, but we have things to say and they need to be heard. I don’t think it is rude to make sure that people hear you. Know that you matter, and understand your self-worth.
Q: What excites you most about what you do?
A: Typically, in IT, you don’t get a lot of perspective on the client and employee side together. Those are the areas that I concentrate on. Technology discussions are mostly black and white, so I’d like to think that I help bridge the gap and talk about the grey—to help our IT team consider things they don’t typically deal with in their day-to-day, like how certain changes or methods of implementation will affect our clients’ businesses or the end-user experience.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to move up in their career?
A: One quote that has really stuck with me that I heard in my late 20s is, “Action is the antidote to despair.” If you’re in a position you don’t like, do something towards a resolution. It may be that you just walk around the office and have a conversation with someone that you haven’t seen in a while that gets you to a better place. You aren’t trying to finish the marathon in the first mile.