If things had gone as Cherie Balliett planned after she took early retirement from Hewlett Packard, she would be serving coffee somewhere in California now.
“I decided after 35 years at HP that I wanted to go a different path and semi-retire. And I really love coffee houses and so I thought being a barista would be pretty cool.”
But things didn’t go as planned.
“I spent a year traveling around California, where my son and my granddaughter live. I had a lot of fun, but, for a person who likes to stay busy, retirement’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”
former HP colleague was working for SYKES in Boise and told Cherie that she should apply there. Cherie followed her friend’s advice, and soon she found herself putting her barista career on hold and starting at SYKES as an account manager.
“I ended up managing people again, so I was doing what I actually really love and it’s been fun. It’s been rewarding.”
Soon, Cherie herself was rewarded with a promotion. Less than a year at SYKES, she was promoted to senior account manager. The promotion meant her management responsibilities increased from managing 100 employees to between 400-450. She has more direct interaction with the client and manages multiple lines of business.
If it sounds like a lot to manage, it is. She takes it one day at a time.
“A typical day is I come in and I check in with the teams to see how everything is going. Then meetings start, either with internal partners, cross-functionally, or with the client, and then I also have meetings with my own team as well. I’ve also either got one-on-ones with my own staff or I’ve got one-on-ones with my manager.”
Cherie looks for opportunities throughout the day to do more than just manage – she also tries to be a good leader.
“Leading is really about how you coach, how you’re holding yourself and walking the walk, and that’s how a leader inspires.”
Cherie’s leadership is noticed by her team. Michelle Rimer, a team lead, recalls how inspirational Cherie was as she transitioned to her new role. Says Michelle, “Cherie was juggling two roles, she had to take care of her existing team as she learned her new job. But she was never too busy to talk with us and hear what was going on and help us fix issues that needed fixed. To me, she was just amazing.”
In return, Cherie feels amazed herself, and is gratified by the support she gets from her team. “I’ve really gotten to know the people who report directly to me. I had people in my corner and when I got promoted, there was a lot of cheering.
“It was what I gave those individuals and what they gave back to me, that made my heart full.”
Cherie At a Glance
Started at SYKES: 2016
First Position: Account Manager
Position Now: Senior Account Manager
Current Duties: Manage an account team of nearly 450 staff, work with the client and handle multiple lines of business.