Sara Sherry. Photo via gvsu.edu
Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.
Sara Sherry is a 27-year-old "growing Christian," Ottawa Hills High School varsity volleyball coach, active volunteer and president of Mixed Staffing and Recruiting.
She is a business leader who believes that helping others and paying it forward has continued to "bless her in more ways than she can understand."
She said faith is the foundation that she's built her Grand Rapids-based company on.
Biggest career break?
I am not confident I have technically reached my biggest career break, but I am sure some day I will. I think I have hit stepping stones, which have allowed me to be prepared for my “biggest career break.”
After all that my mother has done for me over the years, my proudest moment is knowing that I have made her proud. When I first started this company, the amount of negativity that surrounded me seemed to be unrelenting. There were always the naysayers telling me I couldn’t do something I set my mind to or that I wouldn’t achieve a goal I had set for myself. But I guess that is the way our society is and maybe that will never change, but I refuse to let it weaken my desire to succeed.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
My mom has always told me to “follow the angel on my shoulder and that nothing in life is free. You will never have anything handed to you, and if you want to accomplish something you have to work 10 times harder than the person to your left.” My spiritual mentor, Lori Tanis, always tells me, “As long as you follow God’s word and try to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, everything will be okay.” Another piece of advice that has helped me along was given to me by another mentor of mine, Mike Borrowka, and that advice is to always pay it forward without expecting anything in return. Lastly, my father, Chris Sherry, used to always say, “If you are going to do a job, do it right or don’t do it at all.”
How did you make your first dollar?
I worked for it. I always had to work for anything I needed or wanted. I was doing laundry by the time I was six and basic house chores (unpaid, of course). When I was in the second grade, my dad, who owned his own business, would have me balance his checkbook, print invoices and help him with the many aspects that go along with running a business. He would always reward me for a job well done and that is something that really molded me into the person I am today. I know that the world does not owe me any favors, so I never expect to be handed anything without working for it.
I’m not sure I have any physical treasured possessions. I think that is because they are not all that important to me if they have the ability to go away. So I would have to say my faith in God, my fiancé, my family and the best employee in the world, Adam Everhardt. They are always by my side, no matter what. They bring out the best in me, support me and allow me to strive to accomplish things that I might have thought were not even possible. Photos from my childhood of people in my life that I’ve lost, especially the ones of my father, who passed away in 2005. Other than these photos, I’m not sure if I really have any tangible, treasured possessions.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher, because I loved the idea of helping people. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to run a company, but I had no idea of the kind of company I wanted to establish. Meshing the mindset of wanting to help people and wanting to make a difference with the idea of running my own company allows me to proudly say that I have my dream job. I am the president of an organization that helps people every day, helps businesses grow and hopefully helps allow for a better community to live in and be a part of.
If I were president for a day, I would . . . ?
Figure out a way to help more children who suffer due to their parents’ choices. There are so many children who are not fortunate enough to have the opportunities that many of us had when we were kids. Knowing that there are children out there that are constantly hungry and abused and don’t necessarily have any other alternative is a frustrating, heartbreaking feeling.
Last book you’ve read?
“10 Powerful Phrases for Positive People” by Rich Devos
Last thing you Googled?
An individual who we are currently interviewing for a position in West Michigan. So, for all of you job seekers who wondered if employers actually did that, yes, we do.
Your worst habit?
Painting and obsessing over my fingernails and also taking my socks off when my feet get cold and leaving them all over the house. Jeremy loves when I do that. 🙂
To unwind, I like to . . . ?
Hang out with my best friend, Jeremy Knoester (future husband in 52 days). Also, I enjoy running when I’m mad or stressed, watching my favorite TV shows and movies (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Revenge,” “Scandal,” “American Crime,” “The Walking Dead”) and coaching volleyball.
Wherever my fiancé is planning on having us go for our honeymoon. As long as it’s warm and safe, it’ll be a dream vacation in my book. Hehe.
Spaghetti. Oh, and Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos, as well as anything sweet.
Person you most admire?
I have had so many influential people in my life that have contributed to the person I am today, so it would be impossible for me to name just one. My mom (Karen), my fiancé (Jeremy), my sister (Shawn), my spiritual mentor (Lori), the best co-worker and employee on Earth (Adam), each and every one of my mentors and anyone who has ever started a business from the bottom up. Also, if you are a genuine, honest and trustworthy individual, there is a strong chance that I am an admirer of yours.