Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Sherryanne Meyer is a globally recognized speaker, leader and influencer in the HR Technology community. She has led no less than a dozen full life cycle HCM software implementations across 27 countries, including alignment and integration with Finance. But she fell into technology by accident on her way to figuring out how to better communicate with the workforce.
Recharge HR (rechargeHR.com) gives life to transformation visions. Often organizations talk about change and bring in vendors to present new technology. But what is missing is the connection between what that individual business needs and what the software will actually do to meet those needs. Through Recharge HR, Sherry helps organizations close that gap.
A people person at heart, Sherry combines her unique combination of skills as a senior certified Human Resources professional and as an Information Technology leader to help other organizations achieve success with their HR technology solutions. With her motto being - "process first; technology second," Sherry works actively with clients to understand business needs; to separate desires from what is genuinely required by the business, and to identify and prioritize technology solutions that will have a positive impact on the entire organization. Her in-depth knowledge and her connections in the HR Technology arena lend themselves to helping clients select the software solutions and the system implementation partners that will best meet their needs.
She enjoys presenting her own “dumbed down” versions of applying technology solutions to business practices. As a mentor to women, she writes "High (heeled) Standards" and presents her story in her keynote style presentation: "The Smart One." Find more information on these topics at sherryannemeyer.com.
Sherry is active in the Independent Human Resources Information Management association (IHRIM), Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) , Americas' SAP Users' Group, Thrive Global Community, Ellevate Network and as an independent mentor to women.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I became a member of Ellevate after meeting a like-minded woman from Boston who was also considering membership in Ellevate. The spark that ignited from this conversation with someone I had not previously known inspired me to challenge myself in areas previously unchartered in my life. I have networked in the technology community for years; but Ellevate expanded networking to a broader group of talented females and opened my own mind to what I could achieve. I look at Ellevate today as my chief support system in everyday life and in building my career.
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission is to make a difference in how we work through the human-focused application of technology solutions.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
For me, the key skill is empathy. Embedded in that is an ability to listen more and talk less; to be a continual learner so that I can enable success for those I work with and for; to have a sound understanding of both information technology and Human Resources business practices, and to be excited about emerging tech.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
My most memorable career accomplishment was being nominated - and then elected - to serve on the board of directors of a technology association - Americas' SAP Users' Group.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
(1) Learning. The chief challenge is spending enough time in both the HR space and the technology space to remain current in my capabilities to enable others' success with HR software solutions. I spend a good portion of each week training myself! (2) Connecting. I need to be connected with potential future clients - clients who understand the value of an independent voice in helping them to choose software and navigate thru the changes technology brings. (3) Stories. It's important to network with others who will share their stories in tech, HR and life, in general. These make me appreciate what clients are thinking about when I work with them.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
ASUG's HR Community is my proudest achievement. While serving on the board of directors for Americas' SAP Users' Group, I saw an opportunity to attempt to build community from the inside out. I took a chance, left my corporate job to join the non-profit world and embarked on a new career that utilized all my past skills while calling upon entirely new skills. As an "intrapreneur" within ASUG, I rebranded the community to encourage HR transformation; created news methods of communication and education - newsletters, blogs, events; and grew relationships that would effectively fund my work. After year one, I timidly checked my metrics and found I had grown community engagement by 70%!
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I entered the workforce in retail - as an assistant manager of a women's store called "Pants Place Plus." I loved it - it fed my creativity, problem solving, and connecting passions. But after three years, I really wanted something with better hours. I turned to a major corporation in our area and joined their workforce as a secretary. (They call these people "administrative assistants" today.) The thing about working hands on in both retail and at the administrative level was that I could see so many things that could be done more efficiently. How could I influence changes? I made two major changes. First, I went back to college to earn my BS degree in Business. While there, I became intrigued with communications studies and added that as a minor. Secondly, I volunteered eagerly to learn any new technology that came into the workplace. And then -- before I was halfway through my degree - I moved into Human Resources as a benefits specialist. As a benefits specialist, I had a chance to offer new communications and new technology ideas to HR. I initiated our use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and automated open enrollment selections. The big change came when the corporate began to implement SAP software. My use of past use of technology and in-depth understand of HR business processes led to me to the project implementation team. I honestly had no idea what SAP was or what the software did. So I asked a lot of questions. Asking questions enabled me to understand the complete platform -- and others started coming to me as a leader to ask questions of me. I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to manage the global IT team following the system go live. How did I get to HR transformation strategist? By volunteering my time to speak and then lead a community under Americas' SAP Users' Group. This activity grew my network of contacts, expanded my knowledge and connected me to CXOs across the country - and eventually around the world.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is connecting with others to exchange information and knowledge -- and then seeing that I have helped someone to understand -- seeing that lightbulb go on for someone else - and a mutual recognition that we now have something in common.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I hope to grow Human Resources professionals into successful technology partners. There's something we on the SAP implementation team used to say all the time -- "I don't know what I don't know." Some days that was terrifying. But to work together as a team and help each other understand was phenomenally rewarding. I would like to see HR professionals assume more responsibility and accountability for the technology that can run their business and use it to become equal members of the executive board - rather than just a back office function.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
This work enables the use of my right and left brains in equal proportions. I have often said "I'm a right-brained person working in a left-brained world." In the past, I felt handicapped by that. I would have to (almost physically) lift and shift my brain from a writing assignment to a programming assignment. Today, I know that both aspects of my brain bring value to the technology and to the business. And I am able to use both sides of my brain interchangeably and effectively to enable others' success.
Who are your role models?
This is interesting - because I don't believe I had any role models growing up. However, as I advanced through the corporation into Information Technology, one woman -- who ultimately became our VP of technology -- became my role model and informal mentor. She inspired me because she could handle stressful situations and major change with compassion, but with control. She recognized talent and used her abilities to ensure other women in the organization received the recognition they deserved. She was a human being - with a great laugh. And I don't think she ever thought she had to play the good ol' boys game to succeed.
What is your favorite social media site? Why?
These days I love Instagram because there's no long political rants, just beautiful photos and mostly happy thoughts from others. I enjoy keeping up with friends I've met across the universe and seeing their lives evolve on both Instagram and on Facebook. I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn however, connecting, job searching, writing and sharing content.
What does success look like to you?
Success is happiness. That means - (1) doing work I am passionate about and (2) seeing my daughters succeed and (3) having enough money to pay the bills and enough in the bank for an emergency so that I am not stressed.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I'm not sure there is work-life balance. At times it's more work than home life; but that is why it's important to me to love my work. Work that I'm passionate about is life. Since I work at home - to balance my days, I keep work in my study (most of the time) and close the study door at 5 pm.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
My advice is not to lean in but to be a part of. Volunteer your talents and skills, reach out and help someone else, and give of your own knowledge -- don't hoard your knowledge and skills like proprietary data. And above all, be true to yourself.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
A Human Resources manager told me once - "if anyone every asks what your chief weakness is - tell them it's that you're not political." In remaining true to myself, I had a little over-enthusiastically assumed that everyone else would act in good faith as I was doing. That - sadly - is not the case; and the resulting behind-my-back conversations and manipulations threatened my career at one point
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Don't be so hard on yourself. No one every raised a perfect child. And no mom - stay at home or working - was every perfect. This is called living.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
HR Transformation Strategist
Adviser, Influencer, analyst and thought leader. Published author and public speaker, talented at developing roadmaps, content strategies, sharing knowledge and inciting enthusiasm for tech solutions. Experienced in implementations of global SAP and in creatively adapting emerging technology to improving business processes. Skilled at bringing divergent people & ideas together for success. Experienced at executive & end-user messaging, brand awareness, radio & video production, project management. Analytical & driven to success. Continue Reading
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