Data-Driven, Connection Conscious: Q&A with Sheri Pollack
In an increasingly data-driven world, it’s no small feat orchestrating comprehensive and enterprise-level governance strategies. Not to mention, doing so while managing a team that’s connected throughout the U.S. and beyond. As Gray continues to expand as a fully integrated, global service provider, our Data & Analytics team is carving a path in the digital world. We spoke with Director of Data Governance and Analytics, Sheri Pollack, on her experience at Gray and how she tackles opportunities and challenges in a changing world.
Do you have a motto?
“Know the direction you are headed, be flexible in the paths you take, and pay attention. Opportunities show up where you least expect them.”
Describe a normal workday. What is your experience working remotely?
“My day begins with a cup of coffee and 30 minutes of reading. I have several data leaders that I follow on LinkedIn and blogs, and I use this time to catch up and get ideas. After saying ‘good morning’ to our two dogs, Jojo and Alfred, I head to my desk for the day.
I do not have a typical day–other than knowing that I will be meeting with the data team and business leaders to address opportunities, concerns, new ideas, and strategies for using data. As a remote leader, setting expectations and communicating is critical. We plan our work in two-week segments (sprints). We utilize Microsoft Teams for planning and have regularly scheduled check-ins to ensure that we are staying focused and on track.
You need to be diligent about planning and staying connected. I believe it’s most effective when you get time together in-person regularly, which is why I travel to Lexington for at least one week each month.”
What do you enjoy most about your work?
“I deeply enjoy being in a position of opening doors to opportunities that challenge and grow team members. The team I am lucky to work with is bright, ambitious, and open to new ideas, so my job is easy. They’re enthusiastic about trying to make the business better by producing data that makes a difference. At Gray, I have a great leader who supports me, so I can confidently look at new opportunities for my team.”
What has been your most memorable experience since being a part of the Gray Family?
“I started with Gray during the week that we had our first, in-person Annual Meeting and Holiday Party since COVID. Everyone was excited to see people they hadn’t seen in a while, so the atmosphere was joyous and electric. The party was at Keeneland, the beautiful horse racing track, and the most memorable moment was a keynote speech from General Stanley Allen McChrystal. He talked with us about teams and leadership–which was inspiring.”
What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever been given?
“Always start with the idea that the other person has good intentions. I try to live by this. It lets me focus on understanding what the other person’s perspective is, rather than focusing on how it may be different than mine. These interactions often bring about new ideas, which might not have happened had I not believed in good intentions.”
What do you think sets Gray apart from other service providers in the industry?
“The depth of experience, honest interactions, commitment to growing leaders, and a drive to make things better for their customers and employees. From the top down, the message is the same– do the right thing.”
In one word or phrase, how would you describe Gray?
“Committed teams who use their passion to make a difference.”
If someone was visiting where you live, what would you recommend to them as a “must-do?”
“We live in Eden Prairie, MN, where we have the luxury of having amazing access to lakes and parks. One of those lakes is Lake Minnetonka, which covers 120 miles of shoreline. Excelsior is a quaint town that sits on some of that shoreline. I’d recommend taking a walk downtown and enjoying the shops and cafés.”