Sheryl Andersen

What made you decide to come over to the Dark Horse side of things?

I’d worked with Ryan [Chavez, CFO] and several other Horses back in the day so when the opportunity to ‘get the band back together’ presented itself, I went for it! Working with people you know that you like and respect makes a job particularly appealing – and in this case, I get to add to that the knowledge that our work is having a positive impact on others. C&GT is working to heal the world and I’m here for it!

How did you find yourself working in finance?

I took accounting classes as a kid in high school and when I graduated I wasn’t sure what I wanted my next step to be. I decided to take on some temp work for a bookkeeper/tax preparer. My boss told me I was surprisingly good at this for someone with only high-school training and suggested that this may well be my calling. I took that mentorship guidance seriously and decided to go back to school for accounting. Turns out, sure enough: it has been my calling! I just loved my accounting classes and I love the work it’s given me.

Besides setting you on the path towards accounting, what did that first mentor do for you?

I think they triggered something in me, maybe an awareness that playing that role for others can change lives for the better. So often, people don’t realize what they might bring to the table because they’re used to their own strengths and tend to downplay them. It’s human nature to see our own weaknesses rather than our strengths. I’ve found throughout my career that I’m drawn towards identifying colleagues’ strong suits and helping them see their worth.

And does your mentoring have an impact?

It does! I have a history of suggesting paths for people and having those paths be a great fit. Maybe that’s something that makes me unusual, or maybe we’re all capable of it if we really pay attention to each other and focus on lifting each other up. I just notice what people do particularly well, and it helps me see what their next steps might be. It feels extremely validating to play a role in helping someone realize their potential. I’m definitely a nurturer personality type!

And what else are you, besides a nurturer?

A rule-follower (I dare you to find an accountant who isn’t)! We are trained in using the rules to move processes forward and that’s good training for life as well as for work. Plus, my father is an engineer, so some rule-following definitely came in from that direction also. I went to culinary school, just for fun, so I’m also a pretty good cook, if I do say so. And, I’m good with chaos…growing up in a big Italian family will do that for you.

Tell us about this big family!

Both of my grandmothers were full-blooded Italian, and both of my grandfathers were full-blooded English, so we had the same mix of cultures on both sides. I had a great-grandfather who worked for Al Capone, actually, so don’t mess with us! We definitely put family first, always. A family this big is quite a bit like you might think: loud, loving, nurturing, and of course, full of laughter and (good-natured) teasing. We were told kids should be quiet but we didn’t always exactly adhere to that particular guidance. There were…a lot of us.

How many first cousins do you have?

Mmmmm. 15 from my dad’s mom…17 from one of my mother’s sides…and, well, I haven’t counted beyond that. Let’s just go with “a whole bunch!” Most of us are west coast at this point so occasionally I’ll literally run into a family member unexpectedly when I’m out and about.

Being from this Italian family…do you ever travel to Italy?

Oh, as often as I can! I’ve been eight times so far. When I go I typically haven’t scheduled anything beyond my airfare – I prefer to go where the wind blows me. I follow the moment and open myself up to possibilities, which brings with it a magic you just can’t get otherwise.

So, you’re a nurturer and a rule-follower and spontaneous, all at once. Is there anything in your background that helps explain such a divergent set of skills and tendencies?

This all tracks back to my family; with that many people around, you accept early on that you can’t control everything or everyone. You have to be willing to be spontaneous and go with the flow. And since we were supposed to be quiet, we did a lot of watching and listening. I love to people-watch and I can sit through a whole meeting without saying anything, not because I’m not paying attention but very much the opposite. I’m engaged in what everyone else is saying. That attention to other people may partially explain my interest in mentoring and nurturing others, come to think of it.

ancestral family photo from Sheryl Andersen, Senior Controller

This quintessential photo of an Italian family is an ancestral photo from Sheryl:
her paternal grandmother’s family.

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