Continuing our SDP Employee Spotlight series, this month we (virtually!) sat down with Director of Operations Cherrise Newman, CPP, to learn more about her role at Southland Data Processing.
1. How long have you been with Southland Data Processing, and what do you do here?
I have been at SDP for 13 years! As the Director of Operations, my focus is ensuring we have the people, processes, and technology in place to make our clients happy and to keep them loving our service. At the same time, my responsibility is to also ensure our team has the support, tools, and resources needed to serve with unrivaled performance.
2. What are some key career lessons you have learned in your time at SDP?
First, always strive to be fair, consistent, and scalable. Although SDP processes over a billion dollars in transactions per year, we are not a huge corporation. And like most of our clients who are also small businesses, we are always seeking to find a balance between valuing people, being sensitive to their needs as individuals but also running a business.
So, whether dealing with “people issues” or implementing a policy that affects our clients I always ask myself, is it fair, can we be consistent, and is this scalable – can we do it for everyone?
Next, Jeff Garrsion from Results on Purpose says “leaders grow people”. Over my time here I’ve had the privilege to be mentored by people such as our President Renita, Lydia who was our previous Director of Operations, and Michael Reis our VP of sales, who saw something in me and invested time and energy to help me continue to grow.
My mission has been to pay that forward, set the bar high, and encourage people to be their best.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are alike for me! The Operations side of our business includes over 20 employees in 5 departments and two states, so there is always a lot going on!
I spend a lot of time working hands-on with the different teams at SDP to ensure our processes are operating efficiently. As a leadership team, we spend a lot of time strategic planning and determining the best way to serve our team and our clients (tons of meetings!). I also help manage the development of new technology (more meetings!), road-mapping, and testing.
Additionally, I’ve worked in almost every area of the business during my time here, which allows me to jump in to help out where I can whether that means jumping on client calls, helping out with projects, etc. I do whatever it takes to remove obstacles and fill in the gaps where needed.
4. If you could switch your job with anyone else at SDP, whose job would you want and why?
Probably Jeanne Hyunh, our Partner Success Manager. I held a similar position a few years ago when I was Service and Solutions Manager. It was so much fun getting to spend time with our clients on-site at their locations, learning more about their businesses, and finding ways to help make their lives easier.
Our clients are amazing, and most are small to mid-sized businesses ran by an incredibly diverse group of people. So in addition to helping them. I always walked away with a nugget or two of personal and/or business wisdom – either from observing how they ran their business or through our conversations. (We always had really great lunches after the work was done! 😊)
5. What are three words to describe Southland Data Processing?
Service, family, and fast-paced!
6. What do you like to do in your spare time?
In life before lockdown I enjoyed spending time with my friends and family, traveling, hiking, and going to concerts and sporting events.
7. What are your top 5 Clifton Strengths and what do they say about you?
My top 5 strengths are Strategic, Ideation, Relator, Futuristic, and Individualization.
Most of my strengths are within the strategic thinking domain. I am good at spotting patterns where most people see complexity, anticipating obstacles and creating a path to success. My superpower is problem-solving, and I pride myself in being able to “figure it out”.
8. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you?
Definitely Regina Hall! She can be very funny or very serious, and I think I’m the same way.
9. Do you have a favorite book, blog, or podcast?
I usually listen to “Stuff You Missed In History Class”, “Revisionist History”, or “Oprah Super Soul” throughout the day.
10. What did you want to be when growing up?
Early on, I wanted to be a writer. My maternal grandmother was a teacher and would always give me books of Harlem Renaissance poets and writers, which really inspired me!
11. What is a motto or personal mantra you have?
Borrowing from the Four Agreements, “Do not take anything personally”. We often fail to consider that people have experiences, concerns, worries, stressors, etc. that they bring with them and that informs their reality.
Even within direct interactions, a lot of a person’s reaction has nothing to do with you. I try to make the most generous assumptions of people and hope they extend the same grace to me.
SDP Employee Spotlights: Celebrating Our Team
We hope you enjoyed this month’s employee spotlight! Here at Southland Data Processing, we’re in the people business, and we know that our success is due to our amazing team. What did you think? Is there another employee you’d like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments below!