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Sacha’s Take on Being A Project Manager at Cornerstone Group

Sacha began her journey with Cornerstone after graduating from her masters at De Montfort University in the United Kingdom. Spending most of her professional career managing and coordinating projects, her work with Cornerstone was destined to happen. Read Sacha’s interview as she brings us behind the scenes of her career with Cornerstone.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I officially start working around 3pm where I am. I check my Monday board, a project management tool that we use, to see what tasks are due, and then my emails to see if anything urgent has come up while I’ve been away. If there is, I start working on it immediately, and this includes updating appropriate stakeholders on things that need to be done or informing parties who can help solve issues. Otherwise, I focus on my clients in the APAC region.

Before lunch, I usually have meetings and they range from weekly updates to one-off project status updates. Occasionally, a client might have specific questions about a project and a conversation is much more efficient than writing an email.

After lunch, I usually have meetings with my team. We update each other on any open projects that require immediate attention and work together to get urgent things done. I learn a lot from these sessions because there are lots of situations where I am at a loss for what the next step should be, but my manager is always there to guide me - and for this, I will be always grateful.

Around the last hour of the day, the Americas region are starting work and I usually resolve their issues or respond to their emails. Once my workday is over, depending on my mood, I turn on my PS4 and settle into a game of annihilating vampires or racing some cars.

What gets you excited about work?

The most exciting thing about my job is the ability to meet people from around the world. This is one of the reasons why I chose to work with Cornerstone. To give you an example, a client of ours requires third party vendors to provide financial compliance services and we fulfil that need. I work closely with these vendors, ensuring complete communication and fulfilment of tasks. This means I speak with almost 25 different people weekly. This part of my job is one of the reasons why I wake up in the morning, eager to start work.

Another thing that gets me excited every day, is the prospect of being able to solve a problem for a client. Tinkering around with software isn’t my best quality, but I do what I can, and I learn as much as I can. If I don’t have the solution on hand, I always get help. I also really enjoy being the person people come to for answers to their questions and I really like being able to provide the answers.

Tell us about your relationship with your manager.

Marian and I have both a professional relationship and a friendship. She is a strict and understanding manager. She knows when to work hard and when to play hard. She gives me the autonomy I need to complete my work in a timely manner, but is always there when I have a query or a situation I can’t manage myself. When starting a new project, she always provides me with an abundance of information I will need to successfully complete the project within the given time frame. Every so often she’ll check in with me to see if there’s anything I need help with. I will be eternally grateful to her for providing me with this opportunity to learn from her. She has a wealth of experience and knowledge just waiting for me to mine, and I’m glad she is willing to share it with me.

On the fun side, we have these Friday Wordle competitions, they’re fun! And once in a few months we also have a company get together – in today’s virtual world, we get together via video call and play collaborative games online!

Flexibility at Cornerstone is an integral part of the company. What does work flexibility look like to you?

Marian, my manager, and I have an agreement – It doesn’t really matter how many hours I work in a day, or what time I start and end work – as long as I get the work done. There is one day in the week where I do not accept any meetings and typically, on this day, I focus on all the nitty-gritty tasks that involve a lot of thinking and writing, mostly administrative work to push projects along. My manager also insists that I do not work on the weekends which is definitely an unspoken privilege of working with Cornerstone – nobody bugs each other on the weekends. Additionally, I get plenty of sleep and I’m well rested which doesn’t always apply to everyone’s working situations.

Are there any interesting circumstances whereby Cornerstone has supported you?

First, we get a great work-from-home budget and setup which includes a table, 2 monitors, a chair to make sure we’re comfortable working. They definitely go out of their way to take care of their employees.

The company also gives me many opportunities for business travel to visit clients, and they provide different types of training in the different offices located around the globe. These opportunities have given me the change to try experiences that I had never tried before. They take care of us and that's nice!

What made you choose Cornerstone?

There is always a promise of diversity in other companies, but Cornerstone has actual proof of being a racially diverse company. This is pretty different to the numerous other companies out there who claim to be equal opportunity employers but in reality, are not. I was very happy to learn that I wouldn’t be the only employee of mixed-race heritage in Cornerstone.

The combination of diversity, flexibility, the opportunity to do new things, and working with clients in various sectors makes everyday an exciting journey.

America II Euro
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