Interns into executives: An interview with Nancy Person

Last week, we chatted with Susan deCathelineau, our Vice President of Global Healthcare Sales and Services

This week, we sit down with Nancy Person, Hyland’s Associate Vice President of Finance and Accounting. Enjoy!

Question: How did you get to this point in your career?

It is about the hard work you put into it. I have never shied away from opportunity to do my best. I always put my best foot forward in every situation that I can, especially at work.

Also, I think it’s important, especially when you’re newer in your career, not to assume you know it all. You have to have confidence to ask people and say, “Show me. Tell me. Help me learn.”

Questions are not a bad thing. I was always curious and I wasn’t afraid to engage with people. For me, I learn more on the job. Watching people do something, and then applying that on my own, I think that’s really how I got to this place in my career. Listen, observe, don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your best, and the rest will follow.

Regarding my bio, I started my career doing public accounting, and then I went into the banking industry. I spent a lot of my career in banking and then I made the leap to software, which is the polar opposite of banking.

I spent most of my career outside of Hyland, but I have now been here for about seven years, which in the Hyland world, can still be pretty new. It’s been a lot of fun.

Q: What woman inspires you and why?

My mom. I am not going to age myself, but I grew up a long time ago.

Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was four. My mom was a widow with a four-year-old. In that time and place, women didn’t work. My mom had to go out and get a job when it was more customary for the father or husband to provide for the family.

I saw her work hard and take the jobs that she needed to put a roof over our heads. I always had a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes to wear. Now, being a working professional with a young child of my own, I respect her for being able to do it on her own. For me, I find a lot of inspiration from her, her tenacity and the responsibilities that she took on.

Q: What is your favorite perk at Hyland?

For sure, it’s the Child Enrichment Center (CEC). I feel so lucky. I can’t imagine not having my son here; it is such a comfort.

It’s amazing to me, he must think it’s normal to come to work with mommy, and do fun things, and then mommy picks him up on the way out and we go home! It is by far my favorite perk here.

Q: Looking back at your career, was there an obstacle that you overcame to help you get to where you are today?

One of the biggest career-changing obstacles for me was at one of the banks I worked with. It was a great job, from the work to the people, it was the right place for me. I thoroughly loved my job. It was like this big family. I worked there for a long time and made a lot of career progression.

And then we were acquired. It was very humbling, as they laid off the entire accounting department – including me. It was difficult not only from a personal perspective, because it affected me directly, but also to see my friends and the people I had come to see as family go through it as well.

It is very humbling to have to start over again. I had spent years there. People knew my reputation and my work ethic, and now I had to start all over. I was just Nancy.

But for me, that was actually a very humbling and satisfying experience. When I moved on to my next job, I drew from the lessons my mom instilled in me, and I realized I could do it again. If you work hard, that is going to translate – no matter where you are.

Q: Work-life balance seems to be kind of a big deal here at Hyland. Do you have any tips for balancing personal and professional life?

First of all, I have a three-year-old. The fact that he is here at the CEC is amazing, but when I had him, I was very torn on returning to work full-time. When I was pregnant, I thought it was a no-brainer: Of course, I was going back to work. But then, after he was born, I just wanted to spend time with him.

I actually approached management and asked if I could be on a reduced schedule, and to this day, I am still on a reduced schedule; I am not here on Fridays, so I can spend time with him. I realize that is not a standard across the board, but I think asking for things, even if it’s just asking for help, is okay.

You can’t be superwoman. It’s not true, something has to give. There are only so many hours in the day.

For me, work-life balance is just picking the moments that make the most sense. Some days, I might come in early and have my husband drop my son off so that I can catch up. I really try to maximize my schedule to do things like run errands at lunch so I can spend more time with my family after work. The reality is, Hyland offers so many amenities and flexibility, you can take advantage of a lot of things to get things done while you’re at work.

I also take advantage of technology: Reminders on my phone, shared family calendars and, of course, online shopping!

Q: What is the biggest challenge you face as a leader in the tech industry?

Balancing how much I do hands-on versus how much I delegate.

I think this is especially difficult when you become a new manager. It is hard to just suddenly stop what you have been doing every single day and trust someone else to do it. Trust is a big part of being an effective leader.

The reality is, I lead a team of 50 people. I can’t do what they do every single day. You have to trust them. Although it can be a challenge at first, it is very rewarding and very freeing to give your team members a task and watch them grow and flourish.

Q: If you had one word to describe your time at Hyland, what would it be?

What I love about it here is that for the last seven years, no two days have been the same. This place is so alive. There is so much happening, and I thrive off that. It’s fun!

I really love that from the day I started to today, I have never felt like I can’t do something. If you have an idea, see if you can make it work. There isn’t a lot of red tape, and you have the bandwidth to accomplish your personal goals.

Q: What does #HylandLife mean to you?

Whenever I see that hashtag, I smile. It is always something fun and uplifting.

At the end of the day, you spend more time at work than you do at home, so why not enjoy it? Whenever I see the #HylandLife tag, I know it’s something happy, and I love that.

Q: What is one question you always ask a potential hire during an interview?

Would you rather be the best player on the worst team, or the worst player on the best team?

I like that question because you can see where people would fit in, and what their motivation is. It is a creative, cognitive question.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I feel very satisfied that I am really contributing to the success of this company, because my skills are not being held back. That’s the flip side of trust – it’s empowering when you know that your management trusts you. To know that people view you in a light where they are going to support you and that you have authority to come up with all type of ways to make a difference, that is very rewarding to me.

Q: What was your dream job as a kid?

Do you remember those life-sized Barbie heads? And you could do their hair and make-up? I loved that! I wanted to own my own salon and do hair and makeup.

How I got into accounting, I have no idea.

Q: Do you think there is one characteristic every good leader possesses?

Effective leadership is transparent, even when it’s hard to be. I think people know if there is something going on, and if you can talk about it, it’s so important to be honest with people.

Also, you cannot let things rattle you. If you see that your management is flustered, it will create anxiety. People who work for you take their cues from you – your energy is contagious.

Q: What piece of advice would you give your intern-aged self?

You are the company that you keep. Looking back, I would tell myself to stay with the friends that I chose, and I am glad I did. You are really a reflection of the people around you, and it’s important to remember that, especially in the workplace. Remember to be cognizant of who you’re hanging around with, both personally and professionally.

Another thing that is important to remember is that we aren’t saving any lives. If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up about it. In my younger days, I was hard on myself. You are not a failure because you didn’t do something perfectly. Be sure to keep things in perspective, and keep the big picture in mind.

Money and title don’t necessarily translate to happiness. Once you find something you’re happy doing, the rest will follow. Enjoy the work

We hope you’ve been enjoying the ‘interns into executives’ series as much as we have. Next up is Noreen Kilbane, Hyland’s Senior Vice President of Administration.

Marin Kirk & Taylor Salamone

Marin Kirk is an intern in Hyland's Corporate Communications group. She is about to be a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati. Taylor Salamone is a Corporate Communications intern at Hyland for the summer of 2017, concentrating on Public Relations. She is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, studying marketing, international business, and writing for the professions. Taylor is actively involved with rowing and her coed professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. In her free time, she enjoys singing in the shower and consuming copious amounts of ice cream.

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