We are welcoming Kelly Sheridan as Tessian’s new Chief People Officer! Kelly will be responsible for leading Tessian’s people strategy, with a key focus on attracting and growing talent, developing and evolving the company’s culture, and providing a great employee experience as the company grows and scales.
We sat down with Kelly to ask her a few questions and get to know her a little better.
Kelly, first thing first, how did you get into the world of HR?
So, my path to Chief People Officer is certainly not the traditional route. I graduated with a liberal arts degree from Syracuse University but I didn’t really have a “what I wanted to be when I grow up” moment. I knew I wanted to move to Boston, and it was there that I found myself landing a career in marketing. Over 12 years, I worked my way up at a variety of financial services companies and, in 2005, I joined the largest regional accounting firm in New England as their head of marketing. I loved every minute of the marketing stage of my career.
About a year after that, a new CEO came in and said he wanted to do some restructuring. He asked me to take over HR. I had zero experience, zero knowledge and, I thought, zero interest in HR. But he was certain it was where I needed to be and he promised me support, training, consultants, etc.
Here I am, 17 years later, as a Chief People Officer. Needless to say he was right; HR was my calling. He delivered on his promises and I still consider him a friend and mentor.
That’s an amazing story. So, what happened next?
The accounting firm was acquired by Grant Thornton and, as a result, HR was centralized in Chicago. So, in 2013 I left to pursue my next role as VP, Global HR at SharkNinja – a consumer goods brand which makes Shark Vacuums and Ninja Blenders. I had the chance to help grow both the People function and the global footprint, which saw me opening a design center in London and relocating to China for five months.
I later joined Bullhorn, the global leader in software for the recruitment industry, as its VP People. While I loved that role, I knew I wanted to take a step into a Chief People Officer (CPO) role and build a function from the ground up, and this is what I did at Nuvolo.
The last two and a half years have been a ride! We grew our employee headcount from 250 to over 500, hiring 285 people globally in 10 months in 2021 all while building all of the processes, programs, and policies that go along with scaling a fast-paced tech organization.
Sounds like your experience in growing and scaling teams in fast-paced tech companies is perfectly suited for the Chief People Officer role at Tessian. So what made you decide to join our company?
There are a few reasons but I think the single most compelling was the people I met – starting with Tim, the CEO. Every conversation I had during the hiring process felt genuine, authentic, and easy.. Everyone was caring, and I could really get a sense of the energy and passion behind the work the people at Tessian do. Everyone is excited about what the future holds.
With that in mind, it’s clear that the culture at Tessian is a really strong one. I’m excited to join an organization that has already built something special already, and I also see limitless opportunities ahead.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities for Tessian?
For me, it’s about building an incredible employee experience. There is no doubt that exists here; I’ve seen it throughout the interview and onboarding process. But as we grow and scale, there will be further opportunities to evolve and innovate so that we are providing programming, initiatives, coaching, learning, and experiences that help every employee at Tessian expand their careers, the business, and our brand.
We’re so happy to have you onboard Kelly. Now you’re here, what’s going to be your focus for the next 3-6 months?
I actually look at this in smaller blocks. My first 90 days will be about meeting people and trying to learn as much as I can about Tessian, the market and our customers. Through listening and learning, I aim to find where there is room for improvement, and how we can enhance the employee experience and our business strategy.
Then, it’s about how we translate business objectives into our People strategy so that we are attracting, developing and keeping our exceptional team!