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    Humanizing Growth

    Detour to Destiny: A Young Leader’s Journey to Self-Discovery

    December 15, 2023

    When we hear about others’ growth, it pushes us to have a quick check on where are with our goals, our wins, and our realities. It gives us a clearer picture of how much work we still have to do, or simply makes us realize that we have to shift our priorities and that our chosen path isn’t actually for us.

    This uplifting story of our very own Head of Customer Success, Sierra Trance, will surely give us hope that wherever we may be at this point in our lives and careers, it’s never too late to discover our real calling. We’ll also realize it is okay to take that leap—it may be the one leading us to where are supposed to be. 

    Her story reminds us that indeed, there will always be that one company, one community, and one position that will tell you that you are on the right track and that you are home.

    Navigating Career Crossroads

    Sierra vividly recalls her first encounter with Penbrothers during her 20s. She had just ended a five-year stint in a local bank and was still figuring out what she wanted to do. 

    Caught at a crossroads between pursuing a corporate job or being in the medical field as a Nursing graduate, she met a very young CEO of a startup company who was interested in building a Philippine team. She got in and was tasked to take charge of recruitment and payroll.

    During her stint in this startup company, she met Gui Faria and Gab Pratte, Penbrothers’ Co-Founder and the VP of Transformation, respectively. Gui and Gab paved the way for Sierra to become a well-known figure in the relationship between this startup and Penbrothers. As the Operations Manager, Sierra worked closely with Gui and Gab.

    Six years later, the pandemic struck and she was one of the people who were let go of the company. But as they say, when a door closes, another one opens. Penbrothers offered her a role. Sierra recalls that at the start when she was still not part of our core team, she had always felt a sense of belongingness in the community, so her transition went so smoothly. 

    The Promise of Shifting: Belongingness and Community

    career shift story - sierra with Penbrothers colleagues
    The sense of belongingness and community at Penbrother made the transition smooth for Sierra (second row; second from left)

    She joined the Customer Success team at the height of the pandemic in 2021 as the new vertical head of one of Penbrothers’ largest clients. She took her time to understand the business, our client’s needs, and how Penbrothers can help meet those needs.

    Sierra points out that having regular conversations and syncs with cross-functional teams is how she managed to dig deeper into Penbrothers’ core: its services, its promise, and what it stands for. She saw how important building connections with leaders, co-workers, and clients is in this kind of business. 

    Customer Success is Much Like Nursing

    career shift story - Sierra with Penbrothers and Hopper leaders
    Sierra (third from right) with leaders from Penbrothers and Hopper

    Sierra recalls the time when she was sent to the U.S. to meet a client she had never met before. “I overcame this big challenge because I believed in myself, and I got the support of Penbrothers’ leaders,” she shares.

    Working with people from different cultures worked to her advantage, says Sierra. Doing so made her ready for her role and offered her fresh perspectives. 

    During their initial meeting, Sierra immediately resonated with the vision of Hopper. She saw that it relates to how Penbrothers envisions a global ecosystem where talent isn’t limited to geographical borders.

    Later on, she would also relate her role in Customer Success to her roots in nursing—how it takes care of relationships through empathy, listening, and radical candor. She navigated the challenges that came her way as an opportunity to work outside of her comfort zone and to seek help. 

    Sierra says that working with Hopper has helped her see things from a different perspective. “It isn’t always necessary to win. Instead, we should see losses as learning opportunities that enable us to grow,” she shares.

    Related article: Journey to the Top: Finding Success in Taking on Bigger Responsibilities

    Leadership, Ideas, and Self-Belief

    When asked about her relationship with Penbrothers’ leaders, she shares how appreciative she is of them. She says, “My insights are just as viable as theirs despite my young age. This made me realize that it’s okay for my ideas to be challenged, as long as I come prepared.

    “You have to be the first believer of your ideas, if you’re not convinced yourself, you will not be able to convince other people.”

    See also:

    Growing and Thriving Beyond the Office Walls

    Professionally, Sierra has grown immensely with Penbrothers. Expanding her network and learning from great leaders are just some of the things at the top of her head when asked about growth at work. 

    On the other hand, Sierra also shares that she has grown a lot personally as well. She says that she is now better at dealing with people. She has grown from being that happy-go-lucky girl to being a matured adult aware of her timelines and how much she has accomplished through time. 

    In the end, Sierra points out that she is in for the long haul. Her learnings don’t only end in scaling up a business but rather, stretch forth to relationships in the community.

    “We don’t see clients as mere numbers but as partners. We also don’t view talents as part of a statistic, but rather as humans with feelings, hopes, and aspirations who come from different backgrounds.”

    Watch the video and be inspired by Sierra’s career journey and growth with Penbrothers.

    Read more Penbrothers employees’ success stories:

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