Q&A with Saima Hedrick, Virtual, Inc. Director of Client Services, Client Services Professional Societies Team
Since March, we have been working from home (WFH) because of the pandemic. What makes you happy to come to work each day and what is your motivation to get through the tough days?
SH: I enjoy working with my team. I am so lucky that each of my team members have their own area of expertise and work well with one another. They are ready to roll up their sleeves and take initiative to come up with solutions. Currently I am working with the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP) and as a team we are working on taking their membership to the next level. We want to help them discover their value proposition, and create networking hubs and platforms. Seeing the end result of that vision is what keeps me coming back to my computer each day even though we are working from home. We are still able to drive changes and help clients move forward to their end goal despite not having the traditional in-person meetings. It is exciting working with clients on a new level and working with a rockstar team to drive the initiatives.
What is next on your bucket list?
SH: That’s a hard question. There’s a lot I want to do both personally and professionally. Personally, I have always wanted to go rock climbing. I have always thought that rock climbing was a thrilling thing to do and I would like to learn how to do it. Workwise, I really enjoy working with International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP). This organization’s purpose is very much focused on diversity and getting people who are underrepresented into a cutting-edge field. This is an important topic for me, both personally and professionally, and I see it as an evergreen of opportunity.
What company value most resonates with you and how do you incorporate into your day-to-day activities?
SH: That is such a good question! As I was going over our company values, I mulled over fun, trust, and generosity. But I think the one that resonates the most with me is trust. Not only does it make us more effective as a team; it makes it easier for our clients to rely on us to help drive the future of their organizations’ success. Trust is the basis of everything – you won’t get anything accomplished if your team does not trust one another and if client don’t trust the team
What do you find most challenging about your job?
SH: Being in a leadership role – I find isolation, because of the pandemic, to be the most challenging right now. The way I interact with someone really relies on me being there 1:1. I can see body language and be emotionally aware. I’ve had to modify the way I traditionally work with people, in order to gain a similar experience without physically being together in the same place. Meetings must be scheduled, whereas before, I could pop into someone’s office to ask a question. Building relationships takes more effort because of our current work environment as we’re not able to sit in a room for board discussions and its challenging to read the room.
Favorite movie, book, food, music/band/song:
SH: Most recently and over the holidays, my favorite movie was Elf. It is just ridiculous. I can watch this movie a thousand times over and never get tired of it. My favorite scene is when Will Ferrell jumps on the Christmas tree – even the meme’s make me laugh. It is just a timeless movie
What’s the coolest part about working with the clients we have?
SH: I love that our clients come to us with a vision and we make that vision a reality. I think because we don’t have a traditional transactional relationship with our clients, they value our opinion and rely on us for our expertise and knowledge. This makes us truly partners in driving their success and helping them make their mark on the world. That’s pretty cool!
What advice would you give someone hoping to pursue a career at Virtual?
SH: Do not be afraid to put your ideas out there and ask questions. Virtual is a collaboration driven group and taps as many voices as possible You never feel that your voice won’t be heard – everyone is encouraged to share ideas.
What do you love about living in Reston, Virginia?
SH: Reston/Herndon was one of the first planned communities in Virginia that was established in the early 1960’s. The whole essence of the community is designed so you can “live, work, and play.” I love that my community is walkable with so many recreational opportunities. I look out my window and see tree lines and miles of trails to explore. This is specifically important, given the pandemic, as being close to nature and taking the time to get outside to recharge is so important to ones’ self-care.
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