Women in Leadership- Sestra Interviews Our Own Anju Olson
At Sestra, we take pride in the diversity, ingenuity, and individuality that make up our team. In honor of International Women’s Day, we are highlighting one specific team member who has been a part of Sestra since before we were “Sestra” and continues to overcome challenges, set an example, and foster relationships that result in growth and progress. Although we are featuring Anju Olson in honor of International Women’s Day, our intention is to share the impact that she (and women around the world) make every day.
Can you start by explaining your role at Sestra?
Anju Olson: “Essentially, I spend the day talking with and building relationships with customers, partners, and others in the industry. My hope is that somewhere along the way, each one of them becomes a Sestra champion. Whether it’s because they think our technology is amazing, working with our team is great, we are disrupting the industry for the better, or because of the value they see we bring to their business, we are always looking to add to the Sestra family.”
What brought you to Sestra?
Anju Olson: “Kim (our COO) and I worked together at a previous startup years ago. When Sestra was just getting started, she and I talked about the opportunity. I was excited about the chance to help build a company from the ground up and the rest is history.”
What is your favorite thing about the team, company, or office?
Anju Olson: “My favorite things about Sestra are the camaraderie amongst our team and our company-wide curious spirit. I also consider myself lucky to be working with the hospitality industry – our customers extend the same hospitality to us, as their partners, as they do to their guests. And, of course… the dogs.”
What is your favorite book, podcast, show, or movie at the moment?
Anju Olson: “First thing to come to mind is my favorite podcast – Smartless. It’s funny, they have interesting guests and it always makes me laugh out loud.
I’ve been listening to a lot of TED Talks lately. In general, they are consumable, thought provoking, presenting something new to learn or just feel-good, which is nice in the crazy world we live in these days.
My favorite book from recent times is Alicia Keys’ autobiography, More Myself. I loved listening to her read the book – she is conscientious and empowering. As she discussed the music she created in every chapter, I would go listen to that specific album before moving on to the next – such a great experience.
And, a guilty pleasure, is a show called “Crash Landing on You” – it’s a Korean drama on Netflix.”
What is your favorite beverage on tap?
Anju Olson: “The Times Square Old Fashion at the Revel & Rye Bar in the Marriott Marquis in New York City.”
What kind of challenges have you faced as a woman in business?
Anju Olson: “As a woman in business, some of the challenges I’ve faced are being a working mom, especially when the kids were young – it was hard and I remember having to work at the balancing on a daily basis. Another is the occasions where I’ve not been taken seriously just because I’m a woman. Among others, those have been areas where I’ve had to invest time, thought, and effort into figuring out how to best deal with them.”
What would you like people to know about International Women’s Day or about what it’s like being a woman in business?
Anju Olson: “Two things. One, I think it’s really important to help foster an environment where women are supporting each other, building each other up, and celebrating our successes and accomplishments. That way, hopefully, we are sowing the seed to build all women up, together.
Two, I think women bring unique qualities and perspectives to the world, including business. We need to embrace them as strengths and not let anyone define them as weaknesses.
It’s important to me to set an example, not only for our daughters but also, for our sons. If they see us taking care to do both of those things, hopefully, the biases will, over time, break down.”
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