Our team members make the work of Conexus Indiana possible, but they also make it fun! Each one of them has a unique story to tell and over the course of the year we want to introduce you to our team and get to know them a little better.
First up is Senior Manager of Talent Programs Sarah Harrison. Before joining Conexus, Sarah was a Key Account Manager for NETLOGX in Indianapolis, Director of Admissions at the International School of Indiana, a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative at Eli Lilly U.K. and a Combat Medical Technician in the Army Reserves, U.K.
What influenced your decision to join Conexus?
The mission. I liked it, and it seemed to have so much purpose at an age where I wanted to be doing something that made a difference. I knew Amy ahead of time, and just the thought I knew so little about manufacturing and the huge gaps in the workforce and I just found it all very interesting. I think if you can do something for kids that are not in the “I’m going to college” bracket, because I think they’re often forgotten and that’s wrong. Everybody brings something to the table and not every family has the same support network at home, and it can add to the challenges for some kids.
What are your aspirations for Conexus and the state of Indiana as a whole?
I think the two coincide as a result of Conexus’ mission. If you have 90,000 jobs that are unfilled right now it would be nice to think our programs would have a hand in steering people to those jobs. Which has a huge impact on people’s quality of life and their economic mobility. Some people are unemployed or underemployed and I think that it’s healthy all around if people are working and if kids can see their parents and others working. I think it’s a good idea for kids to see that there are so many opportunities in manufacturing that they aren’t even considering because of the stereotype.
What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on at Conexus?
I love talking to the kids in the high schools. I also really like what Catapult Indiana is going to offer people because of the training that is offered to these unemployed and underemployed people. It makes a big difference for when they’re doing the work on the floor. It’s unfortunate to give people only a two-day orientation to someone who has never been in manufacturing before and then to expect them to flourish. Manufacturing sites are mind-blowing from the big sites down to the little one. It’s a very different environment. So, if everyone else on the site knows what they’re doing and when they’re doing it, and you show up and you don’t, it’s quite difficult.
What’s your go-to after work activity?
I like to walk my dog in the evenings and play with him in the garden. I like to read, right now I’m reading Me Speak Pretty Someday by David Sedaris. I’m part of a book club which has a lot of high-powered and highly intelligent women. We read a lot of eclectic books, I would never have picked them up so it really pushes your boundaries. I was playing volleyball, but I’m not doing that anymore. I like to do something that can just help me switch off.
If you could only eat at one Indiana restaurant for the rest of your life, what restaurant would you choose?
I’m not a big foodie. Seasons 52 is nice, but I couldn’t do that for the rest of my life. I’m not passionate about food like some people are. I eat because I need to. If I was left to my own devices, I would have an array of smelly French cheese, some decent gluten free bread or crackers, and some olives.
What’s your most irrational fear?
I’m not a big fan of spiders. But I seem to be the one that always has to deal with them, so I do deal with them. I’m not a big fan of heights. But I’ve done things to work around that. I did Army Assault courses when I was in the military, so I’ve jumped out of an airplane, but it doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t beat out of my chest when I’m doing it. But I can do it.
What’s your favorite vacation you’ve ever taken?
I’ve done a week on a dude ranch in the middle of Wyoming, that was absolutely fantastic. I got to ride on a horse every day; I loved it. I did a road trip with a friend and our children to Montana down to Wyoming and all the way back, stopping to do all the things in between. Then I also did a whirlwind tour of Asia: Hong Kong, Thailand, Beijing and then a week in the Maldives. I love traveling. It’s what I spent my time doing before I got married.
If you were to get in a fight with a bear, who would win you or the bear?
I think the bear would win. However, I think I would give it a good go. If I had a friend with me I think I could run faster than them. Overall, I would do my utmost to avoid the interaction with the bear.