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Sam Wallace

Sam Wallace, UPWARD Los Angeles Chapter Leader

In this week's Member Spotlight, we're introducing you to Sam Wallace . Sam is the Managing Director at Sheffield Haworth and an UPWARD Los Angeles Chapter Leader!

Read on to learn more and connect with Sam!

When you’re not in “work mode”, attending calls/meetings, what would we find you doing?

So many things! I have awesome 7-year-old twins, so when I’m unplugged, I get to hang out with them. We are quite new to SoCal so we’re taking up surfing, which is brilliant! They love to bake and we’ve recently mastered cinnamon cookies.

We are big on the outdoors too and I love to be on my bike, on the road or in the mountains.

I also plugged into the MasterClass program, last week I finally mastered the “smoky eye” thanks to Bobbi Brown :).

I’ve also taken up painting again. I’ve had several exhibitions overs the years, most dedicated to fund raising for Cancer Research. My mum had been diagnosed back in 2006 and I found painting became a calm place for me. I found after having kids it was challenging to find the time or the mental space to enjoy it but I’m back at it – we’ll see how that goes.

Do you have any habits or disciplines that you’ve developed that helps keep you motivated?

In recent months time has become very different. It’s moving so fast because there is so much about each day that is the same, no travel, no commute, no meetings. I’ve started to be much more deliberate about what is important and why, and not just the big things.

In the morning, I take time to make my coffee. I like the process of grinding the beans and smelling fresh coffee, sharing the experience with my girls and finding ways to create moments.

I find a lot of my motivation comes from that idea of moments. Despite things feeling so out of control, I feel like we have so much more control of our time, how we invest it, use it and find ways to enjoy it.

What are you most proud of in your personal life and in your career?

In my personal life I am most proud of my small people. When they were very small, I used to recite words that I thought were important for them to understand, things like brave and courageous, kind, open, honest and many more. Each day as they grow, I see them becoming these people with these qualities. Don’t get me wrong, they are not perfect, but they make my heart smile.

Professionally, I am proud to say I took a risk, and failed. I was pretty beaten up, my self-worth, confidence, purpose were all shaken, I felt lost, but I got back up. 2019 was a hard year but I can look back now with gratitude for the education and perspective that I gained. I could have stayed where I was, I could have carried on carrying on and it would have been fine. But I want better than fine.

We know from data that no one advances completely on their own. Relationships are often the difference between getting noticed and promoted and getting stuck. How do you identify key individuals with whom you need to build strategic relationships? Has UPWARD been a platform to helping you build these necessary relationships?

For me, it has always been about authenticity and variety. I am curious and I love people and I believe that the opportunity to learn exists in every conversation. It is through these exchanges that the people you need to know, want to know, and should know start to materialize. UPWARD is an awesome platform for this, it is industry and functionally agnostic, so the relevance of relationships is not easily defined, you must be curious to find them.

I think it’s also about practice and listening, I talk a lot about “off Broadway” discussions – the idea that at some point you will need to be “perfect”. Maybe it’s an interview, maybe it’s running into the CEO in the coffee shop and being able to hold your own – any number of other things but, being able to do that authentically and confidently means you will see and be seen.

As an UPWARD Member, what experience(s) have been most beneficial for you?

I love the national and global connections. I started with UPWARD is SFO, one of the early meetings at Lisa’s house. It was hot, there was chilled white wine, a beautiful event, and a smart, inspiring panel. Amazing.

I moved to LA and I was able to take on a Chapter Leadership position and it created a vehicle for me to be deliberate in building a local LA network. Through that I met another awesome Chapter leader in Portland and attended and spoke at one of their events, and then last summer had cocktails at a summer event in NYC. UPWARD creates a way to connect and a community to be a part of.

What advice have you received that has helped drive you to where you are today? If you’re comfortable, please share where this advice came from.

My VP HR said to me years ago “do at least one thing every day that moves you towards your goal”. It’s not complicated but for me it helped.

I also remember a training course I did many years ago and the instructor said, you always have a choice. You choose how you react; you choose what you own or don’t, you choose to make good or bad decisions. That always stuck with me and I was reminded of that again when I read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, where he says (and I paraphrase) you don’t choose what happens to you, but you always choose how you respond.

What advice (2-3 things) would you share with others who have similar goals or is on a similar path as you?

  1. Never try to be like anyone else. Be you, find your voice, your style. Learn from and take everything you can to help you grow but always be authentic.

  2. Say No more. You cannot and do not have to do everything. Ask for time, be selective, be thoughtful and be sure what you are doing is moving you forward.

  3. Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you fail you learn, when you learn you grow.

More about Sam Wallace

Based in California, Sam is a Managing Director in Sheffield Haworth’s CTS Practice for the Americas. Her experience has been refined over the last 20 years as she partnered with clients and candidates in the UK, Canada and the US. Her clients have ranged from Fortune 1000 to early stage companies and she is dedicated to partnering with Technology executives to solve critical talent needs. Sam joined Sheffield Haworth to develop the Americas business, supporting the growth of our globally integrated teams and remaining focused on exceptional results for her technology clients.

Prior to joining Sheffield Haworth Sam was the North American Market Leader, Technology for Korn Ferry. She was responsible for launching Korn Ferry’s professional search practice from San Francisco focused on Director and VP level searches. She held progressively senior roles in her 12 years with Korn Ferry and was the recipient of the coveted Korn Ferry Founders Award.

Sam’s career has been shaped by a natural passion and curiosity and she has used this to support her clients and candidates as they evaluate talent and career goals.  She is known for her market knowledge, creative thinking, objective support and her clear communication.

She is a passionate advocate for women in technology, supporting inclusion and diversity, taking an active role as a Chapter Leader of UPWARD (Uniting Professional Women, Advancing Relationships and Discussion). In this role she helps bring together executive women, creating a meaningful and impactful network. She was also recently appointed as one of the Founder Members of Chief in LA, a private network for executive women, connecting and supporting female executives.

Sam’s professional passions are her relationships, helping clients and candidates to change their futures and achieve their goals. Personally, her passion is for her family and her 7-year old twins. As a self-proclaimed adrenaline junky, snowboarder and former downhill mountain bike racer she is committed to creating curious and confident small people who share her love for the outdoors and adventure.

Sam holds a BA Hons in Politics and International Relations from Reading University.

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Based in Saratoga, CA
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