How to know if a company is the right cultural fit?

Becky Sharpe, CEO of International Scholarship & Tuition Services

Becky Sharpe

Hi, I’m Becky!

Hello! My name is Becky Sharpe and I am a native of Nashville TN where I graduated from Overton High School before attending undergraduate- (BA, German and French) and graduate school (MBA) from Vanderbilt University. From 1991-2002, I was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Optimum Solutions. When I joined Optimum Solutions, my mindset was one of a lifer. I had seen my parents and grandparents stay with one company their entire careers. But, as I got to know other business people, I began to realize I was not maximizing my potential, but, instead, had created a watered-down version of myself. I had created my own glass ceiling. In 2002, At the urging of a close business friend,  I bought 50% of Scholarship Program Administrators and joined the company as its President. A few years later, I purchased the remaining 50% and changed the name to International Scholarship and Tuition Services (ISTS). In 2011, my business partner and I bought Collegiate Sports Data where I serve as CEO. In 2013, I purchased a division of Educational Testing Service, expanding ISTS’ market share. I currently serve on several boards, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle TN, Girl Scouts and Walk Bike Nashville, and spend my free time gardening, hiking, biking, or flying helicopters. My husband Michael and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary in June of 2018 and are about to be empty nesters as our youngest of three leaves for college.

My experience

Since I started my first job, I have seen how cultures can impact outcomes positively and negatively. I have worked for power-hungry bullies and softies and have experienced the dramatic differences the leader’s style and choices have on the culture of the organization. I believe that mindset and attitude can make or break a company, despite the skill set of its people. If a person joins an organization where there is a mismatch between core values, the person is not likely to perform to their ability level and the organization is not likely to energize the person or get the best from them, AKA, there will be conflict.  At Vanderbilt I have had the opportunity to share my experiences with undergraduate and graduate students, where, a few times a semester I teach on leadership and the importance of understanding your personal brand.

3 steps to knowing if a company is the right culture fit

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