GEM in Action
Sarah Watson, Executive Director
How do you define success for yourself?
If you had asked me this 5 years ago, I would have had a different answer. Today, for me success is understanding your purpose, embracing it and living it out daily. Michael Jr. demonstrates this concept in a clip from his series, Break Time.
Do you have a favorite podcast, TED Talk, blog, book/author that inspires you professionally?
Just one? Number one on my bucket list is to give a TED Talk, so I listen to as many as possible. It’s impossible to narrow my professional favorites down to one. Personally, I love Amy Webb’s How I Hacked Online Dating. She delivers a hilarious talk about the pitfalls of meeting someone online after 30 AND develops an algorithm to find her ultimate match.
What’s an example of how failure in your life resulted in something great?
I failed at marriage. It was the most difficult thing to accept that my dream of having a family that lived happily ever after simply wasn’t going to happen. The years following my divorce gave me the opportunity to reflect on my journey, discover my purpose and ultimately create a new life. I am certainly not the same person I was before and I’m proud of the strength and resilience I have modeled for my daughters.
Tell me about how parenting school-aged kids impacts your approach to advocacy.
I have two daughters, Ava and Reese. They attend our local school district and I have NO doubts they are receiving a top-notch 21st-century education. When I am supporting a school district, I constantly run all ideas, goals, and results through the filter of: Is it good enough for my children? If the answer is no, then it simply isn’t good enough for ANY child. Our current state of educational inequity is unacceptable. I will do whatever it takes to support those working in the trenches to rectify the injustices existing in underserved communities.
What expertise or passion do you contribute to GEM?
I’m passionate about leadership coaching! Talent management and culture are two other areas that go hand in hand with leadership coaching and I love watching all the pieces fall into place.
How has your education and career experience prepared you to be an ACE (Advocate, Consultant and Educator) for the GEM Group?
My career started in the classroom, moved to school leadership and eventually led to consulting statewide where I have been able to provide professional learning to hundreds of districts. I’ve spent time in both urban and rural districts so I understand the unique challenges each face and have witnessed incredible change take place to ensure student, teacher and leader success.
How would the rest of the GEM team describe you?
I think they see me as innovative and organized, but I suspect it’s my tenacity and drive that they most appreciate. I suppose they will correct me before publishing this if I am wrong!
What is a current or past challenge that you have overcome or are working to overcome?
I enjoy so many facets of our business that I want to be actively involved in all of them. I know that devoting my time and energy to a select few will benefit our team and clients so I am working to focus on those best aligned to my talents.
What fun fact might others not know about you?
I am a writer. I have been working on a book for the past few months and my plan is to publish it within the next 12 months!