At Credera, we’ve always believed we’re truly better together – even during a global pandemic that makes us work separately. The Roster is a monthly series that allows you to get to know leaders at all levels across the firm. This edition of the Roster includes a few questions to learn how these Crederians are adjusting during the COVID-19 crisis.
sandra kirkby baker
principal, management consulting
Favorite and Least Favorite Part of Working From Home? My favorite aspect has been limiting my commute time; while I live in the city, it still takes upwards of 45 minutes on public transit to get to the office. The most difficult adjustment has been the ability to draw the line between work and home life at the end of the day. As soon as it warms up in Chicago my husband and I plan to take a walk early each evening to mark the start of personal time.
New Quarantine Hobbies: I’ve been working on my mixology and French language skills. I take daily Duolingo lessons (while mildly irritating, the reminders are helpful!) and each weekend try out a new drink from one of my favorite books.
Have You Found Any Ways to Serve Your Community During the Pandemic? My husband and I live in a neighborhood with a lot of independent small businesses. During this time, we’ve been trying to focus our spending on local businesses and restaurants whenever possible – picking up meals to-go, purchasing items for curbside pick-up, and stocking up on gift cards. We have a vested interest in seeing them succeed, and it’s a small way we can help contribute.
Now Playing: I’m shocked I didn’t have a countdown clock on for the current season of Billions on Showtime, which started its fifth season on May 3rd. We save up episodes so we have at least two to watch at any given time, so please – no spoilers!
Favorite Sports Team: I grew up going to Michigan State football and basketball games from the time I was six or seven; my father went to grad school there and became close with some of the coaches. I spent the majority of my fall weekends away at games and remember getting happy birthday phone calls from some of the old football players and playing Nintendo together.
Office Music Playlist: My taste is pretty eclectic and my music choice depends on time of day and what’s going on. If I’m starting the day and want a pick-me-up I have a playlist with a lot of Jay-Z and old Rolling Stones songs; if I need to focus and or want something mellow, I’ll play Carla Bruni, Amy Winehouse, or the soundtrack to Begin Again.
How You’ve Seen the Core Values Lived Out at Credera: From my first day I have been astounded by the selflessness and collaboration at Credera, which to me really displays humility in action. Any time I ask a question, or for a document, or for help, I’m greeted with an “I’m happy to talk about that” or a “yes, I’ll send you an example now”. I’m so proud to work in an organization that values helping each other succeed.
Best Advice You’ve Ever Been Given: Be kind to yourself: we each have an intimate knowledge of all our mistakes, and only a see a sliver of others’ gaffes, which makes it really easy to feel inadequate and beat ourselves up. Being more forgiving to ourselves, remembering that everyone makes mistakes, and trying not to focus on others, can help us move forward and not ruminate on what we could have done better.
Role Model/Biggest Influence: My paternal grandmother and my father have had the greatest influences on my life. Both have had an innate ability to make people feel from all walks of life feel immediately at ease, and each had legions of fans, which I attribute to the personal connections they made. They instilled in me the importance of being kind, compassionate, and gracious.
manager, management consulting
new york city, ny
Favorite and Least Favorite Part of Working From Home? My favorite thing about working from home is having lunch with my wife every single day. We moved to New York right before Christmas and our offices were a few blocks away so one of our goals this year was to have more lunches together. The current situation has given us the ability to accomplish that!
Favorite Book: La part de l’autre by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt. The novel follows two timelines in parallel, one describing what could have happened if Adolf Hitler was accepted into Vienna’s Academy of Arts, the other retracing history once he was rejected from that same school.
Passions Outside of Work: Growing up, I played all kinds of sports, but golf is my true passion. I enjoy learning about its history, playing with friends, and watching professional events. I was planning to attend my first major tournament this June – the US Open – but I’ll have to wait a few more months due to the pandemic.
I also enjoy reading, specifically modern French literature. It’s a great way for me to disconnect from work and screens. It also helps me practice my French so I can continue to talk to my family back home without making awkward mistakes!
Best Advice You’ve Ever Been Given: On my first day at Credera, someone passed onto me in the elevator the following piece of advice: “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This was very valuable and timely advice, as I started on projects that were outside my comfort zone, and it continues to be a great reminder throughout my consulting career.
consultant, management consulting
Have You Found Ways to Serve Your Community During the Pandemic? At the beginning of quarantine, I was at a loss for understanding how I could contribute to the pandemic so I found The COVID Tracking Project, an organization that collects and publishes US COVID data, and volunteered with them. Fast forward a few months and I’m again at a loss for understanding how I can contribute, but my focus is now the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve been hosting discussion groups with friends and protesting, but I’ve found that ‘contributing’ is complex, difficult, and different for every person. Serving our community right now is an individual’s choice towards a collective issue so I am hoping everyone can take some time to contribute in whatever way is right for them. If you’re unsure where to start or want to talk more, I’d love to hear from you!
Favorite App: Given that I look at a screen all day every day, I try to not look at a screen outside of work… but I have a crippling dependence on Candy Crush. I’m currently stuck on Level 1274 so please reach out if you have any tips, I’m desperate.
Favorite Book: I’ve been reading a whole lot during quarantine (some of my favorites have been India Calling by Anand Ghiridaradas, Evicted by Matthew Desmond, and The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson). I’m currently reading Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, which is a collection of essays about culture, society, home, the internet, feminism, and more – it is a smart, critical reflection on culture and a great read for anyone looking to think about the world we’re in right now.
Passions Outside of Work: I’m obsessed with anything food-related: cooking, perusing food studies journals (Gastronomica is my favorite), watching documentaries on the food system, reading anything written by Mayukh Sen… so please talk food with me!
Office Music Playlist: Jai Paul, Tirzah, Moses Boyd, Joy Orbison, Sarathy Korwar, Sons of Kemet, KOKOROKO, Sudan Archives – I’m a big fan of jazz/techno/electronic inspired music for work.
Favorite Credera Memory: There is no one memory for me that tops another but, generally, teams at Credera are phenomenal – from traveling to Chicago with teams of 10+ and eating pierogis at Staropolska to piling one too many people into a car on the way to Fireside to crafting Spotify playlists on Friday afternoons in the UX room, I’ve truly enjoyed the teams I’ve been a part of at Credera. There’s something magical about Crederians coming together to create a team.
Mentorship Experience: I’m really interested in creating exceptional products and experiences for people; having Peter Yobo at Credera, as a leader who champions innovative thinking, people-centered products, and those around him, has been one of my favorite experiences at Credera. He has enabled me, as a mentee, to proactively and organically pursue the areas I want to focus on while giving me guidelines and structure so I know where I’m headed. The fact that I can have a cross-practice, cross-level, cross-geo mentor is really remarkable, and I believe it’s precisely this level of collaboration and diversity that highlights what makes Credera exceptional.