At SAS, where you start doesn’t have to be where you end; and there’s ample opportunity for internal career mobility. But don’t take our word for it – hear it from people like Blake Sheldon. Blake’s been at SAS for almost nine years, and during that time he’s held four different roles, moved from HR to Customer Advisory and progressed into management.
Blake began his career at SAS as a Compensation Analyst in Human Resources: “I’ve always loved to solve problems with data, so SAS was a natural fit,” he explains. After a while, he became interested in the customer-facing side of the business: “I wanted to expand my technical and analytical skillset, and a role in Customer Advisory presented a great opportunity to grow my SAS skills,” he shares. “I applied for an internal role and moved into the Solution Architect role.” From there, Blake moved into Value Engineering, then a manager role, and he now leads a team of four as a Sr. Manager of Cloud Economics and Ecosystem Diagnostics.
“Our team has pioneered Ecosystem Diagnostics here at SAS,” explains Blake. “Ecosystem Diagnostics collects data that allows SAS to better understand how customers are using our software – and that data informs research and development, establishes benchmarks, and allows us to provide our customers with a personalized, informed plan for moving to the cloud.” It’s rewarding work: “I know that every time I run diagnostics and provide that to a customer, we’re providing valuable knowledge,” he says.
Internal career mobility
“There’s a big emphasis on employee growth at SAS – we're a company that develops others to develop the whole,” Blake explains. “When I’ve been ready to make a change, I haven’t been met with any resistance – I’ve had leadership’s support from both areas of the business.”
For Blake, mentorship has played a pivotal part in his career journey. He also cites the importance of owning your own career: “You can’t rely on your manager or someone else to know what’s best for you – only you are going to know that. It’s up to you to communicate your aspirations and how you can align your growth with the needs of the business.”
“There’s a big emphasis on employee growth at SAS – we're a company that develops others to develop the whole." - Blake Sheldon
As a people manager, Blake has experienced both sides of the career mobility coin: “As a people leader, I make it a priority to work with my people to grow their interests,” he explains. “If their interests lead them somewhere else at SAS, I’m all for it – internal career mobility is how I’ve grown my career. I’m passionate about it, and SAS is better for it. No one should feel stuck in their role, and if that’s you, there are programs and resources out there to help.”
When Blake was getting his master’s degree in business administration, he created a personal leadership statement: “I wanted to be a strategic innovator who developed others to develop the whole,” he shares. “I see that in Dr. Goodnight’s leadership, and it’s one of the things that first attracted me to SAS. I feel empowered to grow here. It’s something I love about SAS – no matter where the future takes us, I know we’ll always be a company that develops others to develop the whole. I want to keep that going.”
Living the #saslife
Blake’s current team, Cloud Economics and Ecosystem Diagnostics, started as a grassroots effort, bringing people together from across the company to solve a problem: “SAS is willing to invest in new ideas, and they can come from anywhere,” he says. “It’s been a lot of fun. SAS is exceptionally collaborative – I don’t see hierarchy here, it’s just people at all levels working together.”
“I firmly believe that we have the best technology on the market,” he shares. “With ecosystem diagnostics, we’re constantly uncovering opportunities and guiding our customers and our company forward. We can make organizations the most productive with analytics, and that’s why I’m signed up for a future here.” He’s also excited about SAS’ IPO-readiness journey: “I take pride in the value of my work to SAS, so the potential to earn a stake in our collective success is exciting,” he shares.
Outside the office
When he’s not digging into the data for our SAS customers, you’ll find Blake enjoying time with his three sons – ages eight, four and eighteen months. “We have a lot of immediate extended family in the same neighborhood, so we spend a lot of time together,” Blake shares. He’s also a regular at Panera, where you’ll find him grabbing coffee before carpool drop-off. “Those who know me know that I grind ferociously every day, but I’m busy in all the right ways,” Blake summarizes. “I’m spending my time where it matters most to me personally and professionally – and I’m grateful for that.”