Sarah Wiegree, Service Manager, U.S. Bank

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up outside Fargo on a small hobby farm, which started my love of animals. I fell into my career at US Bank by accident while at college and loved it so much that I have worked there for eight years now. I live on a small farmstead with my husband of seven years, my 6-yearold son Lorents, four-year-old daughter Medora and a menagerie of animals including dogs, cats, chickens, fish, a snake and a turtle. I enjoy spending time with friends, working outside, reading fiction and directing my church children’s choir.

How long have you been in your field?

Eight years already! Banking/business is not what I majored in in college, so it definitely came as a surprise to me how much I enjoyed it! What is important to you about the work that you do? As a Service Manager, I manage a team of around 20 people spread across the country taking calls from our credit card customers. I think the part that makes the most impact is my work to help my team reach its fullest potential. Whether their career places them on my team for a short time or a long one, I work to give them opportunities to shine. We are all better when we are doing things we enjoy, and I can make an impact by helping my team get to the job they want.

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why?

I’ve been really blessed to have so many strong female leaders in my career. My first manager at the bank Jenae really encouraged me at the start of my career and made me believe that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. My Group Manager Jen showed me that women in leadership positions didn’t have to be scary! She’s always led with humor, grace and a down-to-earth approachability I try to emulate. My current boss, Tanya has really shaped me into the leader I am today by encouraging me to step outside of my comfort zone, providing course correction when I need it and above all my being a huge support. Last but not least, my husband Matthew, who has always worked to help me problem-solve, encouraged me to reach for my goals and supported me throughout my career.

What drives you?

Being able to make a positive impact in the lives of the people I encounter every day is what gets me out of bed in the morning. Because of this, I work to make sure my team knows I appreciate them every day. I have also been blessed to have many strong female leaders in my career, so I want to pass on the help that I have received. Lastly, I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, and this pushes me to grow outside of my comfort zone.

What are some important lessons you have learned in your lifetime?

That a mistake is a tool if you choose to use it as one. I like to think of my mistakes like a box—I can leave it in my living room and trip over it, or I can use it to build a staircase to get me to the next level. Another important lesson came from my dad. He told me that every new day is a blank page. I can’t change what was written on today’s page, but I can make the next page so beautifully written, that you forget about the bad on the previous one.

What are some of your favorite things to do in our community?

I am a huge thrift store nut. I love going shopping for deals, trying to find that hidden gem, preferably with friends. I also love food—making it, watching shows about it and trying new restaurants. My husband and I try to find new places to try out and are always excited when we see a new restaurant in our area. Another thing I enjoy is spending time outdoors with my family—whether that is going for a walk by the river or in a nearby state park, or going to the zoo and introducing my kids to all the animals.

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations for our readers?

I am a huge fan of fiction reading and non-fiction unless it’s something I’m really into, it makes me want to cry. I love the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I love the world-building, and how although every book is a complete story they are also part of an overarching plot. Terry does a fantastic job of making you forget that you are just reading a story, and instead makes you think that you are actually living the story. With two small children, I don’t have a ton of time for reading anymore, but this is still one of my favorites.

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

Even just from the first United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program session, I have gained so much knowledge of myself and my leadership, as well as opportunities to benefit our community. I hope to learn from the experiences both of the leaders and mentors in the program, as well as the women going through it with me. I hope to gain confidence in myself, and learn more about the things that make our community great.

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

I think that something a lot of people struggle with when entering the workforce is interviewing and networking. I think United Way does a good job of helping to fill that gap, but I would love to see more broad-scale efforts to help people bridge that gap. I think this would be especially helpful for those who are looking to switch careers, such as moving from production-based careers to office jobs. Interviewing is a skill that is often overlooked and can have significant impacts on their career trajectory.

What are some of your passions outside of work?

Reading, definitely! I have been a voracious reader from a young age, although being a mom doesn’t give me as much time as I would like. I love dancing, especially swing dancing. I have a children’s choir that I direct, which is so much fun. Kids naturally love music, and being able to foster that love brings me a lot of joy. Last but definitely not least, my family. I feel very blessed with the people in my life, both those I am related to by blood and those that are my chosen family.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.