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Meet Sheryle Gillihan of CauseLabs in Fort Worth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheryle Gillihan.

Sheryle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Life did not take the path that I expected. My first job after high school was as a translator in the U.S. Army. I love languages and I loved my job. I thought I’d be in the Army for at least twenty years. A little over a year into my service, I was expecting my first child and I was struggling with the knowledge that my line of work would require me to leave my daughter for months at a time and one of my moves was going to happen when she was only two months old. I had a life changing moment and decided to become a stay at home mom.

I stayed at home with two children for seven years, until both of them were in school. During that time, I was an avid community volunteer and I finished my last year of college to get my Bachelors focused on community service and business.

Unfortunately, even with my degree, it was such a challenge to re-enter the workforce. Most businesses do not translate homemaker into business skills. Those that saw me as capable did offer me positions, but the entry level pay for someone that’s been out of the workforce was minimum wage at the places where I applied. I had two kids, bills, a desire to buy a home and all while my husband was deployed in Iraq… I was fortunate enough to have the ability to wait and also enough challenges that made me want to wait for a better opportunity. That opportunity came from another woman who saw that I was driven, tech savvy and ready to grow.

That tech job was also great and I grew rapidly with the company in just a few years, but at the end of the day it did not align with my values. In 2010, my husband stumbled across a CauseLabs job ad and said “I think this might be the perfect job for you.” He was right and it has changed my life.

I was hired as a project manager to work on a crowdsourcing scripture translation project in rural India. It involved tech, translation and travel – all the things I love. What I didn’t realize at the time was that our work in rural parts of the world and in poverty alleviation would help me uncover my own past and help me find my purpose.

As you can see from my title, I’m now the CEO of CauseLabs. It was not a part of any plan. Like the other choices I’ve made in my life, I followed my heart and passion, aligned with my values, continued to learn and grow, and gave my all to whatever role I took on. I believe I am where I am because of the support I’ve gotten from my husband, my friends, and other leaders and mentors.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a messy, circuitous, unpredictable, bumpy road. I am grateful for all the challenges because I’ve grown so much from them.

The biggest challenge was taking a leap of faith to leave a VP position to move to a project manager role. Like choosing to stay at home with my children, it was an emotional, passion based decision. I don’t regret it for a moment.

CauseLabs – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
CauseLabs exists to create positive impact in the world. We are techies and so we use our expertise and the life-changing benefits of digital technology to design and build custom websites and applications for nonprofits, social enterprises, B Corps and other good companies with good programs. We are a tech vendor, but we are known for our strategic thinking, our human-centered approach and staying focused on growth and impact. We have deep experience in data management, tackling complex algorithms, connecting systems and creating user experiences that are visually beautiful and easy to use so that people are more engaged and can make decisions faster.

We are proud of our partnerships both with clients and other agencies. We encourage collaboration with anyone striving to make the world a better place. We are so fortunate to have worked with amazing people with a heart for the greater good.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I have so many moments of pride throughout my career. The proudest moment happened this past year when my 18 year old daughter said that she wanted to work with me because my job is so cool and makes a difference in the world.

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