A CEO's Committment Pays Off
With basic accounting skills learned from her mother, a teacher, Cheryl Nex landed her first job as a bookkeeper straight out of high school. A year later, she applied for her second job at Entertainment Partners Canada. She’s been there ever since.
“I started as a Junior Payroll Clerk in June 1989 and worked my way through the company to President in 2006,” said Cheryl, President and CEO of Entertainment Partners Canada, the largest Canadian provider of payroll services and production accounting software solutions for the country’s film and television industry.
Young and eager, but without a lot of experience, Cheryl took advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. “I did more, and was given more, and took on more, did more, was given more, it just kept going,” said Cheryl. She established herself as a fiercely loyal and hard-working employee.
After nearly 20 years with the company, Cheryl had seen it all: changes in management, the company being bought and sold, packaged and repackaged, then bought and sold again. She could have quit and taken another position, but she stayed the course.
By 2008, “the company had stalled and I didn’t appreciate the effect it was having on the employees,” said Cheryl. She saw an opportunity to find equity partners and facilitate a buyout. It was her chance to improve leadership and move the company in a more positive direction – for herself and the people that had invested in her success over the years.
However, it wasn’t a quick fix. Once at the top, she found her leadership unexpectedly challenged. “I hit a rough patch that shook my confidence,” said Cheryl. “I made a decision that, in the partners’ view, overstepped my reach.” It led to harsh and unexpected consequences, but Cheryl felt she had done the right thing. “If presented with the same circumstances - I would probably do it again today.” It was a confusing time for Cheryl and she felt blindsided. Not wanting to find herself in the same situation again, she knew she needed to grow as a leader. That’s when she found TEC Canada.
“As you rise to the top job, you grow up with people in your organization,” said Cheryl. “As President, some people aren’t themselves around you anymore.” Becoming part of a TEC CEO group gave Cheryl much needed honest feedback. “Through discussions with her group members and one-on-one mentorship with her TEC Canada Chair, Cheryl learned how important it is to take the extra time to search for the right answers and approach. The opportunity, in a safe environment, to be vulnerable, to test theories and to be challenged provided a humbling and valuable experience - an experience that Cheryl believes every C-suite executive should have.
As of May 2017, alongside her original partners, Cheryl helped sell the company to Entertainment Partners, the leading global end-to-end provider of production workforce management and automated production services to the entertainment industry. Since joining TEC, Cheryl has grown her company’s enterprise value significantly. “The path to getting here was a windy one,” she said, “and TEC was a piece that helped me get informed, ask questions and continue as a lifelong learner.”
The company is now owned by a U.S. operation and Cheryl is back to being an employee herself. As President and CEO of the company’s Canadian division, her focus remains the same: the future of the company, their clients and dedicated staff.
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