“IT IS OFTEN THE
THE SCOPE OF A
THAT PROVIDE THE
MOST CHANCE FOR
– CATHARINE SANKO
What do you like most about your job?
CS: Every day there are new challenges in my job. I have so much
to learn about the business still and there is a lot of variety in my
responsibilities. I feel like there is unlimited opportunity for improvement
or enhancements to the processes within the areas I
lead. I love solving problems and helping my team troubleshoot
through something challenging.
What does a typical day at work for you look like?
CS: On a typical day, I will attend several meetings. PepsiCo is a
very collaborative business and they truly value their subject matter
experts (SMEs). I provide support on a regular basis within
the scope of my role to various teams including global payroll or
What are some of the challenges you experience?
CS: Some of the regular challenges that I deal with include issues
with one of our interfaces, receiving urgent requests with a short
resolution turnaround time, or being asked to make a decision
with limited information to move a project or change forward.
Another challenge is working within a “matrixed” organization.
In this type of environment, a key focus is getting work done
through others who are not my direct reports. This is different
from my past experience and requires strong influencing and relationship
building skills to be successful.
What skills do you possess that make you a great fit
for your position as a benefits and pension expert?
CS: I am analytical, systematic, extremely organized, goal-oriented
and decisive. I thrive on change as it usually provides a new opportunity
for learning. I also work hard to provide the right support
to my team and to become a better manager.
What are your ultimate career goals?
CS: I would like to continue to advance within the Total Rewards
specialization in positions that would benefit from my unique
skillset. I will also keep myself open to a project or development
assignment that may be outside of the Total Rewards scope if it is
a good challenge and would benefit my long-term goals.
What advice do you have for others interested in
pursuing a career in benefits and pensions?
CS: Work hard and embrace change for the opportunity that it is.
Don’t ever think or say, “That’s not my job.” It is often the challenges
outside the scope of a specific position that provide the most
chance for learning and development.
Be true to yourself and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t
feel right, it probably isn’t. Just because someone says, “We’ve always
done it this way,” doesn’t mean you have to continue to do it
the same. n
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ JANUARY 2016 ❚ 43