Growing up in a time when few women were encouraged to study science and mathematics, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone went against the norm. Sherry has innovated and thrived as a mathematician, entrepreneur, inventor, philanthropist, mentor, board member, and tennis player. After a challenging position as a cryptologic mathematician with the U.S. Government, Sherry decided to venture into entrepreneurship. Her latest role as Chairman, President and CEO of TrustPoint Innovation Technologies leverages her years of experience to provide leadership in building impactful and valuable companies.
Sherry has partnered with Cisco’s Circle of Innovation, an internship program managed by Cisco, Communitech, and Business Development Bank of Canada with interns from the University of Waterloo, to help grow Eyeread’s digital presence. We asked Sherry and her new intern, Joyce Yu, about their new partnership and how they’ll be using technology to collaborate and drive future growth and success.
Becoming an entrepreneur was…a decision to bet on myself. I had held a very challenging position working for the U.S. Government. It became clear that if I wanted to move up within the organization, I needed to move on. So I did and decided to take a chance on me; I became the owner of my own destiny.
My boldest move to date was…taking on the leadership role of President and CEO of TrustPoint after my husband, Scott, passed away in 2014. I knew I was taking on a challenging role, and it was all the more challenging because I had to do it without Scott there to support me.
What is your best advice to those starting their own business?
Truly understand your core business. Even though this may change as you progress, keep focused on the core. Choose your battles to support the core and leave the other battles to others who you trust.
I surprise people when I tell them…that I have a Master of Science degree in mathematics and was a cryptologic mathematician with the U.S. Government for 6 years.
Technology is…our business and it has also helped our business grow. It allows us to focus on our core function by taking care of the day-to-day administrative functions such as accounting, software version management, and time tracking. We couldn’t function productively without relying on technology.
I plan to use technology in the future…to delegate more of the non-core processes as TrustPoint continues to grow.
Meet Leah’s intern, Joyce Yu
School: University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University
Program: Honours Business Administration (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Computer Science (University of Waterloo) Double Degree
Year of Study: 1 (Starting 2A term in September)
How do you feel technology is improving businesses?
In the past decade, advancements in collaboration technologies have led us to this era of innovation. Such technologies foster disruptive business ideas by making it easier to bring talent together through easy sharing of work and efficient communication with anyone, anywhere. By encouraging innovation with seamless collaboration, businesses are able to grow and expand to new areas in the marketplace.
What social media platform do you use most often to stay connected and why?
Though it may not be considered one of the traditional social media platforms, YouTube is the platform that I use most often. It is my main source of information and entertainment, as I find it to be the most convenient medium to discover different things outside of my own world.
What is your dream job once you graduate university?
As I take my time to explore various careers during my co-op terms, I hope to find jobs that will combine my knowledge in computer science and business. Through this internship, I’ve had a chance to learn more about a systems engineering role at Cisco. I find the technical processes and customer interactions interesting, and it is at the top of my list for jobs I’d love to have.
Are you a new business looking to build a team remotely? The Cisco Entrepreneur Xperience solution features everything you need to get your business communicating, collaborating, and connected. Customized for your business size and needs, the product bundle is simple to deploy and cost-effective. Fill in this quick form to receive more information on this “Office in a Box” offer.