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Chimers in leadership: Meet Sam Krause, VP, Member Strategy & Experience Operations

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“I’ve always been someone who gravitates towards opportunities to have an impact broader than what’s right in front of me,” says Sam Krause (she/her/hers) of becoming a leader. “That’s what ultimately led me to take on leadership roles in my career.”

Her first role as a people manager was as a college student. “I was the program supervisor for a college organization, where I oversaw 30 volunteers across rural towns in Panama,” she says. “It was a powerful experience because I was given the opportunity to help others grow and provide them with a glimpse of their own potential. I found that part to be intoxicating, and that’s when I realized I wanted to support others to realize their potential."

Learning to lead.

Over time, Sam has worked under several managers from whom she’s learned a lot about leadership. “I’ve been fortunate to see how others lead me and identify which components of their management styles resonate,” she says. “From there, I’ve taken what works for me and left behind what doesn’t.”

She also took a lot of notes from conversations at home with her dad. “My dad spent his career in tech, so we had a lot of dinner table conversations about his work and leadership,” Sam says. “He’d share the changes he was trying to institute and how he led his team. I learned a lot from those daily discussions.”

The result of many inputs across her career and life? Sam’s two-pronged approach to leading her teams:

  1. Setting a bold vision and inspiring others to jump on board
  2. Empowering her team

In achieving these two goals, Sam also works to ensure that every individual feels autonomy over their work and is supported at the same time. “My hope is for every member of my team to feel a sense of connectivity and community in the work they’re doing and motivated by the impact they are having,” she says. “I see this as part of my responsibility toward them as a leader.”

Conquering challenges and finding success together.

One thing Sam will always be honest about being a leader is how isolating it can sometimes feel. “You simultaneously have to identify where change is needed, adapt to the change yourself, and lead others through it,” she says. “At times, you might be struggling with the changes yourself, but you have to put on a brave face for your team.” To combat any isolation, Sam recommends building a support system around you, including other leaders.

Though leadership can pose the challenge of isolation at times, Sam continues to find motivation by staying focused on finding success for herself and her team. “Ultimately, my success as a leader comes down to whether I’m improving the domain for which I’m responsible today and setting the stage for the future,” she says. “It’s critical not to be myopic and solve just for the now, but instead to set the business and team up to win in the future, always balancing near and long-term progress.”

A big part of that progress comes down to ensuring that the team feels motivated, challenged, and supported, all at the same time. “As a leader, you’re never doing anything by yourself, so making sure your team is motivated and set up to learn and grow is so important to ensure they — and the business — will succeed,” she says.

Advice on becoming a leader.

Sam’s advice to anyone considering a leadership role is to be aware of the mental shift it requires. “Going from an individual contributor to a people manager is a big change,” she says. “I once got some great advice that I always try to pass on: to keep in mind that just because someone does something differently than I would doesn’t mean their method isn’t just as good, if not better. As a leader, you have to move away from focusing on your version of perfection. Instead, align with your team on outcomes and key milestones — and then empower them to get there.”