Spotlight on the Women of Bristow: Sandra Kercho
In honor of Women's History Month, Bristow is shining a spotlight on the women who make Bristow soar. This interview features Sandra Kercho, Senior Executive Administrative Assistant to SVP Chief Administrative Officer Mary Wersebe from our Houston office.
Talk about your role at Bristow and what are you currently working on?
I currently work as Senior Executive Administrative Assistant to SVP Chief Administrative Officer Mary Wersebe, and with a dotted line to SVP Global Fleet Management Stu Stavley. One of my duties is onboarding new hires for the Houston office. My day is different each time I come into the office, and it’s exciting to work on a variety of projects for the whole team. If there is something I love, it’s variety – so I’m in the right place! I’m currently working with Director HR Global Operations Ellie Runciman to assist in meeting arrangements for leadership trainings.
What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?
I am proud that I came from a very poor background with only a high school education and worked my way up from the bottom! I began my career at the age of 14, when I took a position as a clerk typist, and worked through the ranks to the position of senior executive assistant for several executives in the oilfield service industry. Through hard work and dedication, plus a lot of passion to do my best, I achieved my goals. One of my proudest achievements is teaching my son and daughter how to be kind human beings while still maintaining their individuality.
My one regret was not obtaining a college education, but I believe a person can excel in many jobs if they are willing to put in a lot of effort – I’m a great example of this!
I’m also very proud of how I juggled numerous interview schedules for the Human Resources directors on tight timelines to hire qualified candidates in a challenging job market. I get a huge sense of accomplishment when I see the results of managing hectic schedules to make great things happen!
What in your background prepared you for this assignment?
I started my career 40 years ago working in human resources in the oil and gas industry. From there, I moved to international sales, then 18 years working for the CEO. In this role, I also supported the SVP of Human Resources, the CFO and the General Counsel – all at the same time. This fast-paced job in oilfield services, with enormous challenges, prepared me to take on any new assignment.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
In my decades of working with executives, I’ve learned to manage enormous workloads with tight deadlines and all different personalities. I conquered these challenges by working extremely hard. All the hard work was so much fun, though, because the passion I have for working never diminished.
Who inspires you (work, personal and / or historical)?
My biggest inspiration is my current boss, Mary Wersebe. She is an example of what a woman can achieve in balancing the compassion and growth for her employees.
My other inspiration is my husband, Robert, a retired Houston Fire Department Captain. I learned a lot from him through his leadership of the men and women who respected him as a firefighter, manager and a teacher. He is also teaching me how to cook!
What advice do you have for women just beginning their career?
Love what you do with a passion! Strive to always do your best and work as hard as you can to achieve your goals. If you have no passion and no ambition, you will never succeed!
What is unique about your journey to your current role?
My journey to Bristow is unique in that I retired from GE Oil & Gas in 2016. I tried very hard for three years to enjoy retirement, but it turned out I was miserable, and the reason was simple – I missed the passion I had for working. In 2019, one day out of the blue, I received a call from a former associate who knew I wanted to go back to work. I interviewed for the position in Bristow’s Legal department and the rest is history! Bristow was finalizing its bankruptcy, then shortly thereafter merged with Era. New management meant changes and I was lucky enough to land in Human Resources. So my career began in human resources 40 years ago and has come full circle back in Human Resources here at Bristow!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy writing poetry, solving jigsaw puzzles and reading all James Patterson books. My favorite books are thrillers. My most joyous moments are being with my husband, Robert, son Craig, and daughter Christie with their families out on the patio on Sunday afternoons, barbecuing and watching the Astros play baseball!
What question should we have asked you?
How long do you want to work? As long as I can!
What did you want to be when you grow up?
When I was about 10 years old, I wanted to be a movie star! Instead, I did something a lot more fun… I went to work for Bristow!