Cheri Ross, manager for ITS Finance and Business Operations, hit the ground running when she came to Yale in September of 2019, only working on campus six months before the pandemic sent most staff home.
One of her first assignments was to relocate an entire floor of ITS staff to other areas within 25 Science Park (25 SP). She accomplished that monumental task on time, learned a lot about the university’s inner workings, while collaborating successfully with new colleagues.
Cheri and her business office team support operational and administrative services for the unit. Services include onboarding/offboarding staff, procurement of staff equipment and supplies, new vendor setups, budget adherence, issuing purchase orders, approving invoices and so much more. She also manages the cellular services team, responsible for the distribution and support of 3,400 Yale University mobile devices. “The Business Office is the heart of each unit. Everything flows through this team. We support staff, providing them what they need to get their jobs done,” says Cheri.
Cheri was born in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.A. from Fairfield University. Her career journey included a 10-year stint at Xerox Corporation, working in finance. Next came a term in the healthcare industry working for Physician Health Services. She then opened her own consulting business, Ross Consulting, performing internal audits. When her children were young, having her own business allowed for a more flexible schedule. Before coming to Yale, one of her clients, a landscape design firm, hired her full-time into a Controller position. “My career path paralleled my life, and my varied background coincides with wanting to constantly learn something new,” said Cheri.
Recently, Cheri has been spending a few days each week in the office. We caught up with her via Zoom to talk about childhood memories, the importance of mentors, and great takeaways from early in her career.
What was your first job?
After high school, I started working at Xerox Corporation in Stamford. During my 10 years there, I was fortunate to be selected for their Management Awareness Program, Worldwide Employee Obsession Symposium and received their National All-Star Award twice. Those professional training programs gave me the foundation, confidence, and work ethic I have today. I am forever grateful to my Xerox family, the managers who encouraged me, and to Xerox for enabling me to go to college. Working there was a life-changing experience.
Favorite childhood memory?
When I was in elementary school, my sister and I walked to school. We lived behind a movie theatre and across the street from a large shopping center. We loved our daily walk, regardless of the weather. One snowy day, we walked through the shopping center’s parking lot and scrambled to the top of several giant snow piles. My boot got stuck and disappeared into the snow, but I continued to walk to school with only one shoe. When I arrived, the school gave me a shoe from lost-and-found to wear. Later, when the snow melted, I found my boot!
Favorite Yale memory so far?
So far, my favorite Yale memory is being mentored by Tim Bertaccini, Business Manager Yale Finance, Research Administration, Procurement, and Auditing. Soon after I arrived at Yale, my manager mentioned working with a mentor and suggested Tim. It’s been great. Tim has given me many essential tips on being an effective business manager at Yale, provided me with contacts for all manner of needs, and most importantly, taken me on his famous campus tours. For all that, I’m forever grateful.
Did you and your family do anything when COVID restrictions were lifted?
We lost my dad to COVID-19 in February of this year. Because of this, we did not do much when the restrictions were lifted. Other than thanking and hugging many people who helped us during this difficult time.
Do you have any advice to others looking to come to Yale or further their Yale career?
Learn your Yale acronyms; explore the Yale campus and community on foot; find a mentor, and then someday to pay it forward; volunteer for a unique assignment or project that stretches your comfort zone. Doing these things can help build your network of Yale contacts.
Tell us a few fun facts about yourself that others might not know.
I’m passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community. For over a decade, I taught religious education at St. Rose of Lima in Newtown.
Since 2004, I have volunteered at the Merryhill Child Care Center, also in Newtown, holding numerous positions, including President and most recently Treasurer of the Board. It is a non-profit childcare center that my son attended and where my daughter worked. It’s small, feels like home, and we are so proud and grateful that we made it through this past year. To learn more, see our newly launched website.