A recent interview between Rebecca Schankerman, Ambra Health Marketing Associate, and Sarah Chang, Ambra Health Senior Director of People Operations. This interview includes details about what it was like for Sarah to spearhead the People Operations team, what she finds most satisfying and challenging about her job, and what she believes is essential to be successful at Ambra.
Rebecca: You are the first hire at Ambra Health under the Human Resources umbrella. What has it been like to spearhead the People Operations team?
Sarah: It has been an absolute pleasure so far at Ambra. Ambra is a highly competent team with incredible leaders who care about their people. That alone allows for truly effective program development as we lead our people in
to new phases of our growth. I’ve felt particularly welcomed by both staff and leaders who value People Operations and fully support our function. Everyone wants to continue to make this an amazing place to work and having such a supportive team allows me to effect positive change.
Rebecca: What do you do on a day-to-day basis? What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job?
Sarah: My role is very diverse, from developing new training for our management team every month to managing employee relations issues with managers and employees to developing new processes and protocols across multiple functions simultaneously. I’m certainly never bored! What people begin to realize is that People Operations touches every aspect of the organization, from our onboarding and offboarding procedures, expense policies, our COVID protocols, performance management processes, compensation and benefit decisions, training and development, employee engagement, talent acquisition, the list goes on and on. Ultimately, if it has to do with our people, it to some degree touches our function. That’s also why I love my work – it’s diverse but has personal meaning to every person I meet.
Rebecca: What part of your job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?
Sarah: I love training and coaching the most – whether it’s leadership development in a broad forum or one on one with managers or employees alike, I like growing with people on a consistent basis. And I use the word “with” intentionally because as they learn and grow, so do I. The most challenging part of my job is helping people process external changes that we have little to no control over. Whether it is market impact or industry shifts, negative challenges are hard for anyone to process but I try to be as transparent as possible during those times. I think people deserve respect, authenticity and genuine understanding in those hard moments.
Rebecca: Where do you expect the People Operations team at Ambra to go in the next 2-5 years?
Sarah: I expect our team to grow over time as the company continues to expand. Right now, we’re in the process of scaling that growth through policy development, process clarity, and team infrastructure. That foundation will allow Ambra to grow more quickly over time. I expect both our talent acquisition teams and our HR generalist functions to expand accordingly.
Rebecca: What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success at Ambra Health?
Sarah: I think first and foremost, we value good people. People that have a high EQ and care about those around them is important to each member of our team as well as our clients. Additionally, we value people who are self-motivated, those who take ownership in their work and believe in excellence are necessary to be successful here at Ambra. We believe in allowing great people the empowerment and autonomy to do great work, but we can only do so when we have bright, capable people who are willing to do some thinking for themselves.
Rebecca: How do you manage making personal connections at Ambra while working in a remote environment? (For reference, Sarah is located in Las Vegas, NV!)
Sarah: As much as possible, I like to start my zoom calls with a little bit of personal rapport building – catching up on what someone did over the weekend, their holiday plans, or what they like to do for fun is a big part of getting to know someone. Working with people is rooted in strong relationships – it’s part of getting to know the whole person. I don’t feel like I can do my job to the fullest extent without really knowing our people so it’s a high priority for me.
Rebecca: Although you have only been at Ambra for a few months, are there any final words you would like to add about working for Ambra Health?
Sarah: I feel extremely blessed to be here. I come to work excited and ready every morning because I have great people I like working with, work I find meaningful, and I feel valued doing what I do. My goal each day is for our people to feel the same.
Sarah is a seasoned People Operations leader with over 15 years in Human Resources across multiple industries including healthcare, public accounting, aerospace and defense, film, marketing, data privacy, and consumer products in startup and global enterprise organizations. She currently leads the HR function as Ambra’s Senior Director of People Operations. Sarah has a proven generalist background with a particular emphasis in human capital management strategy, compensation, employee relations, leadership development, and talent acquisition.