The Corporate Climb through Service: Salena Scardina Shares Her Wisdom and Lessons Learnt

It is with extreme pleasure to share guest blogger and life coach, Molly Roman’s, conversation with Salena Scardina, Customer Experience Consultant and former Senior VP of Customer Experience at Sweetwater Sound. Salena’s vast professional experience and dedication to personal growth and community development has provided her with a wealth of knowledge which she is always willing to share for the greater good.

The Interview:

Q: Tell the The Greater Good Community a little bit about yourself. How did you get started?

A: It’s an interesting story because in my life I tend to go forward toward what I want to achieve without thinking about how hard the journey will be. In one way it’s a good thing because if I knew how hard some targets would be to achieve, I may not have set them as a goal. I was the first in my family to go to college and sometimes I selected male dominated industries. I was trailblazing without realizing it, like taking programming classes in the late 80’s. There were literally such few women in this field. I think what is important is that I always said yes to opportunities even if I didn’t feel fully prepared or 100% qualified. I set the bar high and tried to achieve it. I took and continue to take risks.

Q: What is your guiding light to all of your yes’s, to where you are today?

A: Intuition is part of it but having a mindset of service to others, a sense of integrity and a strong work ethic is the foundation throughout all of the steps I take. In everything I do, I ask myself what the other person or the company needs, how can I make their life better, what can we do to improve for our customers. Even in this call, I thought, I wonder what your perspective is and needs may be as the interviewer. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. Everyone has a story; I work to understand their story and I try not to be quick to judge.

Q: Tell me about a time you hit a glass ceiling or have felt stuck in your career. How did you move through that period?

A: Oh I’ve had those. I used to always look for reasons why the situation was to blame for my current feeling of “stuck.” But I eventually learned that it wasn’t just the environment around me, it was within me. These were moments that I delved further into reading and learning more about myself, growing and being stronger than the situation. I realized that I would look at my environment to provide my satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. When I changed my perspective and looked more within myself for satisfaction, I personally evolved and found peace without everything around me needing to be perfect. And sometimes, doing something new and finding a different job is good too, but leave for the right reasons. It’s good to be uncomfortable and learn something brand new.

Q: What belief did you change that you feel was integral in your development as a leader?

A: The belief that “I’ll be happy when…” is something I learned over the years that is detrimental. We are whole and complete now and have everything we need to be happy. I can always do my best even if I don’t love where I am at the moment. I get the opportunity to learn a ton and leave the company or a division better than where it was before I joined. You can be the best in the role you are in and grow even it’s it not your dream job or situation. That’s how doors open up – and they have. I believe we are all a student of business and life and we can use situations that we don’t love as opportunities to grow. We don’t have to wait for things to be just right to be happy. We can create purpose out of where we are today.

Q: What piece of advice do you have for others as they move through their careers, through life?

A: Lift while you climb. Always lift others up. I want to lift people along while I’m still learning, growing, and climbing.

Q: Final question. What change would you like to see in Fort Wayne?

A: Fort Wayne has a special sense of community and involvement. It’s a special town and can rival the amenities that big cities offer. But I would like to see an easier onboarding for people new to the city. I relocated to Fort Wayne over six years ago.  As others move to the city, I would love to see new residents connect to services and people faster and to feel part of the community at a quicker pace.

Meet Salena:

Salena Scardina has spent her career focused on the service to customers through innovative and differentiated experience and engagement. She is the founder of HeroCX, a customer service and experience consulting practice. Formerly she was the Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Sweetwater Sound, and was charged with identifying opportunities at all levels in the organization to deliver a world-class experience with raving fans.

Prior to Sweetwater, Salena held multiple positions at McDonald’s Corporation over her 15 years of service under the Golden Arches including her last position as Director of U.S. Customer Experience & Insights.  She also held similar roles at the handbag and accessory company, Vera Bradley.  Salena believes in a philosophy of “lift while you climb,” that as you achieve your career aspirations, you should help others along the way achieve theirs.

Salena earned her Bachelors degree of Liberal Arts from Monmouth College and holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Benedictine University.  She currently serves on the national board of SOCAP, The Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals as well as the local boards of the Greater Fort Wayne YMCA and Northeast Indiana Public Radio.  She calls Fort Wayne, Indiana her home with her husband John, and two children, Albert and Katie.

To learn more about guest blogger, Molly Roman, check out her site: