Cheryl Nash, CEO of Tegra118, began her career as an intern at the same firm which — several iterations later — she now runs.
A graduate in communications at Eastern Illinois University, Nash got an internship at Security APL, an accounting system vendor, largely because her father knew the founder. She then was hired as the fourth person at the tiny firm, which then was bought by CheckFree Corp.
That company eventually was bought by financial-services tech giant Fiserv, which recently sold a 60% stake to Motive Partners. The firm was rebranded under the name Tegra118 — and, all along this multi-decade journey, Nash has been there.
“I have actually done every single job at the company except for development and QA,” she told ThinkAdvisor.
“I’ve been in client services, on product strategy, run client services, run the product strategy. It helps me understand what people are focused on and what and how our people need to deal with clients because I’ve played that role,” Nash explained.
Today as CEO, she acknowledges “it took awhile to get here,” but then it “isn’t the same company because we’ve been through so many acquisitions.”
Motive’s purchase was the first time the company she leads has been out on its own.
“In every other acquisition, we’ve been part of a bigger organization, so we weren’t able to stand alone except at the very beginning,” Nash said. “When we got the opportunity with Motive to choose a name, a visual story and messaging, then we truly were on our own, not just as a business unit.”
The name Tegra118 starts with Tegra — meaning integrity, for their people and platform, and 118 — the number of elements that make up the universe, “which we believe stands for our platform,” she said.
The purchase means a pivot in her job. In the past, the company grew organically, and now, it will expand through acquisitions, “which is really exciting to me,” Nash explained. She’ll also focus on finding new partnerships to grow more of an “ecosystem for the business”; stay tuned for announcements.
THINKADVISOR: What top lessons have you learned in your career?
CHERYL NASH: Surround yourself with the best people. I learned early in my career that you can’t know it all and you can’t be everywhere. You need a great team to surround you that is very supportive and has different types of knowledge than you have.
Surrounding yourself with the best people with different backgrounds and knowledge is one of the key things that’s helped me. Also, I have a personal advisory board, which is made up of people outside of my company, even outside of the industry.
For example, right now, we’re working from home and trying to be really creative in how we reach out and connect with our teammates. My hopefully soon-to-be daughter-in-law, who is a kindergarten teacher and very creative, is on my personal advisory board.