Get to Know Noodle’s Director of Operations, Learning Sushyla Perez
I think it’s always important to learn from others both culturally and professionally—it only makes us stronger and more unified.
Sushyla Perez is Noodle’s Director of Operations, Learning. Sushyla was born in Germany to Puerto Rican parents and spent most of her time growing up in Colorado Springs, CO. She received her BA in Education with an emphasis in Secondary Business Education from New Mexico State University and received her MA in Higher Education from Abilene Christian University. She recalls education being a high priority in her family and her involvement in her sorority pushed her out of her comfort zone—-which ultimately gave her a sense of community and belonging. Her time in college also inspired her to want to make a difference in the world, especially for students who looked like and came from the same communities as her. Now at Noodle, she works to support her team’s needs by providing them resources to ensure success, deliver quality work, and create a culture that allows for positivity, creativity, and collaboration.
What elements or traits does a great leader exhibit?
A good leader, in my opinion, exhibits the following traits: inspirational, communicative, supportive, collaborative, and genuine interest in their team. In addition to all those traits, a leader is one that models what good work looks like and has high expectations while knowing the strengths of their team.
When you think of great leadership, who comes to mind? Why?
I am not sure I can name just one, I’ve been fortunate to work with wonderful leaders and those that I really admire. What made them different was their trust in me and my strengths to do the job and the constant opportunities for growth and discussions about potential. A leader who wants your success whether in their company or another is very empowering.
How has your personal leadership style evolved?
Being able to work with a wide array of people has allowed me to reflect and think about how I can implement the qualities I value in them into my own leadership style. I used to be very shy and quiet, but always knew that I had great qualities to offer a company. I really work on being an active listener, centering relationship building, being approachable, and leaning into difficult conversations. Most importantly, I have to remind myself to breathe and that I have to model the behavior I want from others.
What is it about your background or career experiences that successfully positioned you for your role at Noodle? Describe that role.
Coming from a Latino background and being a first-generation college student, my parents were strict and wanted the best for my future. It was really important for me to make them proud and work hard. I fell in love with higher education while working on curriculum and leading a team at a different university. My current role is a mix of a lot of different requirements that is divided into different roles here at Noodle—which is more sustainable. These experiences have allowed me to expand my knowledge and learn more from others while still feeling valuable within my team.
How do you support the success of your team?
The team is successful because of the folx and personalities we have. We work really well together and have the same goal at the end of the day. To support my team, I ultimately want to make sure they have the resources they need to be successful and jump in when they need a hand. Processes are documented and standardized and I try to help where I can so we can provide quality work. I work hard on building team morale and creating a culture that allows for positivity, creativity, and collaboration.
Describe how your career has been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places or experiences.
Luckily, being from a military family I was exposed to a lot of different cultures, which I truly value. I have been lucky enough to work in places with a diverse array of people. I think it’s always important to learn from others both culturally and professionally; it only makes us stronger and more unified. You also often find connections through communication that lead to better working relationships.
What are some of the most effective tools in your leadership arsenal?
Communication and Transparency. In addition, not being afraid of getting your hands dirty and jumping in where needed.
Please tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to learn.
Something about me that most people do not know is that I love to sing! I have sung the national anthem at sporting events and even tried out for American Idol. Unfortunately, I was young and messed up my audition, but it was an experience I’ll never forget. Now I just sing in private with my son and during an occasional Karaoke night!