International Women’s Day celebrates the tremendous strides women have made and continue to make for equality in the world. Today we honor one of our hardest working team members, Sara Check, for her extraordinary contributions to our business and the example she sets for women in the workforce.
Check grew up on a military academy campus in West Point, New York until the age of ten. With fierce independence, she always insisted on dressing herself and asserting her maturity at events her parents hosted at their home on the academy grounds. Check was never seen at the kids table. Being an only child, she was around more adults than children and preferred to engage with grown-ups rather than kids her own age. After her father’s passing, her and her mother moved to Connecticut. Through her preteen and teen years, Check worked in a barn feeding horses and cleaning stables.
Her mother raised her alone after her father’s passing which impacted how Check standardized self-sufficiency. “My mother is independent and fearless and in turn encouraged me to be self-sufficient in both my personal and professional endeavors,” said Check.
Though reluctant to attend college, Check enrolled in Duquesne University in Pittsburgh fulfilling her family’s rigid expectation on receiving a degree in higher education. Check ranked experience over the educational system and therefore held multiple internships to justify going to class. It was here she perfected the balance between school, work and social life.
After college, she worked as the events manager for the homeless children’s education fund in Pittsburgh. “That role impacted my life in a special way. I enjoyed putting together events for the disadvantaged kids, their situation was out of their control, it was nice that I could provide something that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have or experience,” said Check. In 2009 she decided to leave the nonprofit and move to New York City.
Shortly after the move, she was able to begin her full-time role here at HearthCabinet® Ventless Fireplaces. As the very first full-time employee, Check was able to grow the business with a grass-roots approach and wear a variety of hats. To this day, Check is involved in many departments: sales, marketing, fabrication etc. “No day is the same. I ebb and flow with what’s happening which is always fun and different,” said Check.
Her experience in the workforce, especially as an authority figure has been both positive and challenging. “As a women walking into a metal shop wearing professional clothing asking about where orders are in production is an advantage, they take me more seriously and it has increased efficiency in the production process. A personal challenge in being a tough woman is being called derogatory names that a man in the same position with the same approach, wouldn’t be called,” said Check.
The advice Check gives for young people and especially young women is to, “look at every task or responsibility given as an opportunity to learn, perfect and analyze and put them in your wheelhouse of can-does. Being a sponge is the most proactive way young people can launch their careers. Never say no, unless it’s illegal haha”.