Sheh Bertram: Giving Others a Hand Up

Melanie Johnson

April 8, 2013

Sheh Bertram is doing her part to rewrite the book on leadership by focusing on one key chapter—employee development.

Bertram, the chief technology officer at Zions Bancorporation, hasn’t forgotten that helping employees cultivate the necessary skills to advance their careers is something that still matters in the digital age. She sees part of her job as helping employees under her watch realize their potential and then take the steps to reach that potential.

“They don’t need me to sit in front of a server and configure it for them,” Bertram says. “That’s not where I have the most value. Where I have the most value is to give them direction and to help them think about a certain problem in a certain way.”

To that end, Bertram encourages her employees to further their education so that more doors are opened to them. She also creates a work environment where it is safe to take risks. If there is a chance for an employee to move up the ladder and tackle a new role, Bertram is the first one to give them a push in the right direction.

If the new role isn’t a good fit, they are allowed to return to their previous role. If it works out, that new employee has gained valuable skills and experience.

“To me, teaching them how to think and make decisions is a lot more valuable and a better use of my time than just making the decision,” Bertram says.

Bertram’s commitment to fostering employee development has not gone unnoticed. The Iranian-born executive won the Technology Excellence Award from the Women Tech Council in 2012 in recognition of her innovation, leadership and contributions to the local business community.

Receiving this award feels important to Bertram beyond simple recognition for her hard work. She believes it lets younger women just starting in their careers look at her and see what possibilities can lie ahead for them. “I wanted to be a role model for all those who have an aspiration to reach this level and even go higher,” she says.

For Bertram, this stage in her 15-year career at Zions Bancorporation feels very rewarding on both a personal and professional level. She faced some obstacles and received some encouragement in her path to an executive position.

Even as a mother of two teenage daughters, Bertram finds the energy and enthusiasm to rise at 3 a.m. each workday because she can’t wait to get started in her job. The chance to mentor employees and help them lay the groundwork to pursue their dreams drives her to keep doing what she does best.

“I wanted to get started on my day as early as possible,” Bertram says. “I love doing what I do.”



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