(Editor’s note: This was originally posted on LinkedIn. It’s reposted here with the permission of the author. Sherry Roberts is the definitive expat. Now living in London, Roberts is a native of Connecticut with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.)
By JULIE MEYER
Let me tell you about Sherry … Sherry Roberts that is…. She’s one of my closest friends, and well, if you haven’t heard of her: 1] you should have, and 2] you will.
No spoiler alert. I’m sure that someone is going to write a book about her one day, but here’s what I find so amazing about her – I have to bullet it out:
- Hired at Mannesman (not as an expat, but fluent in German) in 1997 in her mid 20’s to launch their first internet hosting service
- Again hired in German not as an expat by Christopher Mohn of Lycos at the time and was a major contributor to Lycos Mobile which was the only profitable part of the business where she:
- Launched the pc to phone SMS service to get people using SMS at the beginning
- Launched ring tones for Lycos
- Released ads on the mobile
Three business models which, if they had rolled these forward rather than shutting down the Lycos Mobile unit (of course on the advice of silly consultants), might have saved the firm.
- Graduated from Northwestern’s business school giving the graduation address as she was president of her class – international programme between Chicago and Bonn – while being on the Board of Lycos UK
- Got hired to run Enterprise for Symbian (knowing nothing about it) with a landmark presentation stating that the way to win for Symbian was to leverage their mobile lead and go backwards to the desktop to provide a way for PC, OEM’s, mobile device manufacturers all to standardise on Symbian’s OS: ‘go backwards to bring the entire industry with you into the future’
- She managed Vodafone for Symbian and evangelised the benefits of Symbian to the top brass at Vodafone, leading them to choose it as the OS that they standardised on; she worked board room to board room
- She helped Symbian to build their ecosystem, and as she has said, ‘Symbian could have been and should have been Android.’
- The Longest Stay – she had the concept and proposition for selling luxury furniture online in 2010 after attending the École hôtelière de Lausanne, and understood years before the industry that content had to be shoppable.
Her intuition about new products and service, industry trends has been really, really right.
So, watch this space: The Longest Stay is a big one to watch in online interiors. She’s again going to be really, really right.
She has a back story and a life story that is worthy of a film, but that’s hers to tell you.
What I know is that I have the most beautiful house as a result of her doing it up for me. She is wonderful and beautiful. For me, she’s family.
Sherry is one of Europe’s major business people. She’s moved industries, and she is doing it again.
She is an extraordinary business builder, and has an unbelievable power to transform.
About the author: Julie Meyer is chairman and CEO of London-based Ariadne Capital; managing partner of the Ariadne Fund; Founder – EntrepreneurCountry Global; MBE for Services to Entrepreneurship