Q people

Sarah Harwood

Sarah Harwood

VP Strategy
Q-mate since 1994-ish

How do you stay sharp?

Read. Listen to the CBC. Walk in the woods. Google. Take an art class. Play board games. Travel. And simply pay attention to the stories people tell. I work with a spectrum of clients in the “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” sectors, so “customer” sometimes feels limiting and “stakeholder” too formal. But there is nothing like stories from real people connected in some way to the endeavor to inspire new thinking. (Unless of course by sharp, you meant focused. Now that is a tough one for me!)

What is your perfect work day/work week?

Indulging my curiosity. Learning something new. On any given day, I might be visiting a cotton farmer in Oklahoma, an investment banker in Manhattan or a mom living with autism in Waterloo. I could be chatting by phone with a veterinary oncologist in Colorado, a salmon farmer in Norway or a risk manager at Bloomingdale’s. I can’t imagine having had the pleasure of these experiences in any other life.

What is the last book you read?

An autobiographical novel purchased from the author – an Irish playwright and recovering alcoholic – who was flogging it on the sidewalk of W 3rd St in Manhattan. Because everybody has a story.

What quality do you most value in your teammates?

Value most? I’d say the qualities that I don’t have. I am fortunate to work with a group of bright, talented people many of whom who see the world in a completely different way than I do. And who express themselves through a different medium or whose energy and nature is different from mine. I love when we all rally around the same challenge. And then execute, each bringing our unique perspective and talents to the solution. The common thread is always clear, but the result is often way beyond what each of us could have imagined on our own. We can’t help but imagine something better!