Ellen Helps Sheri Get the Job!
Remember a few weeks back when we ran the story of Sheri Caine, an unemployed, widowed mother of five young boys living in the Washington, D.C., metro area, who wrote to Ellen DeGeneres asking if she could help her find a job? The next thing she knew, a brand new Buick Regal was waiting at her curb to take the whole family to Los Angeles to appear on Ellen's show.
Not only did Ellen put out a call for someone to give Sheri a job, but she highlighted her skills and experience as a human resources specialist, and then gave the family all 12 Days of Christmas gifts that she hands out annually -- in addition to the car that was waiting for them back home.
A time of hope
A week later Caine was back East, the boys were back at school, and they all were braving the chilling weather but happy and full of hope. Then, interview opportunities and resume requests started pouring in.
"The show staff screened the e-mails that came through and forwarded the legitimate prospects to me," Sheri recalled. "I went on many interviews, and that process had been actually a fear of mine. This time around, however, I actually looked forward to and enjoyed going on these interviews. With all the things the show had done for me, I guess you can say they also helped me face and overcome one of my biggest fears."
Sheri went on numerous interviews and actually got several offers, but was hesitant to accept any of them. "I secretly wished IMRG (Integrated Management Resource Group) would find me a good fit and hoped they would present me with an offer as well," Sheri related. "I was instantly drawn to IMRG, a company that provides strategic and innovative management solutions through integration outsourcing for government and private sectors. The company is woman-owned, and the majority of its employees are women. They understand the needs of the working woman and the flexibility that is needed at times."
An instant connection
Sheri also made a connection with the owner, Myrna Cooks. "I have never experienced that with any employer I have ever had. Although we had never met before, it felt like I had known her all my life. She is a no-nonsense employer who is committed to excellence but who also genuinely cares for her employees."
Cooks felt the same way about Sheri. She had been working from home one day and was watching Ellen's show when she saw Sheri for the first time. "I just knew she would be a good fit for our organization," she said. She went on the show's website immediately, and wrote that she would like to talk to Sheri about an old position that had been vacated and needed to be revitalized.
They needed an employee care rep that would work with nearly 250 people, acting as a liaison between their corporate offices and management. "Within five minutes of meeting her, I knew she would click with everyone," Cooks said. "Sheri has a firmness and a genuineness that I know the employees will relate to. And I could tell that this woman really wanted to get back to work."
Sheri was unaware of the positive response, and was waiting to hear from IMRG when the producers of Ellen called her again. They told her they wanted to check in with her, and asked her if she would be willing to make another quick trip out to Los Angeles. Sheri wasn't about to turn them down -- especially in this wild winter weather.
Earlier this week, viewers saw a newly energized Sheri bounce up on stage to great Ellen, who had become both a friend and advocate. This time, however, Ellen meant to do more than merely check in. There was a phone call from Myrna of IMRG waiting on the line. Myrna publicly offered Sheri the job!
A dream come true
Sheri didn't have to think twice before accepting -- it was the call she had been waiting for, dreaming about, hoping she would get. But there was still another surprise in the works. Ellen presented Sheri with a $10,000 gift certificate to Neiman Marcus, so she could get her professional wardrobe in shape. That was beyond anything she dared hope for.
"The store is providing me with a personal shopper, something I have never had or ever dreamed possible," Sheri said. "I would like to get business attire with at least one great hand bag and a nice pair of shoes I would otherwise have never been able to afford." With the gift certificate, she can now afford several.
"'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' changed my life, which is now headed in such a positive direction," she said. "In the year and a half since losing my husband and the two since losing my job, I had faith something better was in store for me. I had no idea that Ellen would be that catalyst, but I am so happy I sat down in front of my computer that day and told my story. I know there are many people in similar situations and my hope is that they never give up. There is no way to predict which road life is going to lead us down; but we can control the attitude we take toward adversity and know there is another road up ahead."
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Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning multi-media journalist and author of Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want. Her work has been translated into 20 different languages, and she is a frequent expert guest and commentator on news and talk shows. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, on the CBS Early Show, NBC Today, CNBC, Fox Business News, Dr. Phil, Oprah.com and many other media outlets. Lisa discusses her AOL pieces each week and interviews vital guests on the web TV show, This Week in Careers. Learn more on LisaJohnsonMandell.com.