Positively Planful: Meet Maria Cherry

People are what makes a company great. That, and a healthy dose of humor and humility. 

At Planful, we have nearly 400 diverse and interesting people spread all over the world, all contributing to our company’s success. Their hard work, and all of our hard work together, is what makes Planful what it is, from our customer experience to our day-to-day work life, to the silly virtual conversations in our #positively-planful Slack channel. 

But who are they? Who are these hundreds of individuals who turn our company values into reality, ensure our customers’ happiness, and who sing, dance, cook, create, surf, hike, parent, and do so many other things outside of Planful?

Positively Planful is our way of inviting you inside our company to learn who we really are, especially if you’re considering a career at Planful. I’ll be interviewing members of our team and sharing a glimpse into their lives. You’ll meet the individuals whose name or face you might not regularly see on our website or at our events, but who equally contribute to our overall success. 

This week, I spoke with Maria Cherry, a senior financial analyst at Planful. She’s a multi-talented individual, with a degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and whose career transitioned from sales administration to her current role in Finance. She was also a two-time All American pole vaulter and a participant in the Olympic Trials! That’s where we started our recent conversation, so let’s learn a bit more about Maria. 

Mel: You were a pole vaulter? How do you even train for that?

Maria: Well, it originally started because I was a gymnast for seven years. When I was in high school, we did the physical fitness tests and one of the tests was for pull-ups. I did seven pull-ups and the P.E. coach said, ‘You have a lot of upper body strength. You need to try out.’ I said no, but the P.E. coach set up a meeting with the pole vaulting coach and told me I had to go. So I tried it and loved it. I stuck with it, tied for first place in the state my senior year, and then it got me into Cal. 

That’s why we make a good team: you have upper body strength and I have no upper body strength. It’s a good balance for us. I just had a mental picture of you running through Target on a Saturday and pole vaulting. If we were to see you on a weekend, now, at Target, what would you be doing?

I’m a huge window shopper. There was a time when I would go to Target and buy random anything and everything. Now I can walk around for hours and just look at things. 

My son is three. If you had to explain to him what your job at Planful was, how would you describe it?

I work with numbers to make sure people don’t spend too much money and stay within their budget. I don’t know if he would know what a budget was, but I’d explain that, too. 

Tell us about your Planful journey.

I started about five-and-a-half years ago. I was hired to work on the deal desk, but my role changed very quickly. But that was good, because I got to learn the product early on, which was nice and I made that my baby. Then, I started training other people on the product and tried to learn as much as I could about it. 

Now my job is more making sure people are sticking to their budgets. And if not, working with the business leads to make sure they’re on track and understanding the ins and outs. Basically just bridging the gap between Finance and our business partners. 

How would you describe our culture at Planful?

Our culture is very welcoming and inviting. Everyone just takes you in. If things are going on in your personal life, they’re very accommodating. Overall, just welcoming and helpful. 

You’ve been at Planful for over five years. Knowing what you know how, how would you describe the last five years to the back-then you?

I’m more comfortable with where I am now in my role. I know the Planful product really well because I work with it so much. I know the business really well. I just feel really comfortable here. It’s been so nice to see the business grow over those five years. 

What advice would you give to a job seeker considering Planful or a new hire just starting here?

Communication. And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions. When you first start, you’re kind of timid because you really don’t know people. Don’t be afraid to reach out at Planful. Everyone is very welcoming here. It’s a family environment and the people are very nice.

Well, now you know a bit more about Maria Cherry, one of our senior financial analysts! We’re so grateful to have her on our team, especially because she can vault over even the tallest budgeting challenges. Haha, get it? 🤸🏻‍♀️

Let me know what you think about this glimpse into the people at Planful. We’re Positively Planful that if our quirky, people-first attitude sounds like a good fit for you, you should check out our Careers page. No pole vaulting experience required; we need shot put and discus. 😉

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