November 9th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Our Warmest Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we come together to express gratitude for all of the wonderful things in our lives. From achievements to favorite memories, it’s time to celebrate the successes throughout the year. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Sterling asked our team to share what they are most thankful for this year. From the lighthearted to the more thoughtful, below is some of the responses we received:

 “I am thankful for the trust and confidence our clients place in Sterling and because of the hard work, intellect and tenacity of our employees – the underpinning of this trust and confidence – I am thankful for every Sterling employee.”

Clare Hart, CEO

“I am beyond grateful for my family. They keep me going every day to do what I do at Sterling but also are a strong reminder to slow down.  To cherish the moments, especially with my kids that are growing way too fast. ‘Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.’ – Michael J. Fox.”

Amanda Schaefer, Director, Account Management

“This year I am grateful for my family both at home and here at Sterling. Recently had surgery and am still in rehab but Sterling’s flexibility and accommodations have allowed me to remain a productive member of my team. This does wonders for the soul! My teammates have kept me going with words of encouragement and by just being awesome. Last (but certainly not least) I’m thankful for my amazing husband for taking on additional responsibilities and being my own personal cheering squad.”

Maria Bowen, Senior Partner Account Manager, Strategic Alliances and Channel Partners

“I am thankful for so many things in my life as there are many in this world that are less fortunate than me. We take too many things for granted and need to stop and take a look at what we have in our lives as it can be gone without warning. I am thankful for a roof over my family’s head, shoes on our feet, food in the fridge, our health and most importantly, the love we share. I am also thankful for having a job with wonderful co-workers.”

Tammy Kotlarek, Partner Account Manager, Strategic Alliances and Channel Partners

“I am thankful for so many things in life. However, these are my favorite:

  • My child, my mini-me and getting to be here Mom
  • My family which is huge, loving and brutally honest
  • My job and the opportunity to work with the Philanthropic arm of the organization to positively impact lives
  • My friends who keep me smiling
  • My puppy/fur toddler who makes every day interesting”

Marsha Louis, Human Resources Operations Program Manager

“I am thankful for family, especially my two young children who keep me grounded and serve as a reminder of what I’m working for.

I’m grateful for the supportive people in my life, both personally and professionally, and those who allow me to be expressive and being able to share ideas without judgment. Life has many waves, but being able to navigate them is what makes you strong, so I appreciate those not so good times as well. I’m blessed.”

Sandrea Thomas, Benefits and Wellness Manager

“There are so many things I am thankful for so here’s a short list to share:

  • My colleagues – I would not be here for so many years if I truly did not enjoy the people I work with each day across the globe.  Sterling has the best employees!
  • My husband Jeff for being such a loving and supportive husband over the past 22 + years.
  • My daughters, Ashley and Jenna, watching them grow into the young ladies they are today has been an amazing journey.  They are both dedicated and passionate about the right things – school, their future and of course sports!
  • My mom for being the best mother in the world and for teaching me the art of baking.
  • Sitting outside on nice weekend mornings and drinking a cup of tea with Jeff and our dog Cooper.
  • Daylight savings time because I love the fact that it stays light out until 9 pm in the summer.
  • Seasons – watching the leaves and flowers bud in the spring, thunderstorms roll in, the hot summer temperatures and the cool, crisp, fall air with the leaves changing colors – all amazing. I could do without the snow and ice though – brrrrr.
  • Laughter! Laughter makes everything better!”

Sheryl Toth, Assistant Vice President, M&A Integrations

“I feel blessed beyond words and am thankful every day for more than I could ever mention. If I had to name a few though, I am thankful for my loving and supportive husband who is also my best friend, my two amazing children who never cease to amaze me and make me proud every day, my daughter-in-law who has become more like a second daughter and my beautiful granddaughter and grandson to be (due in March 2018) who remind me to appreciate the little things and to live every day to the fullest. For when I cannot be with my family, I am thankful to have such amazing coworkers to keep me motivated and make me laugh every day!”

Joanne Bing, Special Operations

“Here is a list of a few things I am thankful for this year:

  • The friends I have made through work. Talking with them puts a smile on my face no matter how my day is going.
  • The X-Files and how it is still available on Netflix
  • My bunny, Mabel
  • Spotify Premium
  • Diet Coke from McDonald’s
  • Living in Cleveland (the greatest, most passionate sports city in the US)”

Lauren Leonard,Operations Supervisor

“While I am thankful for so many things in my life, here are a few of the top things that make smile:

  • Good health
  • An amazing support system being my family, friends and colleagues
  • The ability to travel and explore new places
  • Any type of cake. I don’t discriminate
  • A really good workout”

Sara Balaban, Senior Recruiter

“I am thankful for so many things in my life. Here are a few that I think about most:


  • Life itself and having good health
  • My husband of 31 years – he is loving, funny, smart and always good to me.
  • My three children – each one fills my heart in different ways. The love I feel for them is incredible.
  • My dog Pickles – he has brought me peace and contentment. I am so thankful for choosing to get him.  No matter how my day is going, Pickles makes me smile.
  • My boss – She always listens carefully to what I have to say. She is my therapy. I enjoy our friendship.
  • My sister and her family – love our game nights filled with laughter
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to travel.  If all goes well, Alaska and Africa will be next on my list!
  • Early mornings filled with silence and my own thoughts with a good cup of coffee
  • Long hikes in the woods”

Cathy Paige, Supervisor

“I am thankful for being able to get up every morning and have a job to come to that helps support my family. I am thankful for my husband and kids that I come home to every day. No matter what happens in life, the family is always the most important. I am so thankful that after almost losing her, that at 90 years old, we still have my grandmother with us. She is the matriarch of our family and brings us all together. I am so thankful for that. I am thankful for our four-legged family members. Even with muddy paw prints and hair all over the house, our family would not be the same without them.  They show us unconditional love and with that, I am thankful.”

Shannon Lewis, Verifications Specialist

“I’m thankful and grateful for the team that I get to work with daily. Not only are we co-workers but to us, we feel like family.  We know how to help each other whether it is work related or involves life outside of work.  Our days are filled with laughter and determination to give the best.”

Christina Armour, Order Creation Team Lead

“This year, as always, I am thankful for my family and friends, but I am also thankful the opportunity to work with a company who appreciates it’s employees and the AWESOME group of people I work with.”

Shelly Stash-Forster, Order Creation Specialist

“I’m thankful for the love of my friends and family, especially my husband and two toddlers who keep me on my toes. I’m grateful for a new job, a new challenge and colleagues who are a pleasure to work with each day.”

Johanna Ameche, Marketing Manager

“What am I thankful for? It should be an easy question to answer, but mentioning everything that I can think of would take LOTS of time. So, I’ll just summarize by saying that with my many blessed years of living, I have learned to be thankful for the good, because it has brought me so much joy and for the not so good, because it has made me so much stronger. I have learned to cherish every second of every minute with my family and friends and to enjoy every minute of every hour because time just passes far too quickly and we can never get any of it back. So, I guess I’m thankful for everything.”

Brenda Patacca, Onshore – Operations Leader

“This may have been one of my best years yet. I’m thankful for the big things like finally going to Europe, Colombia qualifying for the world cup and seeing a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE for the first time! More so, however, for the little things that happen more frequently and brighten a regular day: like hearing a good song at too loud a volume, finding a great pair of shoes that don’t hurt to walk in for hours, sitting near new friends from 9-6 every day, a beautiful sunset and of course, Villanova basketball.”

Cindy Villamil, Manager, Data Strategy

“In this day and age, many find it difficult to cope with the tensions that reach from one side of the globe to the next, and often we find it difficult to overcome our differences between individuals and cultures. In the end, we are not so unlike after all, despite what some might believe. Each of us values the pursuit of happiness, the freedom to choose, the loved ones we hold dear in our hearts and the majesty and wonder this world and our vast universe has to offer.

I am truly thankful for every single person in this world who fights for a future where together, we can experience the incredible beauty and limitless variation our world has to offer and the seemingly infinite expanse of discovery and inspiration that lies beyond our solar system. We may hail from different corners of the earth, and we may hold different philosophies regarding humanity, the universe, and our place within it, but one thing is certain: as our unique little blue world flies through the cosmos at great speeds in an endless dance with our neighboring worlds, our spaceship, and ark of life, we move together as one living, breathing planet. Earth is our spaceship and together, we share this unique experience.

Our diversity can be our strength, and I am endlessly grateful to every person who sees the value in what makes us different and finds common ground in this grand adventure we call life.


Amanda Ivans, Bellevue & Bothell Office Supervisor

“I am thankful for:

  • My husband and both of our supportive families
  • My sweet dog, Huxley, who makes me smile every day
  • Travel- whether it’s a long weekend getaway or visiting a new part of the world I’m always game to adventure
  • A large cup of coffee
  • Puppy videos
  • Good hair days
  • Long weekends getting away with my college best friends
  • Vino, Vino, Vino
  • New pajamas

And of course, my amazing coworkers who make coming to work every day so enjoyable.”

Madison Morris, National Sales Executive

“This year I am thankful for exploring new places, learning, laughing and spending time with family, friends and co-workers. I am thankful for being able to attend great concerts and sporting events for my favorite bands and teams.”

Debbie Lamb, Junior Marketing Communications Manager

“I’m thankful for the people in my life – Family, friends, colleagues. Life can be stressful, but it becomes so much easier (and fun!) when you have a group of people, personally and professionally, on your side.”

Jennifer Tate, Marketing Manager

“This has been the most transformative year in my life, and I am grateful to my family, friends and co-workers that have helped me through it. When I made my move from New York to California last year for a new opportunity within Sterling, there was fear of the unknown. Could I succeed in a new location that’s 3,000 miles away from home? How will I mesh with my new team?

After having a full year under my belt, I can truly say that I’m thankful to come into work each day and surround myself with people I truly enjoy working with and the friendships I have made during this transition.”

Joseph Morris, Director, Sales

“I am thankful for the opportunity to be married to my best friend and have two kids that I love to the Death Star and back.  I am grateful for the ability to teach them new things each and every day, to show them right from wrong and watch them grow into amazing young kids.  I am thankful to work at a company that allows me to be who I am while encouraging growth while living the lifestyle we couldn’t get in California.  I am happy for slow days where you can sit and watch your kids chase lightning bugs while drinking a beer with your neighbors and burning a fallen tree from one of your yards. I am thankful for Heartland moral values, love thy neighbor attitudes, and the sense of community you get living here.”

Michael Cheek, Tier II User Support Technician, North America

“I am thankful for my wife and son, my family, my pets, my friends and that law school is coming to an end within a year!”

Chris Riggi, Verifications Specialist

“I am thankful for many things but here are a few of them. I am thankful for my family and their love and support. I am also grateful for the friends that I have in my life. Without them, life would be boring. Finally, I think I am just thankful for life itself and all the opportunities it gives us.”

Alexander Izsak, Verifications Specialist

“I am thankful for:

  • My friends, both work and outside. Without them, life would be infinitely less entertaining.
  • Fall leaves and weather. Fall is my favorite season, especially on those proverbial dark and stormy nights.
  • GPS software, because without it I would be eternally lost.
  • Zentangle, crochet, and knitting for allowing me a vent for my creativity and my fidgets.”

Theresa Thompson,Criminal Research Specialist

“I am most thankful for the health and happiness of my close-knit family, including two amazing children, a devoted husband, unbelievably supportive parents and brothers who will always protect me as their little sister. But let’s face it, we spend more time with our work family than our real families. Sterling has provided me with a tremendous opportunity to grow professionally alongside dedicated, passionate and collaborative colleagues. I’m thankful to be part of this incredible team of professionals and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Laura Gingiss, Vice President, Corporate Communications

“This year has been one of the most competitive, challenging, exciting years in many. I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside amazing colleagues across the US. I am thankful for team members, and extended team members across departmental boundaries who have supported me throughout the year and over my career. I am thankful for having the best two sons any father could ever ask for. They have no idea how much they drive me to be the best I can be both professionally and personally.

Some special thanks:

  • Sales professionals across the company – Thank you for everything that you do. Yes, your job is challenging but very rewarding with Sterling behind you. Keep up the great work everywhere.
  • My Mother – the glue that keeps our family tight
  • The Cleveland Indians – For the best entertainment available, per dollar, in professional sports
  • The Ohio State Buckeyes – for being the most electric experience in football bar none and for complete domination over that school up North.
  • Seafood”

Anthony M. Gildone, AVP Sales, US East

“One of the biggest things I’m thankful for this year is my family. I’ve always known how important family is but as I get older, I really realize how much they mean to me and how important our relationships are. It’s been great making new memories with them and I’m excited for what’s to come! I am also thankful for the new people and experiences that have been brought into my life in this past year.”

Colleen Rimmel, D&HS Specialist

“I am taking this opportunity to say what I am thankful for this year. Though I cherish and am very grateful for the people and things I have in my life, here are the most important things I am thankful for:

  • My incredible husband, who will do anything in his power to make sure I am happy
  • My two beautiful and amazing kids. They keep me going every single day and keep a smile on face.
  • My dogs Aziza and Buddy
  • My family (grandparents, siblings, my many nieces and nephews, my in-laws) but my mother and father especially. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
  • My amazing friends who have by my side for YEARS!!! I couldn’t imagine them not in my life.
  • Having a roof over our heads and food on the table
  • My work family here at Sterling”

Bianca Lopez, Verification Specialist

“There are many things to be thankful for at this time of year. Of course, I am thankful to be in good health and thankful for my family. On a personal level, I am thankful to have one of my best friends. They recently moved out of state, and we don’t get to see each other as often. This year, we have planned to go out to California for the holiday, which I am hoping will be fun as I have never been.”

Ricardo Roberson, Verifications Specialist

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