At Armoire, we’re casting a spotlight on some of the notable, powerful boss ladies in our community, and what being a boss lady means to them. Read on to learn all about Dry Soda Co. founder and Armoire member Sharelle Klaus.
I grew up in Bend Oregon and moved to Seattle for college. Then spent 10 years in Washington DC before coming back and settling in Seattle. In DC I worked as a consultant for public/private partnerships. In Seattle, I worked as the president of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs prior to founding my current company DRY Soda Co.
I I am a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 1. I founded my company DRY Soda Co. 14 years ago and I serve as the CEO. I am also on the board of the Aliados Foundation that helps build resilient community business based on biodiversity in the Andes and the Amazon. Traveling anywhere and everywhere is my favorite activity and I recently bought an Airstream camper so that I can do more exploring.
I see myself doing more non-profit work with the Aliados foundation and continuing my efforts for gender equality in the workplace. And of course lots and lots of travel.
How she’s redefining women who work:
I don’t think I am redefining women at work, I think I am just being very honest and transparent about what it means to be a leader and a woman. My company currently has an all female executive team and this experience has transformed the way I lead.
Her biggest challenge:
Being a CEO/Founder can often feel lonely and overwhelming – there are always a million decisions to be made and in the end you can feel solely responsible for the outcomes of those decisions. But the inspirational part of that is the work with the DRY team. I have an incredible team that brings me the very best information and best recommendations and it has made the decision making process far easier and more satisfying. Having a team that is far more brilliant than yourself is the greatest thing ever!
Her secret to a work/life balance:
Being present. I love being with my kids more than anything, so when I am blessed to have time with them, I feel that I am totally present. I also have always tried to include my children into my work and especially my work trips, traveling with each of them individually and in different pairs. I have such great memories of that. And dinner time is sacred to me. Getting everyone around the table in the evening feels me up to such an incredible degree.
What she wishes she knew 5 years ago:
I am turning 50 next month and I have found in the last year that I have really learned to be far more present and relaxed. I would describe myself as “tightly wound” in the first 13 years of DRY – feeling like I was responsible for everything. Now I have learned to “let go” and trust my team. This has allowed me to truly enjoy my work and frees up mental space to focus more on the vision for our company.
My best piece of advice is to network and to reach out to any and every cool woman you can find and every guy that knows about your industry. In my opinion, the biggest challenge women face in the work place is access. So dang it we need to make our own access and we do that through building our networks. We must be unapologetic about demanding access.
Why she signed up for Armoire:
Because Ambika told me to. And because she was always dressed so cool every time I saw her, so I wanted to dress like her!
Her favorite part:
I have absolutely loved the fun of having new outfits every few weeks. It is a real way to treat myself and looking my best helps me feel more comfortable and confident when I am out and about.
Boss Lady Go-To:
I love all of the cool jackets. I think I have rented like 20 of those. They always make me look way cooler than I actually am.