October 26, 2013

Women in Business Week: Kell thrives in family business

The Express-Star


The world of technology business is often thought of as a man's world, but Sherri Kell has made a career for herself within the company her family built.

Now the optimize specialist at Standley Systems in Chickasha, Kell worked her way up in the business her grandfather, Fred Standley, began in 1934. The mother of three, who is also heavily involved in community organizations, says she has benefitted from the way her career worked out.

"I was fortunate that I got to stay home with my children when they were young," Kell said. "Once they got older and started to get out of high school, that's when I began working full time."

Standley specializes in printers, document management software, IT services and, their most recent venture, 3D printing services. In such a tech-heavy world, men have been ever-present; but, Kell says she's seeing more and more women get involved.

"A lot of people that make decisions in printers tend to be in IT," she said. "They've been put in charge, so the majority are men. But, I have been working with more women to that end."

And as the industry advanced, so has Kell's family. Her daughters, Miranda and Faith, have now moved out of the house, leaving her husband, Art, and son, Levi, in a now male-dominated home.

"Now it's all sports and history channel," Kell joked. "It was sad seeing both of my daughters leave home. If you cross the living room today, you might get tackled."

But Kell is no stranger to sports. She played basketball when she was in high school, and enjoys baseball, which her son plays for Chickasha High School. As for the Friday nights she watches him play football, there's a little more concern.

"I just pray he gets back up when the play is over," Kell said.

Along with serving on the Festival of Lights board, Kell is part of the Chickasha Quarterback Club, a group of football fans and parents that support the local team. With community involvement and her job at a family-owned business, Kell is used to togetherness wherever she goes.

"For me it has been a plus," Kell said. "Just the family business atmosphere, they really care about the employees and the customers."

And for any new mothers who are at the very beginning of the balancing act that is career and family, her big tip: don't be too prideful.

"Don'e be too hard on yourself, have a sense of humor, and ask for help," Kell said.