Employee Spotlight: Cherie Smyly
Cherie Smyly, Senior Sales Representative, recently sat down to discuss what she loves most about her job, the unique challenges she faces, and the one thing people should know about working at Baron.
How did you become interested in weather?
I was born in Kansas, so weather is in my blood. I always loved the way clouds changed shapes during severe weather and how different the weather can be around the world. Because I was raised all over the globe, I have seen several types of weather events. In Korea I saw typhoons. In Denver we had blizzards, and in Germany we had non-tornadic super cells. Kansas was full of tornadoes, and in Utah we had winter fog—the list goes on. Working for Baron has strengthened my desire to understand the weather.
How did you hear about Baron?
Bob Baron Jr. and I were already friends back in 1988. We were both working for the Alabama Space and Rocket Center at the time. In 1989, I was a manager at a Honey Baked Ham Company in Huntsville; I hired Bob Jr. to work there during his college breaks.
In 1994, I was offered a job at Baron. At the time I was a stay-at-home mom raising two small boys and living in Germany. We were about to move to the United States when Bob Jr. asked me if I would work for his father, Bob Baron Sr. He explained that he had started a new weather company; I had no idea what I was getting into. But I knew I had to take advantage of the awesome opportunity. I have loved working for Baron over the past 22 years.
How has your position evolved during your time here?
When I began in 1994, my job was to sell RadarNet—an earlier version of the Threat Net product that we have now. The main client base for the product was utility companies and radio stations.
After about seven months, I transitioned into Broadcast Sales. After 22 years in this business, I have learned a lot about weather, severe weather technology, the broadcast business and the culture of meteorologists. One of the perks of my job is continuing to learn each and every day.
What is the best part of your job?
Where do I begin? One of my favorite parts is getting to meet and work with my clients and potential clients around the country. Our relationship has grown over the years, and watching them succeed is very rewarding. Just recently, I received a note from a customer in New Orleans saying they had several tornadoes in their viewing area, and our Tornado Debris Signature and Baron Tornado Index helped their weather team nail the event. It was a proud moment—one of many.
I also love that my job isn’t the same day-to-day. I get to travel, meet incredible people and share products that I care about. Each day I wake up and know there will be a new and exciting element to the job. I love learning about new systems and understanding how the products work. Being a conduit of information for my clients so they continue to grow with our products is a main focus of mine.
Do you have a most-memorable day at Baron?
That would be the day I earned the nickname, VIPIR Girl. In 2003, before Hurricane Isabell was slated to hit Charleston, SC, I asked a client near the area if I could put a VIPIR on-air during the event. He said yes; although, we had not done something this extreme before. Hurricane Isabell began to trend north, so the location was moved to Greenville, NC. I drove to Greenville, installed the system, and ran it for 48 hours straight. After that event many employees volunteered to “sit out the storm” with stations.
What do you think is the most important thing for people to know about Baron?
The technology is truly life-saving, innovative and always growing. We are constantly working on ways to improve existing products and to create new ones. We all believe in the products that we represent. Talented, driven, dedicated, intelligent, ambitious—this describes the people who work at Baron.
Our latest release of Baron Lynx is a testament to how hard we work to get it right. It combines the best of our products into something new and extremely powerful. Its visual capabilities are unmatched, and the feedback we have been getting proves just how well the system is working.
We discussed development with dozens of broadcast professionals to help design the product—it’s the features they asked for. We noticed the importance of having the same forecast on every screen, so we created a solution for it. Social media capabilities are also a high priority; Baron Lynx helps stations get social media posts out faster and easier than ever before.
What do you do to keep growing in your role at Baron?
Constant reading and studying is very important to my position. And I always work hard to improve my communication skills. Keeping in contact with my colleagues helps, and their opinions and experience help guide me toward improvement. I do a lot of my thinking in the middle of the night, actually. I write down ideas that might help me do better at my job and help the company grow. We are really lucky at Baron to work in an environment that gives us the opportunity to improve every day.
We also go to our clients to ask them how we can be better. Our clients are our main concern.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?
House projects! I really enjoy those. There is always something new on the horizon at the Smyly home. I constantly move furniture around, paint, and put up and tear down walls. I also love to spend time with my husband, our grandchildren, and our dogs Brodie and Mini.