Suruchi Srikanth is a member of The Broad Residency's 2018-2020 cohort and serves as Chief of Staff at Green Dot Public Schools.
I wake up to my alarm, go for a morning run, walk my energetic little dog, throw together a salad for lunch, and get dressed for work.
I hop in the car and join the daily 15 min huddle attended by all Chiefs and VPs where we do one minute whip-arounds to provide an update on one key metric, our priority for the day, highlights of our schedule for the day and an update on the prior day’s priority. We answer quick questions at the end. Our daily huddles are a great way for us to keep each other accountable for priorities, share information and avoid transactional email traffic.
I stay on the line for a few extra minutes with our CEO to get on the same page around materials I am supporting for an upcoming Board meeting.
I arrive at work and reflect on the previous day, making sure I’ve captured next steps from all of my meetings in my to do list. I also catch up on email and am excited to start the day with an almost clean inbox.
I setup the room for our weekly Leadership Team meeting, making sure Skype is setup and the video is working for our remote participants, pulling up materials for the meeting, and putting up flip charts we will use as part of one of our discussions.
I help facilitate our Leadership Team meeting. This week, the CEO and I have setup a conversation in which we prioritize investments we will make in our FY 20 budget.
I facilitate our weekly Strategic Planning team meeting. Per our weekly tradition, we start by sharing highs and lows from the past week. We also each share a few shout-outs we’ve written to recognize each other on the team and a few people outside of our team for their contributions over the past month. One of our team members then shares some research she has been doing around how we should think about expansion opportunities and we jointly problem solve a path forward. We wrap up by sharing highlights from education related news articles we’ve read recently to keep ourselves up-to-date.
I don’t always make time to step away for lunch, but today, I take a break to have lunch downstairs with one of our Area Superintendents. We worked closely on a project several years ago. I really value her expertise and mentorship, so we have recurring lunch catch up time set aside once a month.
After coming back from lunch, I lead a quick project management training for the Finance & Accounting team during their monthly team meeting. Each team is launching a process to codify and identify efficiencies in their work, and the CFO wanted to me share some work-planning tips and templates to help them kick off the process.
I catch up on emails for about 30 minutes. I then have some concentrated work time that I use to pull data and build some slides for an upcoming Steering Committee meeting we have with a couple of board members, members of the leadership team, and a few consultants who are supporting us in finding a pathway to financial sustainability for our schools in Washington.
To wrap up my day and week, I have a “Meeting with Myself”, a concept I learned from a Together Leader training we did as a Home Office about two years ago. I quickly skim my calendar and my notes from the past week to make sure I’ve captured all next steps in my to-do list. I then pull out my priorities for the next two weeks from my to-do list. Finally, I plan my next two weeks, looking forward in my calendar at the meetings I have coming up, blocking off work time to prepare for them, and filling in remaining time with work blocks to complete my priority to-do list items. My Meeting with Myself helps me feel ready to put work aside for the weekend and enables me to dive straight back into the work when I’m back in the office on Monday morning.
I jump in my car to head home. I call my best friend and chat with her about her week, which makes the commute go by much more quickly.
I come home to my dog who is dancing with excitement to see me as always. We take a long walk around the neighborhood.
I go over to my friends’ apartment. We cook some dinner together and play a few board games.
I head back home, take my dog for one more walk, and get ready for bed.
I wake up to my alarm as usual. I’ve been participating in the “Whole Life Challenge” with my Residency cohort, a competition that tracks healthy habits around food, fitness, sleep, and others over six weeks. The challenge has been motivating me to work out every morning.
This morning, I use the Nike Training Club app to do a 30 minute strength and endurance work out. After showering, I grab one of the salads I made for the week on Sunday night.
I hop in the car and dial into my team’s daily 15 min huddle. I give my one–minute update that includes my key metric, my priority for the day, and highlights of my schedule.
After dropping my dog off at daycare, I arrive at work and check emails that came through over the weekend.
Our work in finding a financially sustainable pathway for our Green Dot Washington schools has resulted in the difficult decision to close two schools and merge the remaining two. I have been project managing this significant transition, which includes drafting a proposal to a foundation to fund the costs of the transition. In preparation for a meeting later in the day, I review feedback we received from several stakeholders and incorporate it into the proposal.
I have my weekly check-in with my direct report. We reference a document she completes each week with updates on her projects as well as outstanding questions that we tackle together.
I facilitate a Weekly Transition Team check-in with school leaders and Director of Finance & Operations at Green Dot Washington. I started this to streamline the many moving pieces required for school closures, monitor progress, and problem solve. We walk through each major category of our school closure work plan, sharing what was completed in the prior week and discussing next steps.
Our Strategic Planning team is helping Green Dot California articulate strategic plans for two of its major priorities: Diversity/Equity/Inclusion, and College Persistence. I am taking the lead on College Persistence and use this time to debrief with the Senior Director of Counseling & College Persistence on a goals and strategies discussion we had the previous week with the CEO of Green Dot California.
I grab my salad from the fridge and eat it at my desk while l check my emails from the morning and organize the next steps I’ve accumulated throughout the day
I meet with members of our Development team. We have been collaborating to learn about the strategic plans and priorities for each Green Dot region. We debrief the Strategic Planning meetings we had over the last few weeks and align on next steps.
I join a quick call with the Program Officers supporting Green Dot at the foundation from whom we are requesting additional funds for the Washington transition. They have reviewed our proposal in detail and provide additional feedback.
I meet with the College Persistence Data Analyst and the Director of Data Science & Analytics to discuss tackling feedback around persistence goals from our meeting last week with the Green Dot California CEO. We work through the thoughtful process they used to build their current data strategy along with limitations of this data. We brainstorm a plan to explain the current approach.
For the last several years, Green Dot has been running an internship program for some of our high school students to work in different Home Office departments over the summer. I have been mentoring one of the students who interned with us last summer and she’s scheduled to visit me at the office this afternoon. We walk over to the Expanded Learning team – the team my mentee interned with last summer. Everyone is so excited to see her and to hear about everything she has accomplished in the past year.
The new class of interns is already in the office, and my mentee gets to meet them and share her experiences from last summer.
My mentee and I walk down the street to a Mediterranean restaurant where she tries falafel for the first time. She loves it! She tells me all about her new summer internship and the academic year internship opportunity she is interested in applying for. We write an email to the program coordinator together to find out next steps for her application.
After my mentee’s mom picks her up, I head to daycare to pick up my dog. He is excited to see me as always but falls asleep right away in the front seat after a long day of playtime.
I assemble another salad for dinner and check a few things off my personal to-do list.
I start to wind down for the day, stretching for 10 minutes (motivated by the Whole Life Challenge), taking my dog for one more walk, and watching an episode of a show on Netflix.
Before heading to bed, I quickly open the Whole Life Challenge app to check off the items I succeeded at today. I lost a few points in the nutrition section, thanks to Mediterranean lunch, but did well on all other categories!
I wake up to my alarm as usual. I go for a quick jog and get ready for work.
I’m taking the train to work today, so I walk to the station as I dial-in to our daily 15 min huddle. I give my one-minute update, which includes my key metric, my priority for the day and highlights of my schedule.
I’ve jotted down a few questions that arose during meetings the previous day, so I stay on the line for a few minutes to tackle them with our COO.
I catch up on a bit of personal and work email on the train before reading a couple of chapters of “Switch”, a change management book that is part of my Broad pre-work for Session 6.
I arrive at work and call our CFO. We are exploring what it would take to expand and are meeting to discuss how we would need to staff Finance & Accounting to support a hypothetical new region.
I catch up on email.
I join the bi-weekly check-in led by my direct report, our CFO and Controller related to strengthening accounting practices in order to mitigate risks and improve efficiency. We share our progress on assigned next steps from the prior week and problem-solve a few challenges.
We get deep into problem solving, so our meeting runs over about 15 minutes.
I catch up on email again and tackle a few tactical items on my to-do list.
Every six weeks, we hold time for “Lunch Explorations”, where several of us from across our Home Office go out to lunch together and try a new restaurant in downtown LA. This time, four of us are able to join and we try a new barbecue spot.
After walking back from lunch, I call the Executive Director of our Washington region for our weekly check-in. We discuss some next steps related to an outstanding grant application.
I setup the room for our Green Dot National Board of Directors call.
I take roll before we start the Board meeting and keep track of minutes along the way. I participate in some of the conversations around our regional updates, our financials and expansion plans. I make sure to note items we need to follow-up on.
After the Board meeting, I debrief quickly with our leadership team and then make sure I’ve captured all my next steps from the day.
I am a big fan of LAFC, the new MLS soccer team in LA. I have season tickets with two friends. Today, the team is playing in the Western Conference Finals, so I take the train to the stadium to watch.
I grab dinner and drinks with my friends at the food hall near the stadium before kick-off. The game is a lot of fun, but sadly, we lose 1-3.
My friend drives me back home.
I take my dog out for a walk and talk on the phone with my fiance, who currently lives in Amsterdam and has stayed up to watch the disappointing LAFC game.
I head to bed.