2021 Entrepreneurial Awards

Re-dealing the hand you’re dealt

We all enter life with the cards we are dealt, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll be holding the same hand by the end of the game. As th…

We all enter life with the cards we are dealt, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll be holding the same hand by the end of the game. As the deck of time shuffles, so do you. Predicting the future is something that’s not in most people’s wheelhouse, but fear not – some things are best left to fate. This was surely the case for one of the Lansing-based company Liquid Web’s top dogs!

Carrie Wheeler is the chief operating officer of Liquid Web, and nothing about her path to success within the company was by design. Prior to
joining the team, Wheeler worked as a consultant and later for large telecom companies including
MCI (now Verizon) and AT&T in product development and marketing. With such a repertoire at formidable organizations, it’s easy to ponder: Why such a change?

“I think if you are in an industry or a role that you are not passionate about then you will always have a ‘job,’ not a ‘career,’” said Wheeler. “It’s important to realize that jobs are OK during periods of time. We all have times in our lives where we may not have our dream job because we have to work to honor our responsibilities to our families and as citizens. The important thing is to keep the long-range view and work toward a new role or a new company or a new industry — a career is an awfully long arc of time so don’t get overly frustrated. Turn your dissatisfaction into action in small steps, each week, toward your end goal.”

Today, Wheeler’s passions are fully realized in her role at Liquid Web. Despite entering the unknown, her determination has pushed her to new horizons where she’s excited about the work being done to serve more than 32,000 customers over 130 countries. It’s Wheeler’s job to help the organization live up to its unequivocally superior host of service offerings for web- and cloud-based computing. To keep the operations of the company running 24/7 year-round, she focuses on three key areas: ensuring the highest level of customer satisfaction, building a reliable, secure platform and cultivating talent through management and motivation.

Wheeler’s journey is a beacon of hope for anyone feeling like they’re stuck in their career or will never be able to put their passions into the driver’s seat. Obstacles are ever-present, but they’re never impenetrable. Despite all that stood in Wheeler’s way — including learning the ins and outs of an entirely new industry — she went in headfirst and didn’t look back, proving that bold decisions make desired changes fathomable.

“Be open. Be curious. It’s nearly impossible to plan out a career that can span multiple decades, so
don’t get so focused on one path that you close off options and opportunities you couldn’t possibly foresee,” said Wheeler. “Early in your career, it’s often hard to ground yourself in the fact that you have a lot to learn, and the world is a place of abundance, not limits. So, put yourself out there, try new things and be willing to learn from others and from your own experience.”


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