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Since coming to Weatherford in 2007, Sabrina Gesto has adapted her focus, her role, and her title seven times. The senior director of global legal operations has led teams big and small across HR, land region operations, tax operations, global shared services, and other widely diverse functions for the global energy services and equipment company.
The through line for every one of those roles came down to Gesto’s continuing quest to improve processes through technology, drive efficiencies, and improve the customer experience—all with a human touch.
“That drive to improve processes has always been there,” Gesto explains. “Whether it’s the external customer or the internal customers we serve from the legal department, I’ve learned it’s not enough to be competent. You have to be caring. People need to know that you have their best interest at heart.”
Her unique path to a corporate career has made her especially adept at the people part of all her roles within Weatherford. Gesto, who prior to earning an MBA earned a bachelor’s degree in social services and a master’s degree in social work, spent her twenties working on behalf of governmental and nonprofit organizations. She became a manager early on and says the change required her to realize what real success truly meant for her and her team.
“I learned that my success truly depended on my team’s success,” Gesto explains. “Over time, I realized that my job was to create conditions for my team to do their best work. It’s not just about achieving results. It’s about becoming more strategic and understanding what efforts move the needle with an engaged team working together.”
Gesto’s understanding of people, their motivations, and communication was so well-tuned that it was why she came to Weatherford in 2007. The future executive spent her first half-decade traveling around the world, teaching Weatherford colleagues of all cultures and roles about leadership, communication, and negotiation. It grew her appreciation for the differences among global employees that, when leveraged, help make organizations even stronger.
Fast-forwarding to her current role, Gesto says she’s spent the past few years exploring and strategizing on change, transformation, and the power of technology to significantly enhance those efforts.
“The importance of harnessing the power of technology to remain competitive is something I come back to every day,” Gesto says. “Right now, that means replacing legacy technologies, deploying new ones, and what that strategy looks like.”
Gesto is in the middle of a multiyear project to build a technological transformation road map and, naturally, put it into action. That includes implementing software-as-a-service company ServiceNow’s legal service delivery technology that is helping Weatherford standardize and better structure its legal intake process.
“We’re able to direct our people to an intuitive, user-friendly portal that can either lead them to the information they need on a self-service basis or, at the very least, gather all the required information up front for us to assist them, that saves time for both the user and the legal or compliance professionals on the other side,” the senior director says. “We’ve also introduced real-time data analytics that can provide ongoing insights on the areas where we need to optimize our operations.”
Gesto has also spent years helping Weatherford create efficiencies by rationalizing its legal entity footprint. Whether it’s merging multiple legal entities in a country under a single umbrella organization, deregistering branches in unneeded locations, or creating new ones, the senior director has deep experience doing diligence for these efforts across fifty different countries.
The complexity of these efforts cannot be overstated as it involves seeking input from and aligning the efforts of legal, compliance, tax, HR, accounting, finance, product line operations and real estate teams before executing on any action item. It’s coordinating, educating, and communicating with hundreds of people concurrently.
“Earlier in my career, I project managed specific legal entity consolidation projects” Gesto explains. “Now, my focus is to help create transparency, accountability, and efficiency across the different components of the program globally, through process and technology optimization.”
Gesto’s continuing education when it comes to people, process, and technology never stops, and she doesn’t want it to. The impact of the digital revolution on organizational design is her current fascination and area of growth. Even after all these years, Gesto says she still “gets giddy” when she’s able to merge the HR and people work that she’s done in the past with the process and technological innovation she’s tackling at present.
She is also looking to influence the next generation of leaders. Gesto recently joined Chief, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders as well as helping promote more women into leadership roles.
Gesto’s a perfect example of a career in multiple acts. They may seem disparate, but all it takes is the right outlook, attitude, and out-of-the-box thinking to thread the needle. Gesto’s diverse professional experiences inform her transformational work today, and she’s all the better for it.