Sarah-Mae Amde, MBA
Change can feel like chaos without someone experienced, dedicated, actively invested guiding the process. For organizations undergoing large-scale transformations, that someone is Sarah-Mae Amde. As the founder, CEO, and managing director of Paragon Digital Consulting, Sarah-Mae leads an award-winning team that creates order from chaos. Whether they’re bringing a small company to the mid-size level, or helping a massive, multinational corporation like Domino’s Pizza modernize their systems and optimize for legacy growth, Paragon Digital gets real results by leveraging IT innovation, behavioral science, and a hands-on approach for clients representing diverse sectors.
Founded in 2005—and the recipient of the 2023 Top HR Transformation Company in the U.S. Award—Paragon Digital is a boutique management consulting firm that helps companies embrace new technology and processes to maintain success no matter where they are in their transformation process. This unique firm is the culmination of Sarah-Mae’s uncommon perspective, passion, knowledge, and 15 years of expertise as a behavioral specialist and certified change management professional. There are no formulaic approaches at Paragon, but a framework of people-first perspectives and tailored experiences, with personalized plans that align with the goals and values of each client company. “Checking a bunch of boxes won’t get you where you want to be,” Sarah-Mae says. “Every client, and every situation, is different. We dive deep to understand where they are and where they want to go.”
Sarah-Mae met with us to share more about her career journey, Paragon’s unique transformation process, and how they’re helping companies large and small through their evolutions.
Can you share what your process looks like?
I enjoy serving clients’ needs. When they get to the other side and see how well things work, it’s immensely fulfilling. Unfortunately, that’s not where they start. When we meet them, they’re modernizing technologies and standardizing processes, but unable to get the expected outcomes. Teams are struggling, projects are delayed, and everyone’s frustrated. Managing change is essential to transforming businesses, but a few communications and some lunch-hour training won't get them what they need. We uncover what’s holding them back and create roadmaps and actionable plans so they can thrive.
What makes Paragon Digital different from other change management firms?
Oftentimes, executives see the challenges as insurmountable and too complex, but that’s why we’re here. We consider the people and the business, and determine what’s right for them. Taking care of them means success for the business. We define strategies to get them across the gaps and guide them throughout the process, and set them on a path for success for the coming years. One person cannot deliver at the pace they need to transform. They need an external team of experts who have compassion and dedication.
You have a very interesting background that ultimately led to change management. Tell us about this.
I have a unique perspective on how to effectively manage change; to be candid, I still find it humbling to share the breadth of my experience. Over the last few decades, my career has been a beautiful evolution of organizing chaos, finding excitement in problem solving, and fulfillment in leading teams to success. I started out teaching math and French, then transitioned into computer science and business management. I went from teaching high schoolers to think critically to backend development and leading a helpdesk. Being able to translate complex technical concepts led me into project management, then business consulting. I found my niche in IT innovation and complemented it with behavioral neuropsychology, and started seeing patterns about the emerging practice of change management.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I’m truly delighted that I’ve been blessed with the gifts to serve my clients in a way that yields results and changes that stick. I’ve learned to see opportunities and possibilities instead of challenges and limitations, and to have positive pragmatism instead of pessimism. In my company, we say, “I know how to open my eyes, but not how to make them see.” Seeing is a blessing, and like most things, we should use it to serve wisely.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to executive leaders who are considering or in the midst of transformational change?
Lean in and do it. The dangers of standing still are much worse than not trying. Kodak is a great example. They were the leaders in their industry, but didn’t make the leap into digital. Over the years, they’ve had to divest pieces of their business as a consequence. Had they just taken the leap and transformed, they’d still be thriving. If you spend one or two years planting seeds, you can build a team that’s empowered for good, and who will work hard, and be your champions.
Sarah-Mae Amde, MBA
Founder, CEO & Managing Director — Paragon Digital Consulting
LinkedIn – Sarah-Mae: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahmaeamde/
Company Website: www.ParagonDigitalConsulting.com
Company LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/paragondigital-consulting
Company YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@ParagonDigitalConsulting
Company Instagram: https://instagram.com/paragondigitalconsulting
Company Twitter: https://twitter.com/_paragondigital