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Shari Cedar
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Shari Cedar: From Executive Television Production to Commercial Cleaning

Shari Cedar: From Executive Television Production to Commercial Cleaning

What do Bravo, National Geographic, Discovery, and Oprah (just to name a few) and an
industry-leading commercial cleaning company have in common? One thing – Shari Cedar.

For nearly 20 years, Shari was a television production executive. Imagine a show called “Worlds Apart”, don’t imagine too hard because it was a hit on National Geographic Channel. The premise of the series was to “learn who you are by leaving where you are.” In each episode, the team took a “typical” American family to live with a “typical” family from a remote village, and for the pilot, that was a village in Africa. Shari traveled to remote parts of Kenya and Ghana on her own, naïve about the world around her and the impact of what was then the political landscape.

Despite a severe case of dysentery, a car bursting into flames, being extorted for all her cash, and a terrifying drive through bandit country with AK-47s next to her, she did it. She found the perfect family in Korr, Kenya. Failure was not an option, but in hindsight, she may have used one of her nine lives, and she could have been more prepared.

Shari Cedar: Failure Is Not An Option

Shari Cedar

Today, as the CEO of AK Building Services, an industry-leading commercial cleaning company in South Florida, failure is still not an option, and preparedness is still the name of the game. In her capacity as CEO and Co-Owner of AK Building Services, an industry-leading family-owned and operated commercial janitorial services provider in Florida, Shari leads sales, strategy, marketing, communications, learning and development, and customer service. Teammates, her community, and her clients rely on her.

So why the change after a successful 20-year career in television that fueled her? Because, at times, the same thing that fueled her completely drained her. Long hours, lots of travel – with two boys and a husband who also worked long hours, something had to change. One day, at the top of a mountain (Shari is an avid skier), her husband Mark looked at her and said, if we’re going to work this hard, why don’t we do it for ourselves? It was at that time that Mark dedicated himself to growing AK Building Services. About ten years later, after lots of reflection and life changes, Shari did the unthinkable and jumped in full force with her husband. Not once has she looked back. That makes Shari Cedar a Smart Girl – always looking forward, never looking in the rearview mirror.

And while she’s looking forward, she’s continuing to give back – to her family, to her team, to her industry and to her community.

Inspiring Others To Live Up To Their Fullest Potential

In business, she prides herself on leading and mentoring her team, inspiring everyone to live up to their fullest potential while instilling pride in the workplace. Shari Cedar is an active participant in the industry, representing the company as a member of the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Network, Building Service Contractors Association International, and the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

When Shari is not serving her clients and teammates, she can be found supporting her community. She is a board member for the Pace Center for Girls, an organization with the
mission to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy; an active member of Women United®, a group of 70,000+
women strong working diligently to fight for every person’s health, education, and financial stability in every community; and a member of the Nova Southeastern University Ambassador Board. Shari also served two consecutive terms as the President of the Board of Beaux Arts Fort Lauderdale, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization with a mission to encourage a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Now for a few Smart Girl questions…

So just what is it that continues to push Shari to do more for her clients and her community? Making a difference and having the opportunity to meet amazing people along the way. What advice would Shari give to fellow Smart Girls aiming to make an impact? Have a personal board. Just as many companies have a board of directors, so does Shari. She calls it her “personal board,” an incredibly supportive, brilliant group of close friends with whom she can be totally honest and vulnerable and who she knows will always be brutally honest with her, hold her accountable, challenge her when necessary, and be her biggest cheerleaders. So, give it some thought: who would be on your personal board?

What’s one Smart Girl characteristic that Shari believes to be very powerful? Accountability. Everyone needs to learn to hold themselves, as well as one another, accountable. There’s way too much finger pointing going on in the world today and if we would all learn to support one another, through the thick and thin, respectfully challenge, and hold one another accountable there would be a lot more Smart Girls out there!

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Jamie Levin

Jamie Levin

Jamie Levin is a strategic communications consultant and founder of JLevin Communications, LLC with 15+ years of experience spanning internal and external communications, events, community initiatives and engagement.


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