Difference Maker Sarah Custer Adept at Making the Most of Time

In “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day,” the late poet Delmore Schwartz wrote, “Time is the school in which we learn, Time is the fire in which we burn.” It is a reminder of not only our mortality, but perhaps the importance of gleaning knowledge and perspective during our dwindling days.

Sarah Custer, Director of Services and Solutions, Supplies Network

Indeed, time is a verb, relentlessly pushing forward while reducing the past to snapshots of memories that are quick to fade into nothing. Accomplishments and those things left undone are swallowed whole, leaving us to interpret the value we have gleaned from time’s constant cycling. We are tasked to take from time before it takes from us.

Sarah Custer employs a more practical approach to time. The director of services and solutions for Supplies Network has a sign in her office with the phrase “Ruthless Prioritization” written on it. This is a concept phrased by Sheryl Sandberg in her book, “Lean In,” that focuses on tackling those primary objectives we all seek to accomplish during the rolling calendar of our lives.

“Work is busy and life is busy,” observes Custer, a 2018 ENX Magazine Difference Maker. “In order to accomplish everything we truly want, we have to prioritize. As our business grows and expands, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. I have a personal tendency to want to get everything done for everyone, so I have this saying written on the whiteboard in my office to make sure the most important projects and activities are being prioritized. It’s something I work to improve upon each and every day.”

Wonder Years

Getting the jump on time is nothing new to Custer, who actually began her career at Supplies Network by working summers and after school well before the ink had time to be applied to her driver’s license. She continued in a number of roles throughout college and has carved out a 17-year career with the organization.

Custer’s position affords her the opportunity to work with a variety of different elements within the office technology ecosystem, including OEMs, resellers, software providers, service organizations and end users, along with the sales and operational personnel in each of those sectors. She has used their varied viewpoints to help broaden her own horizons.

“Because I work with so many businesses and individuals, I have the opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives and gain an understanding of what others are trying to accomplish,” she said. “I can take that information from end-users, resellers, distributors and manufacturers to build programs and processes that benefit everyone.”

The perspective that has resonated most with Custer, not surprisingly, is that of her father, Barney Kister, the senior vice president of Strategic Relations at Supplies Network. Kister has instilled in his daughter the merits of persistence, which continues a proud tradition of gritty individuals in the family lineage.

“Or maybe just stubborn, depending on how you look at it,” she added.

Performance Recognition

Custer is proud to note that Supplies Network was awarded the MPS Infrastructure Provider of the Year by the Managed Print Services Association, having won the honor all three times it has been awarded. “Winning this award in 2014, 2016, and 2018 shows the hard work of the entire team, in each area of our program, to build the most comprehensive yet flexible program for our partners,” she said. “I am extremely proud and grateful to get to work with such a great team.”

Moving forward, Supplies Network will continue to expand its service offering to help ensure the success of its client base. Custer promises enhancements and offerings that stem from feedback and collaboration with customers regarding their needs for managing print environments.

Sarah and Andy Custer are the parents of two girls, Violet and Lilah. Violet will soon be taking horseback riding lessons, which feeds into Custer’s love of animals and the great outdoors. The Custers enjoy vacationing in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming.


Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.