by Melody Keilig
Sam O’Hara knows a thing or two about taking charge. From getting a manager position at eighteen years old to working as Director of Operations for a worldwide company, Sam has been flexing her natural-born leadership skills for over a decade.
A born and raised Californian, Sam grew up in Thousand Oaks. One of her childhood memories was playing tee-ball and moving up to softball in high school. She credits these early years as beneficial in developing her future leadership skills, teaching her about teamwork and how to lead a team to victory.
She now lives in Moorpark with her husband, Thomas, and their dog, Jax.
Sam’s business connections to BlueKube CEO Brandon Kennington go way back to 2010. Out of high school, Sam got a job at the Drenched Fitness gym run by Brandon and his wife, Julie, in Westlake Village, California.
“So with Drenched, that’s where it all started. I started as a front desk person,” Sam says.
When a manager left their position at the gym, Sam quickly rose through the management ladder.
“I think I had only been there for a few months, and there were definitely people who had been there longer than me, but I just naturally took on ownership,” she explains.
Sam spent the next five years at Drenched in her management position and stayed for one year after Brandon and Julie left the gym for Brandon’s Flexline venture.
After leaving her position at the gym, Sam wanted to start her own business focused on nutrition. She had done General Education classes in college, but Sam was fascinated by how much psychology played in nutrition. So, Sam pivoted towards a degree in Nutrition and planned to start her own nutrition counseling program. However, due to the difficulties of starting a business, she decided that being a business owner wasn’t the move for her life.
Meanwhile, Brandon was attempting to take Flexline to the next level with an at-home version called Drive.
Because they had worked well together, Sam worked for Brandon again for about two years. And then Sam spent a few years working in the mortgage industry, where she realized that the job wasn’t the best fit for her.
“I just wasn’t feeling very fulfilled. I always saw myself in a management role, and I liked problem-solving, and for me, I was going in and doing kind of the same thing every day, and I just wasn’t feeling it,” she says.
Coincidentally, Brandon texted Sam out of the blue and asked if she was looking for part-time work promoting BlueKube as its own brand. Sam responded, saying she would be happy doing full-time work. By 2019, she was back on board working with Brandon.
At this time, the vision for BlueKube was utilizing an office space for in-person employees to build out a corporate center in California. Although having remote workers began to bring in other valuable skills, little did they know BlueKube would soon become a fully remote company.
Sam and Brandon were working together in the office and planning on expanding the workplace. Talks of bringing in a coffee machine and fun office antics were popular topics of conversation, but the pandemic in early 2020 shut down those plans.
When the pandemic hit, Sam had worked in the BlueKube office for about six months. The move to a remote position ended up working in her favor. Working with people in different time zones, Sam was often found in the office all day only to go home and continue working.
Around 6pm Pacific Time is early morning on the other side of the world, specifically China, where Sam communicates with manufacturers. She was at work in the office and then at home during her evenings. Remote work was better for Sam’s schedule because she could then plan out her entire day around the different time zones.
Sam enjoys her work at BlueKube and looks forward to watching the product-launching and problem-solving company grow. Overall, her responsibilities include implementing and designing company systems and structures, including accounting, customer support, HR, and logistics and supply chain.
Sam manages five different global warehouses; two in the United States, one in Canada, one in the United Kingdom, and one in Australia. Her work with the warehouses includes managing inventory, working with a freight forwarder and customs broker to export and import products into each country with BlueKube warehouses, and managing overseas factories and suppliers.
With all of her daily responsibilities, Sam gives everything she’s got to keep BlueKube inventory running smoothly. But outside of work, a lot is happening in Sam’s life.
Sam and her husband live with their dog, Jax, a yellow Labrador. The couple met back when Sam was working at Drenched; while she was at the front desk, he was a trainer at the gym. After around six years of dating, they tied the knot at their COVID wedding in 2020.
Despite having to wait to go on a honeymoon, the couple can finally travel this year. They’ll be visiting Venice, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
Outside of work, Sam likes getting out on the weekends. She enjoys activities like hiking, taking Jax for long walks, and dining with friends.
When it’s back to the workweek, Sam is kept company by Jax, who loves having her home all to himself.
“He’s constantly like my little coworker,” Sam says.
Plus, having Jax under the same roof means that he helps test out new BlueKube dog products. In fact, he was the first official tester for the Kibble Katcher prototype.
“I love the Kibble Katcher!” Sam says. “I got one of the first prototypes, and my dog tested it. He’s a crazy messy drinker, so it’s been great to have.”
Sam was thrilled to let Jax test the Kibble Katcher to see if he could avoid being messy. She says it’s a solid product that prevents Jax from spilling his water everywhere.
Although Sam has nothing but praise for the Kibble Katcher, her favorite BlueKube product is the Porch Potty. Sam has lived in her house with a yard for eight years, but she says she couldn’t imagine not having a space for her dog to do his business.
“It’s such a well-designed product,” she says. “I’ve never lived in an apartment, or I’ve never had a situation where I didn’t have a backyard for my dog.”
Sam adds that she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have a backyard for her dog to go out on to go potty. So she’s glad that people with dogs in apartment buildings can have a piece of the outdoors inside their living space or on their balcony.
For the future of her career at BlueKube, Sam plans to take her leadership skills further by hiring new employees to help with the increasing responsibilities.
“I do see myself definitely growing my team out,” Sam says. “I think this year is going to be a big hiring year for me, just bringing on people to help alleviate some of that day-to-day. Now that I’ve figured out how to manage everything and do everything, I feel like I have the capacity to train somebody to do some of these day-to-day tasks.”
Sam is always reading up and researching how to successfully navigate the emerging world of remote work. Using her psychology knowledge, she likes to find connections in communicating with people from all walks of life.
“I’ve always naturally taken ownership in any job that I’ve had and anything that I do. So I think it pushed me into that role, and I learned at eighteen years old how to be the manager pretty quickly. I take ownership of everything I do, and I almost feel like I am an owner in every company that I work at, like I take it that seriously. So naturally, that’s pushed me into a leadership role,” Sam says.
By honing her leadership skills, managing a team, and learning the best communication skills to create an amazing work culture in the remote world, Sam is always ready to solve problems and find solutions. No matter what, she is up for any challenge that comes her way.