Editor’s Note: We're searching for the best and brightest admin professionals and workplace operators in the US. Know an outstanding Ninja? Nominations for the 2020 All-Star Awards are now open!
Name: Stephanie Powley
Title & Company: Office Manager/Executive Assistant to CEO, Seer Interactive
Location: Philadelphia, PA
# Years as an Office Ninja: 9
Fun Fact: Did Huggies commercials as a baby!
A few more stats about Stephanie:
She manages two offices (one of which is five stories) that are three time zones apart.
She’s known for showing genuine care and compassion for all 110 of her coworkers.
She once procured 36 office chairs in less than 24 hours.
She’s always two steps ahead.
These numbers are impossible, you say? Not for an OfficeNinjas All-Star.
Since joining Seer Interactive, a Philadelphia-based digital marketing agency, Stephanie has streamlined operations and boosted productivity across the board. One colleague shared this personal anecdote in his All-Stars nomination:
I was used to handling scheduling on my own but I was quite literally drowning trying to sort it all out myself and saying “yes” to everything. Then Steph booked a meeting with me, sat me down, and basically told me how things would work. She took control of my calendar, routed all requests for my time through her, and took over travel arrangements… Everything is now in sync and, for me, it’s been a revelation. This one thing has made me significantly more productive. Steph also guides me on how to better leverage her so I can be even more on point and able to crunch through work… Stephanie has helped me tremendously – I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without her!
Another colleague couldn’t help but gush over Stephanie’s awesomeness:
Seer would not run even 1/4 as well without Steph. In just a few months, she’s found more efficient and cost effective ways to run our offices in both Philly and San Diego. She is always two steps ahead, cares deeply for all 110 team members at Seer and consistently goes the extra mile. Delays on flights? She’ll tell you before you know—that stands for everyone in the company, and she’ll have a solution or new option ready for you to pick from. Point blank, Seer would not be as successful without Stephanie!
When it comes to being an Office Ninja, Stephanie is batting 1000. Read our Q&A with Stephanie to learn how she knocks it out of the park every day.
OfficeNinjas: How long have you worked as an Office Ninja?
Stephanie Powley: I’ve been working in an ‘official’ admin role since 2007, so almost 10 years. Before that I was a waitress. I grew up in the restaurant business, so that was my comfort zone. My boyfriend (husband now) convinced me to put my skills to use in an office environment. At first I didn’t think I could do it, but you’d be surprised about the Office Ninja skills you can acquire in that line of work.
ON: What’s your favorite part of being an Office Ninja?
SP: I can’t choose one! There’s a tie between being able to help people and not having the same day over and over again. Every day is different – a different challenge, a different task. I feed off the variety involved with being an Office Ninja. That’s how I knew it was the right role for me. I’m also a very nurturing person, both inside and outside of work. No matter where I am, the nickname ‘mom’ follows me. Helping people is a huge part of why I love my job.
ON: Tell us about the craziest day you’ve ever had.
SP: My absolute craziest day as an Office Ninja was with my former employer. The CEO decided he wanted to open the new office a week early—with one day’s notice. It was my job to make it 100% functional. Everything was on schedule, however we didn’t have any chairs yet.
So, in addition to my regular work, I needed to find 36 office chairs in 24 hours. Thankfully, I had some really amazing contacts at WB Mason, and as a team we were able to pull it off. Sometimes being an Office Ninja means long hours and sweating.
ON: What’s the one thing that’s always on your desk?
SP: Thank you cards. They’re a constant reminder to always be grateful—even for the smallest of things.
ON: We hear you’re a rockstar at managing a four-story office in Philadelphia as well as a remote office in San Diego. What’s your secret?!
SP: This is a team effort. Managing multiple floors and a remote office has been one of the most challenging parts of my career. It’s essentially managing five separate offices, making sure each one is suited up for success every day and running like a well-oiled machine.
Without my amazing team members, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I obviously can’t be in five places at once, so they help me a lot by letting me know when things are running low or if there is something that needs immediate attention. My best advice for someone in this situation is to remain present and observant. And it’s okay to rely on others. It’s hard for me to ask for help or expect it, but being at Seer has changed that.
ON: How does Seer help you succeed?
SP: The leadership team at Seer is an incredible group; they’re very focused on the health and wellbeing of their team. Our work-from-home policies and unlimited vacation have positively impacted my life in so many ways. Being able to contribute to my career and home life simultaneously has made me a better employee, person, wife, and mother.
Additionally, my teammates are some of the best people on Earth. I literally couldn’t do my job without them. From helping me keep an eye on supplies to giving pep talks when needed, my teammates keep me grounded and are constant motivators for me.
ON: What’s your favorite afternoon pick-me-up?
SP: Taking a walk and grabbing iced coffee or a smoothie. I also try to stop at our local animal shelter while I’m out to pet the pups! What’s a better pick-me-up than that?
ON: What is your greatest professional achievement?
SP: That would have to be when my CEO told me that I make his life better. Not just professionally, he explained. He shared that the things I’ve done to make his work life easier have actually had a ripple effect on his personal life as well. Someone telling me that I make them a better person is the biggest compliment I’ve ever received, and it’s exactly why I got into this type of work.
ON: What are you most proud of outside of work?
SP: My son. He’s the smartest, most creative, loving kid I’ve ever known, and I’m not just saying that because he’s mine. If at any time I doubt my abilities, all I need to do is look at him.
ON: What are the top three traits of an OfficeNinjas All-Star?
SP: 1. Forward thinking. I don’t mean being a psychic, but thinking about what will come next and getting it under control before it happens has been super helpful in my career.
2. Assertiveness. You have to be firm in your delegation, your goals, and your personal limits.
3. Sense of humor. SUPER IMPORTANT. Being able to laugh off how crazy work in the Ninja world can get will save your sanity 99% of the time.
ON: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
SP: The best career advice I’ve ever received was to treat your job like it’s your own startup. Before hearing that advice, a job was just a job. Once I started treating my job like it was my own business, my whole world changed.
ON: What is the kindest thing a team member has done to show their appreciation for all you do?
SP: I’ve gone on vacation twice while at Seer, and my teammates made it so I didn’t have to worry about a thing. They reminded me of how much I do and why I deserved a break. I used to fear leaving and the dreaded the pile-up, but now I know someone (or multiple someones) will have my back.
ON: Office Ninjas often have tips and tricks of the trade. Any you care to share?
SP: Never stop looking for opportunities to learn and grow. There is always more to know. Being part of organizations like OfficeNinjas makes a big difference too! Getting out of your comfort zone and learning new things will never hurt you! And most importantly, always go above and beyond.
As part of Stephanie’s OfficeNinjas All-Stars prize package, she’ll be receiving a one-year deluxe subscription to NatureBox! Every two weeks, she’ll receive a box filled with 10 delicious, healthy treats. Happy snacking, Stephanie!
Feeling a twinge of snack envy? You too could score tasty snacks from NatureBox! Head on over to today’s Flash Raffle and enter by 11:59PM PST for a chance to win!
Today’s All-Star is presented by:
NatureBox delivers smart, delicious snacks in both single-serve and bulk options to offices. Whether your office is feeling salty, crunchy, chewy, sweet, or all of the above, NatureBox’s snacks is guaranteed to delight.
Photos beautifully captured by Eversnap, a curated marketplace of high-quality photographers in 25 major cities. Click here to view the complete photo album from our photoshoot with the amazing Stephanie Powley!
Join us in congratulating Stephanie Powley, 2016 OfficeNinjas All-Star!