Every month, we choose an employee to appreciate their excellent performance and dedication. We run a short interview with them to learn more about them and gain insights and wisdom. This month, we have Shannon Covelle, from our Kitchener-Waterloo office.
Briefly introduce yourself: I’ve been with ARS for over 10 years now. When I began working at ARS, I was given several diverse opportunities to participate in various administration-related roles in our Kitchener-Waterloo office. Years of hands-on learning experiences of working with highly qualified professionals established and bolstered my skillsets. Today, I work as an Office Administrator with roles varying from designing, implementing office policies, and maintaining office services by organizing office operations and procedures to communicating directly, and on behalf of the Executives on matters related to their programmatic initiatives.
What are some unique parts of your role at ARS?: Our Kitchener-Waterloo office is very unique. Our office is not nearly as big as the Headquarter Office in Toronto, but our dynamic system allows us to be extremely effective and productive in operation. As an Office Administrator, I am directly and indirectly connected with everyone in our office regardless of their positions and roles. I supervise what each individual and team is working on and provide all the necessary support. I also guide them to ensure every endeavour they pursue fits in the big vision we strive for as one big body.
How do you see the value of teamwork in your everyday work?: In the industry of commercial property restoration and emergency mitigation, our work resembles the craft of vast embroidery. Experts from different fields and knowledge come together every day to bring out the best solution for each case that is always unique. It is a living, meticulously connected organism: Your malpractice means immediate harm to others' productivity and quality of work. While there is no single person who is solely responsible for every single aspect of a file, you are expected to do your job with a high level of work ethic for everyone. When one person does a job poorly, we all suffer. At the same time, when one person succeeds, we all do.
What are your favourite parts of your role and why?: What makes my job special, and what has made me work for ARS for the last long 10 years is the people I work with. So many people forget that we are people before the job we do. People you spend most of your daytime with can either make you advance or fall back. Before ARS, I met people who infused profuse negativity which put a damper on me significantly. I am lucky to meet people I work with day to day now. With kindness, they accept me and make me laugh, and with excellence, they inspire me and challenge me. The best way to improve is to surround yourself with good people.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?: "Choose kindness." When need to choose between being right or being kind, most of the time it is best to just choose to be kind. Kindness is not lowering your standards or letting others take advantage of you. It is choosing to acknowledge and celebrate the unique beauty, value, and dignity people hold in themselves and harbouring a spirit of helpfulness and generosity. When we see people, we only see them on a very superficial level. We never know what kind of storm they are going through. Being kind means lifting others and willingly loaning them your strength instead of reminding them of their shortcomings or weaknesses.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?: What advice should they ignore? Have a strong backbone to be able to ignore many pieces of advice about the “real world” you are given! Life is not fair. Everyone enters the “real world” from different vantage points. The person who gives you advice may have a perfectly good intention, but it may not be applicable to you. Whether you gain advice, insights, and wisdom either from people or media (books and courses included), try to take the principles (ie. Maintain physical health), not personalized applications (ie. Have a cold shower every morning). Set your definition of success that reflects who you are. Learn to love and appreciate yourself. Take good risks, and surround yourself with people who will lift you up. There is no manual on life, adulthood, etc. – we are all just kind of fumbling our way through one day at a time.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?: I stop what I am doing and walk away for a few minutes. The more I tend to try to force myself to focus on or overcome an initial issue, the more it tends to get sticky. When I intentionally give myself a break to clear my head, I get to tackle the problem with a new set of eyes. I also break up the task into smaller items and create a to-do list that I can physically check off as they get completed. By acknowledging and celebrating small wins I ensure that I am making headway and moving closer to the big goal.
In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?: Making time for myself. As we have more responsibilities in life, we tend to put our self-care on the back burner and neglect it. When we respect ourselves and take good care of ourselves, we can be better people for others.