For a while, Stephanie Machado was the 'face' of the company. As the front desk employee, she was the one whose face everyone will first see setting foot in the office. Then she fell in love with the company. She threw her hat in the ring: Stephanie sharpened her skills, applied for a project management administration administrator position, and got it! Her natural warmth and sincerity haven't changed a bit. It's not a secret that Stephanie's team is thrilled to have her as her dedication is a huge asset!
Interview by Abigail Chung
Part 1: Stephanie at ARS / Global Emergency Management
Abigail (A): It's a little late, but congratulations on your new job! Now you are a Project Management Administrator! What a journey!
Stephanie (S): Yes! I started at ARS a year ago as the Front Desk & Office Administrator and transitioned into my current role as Project Management Administrator last November. It is a whole different world. Now I work closely with the Project Managers and Project Coordinators to ensure the organization of files and the completion of documentation required to complete emergency and restoration jobs.
A: What would you say is the main difference between Front Desk & Office Administrator and Project Management Administrator?
S: When I worked at the front desk, I got to have a 'bird’s-eye view' of all the daily operations and procedures at our corporate head office while being able to meet and interact with team members. I had to always have a good overview which allowed me to learn about each department. Right now, my focus is more specific. Project management administration is more of a backend support role where you work on specific jobs with your team. When I moved into my current role as a PMA, I had to quickly learn that project management isn't cookie-cutter, every day is different which is exciting and brings constant learning experiences.
A: You've been with the company in two different roles. Was there anything that surprised you about the company that you didn't expect?
S: When I joined ARS, I really liked being part of a company built on the values of a family business. For the last 65 years, the company has grown exponentially. For ARS, 'family' doesn't only mean the founder's blood-related family; it is an inclusive term embracing all the employees at the company. Everyone treats everyone with such a high level of respect and the management team looks for ways to improve employee benefits. It deeply instills a sense of pride and confidence in you that you are being treated as a human being with dignity - not replaceable like many companies do out there!
Part 2: Stephanie with Her Philosophy
A: From the front desk to project management, I bet it is a huge jump with lots of things to learn and do. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? S: I take a step back, dump all the "to-do's" running through my mind onto a piece of paper, and prioritize them. Sometimes I go for the "easy wins" and tackle the smaller tasks first so I can get the momentum and productivity flowing. Every night before I leave work, I make my to-do list for the next day. The first thing on my list is "eat the frog", which means tackling the most challenging task first thing in the morning. When you successfully complete the trickiest task, you will feel so proud of yourself, giving you new momentum to do other work with confidence! A: What advice would you give to younger yourself? Or anyone who is about to start their career journey? S: Every moment is a learning opportunity: ask lots of good questions! Stay open-minded and be able to admit when you are wrong. Take full ownership of your actions. Treat everyone with the same level of respect whether it is the CEO or the custodian. Everyone is on their own path with their own timeline, don't compare your journey to others. You will not win anything by comparing.
A: In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life? S: Practicing self-care. It is about taking care of your mind, body, and soul to help reduce stress and increase overall happiness. When your battery is empty, you can't give anything to others. If you want to be a generous giver and huge contributor, you need to start with yourself! I sometimes take time to go outside and enjoy nature, whether that is taking a walk, paddleboarding, or bike riding. Also adopting a regular sleep schedule is extremely important. I gently push myself to go to my bed at the same time every night so that I can keep my health and productivity.
Part 3: More about Stephanie
A: What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
S: Anything from Kawartha Dairy! There is a Kawartha Dairy retail store near my family’s cottage so whenever I go there, I always make sure to stock my refrigerator with their ice cream. I believe you can buy them at some grocery stores in Toronto now soif you like ice cream, you've gotta try it out!
A: All-time favourite movie? Why?
S: It's an old movie Princess Bride (1987). My favourite quote is: "Let me explain. ... No, there is too much. Let me sum up." I must have watched it numerous times, but I never get tired of it. It always makes me smile.
A: What is the best purchase under $100 you've made in the last few months?
S: A couple of months ago I bought an Instapot/Air Fryer and it won the title. I got it on sale during Black Friday so it was under $100. Since then, it has been a life changer. I'm having fun experimenting with new recipes during my free time and rediscovering classics like chicken wings!