Q&A Session with Brenna
What brought you to this unique role?
When I was studying cinema and television arts in college, I did an internship on a TV show. One of my co-workers went on maternity leave and they needed a new office manager fast. I was promoted to the position and quickly fell in love with the organizational role.
Did you understand what the role would be like when you applied? Did you have any idea what an office manager actually does?
I understood a typical office manager’s day-to-day role but didn’t know what it was to be an office manager in the startup world. Being an office manager in the startup world means that I have to wear many hats. For example, since quip’s office just expanded, I have coordinated the entire expansion project. I’ve had to double up as a project manager, handle IT work, technical equipment, etc… I also have to really be mindful of not getting caught up in the day-to-day work but also focus strategically on the long term work.
What does a typical day look like for you
I’m not sure if there's a typical day! My job has evolved as the company has grown. These past couple of weeks I would say it has been a lot of renovation work, office setup and onboarding all of our new hires with the People team. The rest of my time is spent organizing cultural events, preparing functional equipment needed for the space, supporting HR and more.
What’s the most important thing to know for someone on an operations team?
“Your attitude within the role affects the office more than you think it does”
I think if I could advocate for one thing it would be to carry positive energy around even though you may be doing repetitive tasks. As an office manager, you are the face that your coworkers see the most and the one they come to when they need help, so if you’re not having a good time people can feel it.
How do you establish goals for yourself and the company?
I plan one big topic or area I want to focus on outside of my usual work every quarter. For example this quarter, it’s safety. I like to think of a space as a moving object –– nothing is ever going to stay perfectly in order, it turns to chaos and someone has to keep tabs on it. When chaos takes over, safety becomes a problem and this impacts the people you work with the most.
In general my boss lets me establish goals myself. My overarching goal within the role is to anticipate and fix problems without people realizing there was a problem in the first place.
What do you love about your job?
First and foremost I absolutely love the people I work with. I love bringing order to chaos, and making sure everyone is having a good day. I feel very fortunate that our People team has hired wonderful people that I enjoy being with everyday.
If you could give advice to yourself before you started what would it be?
Always be flexible and understand what your priorities are.
What’s the hardest part about being an office manager?
The hardest part is having to think on your feet to quickly put out fires and anticipating needs.
What are you most proud of in your role at quip?
I’m most proud of building out our new space from scratch. I think that has been a big milestone for me.