Today, we are excited to share the first of many employee interviews with one of our cherished TechWyse staff members, Olivana.
As the Director of Web Services, Olivana is a huge asset to our web services team. She works hard with our certified digital marketing experts to produce high-quality web designs that check off our clients’ boxes. We can’t wait to share all her best tips and tricks for navigating the project management and web development space.
Now, let’s start with the interview!
1. Tell us about your role at TechWyse.
I’m Director of Web services. What I do is I lead the project management department in daily activities and work progress. I monitor the projects daily and weekly. I deal with client escalations and web-related issues as well as any tasks or concerns.
2. What would you like to learn or improve or improve upon in the future? This could be in regard to your own position or the department in general.
I’d love to spend more time learning the ins and outs of PHP, which is a scripting language and is used for the development of websites and applications. Just, you know, to have more knowledge on that, as opposed to leaving it with the web development team. So a more solid, understanding of that, which I would have to take courses and certificates. But that’s something that I would really, really like to learn in the future, as well as learning HTML coding, which is the more static part of website development.
3. What do you think is the most important skill that a successful person in your position should have?
The most important thing, I think, is employee motivation. It is so important. Your team’s everything. So when you’re a leader in a department, you just have to build and work on that employee motivation, and it’s a hard thing. But it’s very tangible, and with the right person, you can build employee motivation. It’s the only way that they’re going to stay productive, if they’re motivated. And again, it’s just done by being respectful, being a respectful leader, and someone who thrives on high-valued employee relationships.
And then there are other skills. Like decision-making, obviously, critical in thinking, and there has to be adaptability, which is just very, very important when you’re in a management and leadership role.
4. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career?
You have to have courage. A lot of people lose that. And trust me, I’ve lost it at times, because you’re dealing with the whirlwind changes and daily tasks, so you kind of lose courage, but that is so important to have.
You need it to keep climbing those obstacles at work…just dealing with different, I guess, characteristics of clients and people in the organization. You’re going to have some people questioning your skills or “Yeah, no, I don’t agree with you” and “What you are thinking here, that’s totally wrong”. Like I said, you have to have the courage to keep climbing those obstacles, you know?
What else? Just how far certain skills can take you in your career. Never overlook any skill, any skill. People will be there telling you, “Oh, that skill’s not important”. But you know what? Don’t listen to that because any skill you have is a skill that someone’s lacking. So your skill is going to go over and beyond where some department leaders or some people in the organization will lack.
Soft skills–like for me, it’s always been soft skills that have gotten far in my career. How I interact with people and how I’m perceived daily and that has gotten me far. Don’t get me wrong, hard skills are very important in getting the daily jobs done. But soft skills have always been like a winner for me, so that’s important.
And then another skill, listening. Listen, listen, and keep listening. Well, because we don’t know it all, right? So be open to what people have to say, especially with your clients or with your team. Yeah, so that’s basically it. That’s the list of lessons I’ve learned throughout my career and that will get you far.
5. Thank you for sharing. That’s very insightful. And the last question before we move on to the more fun questions is: What tips or advice would you give someone starting in your field?
For me, when I started off, I reached out to an established professional in the field of online marketing or previous bosses. They’re always good to reach out to. Either they’ll become a mentor or just someone that you can look up to and kind of work towards. There’s someone that will guide you into the right direction in this field.
Also, taking quick project management courses just to keep you refreshed with best practices in project management. And always be willing to learn more. The more you know, the better you are at making decisions and things like that are involved in Project Management.
Always follow up on tasks and communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate. That is so important in a role in web services or project management departments. And a lot of times, we’re not communicating. I mean, in this group, we’re communicating, but in other companies, that’s lost. And once you’re not communicating, these things just won’t stream quickly. So communication is key.
Always make detailed notes and make sure everyone on your team is aware of what’s happening. In my role here, I always make sure that I’m communicating, even if it’s the smallest thing, I think, “Do they really need to know this?” Let them know it because any issue is important. They need to be aware and know what’s happening, so that’s very important.
Something that is very, very key, and I’ll end it off this way, is always build a rapport with your clients. Without this, you’re lost and they’re lost, so when you build this rapport, your clients have this trust and respect for you and never lose that trust. This is what I say: always under-promise and over-deliver, and they just build that trust with you.
6. Starting with the fun questions…what is one thing you can’t live without?
My children–like I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. They’re a reminder of my blessings in life, just being a mother to these humans who need me. It’s my purpose in life, so I can’t live without them. I really can’t. Despite how much they drive me crazy, I can’t live without them.
7. Describe a funny, exciting or unique experience that you’ve had.
The one unique experience I always fall back on and kind of pat myself on the back and say, “Hey, Mrs. Cool Lady here,” is bungee jumping. So I did that 150-foot drop at Canada’s Wonderland and I would do it again. I really would. I just haven’t had the opportunity after I did that. But yeah, it was bungee jumping and it was such a thrill.
8. What is something surprising that not many people know about you?
I eat super fast, like, super, super fast. Whenever, I’m out in public, I have to remind myself, “Slow down, woman, slow down”. Like, no joke. I’m the first person to finish dinner every night with my family. When I say super fast, it’s beyond super fast. So yeah, that’s something that most people wouldn’t know because when I’m out with people and engaged with people, I have to remind myself, “Okay, eat slow”. So yeah, that’s something that most people don’t know about me.
9. Who inspires you?
If I had to pick one person–my father is going to hate me for this–but my mom. I mean, just her strength, her faith, her perseverance. And everything she’s had to endure in her life and then to still be this very optimistic person. It’s my mom. She’s been my motivation in life.
It’s so funny because you know that question where it’s “Whose that one person you’d love to sit down and have lunch with?” And people will say a certain movie star or whoever it is. I always say my mom, my mom…so there you go.
10. Okay, last question. What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Oh gosh, like telling you the first concert I ever went to is going to tell you how old I am. (laughs) We won’t say what year it was because then everyone would know the age. But it was the Psychedelic Furs at Maple Leaf Gardens. Have you ever watched that movie, “Pretty in Pink”? There you go. (starts singing “Pretty and Pink” by Psychedelic Furs) That’s the Psychedelic Furs. So yeah, that was my first concert at Maple Leaf Garden.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Olivana! We had a great time learning from you, and look forward to catching up with you again soon.
Interested in learning more about TechWyse? Check out our blog to stay tuned for our next interview. If you have any questions about digital marketing or would like to book an appointment, call (416)-410-7090 or contact us here.