This week I had the assignment of learning all about the role of Operations. Fortunately for me, good looks are not the only thing that runs in my family. Passion, determination and a whole lot of sass is also a strong trait among the women in my family tree. It is for this reason that I chose to interview my amazing aunt on her experience in the role in Operations. Vanessa Hutton is a Digital Campain Manager at Townsquare Media, the 3rd largest owner of radio stations in the US with 321 stations plus 330+ local websites.
What made you choose to pursue this role?
“I was kind of forced into it… but happily forced into it.”
A funny thing about responsibilities such as paying bills and buying food is that it forces you to be open to new ideas.
Vanessa wasn’t hired based on her expertise in the role of Operations, but instead because she understood how to use creative programs which made her valuable as a backup for the companies design team.
This is a great example of how companies are willing to teach you certain skills if you can show them your ability to create value.
What skills and training are required to fill this role?
“This isn’t a job that people know of. No one says ‘I want to do that when I grow up’.”
This is a role that incorporates people from all backgrounds. Vanessa has coworkers with degrees in music, communications, criminal justices, and she has no degree (go, auntie!).
With this said, the skills of creativity and communication are key for this role. When faced with a problem, operations have to dissect the situation, find the dilemma, and then create a solution; and that is only step one. Once the problem is solved that skill of communication comes into play to explain to the Sales rep or customer how they should go about using the new adjustments.
What is the greatest challenge?
“People who don’t understand or simply won’t take the time to try.”
That’s not how that works, that’s not how any of this works.
Computers can be complicated and explaining how to use one to someone who has no idea can be a real nightmare.
Instead of trying to explain this struggle my aunt sent me a link that sums it up nicely.
What is the greatest gain?
“All my markets love me and I can tell cause they brag on me.”
The appreciation received after a job well done is what makes this job worthwhile. These words of praise are often earned through sweat and tears which makes them all the more valuable. This is what makes this job so great. The outcome of helping people achieve their goals.
What does your day to day tasks look like?
“Let me show you something.”
As my aunt shared her computer screen with me, I watched as she scrolled down nearly 75!! Emails that had come in during our 25 min conversation.
A day in operations consists of explaining how things work, answering questions and checking, then double checking (and often triple checking) to ensure that things are running properly.
What is the significants of Operations as a whole?
“Campaniles would lose so much money without us.”
Operations is the work done behind the sense that makes everything else possible. From “fences” that send adds to your phone if you step into a complies location zone, to creating Moo Moo adds that target women over the age of 65 who’s yearly income are over $25,000. If none of that makes sense to you, imagine trying to explain it to someone else daily.
What hard skills are necessary for this role?
“The internet is always changing, so this is a career that you’ll always be learning in.”
The ability to work digital programs is the make or break skill in operations. If you can’t run a program you can’t explain it to a sales rep, you can’t dissect it to solve a problem, and you can’t ensure that a customer’s add is up and firing.
What does it take to succeed in this role?
“Being good at learning. Or better yet, being excited about learning.”
As dressed in the above question, technology is always changing. This is a fast-moving environment that requires one to juggle multiple projects at once. If a person can go into this role with a love for learning then each obstacle they face will become an adventure instead of a drudgery.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young person considering this role, what would it be?
“Get your feet wet.”
The only way you’ll know if you like this kind of work is to try it out. Find an internship opportunity, interview some people who work in the role you want, and do your research. Experience is the best teacher, so just go for it.
Also, keep in mind that a lot of what goes into a job is the people you work with. Having a great team and work atmosphere can make all the difference in the world. So look around, learn what fits who you are and how you work, then take the dive.
My aunt is a pretty awesome person. From her accomplishment in the business world to her cat-loving Instagram post, this woman pours her passion and creativity into everything she does. And that is what it takes to make it in Operations.