Workplace Wisdom: Melissa Stefanec

Maggie Farragher-Gnadt

Editor’s Note:

We sat down with Melissa Stefanec, grammar whiz and all-around content queen, to find out more about her experience working at Terakeet, the workflow tools she can’t live without, and more! Melissa’s photo was taken at Wanderer’s Rest Humane Association, a cause that’s near and dear to her.

Q1: What is your role and how long have you worked at Terakeet?

I’m a Digital Content Manager and I started in September 2018.

Q2: What advice would you give someone who is new to Syracuse or to Terakeet? 

If you’re new to Terakeet, I encourage you to feel like you’re new to the area and to move past our gruff New York demeanor. For better or worse, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. Underneath our outer shells, we have kind hearts (and you never have to wonder what we are thinking). This place is full of great people. We work hard and care a lot about each other and this organization. Let the growth, atmosphere, and energy fuel you. You would be hard-pressed to find so much opportunity and camaraderie elsewhere in the professional world.

Q3: List a quote that has helped you get through a tough time.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” It’s derived from a published work by Ian Maclaren, a Scottish minister. When things get hard, it helps to extend empathy to others and remember none of us are alone in our suffering. 

Q4: How do you unwind after a case of the Mondays?

Bubble bath, bourbon, and Enya. 

Q5: If you could invite any famous businessperson or workplace guru to dinner, who would it be and why?

Martha Stewart. Through all her ups and downs, she has conducted herself with dignity. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, but just seriously enough. She made a big mistake, and everyone wrote her off but she didn’t let that stop her. She recovered and then some. Plus, she puts out gems like this: “Seek out people to work with who are brimming with talent, energy, integrity, optimism, and generosity,” and “Sometimes, I shake if I have to do something that I’ve never done before –– maybe not noticeably, but inside. But I’ll do it, because I know it’s not an insurmountable task; I’ve done plenty of tasks in my life.”

Q6: If you could only use 5 workplace tools or platforms, what would they be and why?

Our proprietary company tools: We do (and will do) great things here. Also:

  • Hive: I like order and a set of clear expectations.
  • WeDo: My sanity hinges on lists. WeDo gives me lists that I can’t drop in a parking lot.
  • Slack: It’s the best chat platform I’ve used to date. Except for AIM, RIP.
  • SEMrush: How does so much data exist in one interface?

Q7:  What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from a coworker?

Grow your strengths and work to grow other’s strengths. There is a lot of business psychology supporting this idea. If we work really hard at the stuff we’re not so good at, we might become mediocre at it. If we work really hard at the stuff we’re good at, we just might do amazing things. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t address our weaknesses, but we should spend just as much time growing our strengths. That’s what makes teams unstoppable. 

This is a continuation of our “Workplace Wisdom” series. Read the previous posts here:

Workplace Wisdom: Bridget Doherty