Imagine a darkened theater at JiveWorld. Main stage is in front of you and the entire room is empty. You're sitting and waiting for the dress rehearsals to get started when someone walks up and sits next to you and sighs. That's how I met Jessica Maxson of Bluegreen Vacations. Waiting for the dress rehearsals to start, we talked about how exhausted we were from all of the JiveWorld events and how it would be nice to just sit and relax for a while. We even created out own term for what we ended up doing while waiting: relaxatalking. It was nice. You should try it sometime.
Let's get on with Jessica's interview!
Libby: Where do you work?
Jessica: I work for Bluegreen Vacations. Bluegreen, founded in 1966, is a leader in the vacation ownership industry with over 175,000 owners and more than 60 Bluegreen resorts in over 40 vacation destinations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Our common goal as team of 5,100 associates is to share happiness with our guests, owners, fellow associates and communities. We are headquartered in sunny Boca Raton, FL - you can't beat it!
Libby: How would you describe your current job?
Jessica: Quite happily, I wear two major hats at Bluegreen - Marketing Manager and Internal Community Manager. As the Marketing Manager of Bluegreen's Retail Marketing department, I support the marketing, advertising and point-of-sale materials and elements for the department's 600+ associates in over 91 sales locations across the country. Most everyone in the Jive Customer Community is no stranger to the wildly diverse day-to-day of an Internal Community Manager - I take great pride in my role and feel very fortunate to be a part of something so special within Bluegreen.
Libby: How do you use Jive?
Jessica: We use Jive specifically for our Retail Marketing department of over 600 associates. Since our sales teams are so scattered across the country, pre-Jive they worked in very siloed environments. Moreover, 80% of our sales associates don't have company email addresses so there was really no way to communicate with them in a real-time way. With our Jive community now, we focus on sales enablement, motivating for sales, knowledge support, training and better communication overall. Since launching our community in January 2014, we have seen our adoption rate hang out at around 80% (I won't be fully satisfied until we hit 100%) - it has truly shown us that our department was craving access to each other and information to work better.
Libby: And you won the Jive Engaging Employees Award at JiveWorld14 (see Announcing the 2014 Jive Award Winners!). Congratulations! How does that feel?
Jessica: Beyond proud! As a team, we accomplished an incredible feat this year - creating a space for our sales associates across the country to connect, communicate and collaborate with their colleagues was a significant concept for our department. Together, we have found new and better ways to work and accomplish more - it has been an amazing journey so far, I can't wait to see what happens next!
Libby: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?
Jessica: Real talk, I nerded out over the WorkTypes - I can never get enough of learning about how myself and others work, behave and think. I am a proud Optimizer/Producer - as someone who is quite the stickler for structure (I weirdly love rules) and efficiency (procrastination is not my jam), I think those WorkTypes suit me perfectly.
Libby: How do you think your WorkType plays into how you get work done in Jive?
Jessica: In an internal community of sales associates who are likely mostly Explorers and Energizers, I'm most definitely outnumbered. I like to think that I help balance out our team's overall WorkType. Being given the opportunity to create structure for new department challenges and opportunities and help the sales teams to accomplish impressive goals delights me to no end.
Libby: Did your team have a chance to take the WorkType Finder quiz? Have you all talked about your results?
Jessica: Some results have started trickling in, but I'm determined to brainstorm a strategy for our entire community to learn from the WorkType styles. Being able to understand how we work and how our fellow associates work can only help us to work better together.
Libby: What was your favorite part of attending JiveWorld this year?
Jessica: I can only assume that's like asking me to pick a favorite child - impossible. More than anything, I appreciate the conversations that everyone is able to participate in - whether it be an official breakout session, an off-hand conversation, attending keynotes, regional dinners - these communication opportunities with each other are priceless in terms of knowledge-sharing (and relaxatalking!). Being a part of JiveWorld this year breathed new life into me.
Libby: Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?
Jessica: Much to the chagrin of many, I'm a happy PC user (desktop at the office and laptop at home). I've been told by countless die-hard Apple fans that I'm going to Apple hell.
Libby: Haha! I'm told that all the time as well.
Libby: How about your mobile device?
Jessica: My sentencing to Apple hell most always gets upgraded to Apple purgatory once those Apple fans learn that I own an iPhone 5S.
The structure of the folders and apps appeals to me.
Libby: Pick one word that best describes how you work:
Libby: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Jessica: On a daily basis, I use apps that keep me efficient - the Bank of America app that allows me to deposit a check in between meetings, the Starbucks app which allows me to flash my phone to pay rather than hunt for my elusive wallet in my purse and the Calendars5 app which beautifully aggregates my numerous calendars and schedules into one place - these are all apps that I just would not want to be without.
Libby: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?
Jessica: It's a toss-up between my KitchenAid Mixer and my stove (which is really an appliance, so I guess the mixer wins). I find myself at peace when I'm cooking - preparing meals for my friends and family gives me a lot of joy. On second thought, my electric wine bottle opener trumps the mixer and the stove!
Libby: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Jessica: I write everything down - electronically or in my Moleskine. I have four lists at any given moment - strategy goals, daily projects, delegated projects and Microsoft Outlook tasks. Crossing things off a list makes me smile big time.
Libby: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your workspace like?
Jessica: I am the complete opposite of a hoarder, my desk is spotless as all office supplies, desk accessories, pens, etc have their place in drawers. I do, however, allow myself to indulge in some fun tchotchkes above the desk cabinets! Having a tidy workspace allows me the mental freedom to work smarter.
Libby: What do you listen to while you work?
Jessica: My Pandora stations vary from Billy Joel to Disney to Pitbull, what I jam out to depends on the mood of the day! I also love this great one-man-band from Croatia - his song makes you get up and boogie.
Libby: What's your best time-saving trick?
Jessica: I may sound crazy, but I turn off all notifications on my phone (except for actual phone calls and text messages). Not seeing those glaring red circles on apps every few seconds permits my brain to focus on work or whatever is at hand. I have truly seen my time free up for more work (or even relaxation!) after turning off app notifications.
Libby: How do you balance work and life?
Jessica: Coincidentally, I just read a fascinating article about work-life balance. Not your typical article about daily balance, but more a law of averages. This is what I try to do myself - work my tush off to get work done (no matter the hours), then truly appreciate the weekend and turn off work. Prioritization, delegation and allowing yourself kudos for even the small things are a huge part of creating a smart work-life balance. I'm definitely no expert, but I try every day.
Libby: What's your sleep routine like?
Jessica: Sleep and I have a love/hate relationship. We've been seeing our counselor, Melatonin, for quite some time and are starting to come to a peaceful middle ground.
Libby: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Jessica: Ambivert. Introversion and extroversion have to do with how we recharge our brains, so I'm a bit of both. I tend to recharge after long conferences by spending time alone, but sometimes also find myself needing time around people.
Libby: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
Jessica: 'Always do your best.' My amazing parents, Leo and Dolores, have always said that to me since I can remember. All they have ever asked of me is to do my best as a person with regard to family, friends, school, business and life in general. I hold those words very near and dear each day.
Libby: Fill in the blank. I'd love to see _______ answer these same questions.
Jessica: Christina Zurkawicz - I met her at JiveWorld this year and I think she has amazing insights not only on business, but life as well.
My great thanks to Jessica Maxson for her responses to this interview!
Cross-posting to : WorkType(TM)