We're so happy to introduce you to Deborah de Freitas, Spredfast's internal community manager (among many other things). Within the last year Spredfast rolled out both an internal and external community. And even though these tasks have kept Deborah very busy, she graciously shared her workstyle with us below. I must say, I absolutely LOVE the how Deborah supplemented her comments with visuals - I wish I could take a peak into her personal gif library!

Leigh: Where do you work?

Deb: I work at Spredfast. We build a smart social platform and offer services that help our customers be more successful with every social network on any digital screen.


Here's a photo of me at work:

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Deb at her Spredfast desk

Leigh: How would you describe your current job?

Deb: I think of myself as a concierge. I share information, tools, and help employees do what they need more efficiently. My title is Employee Programs Manager and under that umbrella I manage our internal community, intranet and internal communications, oversee our travel program, and support internal events.  I jump into a lot of projects, but at the heart of all of them is helping our employees be successful.


Concierge slash elevator operator, sometimes it just feels that way


Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?

Deb:  Yes.  I went through the navigator just before JiveWorld14.  In the big picture, I'm an Explorer.  When it gets down to details, I'm an Optimizer. (WorkTypes Descriptions)

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Leigh: How do you think your WorkType plays into how you get work done in Jive?

Deb: As an explorer, I look for new ideas, new use cases, new ways to use Jive to communicate.  As an optimizer, I find ways to use Jive to improve existing processes and to ensure key content is updated and accurate.

Leigh: What was your favorite part of attending JiveWorld last year?

Deb: We were brand new to Jive, so for me it was just like drinking from the fire-hose.


professional answer: I loved learning about the platform, how others use it, getting ideas for our launch and for new use cases.

personal answer: I loved meeting all the people.


The Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, site of JiveWorld14


Leigh: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?

Deb: We have both an internal community that runs on Cloud and an externally hosted closed customer community.

I manage the internal community which we call Sharefast. Shout out to my co-worker Samantha Lopez, who manages the Spredfast Customer Community.

In the internal community we have several use cases - some of the primary ones we focused on at launch this year were:

  • Replacing our intranet (which was on Google sites)
  • Replacing a WordPress internal product blog
  • Creating a central repository of updated responses for RFP questions
  • Centralizing communication of sales wins and customer launches
  • Circulating HR & Facilities announcements - seriously our Lunch Menu is the most read piece of content as it changes weekly and people check it daily.

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Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

Deb: We use Mac primarily. Every employee gets a brand new MacBook on day one (Shiny!) and I will defend my 27" Thunderbolt display with whatever is at hand - so watch out because I'm sure scissors can be stabby and I'll definitely launch a binder clip in your general direction. I think there are a few PCs in QA or dev, but even our IT guy used to work for Apple so it's mostly Mac all the time around here. (Fun fact, I used to work for Dell, but I feel no guilt for my unabashed Apple love)

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Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Deb: You'll be shocked when I say Apple iPhone right?  I have the 6. 

Leigh: Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Deb: Flexibility.

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Leigh: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Deb: I'm an app junkie, so there are a lot of things I use, but a few of my favorites are:

  • Evernote - I put all kinds of things there for reference - recipes, articles I might want to share, brainstorming notes and more.
  • Facebook messenger - I like being able to send a message to someone without the intrusion of a text - they can reply when they want.  I have this looooong running message thread between two mutual friends who live in a different city.  We named the thread "Tea for 3" and we check-in during the day when we have time.  You have no idea (well maybe some idea after reading this) how excited I was when they added gifs to messenger!
  • CARROT - they have several apps and I love them all.  Their weather app is hilarious and really accurate too.  The alarm is one of the few that gets me up and makes me laugh. I've just never been a morning person.  (Night Owls Unite!)  and their ToDo app rewards you for getting things done (although I sometimes use other apps or old fashioned lists to plan things out.)
  • Google Maps - I create custom maps when I travel and share them with anyone I'm traveling with.  (Fun fact, I've been on every continent except Antarctica)  I love traveling and have taken at least a year sabbatical between every major job change - basically I work to save up money and then quit when I am ready for a change and travel for a while and then come home and decide what to do next.  In between those big travel years - which is usually solo travel - I'm the planner for group travel with my friends and try to go somewhere - even if it's a road trip every few months. 

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Speaking of travel, here's Deb on a glacier

Leigh: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Deb: Hmm... this is tough - all my favorite things like my kindle or my fitbit are technically computers. My husband would probably name something fancy in the kitchen, but honestly he's the chef not me.  I'm gonna say my Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean black toothbrush. I really love it and it makes my smile brighter.


Leigh: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?

Deb: I write a lot of lists. I learn and remember best when I write things down so I always have some sort of notebook with me. I usually write notes and ideas in meetings and I write out lists of action items daily and revise my master list at least weekly and then add the most important or timed things to my google/work calendar or to my to do app (see above). I can be kind of a productivity geek so I've tried just about every to-do app out there, but none of them are perfect for me so I keep going back to paper. I keep folders for projects and using the GTD style try to keep the next action on my list.  Honestly this makes me sound super organized, but my priorities change constantly so I usually feel a bit chaotic. 

I find that what works best for me is that every night before I leave work, I just figure out what the most important thing to do the next day is and limit myself to three things max on the plan for the day. (read about the 1-3-5 rule)  Less if I have more than 4 hours of meetings. In the morning I make sure nothing has happened to change that plan and then start working on those items first. I get a lot more done than just those things throughout the day usually and do try to follow the rule of if it takes less than 2 minutes just do it instead of adding it to a list or calendar. (That's where Carrot can get fun - getting credit for all those little things you do.) If I don't start like that my whole day becomes responding to emails and drop-bys.


Deb's favorite notebook, the Moleskine Cahier

Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

Deb: Within arms reach is always water, some sort of toy, a plant, my phone, a notebook, and folders for active projects. I try to keep my desk fairly clean so I can spread out projects and not lose my keyboard. I keep my computer on a stand and use the notebook screen for Slack and email and then use the large display for whatever I'm working on. I use Chrome and have multiple profiles set up for my different roles so I can change between "People" and it keeps all the logins for that profile in one place.

Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?

Deb: Usually I just listen to the hum of my co-workers and music from our kitchen/lounge. Sometimes I'll put the headphones on and start a Pandora station. I've tested out Focus at Will and found it helpful as there are a lot of distractions in our open plan office, but usually the general hum is energizing. I love music so it can be more distracting for me than office noise.  Plus, I'll spend way too much time trying for the perfect playlist.


Leigh: What's your best time-saving trick?

Deb: Reminding myself that perfect is the enemy of good. Just get it done, get it out there and improve upon it. Spending time in startups has taught me that quick iterations trump long planning and execution in dynamic environments.


Leigh: How do you balance work and life?

Deb: We have a cultural value at Spredfast called "Freesponsibility" - basically the marriage of freedom and responsibility. There is a high level of trust given that you will get your work done and be responsible for your commitments to the company and in return we are given the freedom to do it our way. So I may spend the morning working from home but getting up early to be on UK time for travel planning, and then have a lunch appointment out, then work in the office or from a coffee shop for a few hours before heading home.  I may come in at  7 (not typical - see the morning person note) and work until 3:30 and head out early.  I may come in at 10am and work until 7pm (more typical for me). But I know as long as I make critical meetings and meet the goals I've been given I can work around what I need to do personally. 

I also balance at a high level by setting goals for myself each year for the people I want to spend more time with, the things I want to have accomplished when the year is done, and the places I want to go. I keep those goals in mind each week and if I haven't seen someone on my list in a few weeks, I make it a priority to spend time with them. If I haven't had a trip in a few months, I start planning my next one. And if I haven't made progress on one of my goals, I block out some time to get some next steps done.

Leigh: What's your sleep routine like?

Deb: Well, left to my own devices I would stay up into the wee hours and sleep until noon - that's what I do on vacation. But during an average work week, I try to get off the computer (and phone) by around 10/11 to start settling down. I try to be in bed by 11 and reading so ideally will be asleep by midnight, but it doesn't always work like that - live music shows, watching that next episode on Netflix, or really engaging books often keep me up past my bedtime. I wake up between 6am-8am most mornings during the week. (Sleeping later if I'm working from home or don't need to be in the office until 10 I sleep as late as possible on the weekends.)

Leigh: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Deb: I'm a social introvert, an expressive introvert. I'm not shy and have no fear of public speaking or crowds, but they do drain me so I need time to recharge. If I get overwhelmed I find a corner and stare at my phone until I can leave. I have found that I must have at least 1 day a week where I don't have to leave the house or deal with people much to function at my peak. That down day, which usually involves a lot of reading, swimming, Netflix, and cats, gives me enough of a recharge to last the week.


Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

Deb:  I love quotes and have a few that have become mantras to live by - here are 3 of my favorites.


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Thanks so much Deborah de Freitas for taking time out of your very busy schedule to share your workstyle! We look forward to hearing about the continued success of Spredfast's internal and external communities.

Please take a moment to say "hi" to Deb and thank her for such a great interview!