Chief operating officers are often the unsung heroes of corporations. They are oftentimes the glue that holds some companies together during periods of rapid growth or transformation, such as turnover or staff promotions. A good chief operating officer needs to be a person of the people: she must be organized, able to mediate and communicate effectively, possess attention to detail, and have the ability to put out fires.
Our chief operating officer, Rachel Grubb, has all of these necessary skillsets and then some. We are extremely lucky to have her, and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t grateful for her dedication, commitment, and expertise.
Since Rachel is constantly working hard behind the scenes to ensure that operations run smoothly, we chose to interview her as a way of bringing her tremendous insight and skills into the spotlight for today’s blog post.
Where are you from?
My dad was in the Navy so we moved around a bit when I was younger. I spent most of my childhood in Rhode Island, Florida, and Connecticut. After college, I moved to Boston and eventually made my way to the North Shore.
What got you interested in project management?
What got me interested in project management is how complicated the creative process is. At Sperling, I think what helps differentiate us from other agencies is our ability to help clients visualize their projects and offer exceptional project management from start to finish. It’s a complex process, but I enjoy being a part of that process with clients. We really strive to be available to answer questions and adapt, and ultimately deliver a quality product. A lot of companies are getting more automated, but we work closely with our clients so that we can make sure the project is moving in a good direction.
What is your favorite thing about Sperling Interactive?
Working with our team. We have a talented team of writers, designers, and developers and that collaboration is the best part of the day. Whatever the project might be, I’m confident that we can turn it around on time and on budget. And they’re just a supergroup of dedicated and fun people. We ask a lot of them every week and they deliver.
What is your favorite Sperling project to date?
We’ve completed a lot of projects. It’s hard to choose one. Overall, I enjoy working with local nonprofits and helping in a small way to make their work easier, whether it’s revamping their websites or providing more online tools to ease their administrative responsibilities. I had a great time working with the people at Lifebridge and Bridgewell on their websites and I admire what they do every day, so those were gratifying projects. But, it’s really hard to pick a favorite project. I’m just thrilled when we wrap a project or launch a site, and clients send a kind note to say thank you. That’s always a great email to receive.
What have you gained from working at Sperling Interactive?
I’ve gained more insight into what it takes to maintain a business – and the amount of endless work that it requires. It’s been amazing to work with Mike and sort of glean his work ethic—which knows no bounds. I’ve been very grateful for the opportunities that he’s given me at Sperling. As challenging as our days can be at times, it’s satisfying and rewarding to help guide complex projects to the finish.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I was born in Naples, Italy. Or that I’m a whiskey fan. Recently, I got to taste an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B517. Tasty stuff.
What do you love about Salem?
Salem has it all. It’s a beautiful coastal town with an amazing museum, Peabody Essex. I also like to run and bike, so being able to leave my house and hop on a bike or take a run isn’t something that I’ve always been able to do. I had to drive everywhere. Now, the car stays put. It’s great not being reliant on a car.
What also pulled me to Salem was its diversity. Here, there are people in their 20s but also people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. I like going out here and seeing a mix of people.
Salem is also a city that embraces its diversity. When Mayor Driscoll terminated the contract with Gordon College, the City got national attention. But it’s important to call out discrimination and work to create a more inclusive city. And it’s evident that the Mayor and many people here work hard every day to keep Salem growing and thriving. It’s an exciting time to be living in Salem.
What is your key to a happy life?
Not sweating the small stuff. Not letting daily work stress interfere with enjoying time with family and friends. I can be better at this, but life is too short to be all about work. It’s important to unplug and unwind.
What do you like to do for fun?
Simple things. I like taking long bike rides. Reading books and listening to records with friends who have much better systems than I do. But the best fun is coming home after work and hanging out with my dog, Dakota. She’s just so happy and all she wants to do is to hang outside and watch the sunset. It’s a good way to end the day.
Our last employee interview was with our chief executive officer, Mike Sperling. If you’re a budding entrepreneur with agency dreams, you’ll love the tips he gives. You can read it here.