Virtual Interview

Tell us a little about yourself.

Right now I am working at Milwaukee's public access TV stations. It is an amazing place to work. Truly something different every day, an incredible array of personalities to interact with, and its all based on an amazing idea of giving the average citizen the power to create and air their own television programs.

I grew up in Whitefish Bay and I graduated from UWM in 1994 with a major in Mass Communications. I did the fast food thing in high school and college, finding advancement at every location. I moved into a full-service marketing company while in college, getting a variety of experiences: from fulfillment, to exhibits, working with clients, etc.

I hope you feel you can find the real me in this web resume and get a good idea of what to expect from me.

What kind of position are you looking for?

I want to find a position where I can bring my skills to bear in new ways and with new challenges. I want to be able to make an impact with the skills I have and learn some new ones along the way.

What I believe I excel at Ė what I think Iím uncommonly better at than most Ė can be summed up as project coordination. I can track the details, anticipate what hasnít been thought of and do what needs to get done. On a number of occasions Iíve been the go-to person who had to dig into the new software and then create procedures and manuals to instruct the rest of the staff.

Iíve had a wide range of writing/design assignments, creating newsletters, annual reports, news releases and internal forms.

If you look through all my work experience, youíll see plenty of ďpeople skills.Ē I work with the general public every day. I also sit on the board of directors of Community Shares. In my current position Iím a teacher an advisor, an interviewer, a facilitator.

I believe with the flexibility my skill set allows that I would be a very valuable asset in a range of positions or those positions with a wide variety of duties under one umbrella.

Why are you looking for a job?

Itís only when you sit down to start a job search that you realize just how time has gone by. Actually, itís also because Iíve been quite busy. There has always been the ďnext big projectĒ on the horizon. Between promotions, new equipment, an international conference, the negotiations for a 17-year contract with the City of Milwaukee, the addition of a contract with the North Shore suburbs and a relocation, the time is going to go by quickly. And now, for the first time, there are no ďnext big projects.Ē I feel like MATA is settled for a while and it is a good time to look for more challenges.

I will miss MATA. Working in public access is, in the truest sense of the word, a unique environment. I'm proud of what I've done. And hey, how often do you get - are required to have - a TV in your office?!

What would your bosses say are a good thing and a bad thing about your work performance?

All right. Bad thing first. I am very straight-forward and focused on doing the best job I can. I take criticism well and I can dish it out. I can see when ideas are better than mine and I can take that. I have the expectation that others can take these things as well as I can, but sometimes people misinterpret this pursuit of the common goal as a coldness that I don't intend, especially when they first get to know me. Soon people come to realize where I'm coming from, and I think they appreciate my efforts.

Now, a good thing. One good thing is the flip side of what I spoke of in the previous paragraph. As people get to know me, they trust my take on things. They know they can go right to the point and that we can get the best job done. I work hard. I am always working. I do not spend hours surfing the web or killing time. I would much rather keep busy. I must meet (and hopefully exceed) my own expectations.

I have received promotions at each and every job I've held. That seems to be an objective statement about how my bosses felt about me.

What kind of manager do you see yourself as?

I feel two of my strongest elements are my openness and my fairness. I believe that open communication is essential to a good workplace. I want people to know what they can expect from me through consistent decision-making. Objectivity, even-handedness and a willingness to listen make everyoneís work easier.

And I lead by example. I demand no more in the work habits of those around me that what I am willing to do myself. I exemplify what I expect from others.

Describe your purchasing experience.

I have done purchasing at my last two jobs. My current purchasing lines total roughly $30,000. I order items ranging from 79Ę to $575. I have researched new items. I have developed relationships with manufacturers as well as vendors. I have dealt with returns of new, damaged equipment and returns under warranty. I have maintained scrupulous records and databases of my purchases. And I have maintained my purchasing lines responsibly.

Describe your people experience.

Customer contact has been a vital part of each and every one of my jobs, from my first work experience at McDonald's to my current job at Milwaukee's public access channels.

The McDonald's I worked at was in Glendale, between North Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay. It was a real blending point for people of widely divergent backgrounds and lifestyles. This was not only true of the customers, but also the crew. It was amazing to watch people open up to each other and work together. Also, I was a trainer. I would take people who had never worked before and teach them not only how to do the job, but initiate them into the world of work.

At my previous job with a marketing company, I worked directly with a number of clients as part of the Fulfillment Department. I oversaw special and ongoing projects, from 5000 piece mailings to maintain clients' literature storage and direct mail campaigns, to assisting with client's internal communications.

At my current position, the most compelling part of our customer base is again the diversity. Literally any resident of the City of Milwaukee and seven North Shore suburbs can come to our facility and take our training. However, one common trait among our users is a strong emotional commitment to the message they MUST convey. These are people who believe in what they're doing very strongly and that can make interactions a challenge, but always interesting.

In every job I've had, customer service and people interactivity have been crucial. I couldn't succeed if my people skills weren't up to par.

Describe your personnel experience.

I have been involved in all aspects of personnel oversight. I have participated in interviews and in selecting new hires. At all of my jobs, part of my responsibility has been staff training. Staff evaluation is also part of what I do. And yes, regrettably, I've been part of a team that has made termination decisions.

I am an open and fair manager. I make my expectations clear both through my words and through my own example.

Do you like working in a fast-paced environment?

Absolutely. If you work in a busy environment (or keep yourself busy if youíre self-directed), you will STAY busy even when things slow down. You get more done, time passes faster and work is more enjoyable. People who do as little as possible have a miserable time, canít handle the work level when it gets busy and their day goes by soo slowly.

I donít expect anyone, myself included, to enjoy every task they must perform at work. Thatís OK, thatís why itís called work. But I think that if you keep busy, not only will you accomplish more, your time goes by more quickly and you are more satisfied.

What do you like best and worst about your current position?

What I like least: When our users try to deceive us. Public access is an amazing phenomenon. Anyone who lives in the communities we serve can come down, pay us $60 for membership and training, take two classes and walk out with $15,000 worth of professional video equipment, to make whatever kind of TV show they want to, and air it on over than 117,000 homes. Pretty amazing. And pretty precarious. One determined politician could potentially shut us down. And yet, users have violated rules that could get our facility shut down for personal profit or vanity. Such shortsightedness (where will they make their next program if the facility is shut down? Where will the other 500 producers go?) and lack of understanding about the fragility of public access is unfathomable to me. Luckily, those occasions have be rare, because of our efforts to educate our users.

What I like best: What first attracted me to MATA was the IDEA of public access. I do believe in the First Amendment. I believe in the marketplace of ideas. I believe that mass media are becoming increasingly oligopolistic and that makes places like public access more important because stories are told there that can't be told at mainstream media stations. Access users also become more savvy viewers of TV. Not all of MATA's users come up with highbrow programs, but even these still inform.

Could you describe your computer experience?

The easiest way to get an overview of my computer experience, is to jump to that part of the listing in my Skills Index.

Could I see some samples of your writing?

Click Here for a copy of the MATA newsletter.
Click Here to see a News Release.
Click Here for an internal form.
Click Here for another form.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If you look at my past jobs, you'll see I do not flit from job to job. I imagine that five years from now I will be at the job I take as a result of this job search. I want to grow. How? Through a large company? In a more high-end client environment? I am not limiting my options. A new environment is the key. One where I can build on the strengths I have and evolve through new experiences. Finding a company where I can do those things is where I want to be five years from now.

Are you willing to travel to work?

Commuting is not a problem. For years, I drove from home in Waukesha, to work in New Berlin, and then on to UWM for night classes. And occasional travel for work is a great as a change of pace. It re-energizes you.

When can you start?

It would be roughly two weeks, depending on the day of the week, so I could give my present employer notice.

Leave your own question for Patty.

Click here to email Patty.
You will receive a response in less than 48 hours and it may get added to this virtual interview!

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