Alicia is the Executive Assistant at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and one of our finalists for the 2017 Office Hero of the Year Award! She’s worked across a bunch of different industries throughout her career, but administration has been the common thread between all of her jobs. According to Alicia, every job she’s had has helped her develop new skills and played a role in landing her where she is today.
We had a chance to chat with Alicia to learn about her background and some of her Office Hero tricks.
What’s your favorite time-saving trick?
When you’re working with a busy executive who is either on the road or in back-to-back meetings, you have to find a way to be efficient when you have time together. My best time-saving trick is to have a hot list ready of the things I need to talk to Bill about. I don’t have to sort through notes to figure out what my top line items are to ask him. They are ready at all times, which means I can make the most of any time we have to chat. And if that time to catch up is his three-minute walk between meetings or across campus, I’ll walk with him with my hot list in hand.
What is your workspace setup like? Is there any tool or device that you can’t live without?
My workspace is in the student center so the staff and I sit in an open area. It’s great to have that kind of visibility, but I often use the phone booth rooms we have whenever I need to focus for a period of time. For my work style, it’s nice (and necessary!) to be able to close a door and have time to focus and knock things off my list.
One of our favorite tools in the office is our laminating machine! We print off funny memes and team pictures, laminate them, and hang them up around the office.
“Alicia enables EVERYONE in the center to function effectively by keeping Bill on task, maximizing his time to accomplish everything he needs to do, and ensuring staff have the info they need to do their jobs. Our office would be absolutely lost without her.”
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love that my job is different every day. We have visitors from all over the world who come in who are interested in MIT or entrepreneurship. I love working with the students and visitors. There’s a great energy in the office and it’s never boring.
In our experience, office heroes are constantly busy and wear a lot of hats. How do you stay focused at work?
When things feel overwhelming, I stay focused by taking a few minutes for myself. I’ll go outside and walk around the block. I focus on my breathing, which really re-energizes me. It’s important to take that small amount of time to reset.
Office snacks: sweet or salty?
Salty snacks! We try to bring in snacks that are unique and make it a conversation piece.
How do the personal relationships you have at work help you maintain your office hero status?
I’ve found that positive attracts positive. You have to respect where you work and the people you work with. In the end, it makes everything run smoother. When you foster good working relationships, it also may help you land more opportunities down the road.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandmother always told me that you get further with honey than you do with vinegar. To paraphrase: always be kind. You never know what other people are going through and it’s important to approach each day with that in mind.
Who’s your hero?
I’m lucky to work with students and entrepreneurs who are working on technologies to make the world a better place for those who need it most. I find them exceptionally inspirational and they are my heroes. We have teams working on innovative ways to combat depression, communicate with ALS patients, and improve heart health. I love being able to support people who are working to improve the lives of others.
Do you think Alicia should win Office Hero of the Year? Make sure you vote for her here! The winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.