Here at Attentive, we’re proud of the talented people who make this company a great place to work. Our ongoing series, Attentive All Access, highlights the extraordinary members of our team to share a glimpse of who we are and what it’s like to be part of our company.
For our latest edition, I chatted with Jamell Watson, Office Operations Manager, to learn about his role at Attentive and how it’s shifted amid COVID-19. Born in New York and raised in Florida, Jamell graduated from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Journalism.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from New York. When I was eight years old, I moved to Orlando, Florida and was raised there by my grandparents. I attended college at Florida A&M University, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). College was the best experience of my life. From growing up in a predominantly white, suburban neighborhood and attending a predominantly white school, going to an HBCU was the opposite of what I was used to. I was able to feel embraced by people who looked like me, and I was gaining perspective of what life would be like after school. Upon graduation, I traveled a bit, worked in Canada, moved to Georgia, and eventually made my way back to New York.
What are some of your hobbies outside of the office?
I love working out, though I’ve slowed down a bit due to COVID-19. I was a big “gym junkie.” I would be in the gym six days a week for at least two hours, and I lost over 80 pounds! Although I’ve kind of lost that vigor to keep going because the gyms are still closed, it’s the people at the gym who motivate me—that’s where I really come alive.
What’s your role at Attentive?
I’m an Office Operations Manager, as part of a larger team, who I would say is like the “skeleton” of the company—my role is one of the most essential parts. Even amid the pandemic when our office is closed, we’re taking care of logistics and sending work-from-home equipment to employees that the company is supplying to make sure our teams are set up comfortably—like desks, chairs, monitors, and accessories.
During “normal” times when our office is open, we take care of the day-to-day activities—like stocking the kitchens with snacks and drinks, organizing the daily lunch catering, setting up our “All Hands” company-wide meetings, and helping new employees get started on their first day. My team is responsible for pretty much anything that makes your time at work more enjoyable and productive.
How has your role changed since COVID-19 required Attentive to go completely remote?
We’re still responsible for office management, but that’s become a more minor role for us. Kellie Valladares, who’s my manager and Attentive’s Senior Director of Operations, has created a space for us to contribute to the company in other impactful ways while working remotely. For example, we’re currently supporting a big research project that will benefit various teams at Attentive.
You’ve gotten to “Spin the Wheel” at Attentive twice (something reserved for our “Attentive All Stars” each month, or a reward for winning a special company competition)—the only person to have ever spun it twice! What do you think helped you achieve this?
The “Spin the Wheel” activity has been a fun addition to Attentive’s culture—where someone (or a group of people) gets to spin our virtual wheel to win a prize. The first time I spun the wheel was when I submitted my picture with Beyoncé for our celebrity photo competition.
The second time, our whole Operations team won the “Attentive All Star” award for the support we’ve provided to the company as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our workforce.
I think company recognition is really important. It gives you a purpose at work and the energy to keep pushing forward—which is especially important right now during the pandemic. Feeling like you’re doing a good job while working remotely—and being recognized for that—is a reward in and of itself, wheel or not! It gives you the confidence you need to keep going.
What does being “attentive” mean to you?
For me, being attentive is really listening from the three pillars: your eyes, ears, and heart. I really care about people, and I think when you open up and get to know people at their core, you can understand their needs and anticipate them.
What advice do you have for others who are looking to grow a career in Operations?
Attentive is a growing company. We’re moving quickly, and every day is different, so you have to learn how to adapt. For example, I didn’t anticipate that I’d transition to be working in a Sales Operations capacity and supporting a research project, but I’m adjusting. My job has pivoted to something that still has a meaningful impact on the company, so my advice is to learn how to quickly adapt to change, no matter your role.