I'm excited to introduce today's bitch because a lot of you know her, and she has a fascinating job that you probably don't know exists. I met Michaela around this time last year when we were invited to a bachelorette bike crawl. Most bike crawls ride to bars, but ours rode to coffee shops. The other ladies were worried about calories and gluten and Michaela was like, "I'm getting a donut at every single one of these places".
I've gotten to know Michaela over bike rides and visits to The Skillery and/or Steadfast Coffee and I enjoy her presence immensely. Michaela is a woman after my own heart, a woman who left a toxic work environment and found a way to be happy and work at the same time. When you meet Michaela, this comes across - her confidence and genuineness - and I respect the work that goes into choosing to live this way. Meet donut connoisseur and part-time T-Rex, Michaela Powell!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I am the (Coworking) Concierge at The Skillery.
How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I am not sure I knew this was what I wanted to do, but I knew it was something I could do. I was unemployed when I applied for this position and honestly, I was tired of applying for jobs that sounded plain and boring. I had stopped looking for a job in the administrative world and this job opportunity with The Skillery came across my path. The job description lined up with my personal values and for the first time, I felt fully equipped to come in and start implementing a welcoming environment and add more value to The Skillery.
What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?
All of the jobs I have had in the past six years have led to the next, typically from a previous connection I made with a person. I went from being a full-time graphic designer in Texas to loading my car and moving to Nashville to attend a show at the Ryman (The Civil Wars). I actually ended up working for a doggie bakery (See Spot Eat) and ice cream shop (Pied Piper Creamery) for about six months while pursuing Photography Assisting. During that time I accepted a job offer with Hatch Show Print. After I left Hatch I worked for another company and they fired me, that was something I didn’t see coming. However, being let go from such a toxic job allowed me to really consider what I wanted to offer a company and what type of work I wanted to be doing. I decided to label myself a Creative Liaison, because I enjoy working with creatives and making sure they have all they need to stay focused on the work they are creating. Shortly after I did this, my super amazing friend, Nieves (below) with Sawtooth Print Shop, reached out to me and told me about this job posting from The Skillery. Not sure of her exact quote, but it was along the lines of “this would be a perfect fit for you and them.”
Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?
I have two.
One thing we openly remind each other of at work is the Hell Yeah! motto… If your initial response to something isn't a “Hell Yeah!” then the answer is ‘No’. You shouldn't have to convince yourself to say yes to something if you aren't fully feeling it.
One of my favorite quotes, which came at a turning point for my life / career …
“There is a deep well of just wanting to be alive. I get super pumped to go to bed at night and excited to wake up the next day. And I love being alive. That is not a negligible part. That’s not a part of me that’s like silly, I’m putting that forward, that’s the first thing.” – Jenny Slate, interview with Marc Maron, WTF podcast.
After listening and taking many notes from this podcast, I decided the next job I accepted needed to give me life, every day. I was basically saying good-bye to jobs that take away and make aspects of life difficult.
Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?
Not asking good questions in an interview. Do your research on a company and be prepared to ask them questions. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Leading the interview may just get you the job.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
Spend more time in nature, away from the city.
What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?
Showing up, each day, ready for anything — with a smile. I don't think enough people get to say that about the work they are doing.
What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?
Not first thing, but typically Instagram or Utmost for His Highest.
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
Strength class at HotBox Fitness, a bike ride or just sitting outside on my porch, waving at neighbors walking by.
What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?
Getting to know our members. Let me explain…
When a person becomes a member, they are - most of the time - the only person from their team (remote) or working solo (freelance / entrepreneur). It would be easy for a person to sneak in, not make eye contact and just get work done.
I know names and faces, that should be the obvious part. However, I cannot stop with only names. I want to know people, therefore I must be present in every conversation. I want to know how people take their coffee, name of their spouse, pets they have (and names), where they just moved from, what type of bicycle they ride, what they enjoy doing in their free time, side projects they are working on. That is a standard I have set for myself. I want to know our members.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
Ha! Don’t let the title fool you…
Concierge is only part of what I do. Some days I am coordinator of meeting rooms and the studio, other days I am handling facility issues, and many days I am manager and connector of people. While being available to members is a large part, I still turn on lights, set the space, make coffee, do dishes, take out trash, give tours, answer emails, manage studio requests and make sure the building is working.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite
I love college basketball season, so naturally March Madness is when I am glued to the television.
Snacks?! I have so many, it really depends on the time of day...
• 10:00am, avocado with sea salt
• 2:00pm, apple with almond butter
• pre-workout, banana
• post-workout, refuel drink of some sort or go macro protein bar
• post dinner snack, if I am still hungry, I will make some stove pop popcorn. After all, I am from Nebraska.
All photos courtesy of Michaela Powell