My Role: Sally Strebel
Title: Founder + COO of Pagely
My role at Pagely encompasses many things. I’m proudest of helping to build and maintain an utopian work environment for teammates which in turn benefits our clients. The Pagely adage imitates the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This may sound simplistic; however, to accomplish this goal with various personalities, our environment must encompass trust, kindness, knowledge, and honor.
To establish trust among our team and clients, I’ve understood that it’s not a solo endeavor. One of my favorite stories to tell was when we actually had an outage. It only lasted a couple of minutes and took place about 9 months ago. Bad days happen, but how do you recover when at the same time, thousands of people are wondering what’s going on?
About 3 years ago, we formulated our crisis management protocol. We revisit our protocol every few months to see if we need to make changes. When the outage happened, about 85% of our staff starting working on the problem. This is a big deal because that’s a lot of people from different time zones who care about Pagely clients. It was one of my proudest moments. No one fought and everyone knew what to do. Emotions were calm because we trusted each other and our abilities. If we would have lost our cool, the outage could have been longer.
This segues into the fact that we have each other’s backs. Our team knows that if a client acts abusive to any of them, that we will recommend a different host for that client. Josh (Pagely’s CEO) and I have a short fuse when it comes to abuse. Our team chooses which clients stay or go. Also, our team knows that if we make a mistake, we fall on our sword, take responsibility, fix quickly, learn from the mistake, and never make it again. Trust provides strong relationships, integrity, safety, and open communication. Our clients can trust that we’re not like most hosting companies. We really care about their success.
Kindness matters in business. I’m not giving out swag, I’m giving a gift. That gift will hopefully have meaning and produce a feeling. I put a lot of thought into this. At times, we’ll give away hosting when someone really needs it. It’s nice if they have a non-profit, but not always necessary. I need to understand that a person see’s the value of what my team provides. It’s not always easy diagnosing problems that have been plaguing a site, especially when large sites are maxing out WordPress plugins and theme capabilities, when the site owner doesn’t want to hear about those problems. We started role-playing different situations during our meetings in order to increase our empathy and compassion for our clients and team. It’s fun to see both sides and it’s quite hilarious. Kindness for other people is a strong value we hold.
We believe firmly in family first. If it’s a child’s birthday, we hope our Pagely team member spends the day with their kiddo. If someone has a baby, we offer parental leave. This should be standard and I’m very passionate about the subject. Our team understands that they may need to pick up the slack while someone is on paternity leave but they also know that the favor will be returned.
We also have kindness toward competitors. When they are having a bad day, we don’t ambulance-chase, and we don’t intentionally bid on their brand name for google searches. We also host our annual Pressnomics conference that includes business owners and the higher-ups of the most popular plugin, theme, security, and hosting companies. We share our knowledge, time, contacts, and environment in an attempt to make WordPress better for all who use the software.
We create an environment that shares knowledge. Although society appreciates titles, we find them somewhat silly. Titles can establish seniority and distance. We value service and accessibility. In order to keep operations moving smoothly, people must feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Due to the brilliance of the group, we choose our company’s direction together. This allows us to have more insight than if we only considered a few people’s thoughts.
Pagely is not one single person. It is an idea that we can build something greater than what standards allow. This ideal keeps our egos in check. I don’t need to tell someone how to care because I work with people who have the most heart. Since we have not procured funding, we understand that if we do what is right, than the money will come. We don’t need to extort our client’s piggy-banks or seal the deal with a contract only to have people find that the sales process was the best part. That means that we honor our commitments to ourselves, our clients, and our teammates.
My Role in all of this
In closing, my role at Pagely allows me to be everywhere and nowhere. It allows me to voice our company brand in a way that softens the enterprise hardness. The former mentions are what I’m most proud of helping to build, but I also manage and structure meetings, provide some HR, make high level decisions, provide vision, sell that vision, offer marketing assistance, check in on the effectiveness of the teams, and create structure for documentation purposes, to name just a few functions.