Employee Spotlight: Alyssa Ozimek-Maier | WordStream
WordStream has some impressive employees in our ranks: from industry influencers to marathon runners, from analysts to authors. The Employee Spotlight series aims to highlight the talented individuals who work here. Each month, we’ll be featuring an interview here on the blog and on our social accounts.
For this month’s Employee Spotlight, we’re featuring Alyssa Ozimek-Maier. Originally from Texas, Alyssa’s lived across the country—in San Francisco, in Chicago, and, of course, here in Boston. As the business partner at WordStream, Alyssa works to balance the needs of the company with the needs of individual employees. We talked with Alyssa about her role, her cooking, her capsule wardrobe, and more.
How did you hear about WordStream? Why did you want to work here?
I actually found the job posting through LinkedIn, and I fell in love with the job description. The title of the People Success team alone stood out. Most of the time the team is referred to as human resources, and another new one is human capital—those names sound so bureaucratic and policy-focused. The title alone just sounded uplifting and innovative—everything that I wanted to take the next step in my career. When I came in for the interview and when I first started, the environment was positive and forward-thinking. It’s really about the people, not about the policies.
What’s your favorite thing about working on WordStream?
The people, first and foremost. I think the people I work with here at WordStream are genuinely some of the most positive and interesting people that I’ve ever met. The people are incredibly talented and so driven, and I find that really inspiring to be around on a day-to-day basis, especially given the young demographic. I’m so in awe of everybody and their dedication.
I think the other thing about WordStream—another reason why I wanted to work here in the first place—is the core values. The company has a mission. Coming from nonprofit and mission-based work for basically the last decade of my career, I really didn’t want to just go into any corporate environment. It was really refreshing to see a corporate environment with that kind of focus and commitment to its core values. WordStream really celebrates its core values on a day-to-day basis, and that’s another reason why I really like working here.
What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on during your time here so far?
I’ve been working on building career ladders for the product and engineering team, and that’s been challenging for a few reasons. One challenge has been getting to know each team and its unique needs and structures. Another has been finding ways to benchmark these structures and career ladders. With ecommerce products, we’re working in a relatively new area, so finding the research and data to support the changes we’re making or the paths we’re defining hasn’t been easy.
What’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on here at WordStream?
I’ve really enjoyed working on the internship program. I’ve gotten to work with Michelle Cataldo, who does our corporate social responsibility, and she’s been working for the last year on building this internship program. This is the first year where we’ve had 10 summer interns, and I think it’s also the first year where it feels like an intern program. Michelle ran a scavenger hunt on their first day so they could get to know their way around the office while getting to know each other, and they participated in Tech Jam’s Battle of the Interns yesterday.
A few of WordStream’s interns on the scavenger hunt.
The program has opportunities for the interns to form connections with each other and other interns in the industry, as well as connect them with opportunities and experience here at WordStream. It also makes for a really fun summer, getting to know the field better through the process.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned on the job?
Time management. I thought I was good at time management before, but being the only business partner I’ve been rising to the challenge even more. I also started this position when my daughter was four months old, and it’s important to me to get home for meal time and bed time so that I can spend a couple hours each night with her. In my position, I also need to be open when people need me, which isn’t always 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Balancing being present in my role and also maintaining a work-life balance has taught me how to better manage my time.
What was your favorite class in school that you feel like you’ve used at work?
It was Greek history, and the instructor was just such a great orator that is it really was like story time. She told us this amazing history, not in any sort of textbook fact-finding way. That class was one of the reasons I ended up studying history as well as women and gender studies.
I’m incredibly interested in people in society and how it all works together, as well as how we as a society can help support individuals in their unique needs. That’s something I consider all the time in my role here.
What’s your workspace aesthetic like? Minimalist? Homey? Neat?
I like minimalism. I have a capsule wardrobe with a few rules for buying new clothes. Any piece needs to make me feel great in it—so I’d be fine wearing it running into an ex—and it needs to go with at least three other things I own. I like to keep things pretty clean, but I do have a few items always on my desk. I have this lovely little card that somebody who I used to work with gave me that just says, “You’re the shit.” It’s a little reminder to stay motivated.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work each morning?
I try to make tea, but that doesn’t always happen. I’ll usually scan my emails, and if someone needs my attention elsewhere, I jump right in.
What’s the first thing you do to relax when you get home each night?
Honestly, because I have a child under one, I just collapse on the couch as soon as my daughter goes to bed. I love cooking shows, like Chef’s Table and The Great British Baking Show. I went to culinary school originally, and I grew up with my mom’s cooking. She’s Korean, so she was always making interesting things, and I loved watching her. My husband and I went vegan nine years ago, and I love trying to recreate our old favorite meals. If I didn’t collapse on the couch each night, I’d cook and experiment. Right now, I just make whatever is fastest or whatever is soft enough for my daughter to eat, too.
Any hobbies or secret talents?
I love to travel. Right now, my husband and I are trying to figure out the first place that we’re going to take our daughter internationally. We’re being very picky about what our daughter’s first experience should be, even though it probably won’t be for another couple of years and she probably won’t remember it, anyway. It just feels significant. The top contenders right now are Berlin, because I was born in Germany and the city is supposed to have amazing vegan food, or Barcelona, because my husband grew up in Spain but has never been, so it’d be a chance to explore a new city and visit with his family.
Alyssa and her husband at her mother’s friend’s restaurant in South Korea.
What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?
Deadpool 2. I was pregnant, and it was days before I gave birth. Not the most sophisticated, but Ryan Reynolds is great.
If you didn’t work in digital marketing, what would you want to do?
I would work on the front lines in a non-profit. I used to work for an anti-human trafficking organization, and it became my whole life. I was a downer at parties when people asked what I did and I launched into the human trafficking going on so close to us. But it’s a passion of mine, and I still just keep gravitating toward being an advocate. If I were to do something else or after I retire, I’d want to be on the front lines and push the needle in a significant way.