Hi. I'm Erin Cardinal, Chief of Staff at TEN7.
I think a Chief of Staff role could look different at any company. At TEN7, I support the whole leadership team. If they need help with researching new ideas, planning, potentially even leading different corporate initiatives or projects, it's a lot of support.
What I bring to the table that makes me a good Chief of Staff, I think, is knowing a lot of tips and tricks that help to make sure that I never drop a ball, that I keep a lot of plates moving at the same time.
So, it's a lot of things like using tags in my email that I check routinely, setting a lot of really effective reminders and using software, like ToDoist, and other things to make sure that everything is where it needs to be.
I was working at a food service company for a very long time. And the pandemic had just caused me to, like a lot of other people, reevaluate my relationship to the amount of time I was spending at my job. And really, how I wanted to feel at the end of the day. It was a long time coming but the pandemic put my life under a bit of a focus.
And so, I cut ties, which was very hard. And I stepped off that ledge not knowing what I was going to do. But knowing that I wasn't doing what was really feeling good in my heart.
A friend of mine who knew I was looking for a new role, saw that Ivan, on I think Thanksgiving Day actually, posted that he was looking for an executive assistant. Anybody know anybody? My friend Kristen DM’d me and sure enough, I kind of waved at Ivan across Twitter, and look where we are now!
I started off as a part-time executive assistant, which was really what he had initially been looking for. And then true to TEN7’s values, he learned more about what I was about, saw that I had some additional skills and Ivan said, “well, have you thought about what you could do to bring a culinary component to your role?” And now we've built that in and I'm hosting quarterly food events, doing some cheffing for upcoming leadership retreats. It's just been absolutely wonderful.
I do really feel like I've been lucky since the day I was born. And I think it started with the fact that I was adopted as a baby. I had a great foster family for the first three months of my life. I got adopted into the most wonderful family anyone could ever dream for. I've had a lovely childhood upbringing, every aspect of my life, I've felt like I've landed in places where I truly felt honored and lucky at so many different places in my life. I wake up every day feeling lucky and happy to be here.
I definitely think that the things that I learned in the culinary world have carried over and served me well in other areas of my life. Things like speed. You got to always push yourself to go faster. In the kitchen you've only got X amount of time before service starts. It has to get done, it can't take an extra half an hour, you have to have it done by service. And so, you learn to really manage time super effectively.
Also in the kitchen, you have to be extremely organized and think ahead of time. You have to have prepped your food, and all of the ingredients to have everything ready and waiting for you or you can't work service. So, you've had to have a lot of pre-thought in what you're doing so that everything's going to run well.
What Make Things that Matter means to me is that we're all getting behind the same thing. We're all focusing on work that is going to make an impact for someone.
It's about keeping the focus front of mind that we want to have values alignment with our clients.
From the back side of things, since I'm working on admin type projects and corporate projects, I can see the way the values play out in that aspect that not everyone even knows. We're working on a project to become carbon neutral certified. And that's a major, major component of our values.
So I love that I get to truly, through my work, live out these values day-to-day with all these different projects I'm working on.
I have so much energy from the fact that the team is doing so much good.
It’s like a big team hug and we're all trying to move in the same direction. That's what it feels like. I'm not over here struggling to move the ball forward in one way and other people are fighting it or not. We’re all proactively throwing our whole selves into this. And it feels so good to wake up and to know that I've got our whole team out there feeling the same way as I do.
This post is part of a series of segments we are calling, TEN7 - Behind the Scenes. They provide a peek behind the curtain of the work we do, showcasing the technical and creative energy that is the “secret sauce” of TEN7. These posts allow our team to showcase their passion, lessons they have learned, and some of the tips and tricks that only come from dedication to their craft.
We hope this series will help you understand the makeup of our team, what it’s like to work with us, and how we might be able to help you! Call us.