Operations Interview with Chloe Roloson
Updated: Nov 8, 2019
At the end of our first Praxis module, we were asked to look at the four roles at a startup and see which one best suited us. I personally liked the role of Operations, as it is a role that centers around organization and planning, and is focused on the inter-workings of the business.
We were then asked to reach out to someone in our preferred role type and conduct an interview about the role. I contacted someone named Chloe Roloson. The following is the paraphrased interview:
Are you happy you chose the operations role?
I am. It was a little different for me because I started my own brand with
Clam Chowder, so I came in by myself at the beginning and had to build my own team, and operations was the first role.
When you originally started Praxis did you know this was the kind of role you wanted to go into?
I was in this role before I started Praxis. You'll find in smaller companies everybody is doing operations.
What does this role entail with your day to day activities?
A lot of logistics. Clam Chowder is a brand that will go and interview artists and our goal is to give artists a platform to share their stories and how they have gotten to where they are. We also provide online workshops that demonstrate how to get involved with different art forms. So as far as logistics it's getting people who are willing to be interviewed, setting up a time, I organize all the equipment, I run the social media updates and announcements, take any questions, and plan all the workshops.
What is the hardest part of the operations role?
Working with people who don't initially have the same inspiration for whatever the goal is for our brand. Finding other people who were willing to commit time to something like this. Conveying to them they were going to get value out of it. Also organization. It doesn't come super naturally to me, so having to plan the logistics for a platform online is more difficult.
Has working more with it made it easier, or has Praxis helped?
Doing it has made it a lot easier for sure. Once you develop a routine, everything gets easier from there.
What's the most rewarding part of the job?
For me, it's working with a team. Clam Chowder's team is pretty close-knit. It's really cool working with a team of people who are as dedicated as you are. Also getting to work with different artists and hear their stories, and how they got to where they are and what inspires them.
Are there any negative stereotypes about this role you'd like to clear up?
There is a stereotype you have to be super organized to be successful in operations, and I would definitively say that's not true. You need to have some sense of organization, especially when working with others, but it's not like you have to be compulsively organized. Also, a lot of people automatically associate operations with management, as if they are always one and the same, and I don't think that's true. It's more than managing an office or planning an event. It's an inward version of customer success and marketing. You have to keep your team inspired to keep going towards your company's goal.
What do you think is the biggest skill to have in operations?
I think it's important to be a jack of all trades. And flexibility and adaptiveness. Being able to function in all sorts of situations, and being able to solve problems you've never faced before. Have enough confidence to know you'll be able to handle whatever situation you face.
Does operations vary company to company?
It varies a lot because, in a basic sense, operations is just making things work, whatever that may be. For an online company like mine, it's mostly contact or marketing related. But for a physical company, it might be stocking shelves or building buildings.
Do you think operations is the most important foundational role?
For me, yes. Finding the initial team, figuring out where the business is going, and figuring out what your product is, all of that I would say is a lot of operations.
From this interview, I'm more confident with my choice of operations. Chloe let me know that it's a role with flexibility and a lot of different opportunities. I'm more excited about going into it.