We’re lucky to have some incredible people on our team (if we do say so) and they’re the wheels that keep this bus going. As we look towards toward the future, we are thrilled to announce the promotions of four of our staff.

Jessica Brinks // Senior Program Manager

Since 2016, Jessica has consistently taken on new programs. She has demonstrated a willingness to learn and lead that will serve her well in her new role as Senior Program Manager. Jessica will begin to take on larger and more complex programs. Her future is bright!

Beau Carter // Logistics Manager

Beau began his career at STS in 2016 and has demonstrated his commitment to the company ever since. As he moves from Logistics Coordinator to Logistics Manager, Beau will continue to utilize his skillset to procure vehicles for the Program Management team. In addition, he will work with the team to ensure proper pre-event and on-site execution.

Colleen Chase // Director of Operations

Colleen has a proven track record of training and guiding a new generation of Program Managers. In her new role as Director of Operations, she will continue to provide the level of service clients have come to expect, while also formally cultivating and managing the Program Management team. Her attention to detail, commitment to the company and willingness to lead others will serve her well as she continues to grow at STS.

Kym Thomas // Director of Executive Services

We are formally launching an Executive Services division of the company in the coming months (stay tuned!).  Kym has not only taken on this growth with eagerness, she has excelled at providing clients with top-notch high-touch service. The decision to transition Kym from Senior Account Manager to Director of Executive Services was an easy one. She will lead this new department with the same dedication to excellence she has shown since she started with STS in 2006.

Each year, we decide on a theme for our team to focus on throughout the year. This year’s theme is “connection.” We are committed to seeking out deeper conversations and connecting with the people in our lives. Whether they are people we have known for many years, people we have just met or people we are yet to meet, we strive to remember that connection is what keeps us together, growing and strong.

We want to connect to stay in touch, to impact the lives of others and to serve using the principles of Servant Leadership. Most importantly, we want to look into people’s eyes and faces instead of down at our screens.

Real connection is a process that can be hard in today’s world. However, our team is committed to reclaiming connection in its many forms.

Cheers to 2019!

Anyone who knows anything about us knows we are not at all shy about singing the praises of our team. After all, our exceptional team is the not-so-secret ingredient to our thriving company culture. And that leads us to what this blog post is about – personal goals, professional growth, and our company culture.

We took a hard look at what company culture actually is and what it means to us. If you subscribe to any business publication, you’ve probably read an article or two about company culture. But have you ever stopped to wonder, “what the heck is company culture?” We did.

We did a lot of research and settled Matt Blumberg’s definition:

“Culture is the collection of business practices, processes, and interactions that make up the work environment.”

If you look at culture from this perspective, it is an inevitable aspect of any company, regardless of whether it’s intentionally nurtured or passively observed. One thing is for sure – our team does not sit on the sidelines. We make things happen! That’s why we decided to take an active role in cultivating and developing our people and foster personal and professional development.

Our goal is to build a culture founded on continuous learning. We asked each employee to set 3 personal and/or professional goals, and we helped fund a portion of those goals. We’re pretty proud of what they accomplished. Check it out.

2017 Team Goal Highlights:

Bethany Arthur (Sr. Logistics Manager) knew that she was most at peace when she was gardening but was unable to maintain one because of her travel schedule. So, she brought the garden to work. She and Liz DeJesus (Marketing Manager) combined their budgets and enlisted the help of Beau Carter (Logistics Coordinator) to make the first ever Stewart Transportation Solutions community garden.

Surprise outcome: Beau discovered he actually has an interest in gardening! And just last week, as we began preparing the 2018 garden, Beau could be found collecting worms in the parking lot.

Jessica Brinks (Program Manager) set out to get her Group Fitness Instructor Certification. And great success! She received her certification in November 2017.

Kym and Roman Thomas (Sr. Account Manager / Program Manager) pledged to live life more fully outside of work, and with their schedules it nearly seemed impossible! But they took a whirl at a cooking class as a more experiential date night and took two proper vacations together to Costa Rica and Cancun.

Jazz Godard (Sales & Marketing Coordinator) read over 55 books in 2017, just 5 books shy of her 60 book goal.  She also set the ambitious goal of buying a rental property and accomplished that goal in February of 2018.

Colleen Chase (Sr. Account Manager) felt a calling to become more of a culture beacon. In doing so, she decided to work on building her coaching and mentoring skills. She is responsible for mentoring several people on the team!

Liz DeJesus set out to get back into running by signing up for a 5K by April 30, 2017. She crossed the finish line on April 15, 2017 and hasn’t stopped running since.

Anke Bieler (Program Manager) is one of those people who wants to learn…and then learn some more. She decided to take MIT’s “Introduction to Computer Science and Programming using Python” and received her certificate of completion in 2017.

Lacy Dainwood (Finance Manager) wanted to grow into her new role by enhancing her knowledge of Quickbooks. She passed her QB course with an A and is on to the next course!

Al Fernandez (Sr. Field Manager) took strides at being more organized at work and home. He even got a personalized planner to help him along the way. He is staying committed to this goal in 2018!

Brandon Terpstra (Director of Nat’l Accounts) had high hopes to read a book a month last year. Instead, he found a love for educational and informative podcasts! We say, FAIR TRADE! He’s now entertaining the idea of audiobooks in 2018.

While 2017 was focused primarily on personal goals and individual growth, we’re designating 2018 as the year of professional development and company growth. Although some individual missions and objectives have continued into this year, we are excited to transition into a new chapter of goal planning: setting SMART goals & KPIs.

Company perks like our garden, afternoon run club, and goal-setting assistance certainly contribute to a healthy company culture and that’s why we offer them to our employees. The evolution of our goals program and an emphasis on continuous learning helps us keep that culture spark alive. So… what does your company culture say about your organization? We want to know!

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By Connect Staff, May 4, 2017 for Connect Association

Colleen Chase, 30, works in Seattle as senior account manager at Stewart Transportation Solutions Inc. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Chase discusses her passion for the events industry.

What I do: I plan, coordinate and execute transportation logistics for conferences and events all around the country for up to 50,000 attendees. We bridge the gap between event planners and the transportation industry. Our success is built upon strong and authentic relationships with our clients, vendor partners and staff. It’s my goal to make the attendee experience better through thoughtful transportation planning, as it is the first and last impression of an event or conference.

How I got here: I stumbled into working for this company and ended up falling in love. Since then, I have gone from contactor to program manager to senior program manager and, most recently, senior account manager.

My greatest career accomplishment: I came into this business nine years ago with no experience in the events industry. I was very shy and introverted. Today, I am managing event budgets of over $1 million with teams of up to 125 people at a time.

Impressive stats: Last year, I saved our clients $90,000 on four large programs. The transportation component on an event is fluid, so I always try to find creative solutions to save our clients money.

A specific improvement I’ve made: A few years ago, I worked with one of our contract staff to develop a live ridership tool for our clients. They were blown away we could capture attendee bus ridership as it happened and watch it on their smartphones or laptops. Next, I was tasked by leadership to work with our web developer to make our beta Live Count program even better. Today’s version is amazing, and our clients love it.

What I’m working on: I am excited to manage several complex conferences over the next year with 20,000 to 30,000 attendees. Moving them from hotels to multiple venues is a challenge, but I love a good puzzle!

What I do outside of work: I love to do jigsaw puzzles, play board games and travel.

Senior Account Manager, Colleen Chase, with Brandon Terpstra, Director of National Accounts, at Connect Association’s 40 Under 40 Breakfast in New Orleans, LA. #ConnectMP

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By Liz DeJesus, Marketing Manager

Welcome Back (hopefully)!

In my previous post, I touched on the social media dilemma I experienced as a time-strapped employee of a small business. I’ve come up with some advice that I hope you will find helpful as you embark on your own social media journey.

Let’s start off with a brief and simplified summary of what I think the experts would say a proper B2B social media strategy should include.

Develop Social Media Strategy – should include goals, platforms, audience, messaging, metrics, ROI, campaigns and content development.

Unique Content Curation– can be in the form of blog posts, giveaways, freebies, contests, videos, etc.

Create and/or Update all Platforms – for all platforms, update header graphics, descriptions, contact information, links, etc.

Create Publishing Schedule – create calendar based on unique content and known company milestones, product releases, developments.

If you think you can do all of this, then you most certainly should. The experts will tell you that you should do all of the above and then some. However, my reality was a bit different and I think many of you might find yours to be a bit different as well.

I was finding it hard to understand where our company fit in with all of the guidelines. Our target audience isn’t huge – meeting planners don’t make up a huge portion of the population – and we provide a pretty niche service for the industry (a service that doesn’t get a lot of attention!). That being said, pursuing a strategy that encompassed all of the “right” things to do seemed pretty irrational.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about small business social media.

Get Staff on Board

This can be a doozy. Many businesses are blessed with a tech-savvy staff who are fully engaged with social media. They understand the different platforms, how they work and the languages of each. Then there are the businesses made up of folks who do not view social media as a priority. And of course, there are the businesses who are mix of both.

Regardless of where your company falls on this spectrum, it is important for your entire staff to have a basic understanding of social media as it relates to them professionally. We had a meeting at the beginning of this social endeavor and explained how social media can benefit our company and our bottom line. We connected the dots for everyone and made sure they were comfortable with our direction. The more they understand, the more likely they are to get excited and provide valuable, share-worthy information with you.

This was incredibly important for our team because I am pretty dependent on them to provide me with content. They are on the front line of what we do. They have the stories, the pictures and they are the essence of what we do and who we are as a company.

Know Your Voice

Figure out what your social media voice is going to be and stick with it. Is it informative? Playful? Funny? Direct? Serious? A mix? Regardless of what your voice sounds like, try to keep it consistent. Think about it, would you want to befriend a person whose personality changed from one day to the next? Nope. Not up for that roller coaster ride.

It’s About YOUR Brand

That’s right, when it comes to social media, your business is sort of a big deal. That means that while it’s important to connect with your audience, success is directly linked to how you (the individual tasked with the company’s social media) connect with social media. Do you know the brand? If you don’t understand the heart and soul of what the company stands for, what your coworkers do on a daily basis and what your industry is like, then this just won’t work.

I have found it incredibly helpful to get on the ground with our program managers. I have worked the curb with them, stood in the rain with them, put in 15 hour days with them, worked with clients and bus companies, and seen just how hard they work to make our company successful. Because of this, I have a much better understanding of our company and our brand.

Be Realistic

Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t do it all. The most important piece of advice I can give to anyone starting out in social media is to figure out what works best for you. Spend some time deciding which social media platforms you want to focus on and determine exactly how much time you can dedicate to each. You should probably know going into it that you will experience some guilt and feel like you could be doing more, if there were only more hours in the day! You’ve got a lot on your plate and spreading yourself too thin won’t help anyone.

Social media is important but it can be overwhelming. Remember, you are a human being who is doing your best with the resources at hand. Pay attention to the trends and what’s going on but don’t let what someone else says define your social media strategy. Be original and try not to be too afraid to take the plunge. Social media should be FUN!

Headquarters

2814 Columbine Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37204

Toll Free 888-292-6040
Seattle Office 425-502-8018
Fax 615-292-4887

sts@stewarttransportation.com