Jul 27, 2016in News
In Conversation: Precision's Laura Gaffey
Q: How did you wind up at Precision?
LG: I was previously at the DSCC for two years and met Jen [O’Malley Dillon] through that. She worked with the DSCC field program, where I did field budgets last cycle, and I ended up coming here after the election.
Q: Can you walk me through a typical day at Precision?
LG: The fun thing about operations is that every day it is different. Everyone says that! But with Ops you really never know what you’re going to get. You’re always juggling different priorities and trying to make everything happen, because you’re the hub of all the basic things we all take for granted that make everyone’s day-to-day work happen.
A typical day can involve anything from company budget work, hiring new employees, making sure client budgets are squared away, and ensuring we’re nimble enough to quickly respond to new client needs. I spend a lot of time with Microsoft Excel, reading contracts and doing invoices, but I’m always jumping around to different things, which keeps everything interesting. You get to move to a new task every ten minutes, which is fun.
Q: How do you manage to change tasks every ten minutes and stay sane?
LG: I would credit Emily and Elisabeth with my sanity. We work closely together and prioritize everything. The to-do list never ends, but we’re constantly making sure we’re always prioritizing the newest-most-urgent thing. We split things up and just get it done.
Q: What are some primary skills that folks on the operations team really need to have?
LG: A big part of it is managing people and working with everyone from our founding partners to the newest intern we’ve hired, while balancing a lot of competing interests. Being a multi-tasker is also very important – I’m never able to focus on just one thing all day, so it forces me to make sure I’m using my day efficiently so everyone is getting what they need.
It’s an interesting mix of soft skills — being able to master HR and develop the right employee culture — and quantitative skills like financial and budget. Oh, and you have to know how to use Excel.
Q: What’s your favorite memory or experience from working at Precision?
LG: What I love about Ops is getting to work with every single one of the smart, interesting people at our company. The people make Precision what it is, and I’m fortunate to get to work closely with all of Precision’s teams.
Q: Do you have a career highlight or accomplishment that you want to talk a little bit about?
LG: I love too much of what I do at Precision to possibly pick just one. One of the most rewarding things I’ve done was working at the DSCC last cycle. I started in compliance, which is mostly doing financial reporting and that kind of stuff, and then I transitioned to working on field budgets as well. Working with all the coordinated campaigns and wonderful people at the DSCC was a great learning experience and the most fun… other than everything that I do every day at Precision!
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