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Meet Stacey Smiel, Product Manager

Stacey’s role is to understand the needs of consumers in the HR technology market and help develop products to meet those needs. She conducts market research, generates functional requirements, develops production timetables, informs pricing strategy, and shares market research internally across OutMatch.

Where did you grow up?

Upstate New York in Ballston Lake. It’s in the Capital Region between Saratoga Springs and Albany.

Married? Children? Pets?

I am single with no children. I do have a dog whose reputation precedes me. Her name is Kaya and she is a three-year old Icelandic Sheepdog. She is the top trending topic on my social media accounts. LOL.

What led you into this field?

It’s been an organic progression. As an undergraduate, I studied business management. During that time, I took a class on organizational behavior and was riveted by the studies and findings. Before that time, I had no idea that it was an option to make a career out of this. That experience triggered a passion and excitement around this field that has only grown over time.

What or who has influenced your career the most? 

Well, there are three that top the list. (1) My organizational behavior professor; (2) the dean of the school of business at SUNY New Paltz, where I received my undergraduate degree; and (3) my internship at Chequed. My professor introduced me to this field and sparked my interest in pursuing it as a career. The dean was the biggest influencer of my early professional development. He was so supportive and instilled in me the commitment to “never settle.” And, my internship at Chequed served as the jumping off point for my career.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What do you find most challenging?

Well, I just love it! What else can I say? I have enthusiasm for the field and enjoy developing long-term partnerships and seeing the outcomes as they evolve. I find it invigorating to work with so many intelligent and driven individuals across clients and within my own team. As for a challenge, it’s often difficult to determine when to disengage. There are so many moving pieces and different time zones to work across and I always want to respond to clients right then and there, so I need to learn when to turn it off for a while.

What do you think it takes to be successful in your role?

Flexibility, and strong communication and time management skills.

What are some of your most significant career accomplishments?

I started in this business as a client success representative, and have quickly grown into a new role that allows me to develop deeper relationships and contribute to longer-term strategies.

Tell me about an interesting problem you’ve faced in your role and how you dealt with it.

So far, I’ve had no big problems. I don’t see problems. I see situations and opportunities. I try to react deliberately and to bring in the necessary resources at the right time. If a situation occurs, it’s key to pause and look at the big picture first.

What are some of the industry-specific challenges you see for the future?

Assessments are a hot topic for businesses. Some are questionable in terms of their level of rigor and impact on business goals. So, it’s important to really understand the value being delivered. Fads in the assessment space may be tempting, but they are not always useful in terms of business impact and long term ROI.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

Never settle, which to me means don’t get too comfortable and don’t lose sight of the value of hard work. Look for growth opportunities where you can make an impact.

What’s your most valuable professional tool?

My phone. It allows me to multi-task and I can rely on it to send me reminders and updates while I’m traveling to meet with clients. There’s never any lag time, and I can continue to be productive on the road or in the air.

Passions? Hobbies? Interests outside of work?

Anything outdoors. I love to hike, kayak, and paddleboard, and I also enjoy photography (although these days I’m mostly taking pictures of my dog!)

What is something no one knows about you?

For a long time when I was playing piano, I used to imagine myself playing in a piano bar as a side job.

Favorite TV show? Why?

One show that has caught my interest is Game of Thrones. I am captivated by the books, and the show has been just as enthralling. It evolves so quickly and there are so many parallel storylines progressing across the characters. Looking forward to the new season!

If you could order anything for lunch at your desk, what would it be?

I like to work through lunch, so probably something small and simple. I know, it’s boring, but it’s the truth. Probably a small salad with chicken and avocado–something light that won’t slow me down.

You work hard, but personal time is important too. What’s been your best vacation spot ever? Why? Do you have a dream destination?

I love Dillon, CO. I hike and kayak there in the summer. It’s such a stunning place visually. Another place I’d really like to visit again is Australia. I studied abroad there, and I just found it be a captivating environment for so many reasons. I’d love to have more time to really explore the area.


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