Thirty Years in the Making, Getting to Know Staci Hazlett
Interview by Julie Hruby & Morgan Medina (J&M)
Staci Hazlett, Director of Human Resources and Recruiting, is celebrating 30 amazing years with TES/IRL. Staci is a prime example of how hard work, a lifelong learner mentality, and a positive, accountable mindset will soar you to new career heights! We recently sat down with Staci to learn about her incredible journey.
Hometown: Arcadia, CA
The year started with TES: 1990 (30 years)
First position: Administrative Assistant to Nancy Lavelle, IRL & TES Founder and former President/ CEO
J&M / What originally drew you to TES/IRL?
Staci / When I came for the interview, I loved everything Almansor stood for. I was not fully qualified for the position but Nancy (Lavelle, Founder) saw potential in me. Because I only knew how to type (on a typewriter, BTW), Nancy said to prove to me you can do this job by learning computer word processing skills. I immediately signed up for a full weekend course which then helped me to get started with the company.
J&M / How has TES helped you in your career development?
Staci / TES supported me in advancing my education and driving me to step outside my comfort zone which pushed me to do things I normally wouldn't do. I started here with a high school diploma, and by working here I realized I was capable of doing more. Throughout my career, I received my AA degree (Education), Bachelor's Degree (Business Management), and recently got my Master’s Degree (Organizational Management).
J&M / What is your proudest moment at TES?
I have two proud moments. One of my favorite memories is with IRL. Each year I would attend the graduation ceremonies and watch the kids accept their diploma or certificate of completion. Witnessing the pure joy of their families watching their children accomplish a monumental milestone was beyond unimaginable. While I may not be in the classroom, I was doing things behind the scenes that helped make those moments possible.
My second proud moment is becoming a co-owner of TES (2018) and knowing Nancy trusted me to offer this opportunity. It's a true honor to be able to continue supporting Nancy's original vision and dedication to our clients, team, and families, and to align with our current mission statement.
J&M / What advice would you give employees who are new to TES?
Staci / Take responsibility for your growth and find ways you can improve to grow within the company. I realized early on that I would not have growth without continued education or training. I also knew I wouldn't go from a high school to a Master’s degree overnight, so I set smaller milestones to accomplish. Many people don’t start with an AA but for me, it was something I could achieve over the next four to five years while working full-time and balancing my family life as well. Then going back to get my bachelor’s degree was going to be another four to five years. It wasn’t going to be a quick process but it was me taking ownership and making it happen and not waiting on someone else to make it happen for me.
J&M / What are the three career lessons you’ve learned?
Trust your instincts.
Learn how to problem solve and not wait to be told to do something. When you discover a problem, find a solution before bringing that problem to your supervisor. I learned early on that if I brought Nancy a problem, she expected a solution. Even if it wasn’t the right solution, I had attempted to do the problem solving beforehand.
Always be accountable for yourself and don’t make excuses or justify your mistakes. When Nancy pointed out a mistake or something she wanted to be done differently, my response would always be, “Okay, I'll fix it” or “I’ll make that change” and I just owned it and learned from it. Mistakes are okay and we often learn the most from them.
If you're going to present an idea, be prepared to complete it and see it through. Do not expect to present an idea you want to happen and have someone else do it.
J&M / What would people never guess you do in your role?
Staci / At the Director level, I can do everything my team does. I can do all of their tasks and actually get in on the trenches every single day. For example, I input all initial data entry for new hires. Supporting them in their daily tasks helps me understand what they are doing. I also do all of the shopping for the holiday parties and stand in line for Black Friday sales to get the best value. Shout out to Emily Baltazar, who was always by my side.
J&M / If you could switch your job with anyone else in the company who would you switch with and why?
Staci / I would like to do Linda and Pri’s (marketing department) job because I think it would be fun to create and be creative on a daily basis. Seeing what the regions are working on and how that develops sounds really interesting.
J&M / What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Staci / I’ve started living by this in the last year. Don’t say it if it's not helpful or doesn’t bring value or joy to an individual or the conversation.
J&M / Tell us three things most people don’t know about you:
I’m an avid crafter. I can craft for hours on end and will stay up until 1 or 2 am crafting.
I was a single mom with two kids for a few years. Then I graduated with my bachelor’s degree while working full-time, raising two kids and nine months pregnant with my third.
I like to workout and do workout challenges. Physical and mental health is important.
J&M / What is on your bucket list?
Staci / I’m 50% Scottish and traveling to Scotland is something I’ve wanted to do for years and years. The trip was actually booked for this year but was canceled due to COVID. I will get there someday!
J&M / What are your three most overused words or phrases?
Take your break.
We’ve already talked about this.
It’s in the manual.
J&M / How has your outlook changed since the pandemic?
Staci / I now know that remote work is possible and I look forward to how TES will evolve with that in mind.
J&M / Tell us the most important thing that we missed.
Staci / I was a working mom with three kids and half of the time they were growing up, I was going to school. Because I was a full-time working mom and a student, I learned how to manage my time more effectively.