As an Account Manager at AppointmentPlus, Tammy Baden walks a fine line between being the voice of the customer and an advocate for the company. She sites meditation, her tendency to “eat the frog first,” and a firm belief in the Golden Rule as ways she builds relationships while keeping her cool.
What has been your personal journey to get you where you are today?
I grew up in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes and -20⁰ F winters. I’ve been fortunate to have held great positions with many cool companies throughout my career. I started out in sales with Scholastic Book Fairs. I was there for seven years, and I count it among my favorite jobs.
At Scholastic, I was able to incorporate my love of reading to children into my work. I also enjoyed eight weeks off every summer to spend time with my daughter. So as a young mother, I got to have the best of both worlds — I was a working mom and a stay-at-home mom.
I learned very early in my career that working directly with people was something I wanted and needed as part of my job. In 2007, I took my first position with a startup company. I was their twelfth employee, and by the time I left in 2014, I had helped it grow to a staff of more than 150.
In 2011, that same SaaS company offered to move my family and me to Arizona to launch their new office, and build and lead their account management team. Having had our fill of Minnesota winters, we leapt at the opportunity to trade tundra for desert.
A couple of years later, I joined AppointmentPlus, where I get to do the things I love most: building relationships with our Enterprise clients, and helping another startup company grow their account management team.
What does your typical workday look like? How do you make it productive?
I start each day with 10 to 15 minutes of meditation. This time helps me jump into my day with a sense of calm and focus. Once I’m in the office, I typically dive in by “eating the frog first.” I find that if I do the thing I least want to do first thing in the morning, I feel less stressed throughout the day, and am able to be more productive.
For the majority of my day, I’m on the phone with clients. But when I’m not, I’ve usually got my head down, working through emails or other admin functions. When I’m really focused, I’ve been told I have a tendency to exhibit RBF (if you’re not sure what that is, ask your teenager).
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Blogging and podcasts. I love reading and listening to people’s stories. Being exposed to the trials and tribulations of others reminds me that I’m not alone in my daily struggles. I find it especially motivating when I learn about someone who overcame a great obstacle, or find out that someone really successful traveled a rough road to get there. On days when I’m having a particularly hard time, these stories provide me with ideas and motivation.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
I take lots of notes. I take notes in almost every meeting I attend. Since I’m constantly in back-to-back meetings, if I don’t take notes, I can easily forget what was discussed, action items have been added to my plate, or tasks I’m waiting for others to complete.
Afterward — whether it’s a day, a week, or even a month later — I’m able to look back at my notes and recall information I may have otherwise lost. This doesn’t only apply to my job; I also take notes in my personal life. I actually have a huge whiteboard in my living room with a long to-do list that I update daily. As with my meeting notes, I’m able to track the progress of action items my husband and daughter need to complete!
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
I could give you the cliché answer that I haven’t had a bad job, but that’s not really true. My first full-time job out of high school was working second shift in the bindery of a large commercial print shop. I hated everything about that job. The hours were terrible, the job was physically demanding, and it did not pay well. I quickly learned that being on my feet performing manual labor for eight hours a day was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I needed to find a way to use my brain instead of my hands.
If you were to start your career again, what would you do differently?
I don’t think I would change anything. I’m not saying it was all perfect, but I firmly believe that my life experiences have made me who I am today. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
What’s one thing you do over and over that you recommend others do?
Read as much and as often as you can. I like to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, but it doesn’t really matter what you read as long as you do it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow the business for your employers?
I do business according to the golden rule: to treat others as I would like to be treated. This motto governs how I live my life, both professionally and personally. When I’m unsure of how to handle a situation, I simply stop and ask myself how I would like things to be handled if I were the client. This habit has never led me astray, because I’m thinking not only with my head, but also my heart.
What is one business idea you’re willing to share with our readers?
I think the nonprofit world needs a mechanism, like a website, to facilitate collaboration among different organizations. This service would allow nonprofit organizations to share information with each other on specific supply or volunteer needs. I believe that by pooling their resources, non-profits could accomplish more without having to spend more.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What did you spend it on, and why?
I spent $100 on gas recently to travel to California. Taking time to sit in front of the ocean relaxed me totally and completely. Before this trip, I had forgotten how soothing the ocean can be. We had such a great time that we are now planning on going back at least once a quarter.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
OneNote, which is part of the Microsoft Office Suite, is my favorite app for taking notes. It works a lot like a notebook (with tabs), and it saves everything immediately, so I don’t have worry about losing information if I forget to save!
What is the one book you recommend our community read, and why?
I recommend Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I have this book on CD, and have listened to it multiple times. I learn something new each time I listen to it.
What people who have influenced your thinking might be of interest to others?
Definitely the oldies but goodies, like Napoleon Hill and Stephen Covey, but also newcomer Brene Brown. They all have amazing books that I have read or listened to numerous times, and that provide great ideas on how to achieve your goals.