Witnessing the Team Behind the Scenes
by Abigail Sims, co-Editor
Living in a suburb of Cleveland, it is not unusual to frequently watch and support our basketball team, the Cavaliers. There is often a great deal of discussions, debates, and rattling off of statistics about players like “Z,” Varejao, Gibson, and, of course, Lebron James. However, not many realize the large team that works behind the scenes of the athletes on the court. The rejuvenation of the Cavs, the spirit of the city, and the vast amounts of energy overflowing from the Q during games cannot only be attributed to the stars of the show but must also be credited to the company that makes it all possible. They are the ones who work to bring in the funds and set the stage that allows the players to put on an amazing show.
Beginning on April 14th, I received the amazing opportunity to witness the reasons why Quicken Loans, according to Fortune Magazine, was named the #2 company to work for. The moment the doors of the main work area were swung open, I immediately noticed that the cubicles, with vibrant murals and a unique set-up, were not the dull, rigid cube farms found in typical offices. In addition, there were entire walls made of dry-erase board material, many of which were filled with brainstorming, messages, and the foundations of new plans. This work place came equipped with an unlimited supply of caffeinated beverages, as well as slushy machines. The lively décor, which even came down to fantastic light fixtures, was a noticeable revitalization for the employees during their workday. Quite obviously, this office reflects the goals the workforce strives to accomplish. They did not seem at all fearful of marching across the line of “normality” and disposing of the strict employee handbook found in common businesses.
For one week, I did not spend a majority of my time in these main offices, however. Instead, I was in the suite services office. I shadowed Amy Liles, Suite Services Manger, and saw many aspects of her job. With six other co-workers and one intern, it was amazing to see all of the work that goes into selling, managing, and taking care of 92 suites. They were all constantly on the phone, discussing the needs of their suite holders, making appointments, talking over budgets, and ordering various supplies or gifts. I found it particularly interesting how important and vital it was to make connections and take care in personally getting to know those who owned suites. During the final game of the season, I was even taken into many suites and met wealthy, powerful men and women. It certainly was an intimidating experience, but it also gave me the chance to realize the necessity of having people skills. It seemed that all seven of the suite services team admiringly had no difficulty or hesitation forming friendships with suite owners and other, various people.
At the conclusion of my week, I realized this was both a wonderful learning experience and a huge eye-opener to a world I never imagined existed. The meticulous planning of two hour events, $25,000 spent on Christmas gifts for suite owners, trips across the country: it was all so exciting and glamorous. I received a taste of this glamour when I was asked to hang up 150 autographed jerseys in a closet with hundreds of signed balls, tickets, hats, etc. Then, when I casually strolled through the hallways of an empty arena, consumed extremely expensive meals, delivered gifts to Dan Gilbert’s suite, sat down on the floor during the Cavs warm-up, watched the first playoff game in an empty suite, and received my own I.D. to get past security and open doors, I was completely overwhelmed.
The entire week was an unreal experience. I discovered the world of business, and a very rare one at that, which included extraordinary people, a serious work place, laughter, friendships, and even maple syrup chugging contests. Never before had I realized that although offices must get their work done, there also can be a large deal of fun that goes along with it. I certainly appreciate everything that was done for me in order to be able to shadow with the Cavs for the week. So a big thanks goes to Amy Liles for making it happen, and to the rest of the suite services for welcoming me into their office for the week!