A Day in the Life of Marina Guevara

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This week we present a special Thanksgiving issue of our A Day in the Life of… series: it describes a day in the life of Marina Guevara, the Director of MasterWord’s Operations, a devoted mother, and an inspiring individual, fully committed to our ethical business practices, personal and professional development. Marina has also started a wonderful tradition at MasterWord: every Friday, she brings in fresh bagels with a variety of spreads (cream cheese and hazelnut, amongst others) and shares them with the entire office. As you can guess, this tradition is very popular here!

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5 am: Usually, my alarm goes off at 5 am and I start my day with a good workout – I find it puts me in the right mindset and helps me focus on my daily tasks. But today being Friday, I feel very rebellious and hit the Off button. Oh freedom, oh joy of an extra hour of sleep!

6-7 am: Usually I am still at the gym at this time, but today I am catching up on my emails – everything that comes in overnight from our Global operations in Europe, Canada, and Russia, and from our local offices in Houston. Some matters need to be taken care of immediately and others go on my ever-expanding to-do list.

7-7:40: I spend 30-40 minutes on my morning routine and on walking and feeding our 7 year old miniature schnauzer Max and our latest addition to the family, cat Oliver (recently adopted from CAPs). 7:45 am: It has become our little Friday family tradition to pop into a local bakery for kolaches, donuts, and bagels. Kolaches and donuts are for my children and bagels are for the MasterWord team. My husband and I have 7 children between us: the older ones now live independently, 3 younger ones live with us: our 15-year-old son and our 12-year old twins (a boy and a girl). They all enjoy these brief moments of Friday bliss when we get to talk about things we are looking forward to over the weekend, about our plans, and about everything that goes on in our busy lives.

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8:30-9 am: My commute to work normally takes 30 minutes and I do my best to optimize the time I spend in the car. I tend to listen to audio-books on-route but my taste in books is rather omnivorous: I like fiction, especially Dean Koontz for his suspense thrillers (his Odd Thomas is definitely my favorite), but I also enjoy everything that covers professional development and business practices. I prefer what we call food-for-thought books: something that could be considered applicable to my day-to-day activities – from work to family life. I am also committed to my professional development, and I am currently in the process of getting my PMP certification – I signed up to PMI approved online course and I also have to set some time every day to go through the 800-page manual.

While we are on the subject of books: I recently came to a conclusion that we can get lots of great tips on team management from popular parenting books – they teach us practically everything we need to know about progressive discipline, empowerment and engagement, and responsibility and accountability. The best and most practical lessons I learned while raising our 7 kids are the importance of learning how to make your own decisions, take ownership for your tasks, and accept responsibility for the outcomes – whether negative or positive. Another trick I learned as a mother: consistency in love and discipline, and equal treatment: when my kids ask me which one is my favorite, I would tell each one that he is my favorite older son (to the older one), the other is my favorite younger son (to the younger) and my daughter is my favorite daughter (since she is the only girl of the 3 kids remaining at home). And so are our team members at MasterWord: each one is my favorite in his or her own right.

9 am: As soon as I get into the office, I send out an email to the entire team that their bagels have arrived! Sometimes, even before I get to send the email, the breakroom fills up with excited chatter: everyone is eager to get their hands on warm bagels and cream cheese.

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9.05-10 am: An important one-on-one meeting with our translation technology partner visiting MasterWord: exploring opportunities for further advancement and innovation, discussing cloud computing, looking into options for budgets, contractors, and certification. So many ideas and inspiration, so little time!

10-11 am: Some housekeeping: talking to the IT Department to discuss our company needs and talking to the HR to discuss our everyday operations.

11-11.45 am: Back at my desk, working on a client contract. I need to make sure that we have everything in order, that the paperwork is complete, and that all legal matters are settled. I also have a guilty pleasure: I just love formatting and I am actually Microsoft Office-certified. Obviously, as the head of company operations, I do not have the luxury of devoting hours to straightening paragraphs and changing fonts but I do enjoy it, even when I get just a few minutes of it!

11.45 am – 12.30 pm: Weekly staff meeting. I feel so delighted to see how our team lights up once sales reports for each department come in! We do love those colorful graphs and figures! Every week, I also spend a few minutes going through the core company values: what unites us and what drives us forward as a company and as a team – our quality, integrity, trustworthiness, and reliability, amongst others, are at the heart of our business and it is important to adhere to these as we progress through our day-to-day operations and interact with our clients and vendors.

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12.30-1.30 pm: A project related discussion with one of our team members.

1.30-1.40 pm: Conference call with an online employment advertiser – we are always on the look-out for new talent so I am eager to explore options and get to know some featured professionals.

1.40-2 pm: Lunch time. I usually multitask and stay at my desk while eating. Today I am forming a MasterWord team for Starry Night walk/run for Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (http://www.curethekids.org/events/starry-night/). It is scheduled for the next day and even if the weather forecast is grim and cold, I am determined to make my contribution to this very worthy cause.

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(Pictures taken the next day at the Starry Night Race)

2-2.30 pm: Another debrief with our translation technology partner who is reporting back on his meetings with our IT Department and translation team. Exciting developments ahead!

2.30-3.30 pm: An important planning meeting with our HR is next.

4.30-6 pm: Even though I consider human interaction to be the most rewarding part of my job and having back-to-back meetings, discussions and planning sessions is important for our company strategizing, I do need to spend some time at working out logistics. I love spending time in my office: it is very bright and airy, and I am very adamant about keeping my desk and my office space clean and tidy. Being organized in my work space helps me stay focused in my thought processes. But what’s a girl without some splash of bright color? To my right, I have my favorite sign: Pink is not just a color, it is an attitude. I enjoy the splashes of pink I’ve had around my work area for years: my pink stapler, a little potpourri holder, a picture frame. It brings some lightness and personality and shows how each one of us is never just about our job description: we are first and foremost individuals who come from a variety of cultures and add our own flavor to the mixing pot of attitudes, preferences, and beliefs. MasterWord consists of individuals from 17 countries who speak 22 languages, which, in my opinion, perfectly mirrors the beautiful diversity of our world.

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6 pm: Time to head home and spend some time with my family. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I reflect on everything that I am thankful for in this life: my extremely supportive husband and my happy and joyful children, my career that helps me make a difference in the world, and my wonderful team that makes it all work so seamlessly!

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