Meet the Deputy Head of International Ops at Meero, Magali Ferare
Three years ago Meero was a small startup with big aspirations to empower creatives around the world. Now, Meero has been described as the largest photography company in the world. We try and better the lives of photographers in more than 100 countries by providing them with guidance, educational material, a platform to communicate with each other and connecting them with top global brands. We are giving creatives the necessary tools and providing them with time-saving technology to ease their lives and let them focus more on what they love. You might wonder who is behind all this? Well, here’s your chance to meet the team and get to know the people that are committed to improving the world of photographers. Meet Magali:
Hi Magali, thanks for joining us today. So can you tell us what you do here at Meero?
So I am the deputy head of international ops, which is a very fancy way of saying that I help head the team of internal project managers who ensure delivery on all of our biggest client shoots.
We mobilize all of the delivery teams: Customer Service, Partners who source the photographers, the Quality team to talk about the guidelines, Producers on how to brief them, the upload team... Then we monitor all of the KPIs and make sure we hit all of our SLAs for all of our clients. We also work really closely with CSM and Sales, to validate pricing, help figure out upsell ideas, and other things!
Seems like you work with everyone!
We’re basically project managers, which means that we make sure that things are moving, and we are supposed to anticipate problems. We’re supposed to say “Oh they want to open a new market or change their requirements? Ok great, we can figure out the time to open that market, we can figure out how to do it.”
What were you doing before Meero?
I worked as a marketing and/or project manager at Stanford University for six years, across a variety of projects and programs. I worked on the Stanford Wine Program (which was very cool), and at Stanford+Connects, an international roadshow where we took the president and a lot of faculty on the road to show alums what's going on in the world of Stanford. It was very cool.
When that contract ended I wanted to move back to Paris (I am Franco-American), and so I found a job doing expansion operations for an American start-up. It included budget implementation, office build-outs, headcount and seat planning... and some “office and happiness” as well, I had 5 offices under my care. But I didn't do as good of a job as Ombline does.
Then I traveled around. I went to New Zealand for a bit, did a Lord of the Rings tour, and then back to Paris.
So you’ve been at Meero over a year, how do you feel about Meero since you have been here?
It’s really interesting to see how the company has changed in a year, and as far as I can tell, its all for the better. I came from a non-profit background and really advanced start-ups, so an early-stage startup-like Meero was a fun challenge for me... but I definitely do better when there are rules and processes and policies. And here I got to help build those.
It’s really cool to plant the seed of something and work to nurture it and a year later you see it come to full, beautiful fruition.
Time flies when you are having fun?
Well, the thing I love about Meero, although it's crazy, is that Meero years are like Dog Years.
A year or a month year at Meero seems like 7 anywhere else in terms of how much responsibility you can take on, how many things you can somehow manage to complete in that time, how many changes and pivots will get made.
It's crazy and I love it.
What has been your greatest challenge to date at Meero?
It was back when I started. We had just signed a global contract with a really big client and we realized we didn’t have the operational personnel for that, so we had to take the existing processes and rework them to go from three people to a team of dozens of people, FAST.
So I showed up on a Wednesday and by the next Monday I was in client meetings and I was just living the job, trying to become an expert in everything producers did, everything the partners team was working on...
I went from shadowing with every single person I could find, to within two weeks of becoming an expert on the industry and the client.
The platform at the time wasn’t able to take as many shoots, we had to do a platform upgrade in the middle of the night to be able to handle the number of shoots this client needed!
What is it like working in Operations?
The key to ops, and the reason I like my job, is because I work really hard so that eventually I don’t have to work at all. I call it ‘doing the most to do the least’. If I bust my ass for three months and set everything up flawlessly then things just work, and all I really have to do is go back and check my early warning indicators to make sure everything is running smoothly and within parameters and that way I can just chill.
...I mean, I haven’t yet chilled, I don’t think I am capable of chilling, but I don’t spend nearly as much of my day-to-day on that big global project anymore, or on building scaleable processes, because we’ve now done that and done it well. Instead, there's a portfolio of projects that my team works on, and I am more focused on how we can make new tools and processes that can make people more effective. As an example, if the production team can handle twice as many shoots without overloading themselves, when the crazy spikes come (hey, we’re still a start-up!), no one is sleeping in the office anymore.
What do you like about Meero?
What I like about Meero is that if you are the kind of person who takes responsibility seriously, there’s no shortage of it. There's always something that needs doing and someone needs to do it. I have learned more and grown more in a year here from just saying, “Well... I guess it’s me” than pretty much any other job I’ve had. Now I don’t have to go hunting for problems anymore, they bring them to me.
Can you explain what you do at Meero in three words?
Air traffic control.
What do you usually have on your desk?
I have a fox mug which was a gift from my team, I have a second mug that has a picture of the Ops team, and inside the mug I have a fork (because there’s never enough in the kitchen) and I have a flash drive that’s called BOps (because it’s shaped like a bear, so he’s a Bear Ops). BOps lives with me at my desk.
Do you have any fun facts, or something people might be surprised to find out?
A fun secret fact about me is that I love karaoke and my repertoire includes a surprisingly large number of the 90's-00's Japanese pop songs.