Meet Olivia Ajlouni, Crafty’s Market Operations Manager in New York
Olivia is an excellent champion of community and inclusivity, creating top-tier client experiences and keeping our New York team excited to come into the office.
Olivia Ajlouni is a shining example of what we mean when we reference Crafty culture. She is kind, funny, empathetic, and goes above and beyond for her clients. As Market Operations Manager for the Greater New York Area, she ensures our clients are experiencing the best food and beverage service available. As a Crafty employee, she ensures the people in our New York office feel interconnected. Whether it's thinking outside the box to come up with solutions to issues her clients experience or making everyone in the New York office feel seen, heard, and celebrated, she is the kind of person who makes working alongside her feel like a joy and a privilege.
Throughout our interview, Olivia emphasized how important it is to show up for your clients and your coworkers. To her, creating processes for our field operations is just as important as taking a snack break and dissecting the latest episode of Selling Sunset, and we couldn't agree more.
Originally from the Detroit Metro Area, Olivia cut her teeth in the client experience realm at WeWork. She opened up the Detroit market, and when that was successful, she was transferred to New York City to join the WeWork team on the East Coast.
She'd heard about Crafty since her early days at WeWork. And when she arrived in New York, she started spotting Crafty in nearly every office she visited. After interacting with Crafty employees, she realized something: She not only admired their commitment to improving the workplaces they service, she also liked all of them on a personal level. And they all seemed happy. After leaving WeWork, she set her sights on Crafty, and we are so lucky that she did!
Read on to see how she got here, how she creates a second-to-none client experience in her region, and how maintaining the culture that piqued her initial interest in Crafty is one of the most significant elements of her role.
What first attracted you to Crafty?
While working at WeWork in Detroit, I was part of a larger Midwest team, and I knew that Crafty worked with our locations in Chicago. Back then, there was a buzz about Crafty among WeWork employees. People always commented on how kind the team was and how detailed they were in their approach. They mentioned that whenever they encountered Crafty employees, they seemed to enjoy their work life. My ears perked up because I was on the hunt for a more community-driven workplace. When I was transferred to New York, I started noticing Crafty making its presence known here, and I was paying attention.
Can you walk us through your current role at Crafty?
I am responsible for maintaining a bird's-eye view of all our clients in the Greater New York Area, which includes New York, New Jersey, Boston and Toronto. Unlike other markets, here, Crafty works alongside a partner that supports our mission with warehouse facilities and delivery services to serve our clients.
I manage a team of twenty which includes three client operation managers and 15 people who perform various roles in the field, maintaining on-site client operations. I work very closely with our partners to ensure we are all on the same page regarding level of service, technology, and fulfillment.
I'm hyper-focused on operation excellence. I’m constantly asking what other Crafty markets are doing that could also work well in the greater New York area? I pull client data we gather from the regular client satisfaction surveys we send out. I use that as a jumping-off point to create and improve processes and standard operating procedures to ensure each client gets the best experience possible. I am also the unofficial cultural ambassador in our NYC office. When we're all in, I make it my mission to make sure we're having fun with each other, eating lunch, and chatting about good television shows. It can't be all work and no play!
What do you love most about your job?
There are two things I want to highlight. First, I love creating a sense of culture at our NYC office. Chicago is the largest office by far, so the culture happens there, but as a smaller, non-HQ office, we have to prioritize it. Crafty’s culture to me means that we are not all work and no play. We should be sharing meals with each other, exchanging ideas, and being empathetic to everyone’s experience. We cannot be heads down all day on our laptops. We need to make time to talk about reality television and our favorite foods to understand each other and show up as good coworkers in the way that we all need. As one of the first NYC hires, I feel empowered to create and maintain that here.
The second thing I love the most about my job is creating processes where our clients trust Crafty. We are making a splash in our industry by disrupting the old way of doing things. It used to be boring food in a vending machine with no focus on the employee experience. We are helping to build community at workplaces. We have two elements that set us apart. First, our technology is the only one of its kind. Second, our level of service is second to none. Building and rebuilding processes to create a seamless client experience is a joy. Focusing on that every day makes me feel accomplished. Crafty has been working for years to ensure that our service is the best in class, and I feel a sense of responsibility and pride in maintaining and improving it.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Change management. How we communicate change and why we're doing it can be challenging. As we grow, how we do things in one market might not work for another market, and finding that out and communicating it to the right stakeholders can take time and effort. This is a challenge for every company that is growing rapidly, and we have improved so much in this area, so we can only go up from here. It's a classic growing pain that we are aware of and continuously challenge ourselves to improve. Just like everything in the operations world, it's a process!
What is the most unique thing about working at Crafty?
Being part of a niche group that gets to build something from the ground up. We get to see the direct impact of our work. Given our hypergrowth, I've probably learned more this year at Crafty than at any other job I've been at for 5-plus years. To play a significant role in Crafty's presence in the Greater New York Area is wild. It's so gratifying to see my work making an impact. It's a rare opportunity.
How have your previous roles helped you in your current role at Crafty?
Coming from a previous role of corporate client experience allowed me to leverage my experience into my position. This role is very operational-focused, but people need to trust you. Working with customers in past jobs has made me understand how to relate to clients on a personal level to gain their trust. I can anticipate what a client might want or need from us before they reach out for it, so it has allowed me to be more proactive operationally because I'm so used to building relationships with clients. Operational practices can be taught relatively easily, but having experience working with clients and creating relationships puts me at an advantage in this role. I am grateful for all the experience I had beforehand in relationship building because it allows me to exercise some critical thinking when creating operational efficiencies.
What kind of office snacks and beverages do you depend on to make it through the workday?
I love an ice-cold Diet Coke with pebble ice. Lately, I have been loving salt and vinegar Kettle chips. And then, if I’m feeling crazy, I'll have some gummy bears.
Let’s get personal! What does a perfect day off look like for you?
I will lie to make myself look better, but my ideal day off is waking up at around 11 am, drinking coffee in bed, and watching Law and Order: SVU all day.
However, a day where I want to feel energized and accomplished looks slightly different. I would wake up and go to a Pilates class. Then, I'd head home and, on the way, stop at my favorite bodega for a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel. Later, I'd go for a nice walk in Central Park and meet up with friends. We could go out to dinner and catch a comedy show. And then, we'd bar hop for a bit, and I'd head home at a slightly unreasonable hour.
⚡Now for the lightning round!⚡
What is the last TV show you watched?
What is the last book you read?
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
What is the last song you listened to?
"Big Yellow Taxi" by The Counting Crows ft. Vanessa Carlton
What is the emoji that best encompasses your vibe?
Who is a famous person you’d like to hang out with?
Who was your first celebrity crush?
I have a few. Simon from 7th Heaven, Arthur from Hey Arthur, and Steve, DJ’s boyfriend from Full House.
Crafty would like to extend a huge thank you to Olivia for generously sharing her time and insights with us and allowing us to write about her. Thank you so much for all you do for Crafty. We are endlessly grateful to have you on our team.
Our mission is to fuel the world's workforce by providing quality office snacks, coffee, and beverages. Ready to join our diverse team to improve the office experience?