In our newest installment of Consultants in Conference Rooms Getting Coffee, Office Manager Tracey van Putten shares her background, her coolest Vantage project, and what she enjoys outside of work. Get to know Tracey below.
What is your background (where are you from, where did you go to school…)?
I am a Brit! I was born in England, raised in Belgium, married a Dutch man, and have lived in 5 different countries. I have two daughters, one was born in Holland and the other was born in Sweden, so I consider myself a bit of a nomad. My primary school education was split between Belgium and England. I went to the same boarding school in England as my mom, carrying on that tradition. I went to college in Belgium where I studied Business Management.
Growing up I had a love of languages and speak English, French, Dutch, and I can get by in German – this is not unusual at all in Europe where being multilingual is almost essential. I also like multi-tasking and organizing, so that, coupled with being multilingual, allowed me to work in so many different fields in International companies. From administration, to marketing, to consulting, in a ready to wear clothing wholesale company, in the head office of a shoe company, management consulting company and so on.
We moved to the US in 1996 and ended up purchasing a small pecan company. We grew that company to incorporate other nuts, toffees, chocolates, chutneys. We co-owned it for 16 years and did everything from the production to shipping to sales to marketing, hiring, exhibiting at trade shows to name but a few tasks. This really suited me since I have experience with all aspects of the business, plus I like to cook so creating new flavors and the product development was a lot of fun. After 16 hard-working years we were ready to move on and decided to sell our company.
What was the name of your company?
It was called 40Parklane (my husband’s street address where he grew up in Holland) and the product line was called Carolyn’s Gourmet since the original owner’s name was Carolyn. Our production partner in Georgia still produces almost all of our products.
How did you become part of the Vantage team?
I really wanted to have a position that had a variety of tasks, that allowed me to work independently, and which had a short commute. Vantage fit all of my criteria and I started in September of 2014.
What do you do at Vantage?
That’s a big question [laughs]. I’m the office manager in the Boston office. I like to call myself a ‘Jill-of-all-trades’, making sure the office runs like a well-oiled machine. I try and make sure my coworkers are happy and try and help out wherever I can to try and make their jobs smoother. I work closely with the LA office admin team on anything from human resources, benefits coordination, expenses, time sheets. In addition, I offer support to project managers with any administrative tasks; editing narratives, applying for registrations, really the wider the variety, the more fulfilled I am in my work.
I try and make sure my coworkers are happy and try and help out wherever I can to try and make their jobs smoother.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done recently?
We just completed an office renovation and that really was exciting for me to organize and coordinate with all of the different people involved; movers, painters, contractors, office management. I was able to pick out different design features and paint little swatches on the walls. It was really important to get everyone’s opinion and we came up with great designs. We have four IDEA-paint walls now so we can collaborate and draw throughout the conference rooms. The accent walls and soft-white of the walls brings a warmth to the space. We have a renovated kitchen that can now support our growing office.
The wider the variety, the more fulfilled I am in my work.
What do you like most about working at Vantage?
I love the variety of my tasks. I love that no day is ever the same. Sometimes challenges arise, but I’m more than happy to find a solution to those challenges. I also love the company vibe. Everyone’s hard-working but with an element of fun and humor. I don’t feel like there is a hierarchy and I can always reach out to anyone if I have a question.
Everyone’s hard-working but with an element of fun and humor.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
I love traveling. Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to discover new cities, new countries, new ways of living. My family lives abroad so when we visit, we try and incorporate a new place to visit. I enjoy hiking and being outdoors. I’m also a big animal and nature lover. If I were to start over, I would love to work at an animal rescue center in Africa. I also volunteer as a dinner manager for Open Table, where we serve dinner once a week to those in need. It feels rewarding to help someone in need and the guests are so appreciative. I love cooking and entertaining. And above all else I love spending time with my daughters.
What’s a fun fact about you many people may not know?
A friend and I hiked around the mountains of the Mont Blanc which is a trek through Switzerland, Italy, and France. We set out with our gear and took a train down to France and started walking for 11 days. There are signs on trees and rocks that you follow throughout the trail. It was such an adventure. We did this in August so sometimes we’d wake up and the scenery was beautiful and then it would snow; we even slid down a glacier. It was a lot of fun. This was before cellphones, so we literally said goodbye to our parents in Brussels and they hoped we made it back in one piece!
How long is the hike?
The distance of the Mont Blanc hike is 106 miles, climbing 6.5 miles from the base to the top throughout the hike. You really didn’t see anyone on the trail. And every couple of days we would go down into the village to get food. It was an amazing adventure and we remain good friends to this day!