When Diane Dobbs joined TeamTam, we knew we had found a perfect fit. From day one, we could see that her organization and management skills were top notch, which meant she would keep us in good shape in the office while we worked out in the field. The fact that she can seamlessly switch gears and handle bookkeeping, HR, and whatever else we throw at her has made her indispensable – which is why we kept her on the team even after she relocated to Texas. Thank you, Diane, for sharing your memories with us. Here’s to making more!
A woman of many hats
I started at Tam in 2014 as Virtual Office Manager and Bookkeeper (I’m also sometimes Finance Manager, HR Manager, or Controller when I need to wear one of those hats.) I basically do everything that is not a part of the video production process. Over the years, one of the things I’ve liked most about working for Tam is being able to work from home. I am not a morning person, so I’m able to get to work while still in my sweats – and I love not wearing make-up except for the one day a week I might go into the office. In fact, even today, I’m often working from my desk at home–in Texas–still in my pajamas, even in the afternoon.
I had some pretty big shoes to fill since Susan’s sister, Julie (insert link to Julie’s post?), had held this job position for a zillion years and was very knowledgeable and meticulous. I was coming in fresh, learning a new industry, and tend to be much less paper-intensive than some office managers. Changes came slowly after so many years of doing things the same way at Tam, but over time I’ve been able to streamline operations and eliminate some redundancies. I also was able to negotiate a couple of deals that saved the company a significant amount of money and I love saving money! (Susan’s note – we love this, too!)
The sure sign of a family business
When I first interviewed with Susan and Regan, I could’ve sworn that Regan said Susan was her mom. So, I couldn’t figure out why Regan called Susan by her first name instead of “Mom.” Finally, one day, I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I asked Regan, “Isn’t Susan your mom?” Regan laughed and clarified – the first name basis was just for business, that it made things more professional for our clients. She was right!
Recently I got an email from Regan and noticed it was also addressed to “Mom.” The next time I tried to email Susan, after typing the first couple of letters as usual, it auto-filled “Mom.” I actually had to find an old email from Susan to reply to so that her name appeared on the header instead of “Mom.” It would be awfully confusing for me to copy “Mom” on emails to our clients, especially since Susan and I are about the same age and not related. This is one of the funnier aspects of working in a family business.
Another Game of Thrones connection
One day I had offered to take the blame for something that got overlooked, I can’t remember what. Susan decided I was her “Brienne of Tarth.” At the time, I hadn’t seen Game of Thrones so she tried to explain that Brienne was a lady knight who was really tall and blonde, known for her loyalty, and was determined to protect the one she served. Then Susan added that I didn’t really look like her, thinking if I ever saw the show I might be offended. (I wasn’t. When I finally saw the show, I was delighted to be compared to Brienne and think she’d be a good Halloween costume for me. And my guy resembles Jamie Lannister - perfect!)
One of my favorite experiences at Tam was getting to work on location at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which I’ve done several times. It’s such a beautiful place to spend the day, and it was interesting watching the filming. Plus, I enjoyed going on some of the rides and eating some of the yummy food available at the Boardwalk. If you look closely, you’ll see me as a blur on the Carousel ride in one video, although my ice-skating skills (or lack thereof) didn’t earn me a place, even as a blur, on the Holiday Ice video. If Tam compiles outtakes of skaters falling on the ice, I will get lead billing. I never envied the young actors splashing in the ocean during our early spring shoots, pretending they weren’t freezing to death, even on a sunny day. (NOTE: If you’re not a local, the water off the main beach typically stays a little chilly until mid-summer.)
One of our big projects every year is providing informative and entertaining videos for the employees of the Boardwalk during their company-wide meetings, called Huddles. Just my luck, during the first Huddle I attended, I didn’t know where to go or how to find TeamTam, and I was significantly late due to worse-than-usual traffic. Adding to my embarrassment was the fact that our table was pretty much front and center of a huge meeting room. Since then, I’m often the first of TeamTam to arrive to events, which has been a surprise for all of us. Beyond that, I’m notoriously late.
It’s the little things
I moved to Texas two years ago so several times each year I travel from Texas to spend some time in the Tam office in Scotts Valley. During my last trip there, I noticed that new flagstone steps up the hillside to the house were in place, and of course I had to try them out. When I got to the top, I discovered Tam taking my picture and Susan explaining they wanted to commemorate the first person to use the new stairs. I was so embarrassed!
Our team is full of surprises, too. One Halloween in the office I heard Tam clearing his throat just outside my office door. I turned around to see Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas, and Susan beside him as Minnie Mouse!
It’s also the projects…and the people!
After 5 years at Tam, I still look forward to work every day and I’m never bored. Tam and Susan are the kindest, smartest, and most compassionate couple I’ve ever known, and they’ve earned my respect. They are really good at what they do and have a good time doing it. Having witnessed the evolution of some of our videos, including two of my favorites – Summer is Coming for the Boardwalk, and Hands Clean for Satellite Healthcare, I was amazed at the details they scrutinized, from minute shadows, to typeface, to background music – that only comes from years of experience.
I wear a lot of hats, and the rest of TeamTam also has a wonderful variety of skills. Susan’s repertoire includes writing song lyrics. Regan contributes some voice over and works behind the camera, and our own in-house writer/producer Kim Luke is also a talented singer and actress. Daniel, our licensed drone pilot, captures incredible aerial footage and operates a second camera on the ground, and is a burgeoning editor. Finally, there’s Tam who films, edits, adds music, and mixes everything together to create award-winning videos. Very cool! I am so proud to be a part of TeamTam and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.