Get To Know IS: Sarah Proper
Welcome to "Get To Know IS," a new interview series from the folks at IS. We will shed light on industry trends, discuss life at IS, and turn the spotlight on our amazing team members. Our premiere guest is Sarah Proper, an outstanding member of our Front End team.
Sarah Proper formally presenting a "Last Place" award to Taylor Solomon at the IS Inaugural Chili Cookoff.
John: Hey Sarah, thanks for speaking with me today! To start, can you tell me a bit about what you do at Interactive Strategies?
Sarah: I’m a Front End Developer here, but my duties go beyond just front end coding. On a day to day, I can be doing some design work, cutting assets, brainstorming technically for a client, or working in the back end with servers.
John: Wow. I hadn't realized the full extent of your responsibilities.
Sarah: Yeah, I get to try something new every day.
John: So with 2016 right around the corner, what professional skill or interest would you like to explore in the new year?
Sarah: Oooh, I have two. Is that okay?
John: Yeah, sure!
John: Oooh, I hear people talking a lot about Ember in the office. It’s a new/emerging framework, right?
Sarah: Yeah, Brad, our Lead Drupal Developer, is really leading the charge with Taylor. The Drupal and Front End teams hold a weekly meeting to discuss it.
John: So what all does that entail?
Sarah: We get to discuss opportunities and aspects of Ember that can’t really be taught in manuals. It’s a great opportunity to ask our experts questions and see examples. I guess it’s hands-on learning to a certain extent.
John: That’s awesome. It sounds like your teams really mesh well.
Sarah: Yeah, they keep me laughing constantly. Taylor is for sure the funniest on the team.
John: So how would you describe the company culture at IS? (I know that’s an overused term.)
Sarah: Upbeat! Everyone works really hard and gets a lot done, but I know my coworkers really well. I know their significant others, we do things together. We all tend to come in with a sense of humor and a positive attitude.
John: That’s definitely been my experience too. Bad jokes, puns and beer are all highly encouraged.
Sarah: I like that we do things together too. It’s not like you just come to work and leave. We do happy hours and brunches, and I love Beer Fridays. (Or Jug Wine Thursdays.)
John: Carlo Rossi has been known to make a cameo or two.
Sarah: He's essentially a freelancer at I.S.
John: Agreed. Our lunch trains are pretty great too. Do you have a favorite lunch spot in the area?
Sarah: Ooooh, that’s a tough one! My favorite cheap spot (under $10) is Potbelly. Besides that, I frequent District Taco and the food trucks a lot.
John: You’re truly a lunchtime maverick. The Greek Deli is by far the most popular destination (even though the line is too long).
Sarah: And if you say something wrong, they look at you funny. I can’t handle lunchtime judgment.
John: You didn’t hold back on judgment at the IS Inaugural Chili Cookoff, which you planned and hosted!
Sarah: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was nice to be creative and make awards. Last place was the best. But it was also nice to do something that everyone enjoyed and the office smelled so good.
John: Oh I know, there were like 10 crockpots running at the same time.
Sarah: Every single chili was different too, which was cool. And fun fact: the two turkey chilis finished last and second to last.
John: Yeah, turkeys were en vogue last month. They’re so unfashionable in December. We had 9 participants, right?
Sarah: 8 official, 1 went rogue and showed up with chili anyway. [It was Ryan, for the record.]
John: Yeah, we should definitely do it again next year.
Sarah: Definitely. We singlehandedly funded Tums for a day.
John: Aside from our chili cookoff, what else would you say makes us special?
Sarah: I guess it would be based off something Kyle said to me when I was interviewing. We don’t promote the “cool” side of the agency. Despite Beer Fridays, nerf guns in the office, company sponsored happy hours – the focus is always on the work. No one is going to leave someone else high and dry or throw them under the bus. It’s about getting the work done first and having fun afterwards. Does that make sense?
John: Absolutely. That’s been my experience too. We can turn on Spotify and jam out in the office while getting our work done.
Sarah: Yeah, and people are willing to lend a helping hand, even if that means missing out on something fun. Like Lindsey once missed a happy hour because someone else needed help finishing a presentation. Teamwork is rock solid here.
John: Everyone brings their “A game” and helps out. Our brainstorming sessions are pretty hardcore too.
Sarah: For sure. I love grabbing someone and picking their brain. Some of the best ideas for interactions on websites or hover effects come from the designers and developers in short brainstorming sessions. It’s neat.
John: Absolutely. Was there anything else that you’d like to add?
Sarah: This sounds a little cheesy, but I have an immense amount of pride in the work that I do here. I can be proud of my projects because I know the code is beautiful and well organized, the load times are low, and we’re working for big clients. But more than anything, I’m encouraged and enabled to learn new things… to create experiences that I would never have imagined. It’s pretty awesome.
John: Last question - we know that you’re a Front End Developer, but what’s a more accurate title for you?
Sarah: Sarah Proper: Ass Kicker, Event Planner, and Front End Extraordinaire.
John: Haha that needs to be your official title. Thanks for speaking with me today!
Sarah: Of course, any time!