Jeffrey Kaplan just joined the team at ProctorFree as the Director of Partner Relations. Jeff recently moved to the area from the University of Florida where he was the Head Teaching Assistant and Program Associate at the Warrington College of Business Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He graduated with his Master’s in Entrepreneurship in 2013 and was awarded the Thomas S. Johnson Entrepreneurial Scholar Award. We caught Jeff in between tweets to ask him a few questions for our blog.
What are you working on right now?
Mostly building partnerships. Meeting folks, planning a conference schedule, and making travel arrangements. But this is a start up, so in addition to that, answering general inquiry calls, doing a little tech support, social media management, and occasionally taking out the trash. Our M.O. here is to get work done, whatever you can do, at any time.
What does your typical day look like?
First thing in the morning we always have a Stand-Up meeting. We all go around the room and have a minute or two to talk about what we are working on that day and what we need help with. From there I follow up with emails and phone calls, build new relationships, and tweet. I love the Twitter.
What do you do for fun?
I like to play music, kayak, hike, and garden. My best instrument is the Ukulele, but I can play a little mandolin, banjo, and guitar. I do a little fishing too, that started when I moved up here.
What brings you to life?
Problem solving and helping others. I think that’s the key to what we do. We know that are partners have needs, and my job is to see if we are their best fit. I enjoy that, and I know that our product makes educational access a reality to many folks. That in itself is a great reward.
What is the best part of working at ProctorFree?
This is a pretty killer team, I really enjoy working with everyone here. While the vibe is laid-back our team really pushes themselves to achieve. We are all driven and motivated to produce a fantastic service. Our founders, Mike and Velvet, set the tone and expectations. Jason, our CTO, is leading his team to create some incredible functionality and features in this software. We just brought in Alisha, who is also a stand-up comic, so that makes our days very colorful. Something unusual is that our advisors actually share one of the suites in our office space. That’s Jon and Chris Boggiano and they are just Jonny-On-The-Spots with feedback and help in workshopping issues.
What is growing in your garden?
Well we just moved in so mostly flowers and herbs. Lantantas, rhododendrons, basil, rosemary, lavender, onion, garlic, roses. I think that’s it. We (my fiancé and I) are holding off on getting too into vegetables right now. We had corn, sunflowers, aloe, pumpkins, cucumbers, eggplants, cosmos, zinnias, marigolds…just about anything we could get our hands on! My secret is fertilizer and songs. Sing to the plants and give them that goooood Black Cow. Great combo.
What does it take to build relationships?
You need to be a good listener, ask questions that get at unarticulated needs, and make real connections. Connect with people as people first, then on the organizational level.
If you weren’t working at ProctorFree, what would you be doing?
Probably back to teaching. After I graduated with my bachelor’s I was a Middle School Multi-Media teacher and I loved working with kids, getting them to be creative, and helping them construct their identity.