When executive assistant and Blrt power user Betty Pavlakis agreed to be the subject of our latest user story, we got a little excited. Betty works for a produce wholesaler and her office adjoins the Sydney Markets – the food epicentre of Sydney, so we got to indulge two of our passions: Blrt and our stomachs.
Betty is the office manager and executive assistant to the CEO, which basically puts her in charge of pretty much everything. She uses Blrt to elevate the quality of the interaction between her and all the other people in the office. We shrugged off our food coma for long enough to find out how she does it.
Q&A with executive assistant Betty Pavlakis
1. Please tell us what your job involves (and also how you stay thin amongst all this food)
As produce wholesalers, we pick the best of what the growers and producers have to offer from the markets or direct from the farm and we sell it on to retailers – repackaged to suit their shop’s needs and the needs of their customers – the end consumers.
As you’d imagine, this requires a lot of back and forth communication between lots of different people – my boss, the buyers, the packers and the retailers as well as a host of other people in between. We need to negotiate a good price for the best quality, and quality is assessed on many different factors including size, colour, ripeness, aroma, weight, etc. We then need to present that produce in a way that makes it appealing to consumers, but also falls within the specifications of the retailer.
As for the thin part, I try to limit my sampling to one bite per product!
2. What do you love about being an executive assistant?
I love being a part of the chain of people that puts good food on the tables around the country. Food is a really important part of my life and I believe that having access to good food improves the lives of others.
Recently, I’ve been really pleased to be part of a growing initiative to also sell the produce that’s normally considered ‘unsaleable’ due to cosmetic blemishes, or being unusually shaped or irregularly sized. It’s eliminating a huge amount of waste, and also making food that is still good to eat more accessible to a larger group of people due to cheaper prices. It’s something I’m really glad is catching on in the larger supermarket groups.
3. What are the challenges?
It’s a business that moves super-fast and is constantly throwing up challenges. Mother Nature is pretty ungovernable so you can’t always be sure that you’re going to get exactly what you want. And even when you do get it, you’re in a constant competitive position with other wholesalers, negotiating with the growers over prices and quantities and trying to ensure that those negotiations will contribute to a strong position with the retailers. The larger ones can be quite ruthless, so often it’s a bit like a game of chess.
Also, the decisions that you make can be quite subjective. What looks fine to one person may not be fine for the person who’s receiving it, so you have to find ways to overcome the potential for misinterpretation and error.
Then of course there are the typical challenges that come along with being someone’s executive assistant. Although I am the office manager and am kept pretty busy with running the office and ensuring everyone’s doing what they are supposed to be doing, I have this whole other job, organising someone’s life at work (and sometimes even at home!). I really need to use my time well, and ensure I’m as productive as possible.
4. How did you hear about Blrt and how long have you been using it?
I was sent an article on Blrt by a friend who thought it would really help me, and he was absolutely right! I have been using Blrt for just over six months now, and I use it in almost every aspect of my job. It’s incredible how indispensable it’s become.
5. What problem does Blrt solve for you?
Blrt actually solves several problems for me as an executive assistant and office manager. It helps me avoid misinterpretation, it helps me involve more people in the process of making decisions, and it cuts down the amount of time I spend communicating with people, which used to all be via text and email and on the phone.
Now I can tell, show and write, all via one channel of communication. I make Blrts about produce, packaging, deliveries, problems, maintenance, and to gain approvals on things.
It plays a role in so many aspects of my day to day job.
6. How have your colleagues and your boss reacted to Blrt?
Look – I guess there are always going to those who are resistant to new things, but luckily, they have been in the minority. Once people see how helpful Blrt is, nine times from ten they’re on board with it. Even if they don’t Blrt me in reply, they’re able to text, and pretty much everyone in the universe does that these days.
As for my boss, he’s not the most tech-savvy person, so it was a bit of slow start, but now I can’t keep him off it! He needed some help with the basics, and then off he went. Now as soon as something pops into his head, he’s on Blrt to tell me about it, whether he makes a recording or he just sends a text. It’s great! He’s gone from being one of the hardest people in my life to communicate with, to being the easiest.
7. What are your plans for Blrt?
To get my husband on it! (Lots of laughing here from all of us). And maybe my boss’s wife too…(more laughter).
No, seriously, I just want to expand Blrt’s use to as many of the people I deal with on a daily basis as possible. There are so many of them!
Although it’s improved a lot since I started using Blrt, I still type too many emails, and attach so many pictures to them – it’s ridiculous! And the phone calls are crazy too. My phone rings a lot and most of the time I simply can’t answer it as I’m on the warehouse floor, counting stock, doing spot checks on everything and trying not to be mowed down by a forklift – I can’t afford to lose my focus.
Blrt helps me never miss a thing by allowing me and the people I converse with to interact and exchange recordings when we’re available, and I want everyone to have that benefit.
Lots of food for thought…
Betty’s use of Blrt allows her to keep the demanding job of being an executive assistant (and the demanding people it brings her in contact with) in hand, by helping her to use her time more effectively and minimise the opportunity for error. She’s discovered that the applications for Blrt are almost limitless, and finds new opportunities to use it almost every day.
Have a think about your job, and some of the ways that you could become more productive and save time. Do you have a use for Blrt? We’re sure you do, just like Betty.
Get started today:
Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.
Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.
Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.
Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.