Get to Know a StratExian: Tony Brink

tony-brink-candid-photoName: Tony Brink

History at StratEx:
I started in November of 2015 as a sales rep, and I’ve since taken on the first Account Management role on the sales team. I really enjoy going the extra mile for our clients in this role. From a sales capacity, my job is to find multi-unit operators in need of an all-in-one solution to better manage their people. My biggest focus is to find bottlenecks in the employee life-cycle of restaurant groups that are exhausting resources. My ultimate goal is to remove these constraints through an automated approach and through an exceptional level of service through our great people at StratEx.

How have you helped a client solve a problem?
A new client coming on, who operates in 9 states, had never used a full-suite software solution before and was self-admittedly unfamiliar with the capabilities of technology today. After deciding to move forward with StratEx, it was time to make automation a reality and get their system going. Because it was a big change for their team, each module roll-out sounded overwhelming to them. I popped my head into their office to say hello and demonstrated how easy one of these modules was to use (happened to be Expense Reporting). After we calculated how much time they were spending on expense reports and how much time they stood to save, they couldn’t have been more excited to roll-out the module.

Are you an ice cream, cookie, or cake person?
I eat ice cream eight nights a week.

Backpacking or luxury hotel?

What is one thing you will never do again?
Take out student loans.

Which Sales topic/tactic is your Patronus?
Reliability. If a client or prospect contacts me at 10pm on a weekday or any time on the weekend, I respond. I’ve walked employees through basic eStratEx processes on Sunday afternoons and emailed with clients on Saturday nights. A client only relies on the system as much as the people behind it, and I’m always available to them.

Advice to New StratExians:
Ask questions! We are not here to be like every other company in the industry so there is always something new to learn. Ask questions, people are always willing to help.

Get to Know a StratExian: Carissa Coppola

carissa2Name: Carissa Coppola

History at StratEx:
I started with StratEx in September of 2015 as a temporary accounting and operations specialist and with much excitement, was brought on as a permanent accounting and operations specialist in March of 2016! I assist the Service Teams with implementing, registering and maintaining payroll taxes in our system for our clients. I also handle a portion of the accounts receivable procedures for our company.

How have you helped a client solve an HR or Benefit problem?
From an operations and payroll tax standpoint, our software combined with our team allows our restaurant clients to essentially kick their feet up and let us handle preparing and constructing employees’ paychecks and associated payroll taxes, including the difficult task of preparing tipped employees’ wages, paychecks and W-2s. But, the biggest item our team has to be proud of is the timely, efficient and accurate preparation of W-2’s for all our restaurant clients’ employees. Our team is always up-to-date on all state payroll tax laws, changes and regulations and is constantly implementing those into our system. This gives our restaurant clients the time to focus on other top responsibilities in their restaurants.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a chef and open my own restaurant called Carissa’s Kitchen.

If you could master one skill you don’t have now, what would it be?
Singing. I’ve always wanted to be able to belt out a classic song during Karaoke and not hurt people’s ears!

Which Accounting topic is your Patronus?
Hands down: payroll POAs (Power of Attorney forms). I will always have a special place in my heart for these forms.

Favorite thing about working at StratEx:
My favorite part about working at StratEx is genuinely laughing during the work day. No matter how stressful the day may be, anyone on the Operations Team or in the office always says something to lighten the mood and make me laugh out loud.

Advice to new StratExians:
My advice to any new StratExians is to be confident! You have to trust yourself and your instincts when it comes to starting new roles, tasks and projects. Always remember you know and understand more than you may think.

Which celebrity would you like to be for a day?
Beyoncé, of course!


Get to Know a StratExian: Alyssa Garza

Name: Alyssa Garza

alyssa1History at StratEx:
I started in June of 2014 as a Benefit Administrator and have continued to grow within this position. I help clients administer and maintain all benefit offerings for their employees, throughout the entire employee lifecycle — from new hire to COBRA.

How have you helped a client solve an HR or Benefit problem?
Our restaurant clients often have the same challenges: they have multiple benefit tiers (employees that are eligible vs. not eligible), multiple plan offerings (which can be location-based), and multiple locations with multiple location managers — all of which can make things a little chaotic at times.

However, we help them track it all. We are the one-stop shop for all locations and all employees when it comes to benefits — we take the headache away from them. Restaurants don’t necessarily have the time for this stuff, nor do they have people who truly understand the benefit/COBRA administration. I think that is why we are so helpful to them.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals!

What’s on your bucket list this year?
I don’t know about this year, but definitely want to make my way to Thailand! Have always loved elephants and would love to go to an elephant sanctuary out there.

Which Benefit topic is your Patronus?
It’s hard to just pick one when you deal with all of the different benefits on a daily basis, but COBRA administration has always kinda been my baby!

Are you an ice cream, or cookie/cake person?
Ice Cream — favorite is chocolate chip cookie dough.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
“Doesn’t always have a filter when speaking…” or, “Major OCD.” (Joe can speak to how much he loves my OCD!)

Favorite thing about working at StratEx:
The people, hands down!

Advice to new StratExians:
If you ever get overwhelmed — which I know none of us ever do — eat some candy and ask Emily Quinn to tell you a funny story 🙂


Get to Know a StratExian: Katie Samuelson

Name: Katie Samuelson

ks1History at StratEx:
I started at StratEx in March of 2015 as a Service Specialist and have since been promoted to a Project Specialist. In this role, I help clients implement our HR software, eStratEx, and I train them on the system modules they will use. I like that I continue to be on my client’s Service Team even after implementation, helping resolve any questions or issues that may arise! I have also recently taken on the title of StratEx’s Social Media Ambassador.

How have you helped a client solve an HR or Payroll problem?
I think our software specifically helps our clients’ payroll and HR needs because its a one-stop shop for all things HR/payroll related. eStratEx gives our clients the ability to manage everything in one place – payroll, recruitment, timekeeping, etc. I’ve seen a lot of our clients that have transitioned from a paper process to our paperless process, which is always a cool transition to see. On the StratEx Service Team, we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback in the sense that our software gives our clients that ability to manage everything in one place without feeling overwhelmed. As a team, we help with that transition to ensure the client feels educated and confident in their ability to utilize eStratEx in the best way possible. 

What’s on your bucket list this year?
The year is almost over, which is crazy! But, I definitely want to relearn Spanish, go bungee jumping and head to Asia in 2017!

If you could travel, would you travel to the past or the future?
Past for sure! There have been so many cool eras and decades. I’d love to go back to the 20’s, 60’s and witness some of the major events that have occurred.

Which HR/Payroll topic is your Patronus?
I’d probably say learning and development because I absolutely love training!

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
Kate Hudson – she’s so bubbly and easy going.

Backpacking or Luxury Hotel?
I think a mix of both is the way to do it. It’s fun to be outdoorsy, but also feel like you can relax in a nice hotel for a few nights.

Favorite thing about working at StratEx:
The people! I love that I have the opportunity to work with smart, encouraging and fun (funny – cough Eric) people each day!

Advice to new StratExians:
I think my biggest piece of advice would be to assert yourself as someone who is ready to hit the ground running. But, I’d also say it’s okay to not know the answers to everything. You won’t have all the answers in one day, and we are working in the software/tech industry so there will always be new advancements in technology. It’s good to turn to others for help and guidance. If you have the expectation to just kind of constantly be learning and asking questions, you’ll be in a good spot. That, and having a positive attitude really does make a huge difference!