Stacey Hunt is a bold, smart, strong Fairygodboss who embraces risk and thrives on challenges. As VP of Operations at Collabware, she is part of a cohesive, energized team that creates superior software and services for its customers.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Stacey Hunt
VP Operations, Collabware
FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
SH: I actually started by career in IT by accident. I had just completed a program in Office Management back in 1992 and was assigned my co-op placement with a municipal department. My co-op was supposed to give me exposure to operations management; however, on my first day the director learned that I knew a little about computers (yay for the 90’s). Armed with that knowledge, he then changed my co-op to information systems and had me set up the entire department’s computer infrastructure. My computer knowledge consisted of working with simple applications…but I did it! Too young and inexperienced to know the full extent of what the change entailed, I took the challenge without hesitation. I knew from that point on that my career would be in the technology field. It’s been 20 years and I haven’t looked back.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
SH: After working in a steady, comfortable role for years, I realized that I wanted more challenge and to learn new things in a faster paced environment. I was completely ready and excited to take my career to the next level; but my employer at the time was not. That’s when I decided to find a company whose values and purpose aligned more to my own; and I found Collabware.
I started as part of the product support team, and since then have been extremely fortunate to work in many different roles: Product Support Director; VP of Product Services; and my current role as VP Operations. Collabware’s commitment to growth and development; the freedom to take on new challenges and the encouragement of the CEO was exactly what I needed to progress my career.
Setting my goal was the easy part. Deciding to take a chance by doubling down on myself was the difficult part. I’m very proud of how much I have been able to contribute to Collabware and I can’t wait for what’s next.
FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
SH: Wow! That’s a tough one… there have been quite a few challenges that immediately leap to mind. I could discuss the challenge of balancing school/work/home life as a young single mother; or the joys of entering the male-dominated field of IT during the very Old Boys Club days of the 90’s. Those struggles were certainly difficult, but in reality, the biggest challenge that I overcame was within myself. Like many women, quieting the negative, unhelpful thoughts that plagued me for years was quite difficult. Imposter Syndrome put a voice of self doubt and fear of failure in the back of my mind for years which at times was almost paralyzing. As I gained more experience and confidence, I forced myself to confront these doubts because I didn’t want fear holding me back anymore and I wanted to be a strong, capable role model for my daughter. The negative thoughts still pop up occasionally, but now I simply acknowledge and replace them with something positive that makes me feel proud.
FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?
SH: When I’m not at work, I will likely be weightlifting at the gym. When I’m weightlifting, it’s just me and my next lifting goal. When I’m lifting, everything fades away; it’s just me, pushing myself beyond my limits and comfort zone. Nothing compares to that feeling for me – I feel strong and powerful, like I can achieve anything.
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
SH: Diana Nyad – she is absolutely inspiring!
FGB: What is your karaoke song?
SH: "Smells like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
FGB: What is your favorite movie?
SH: I love Quentin Tarantino movies! Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill among the most re-watchable.
FGB: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
SH: A Song of Ice and Fire series.
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
SH: I don’t know anyone who has the willpower to resist a Sephora splurge.
Animals have always been a huge part of my life and that wouldn’t change if I won the lottery. I would buy a huge ranch outside of the city and take in abandoned animals. With my lottery winnings, I’d be able to afford to give them the best life possible.
FGB: Who is your Fairygodboss, and why?
SH: Five years ago I met my Fairygodboss at a fitness boot camp. Lianna was working at a hair salon and we became friends. Not only have I had the privilege of being her client; I’ve also gotten a front row seat to watch her pursue her dreams. Lianna worked tirelessly over the past 5 years to move from hairstylist to buying and running the salon. She inspires me with her creativity, passion and dedication to her work. I can always count on her for thoughtful advice on work situations and to challenge me to step outside my comfort zone.
FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
SH: Don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s easy to be silent and not contribute your ideas, but you’re only doing yourself a disservice. Try new things, implement new ideas, but most importantly- don’t let fear get in the way of your ambitions.
FGB: Why do you love where you work?
SH: One of the things that I love most about Collabware is that I work with a passionate group of talented professionals who strive for excellence and push each other to be at the top of their game everyday. It’s an amazing feeling to know that your co-workers are as driven to succeed as you are, so they are genuinely willing to step in and help even if it’s not their department or project. It’s gratifying to have the freedom to reach out to anyone in the company and know that they are open to all ideas and that they are committed to doing the right thing for both employees and customers. This openness brings out the best in everyone at Collabware and makes us a dynamic, innovative team!
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women. So each week, we celebrate a woman who makes a difference in other women’s careers. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate and thank her by nominating her here.