With the right attitude, any job can be your dream job. At least that’s how Stephanie Surratt—WebPT’s Director of Human Resources—sees it. “It’s really about aligning your own goals with your organization’s goals,” she said. “It’s important to believe in what your organization is doing and have passion for that, because if you can’t buy in to what you’re selling, then you’re always going to have an inner war.”
It might sound idealistic, but Stephanie is quick to point out that no position—even one’s “dream job”—comes without challenges. That’s why it’s so important for employees to see the bigger picture, not only with respect to the impact their work has on a larger scale, but also in the context of their personal and professional growth. “Every day at work is not going to be a pleasant day at work,” she said. “But you can contribute every day. And when you contribute, you can be valuable. And when you’re valuable—that’s when you get opportunities.”
It’s a refreshing viewpoint, and one that Stephanie has formed on the basis of her vast experience in the human resources field. Growing up in Billings, Montana, as the middle child in a family with five children, Stephanie honed her people skills at an early age. Add in the fact that her father was an employment law attorney, and it might seem Stephanie was destined for a career in HR. However, after leaving Big Sky Country to attend college at Colorado State University, she decided to pursue a degree in accounting. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I figured accounting would be a good foundation for whatever I ended up doing,” she said.
After college, Stephanie landed at Arthur Andersen, where she served as a staff accountant. She later moved on to Ernst & Young, where she dipped her toes into the HR pool with a position in the employee relations department. “I found that I was really good with people,” she said. “I was good at talking people back to work [when they were thinking about quitting].” There, she also stepped up as the project manager for People Point, a 360-degree anonymous feedback tool used to evaluate leadership-level employees in 10 of the company’s international locations. “I’m a big believer in feedback and how it can move you to where you need to be,” she said.
While most rehab therapy clinics operate at a much, much smaller scale than corporate giants like Ernst & Young, Stephanie believes businesses of all sizes can benefit from adhering to one core tenet: “Hire the best people you can, train them, and trust them to deliver,” she said. That’s certainly the creed Stephanie—and the rest of the leadership at WebPT—follows when it comes to bringing new talent on board. Perhaps that’s why, even though she’s only been with the company a hair over three months, Stephanie didn’t hesitate to credit the WebPT crew as being the best part of her job. “I love the people and the culture here,” she said. “If we could bottle the culture in this building and sell it, we’d make a million times more than we do on the EMR. We have people who are smart, motivated, and talented—and they truly have a heart for doing the right thing for our Members.”
And just as everyone at WebPT is passionate about helping our Members achieve greatness in therapy practice, Stephanie is passionate about helping people realize their professional potential—so passionate, in fact, that she wrote a whole book about it, titled “Don’t Suck at Work.” She also founded a blog and private consulting service of the same name.
So, what does Stephanie do in her (very limited) free time? Aside from getting back into the habit of running—she hopes to enter a half-marathon this year—and catching up on her favorite Netflix shows, she tries to spend as much time as possible with her two daughters, 13-year-old Kate and 11-year-old Emma. “Seriously, I’m nothing without my kids,” she said, adding that she’s totally dedicated to “making sure their lives are moving forward.”
And she’s equally dedicated to doing the same thing for the employees at WebPT. After all, technology is a fast-moving, continually-innovating industry, and any good technology company should have an HR strategy to match.
Fast Five with Stephanie
- Favorite food: Wine
- Favorite movie: Anything with spies or snipers (but she took her daughters to see The Fault in our Stars three days in a row and cried every time)
- Favorite sports team: Any team her daughters are on
- Favorite band: Train
- Favorite place: San Francisco or Old Town Scottsdale (Arizona)