Monster In the Mirror: Wiley’s Stefanie Petesic

Wiley's Stefanie Petesic's 'Octopus-Like' Workday

Wiley’s Stefanie Petesic tells us about her workweek, which she describes as ‘octopus-like’ in our latest Monster In the Mirror. From being a champion at ‘inbox zero’ to keeping a sense of humor, Stefanie optimizes her workday, while still trying to take time to unwind. 


Name: Stefanie Petesic (formerly DiTerlizzi, which was way harder to spell!)

Title: Advertising Operations and e-business Specialist

Company: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Location: Hoboken, N.J.

Current Computer: Thinkpad at Work, and MacBook Pro at home

Current Mobile Device: iPhone 4S

One word that describes how you work: Octopus-like. So not a word, but so true. I always have one hand on the phone, one hand on the keyboard, putting things down to take notes, sticking things in my hair, so I can make the most of every second and help the most people in our department at one time. We’re a pretty lean department so I try not to waste any time.

How do you describe what you do to your family? I tell my Grandma that I make the ads appear on the websites. She seems satisfied with that answer.

If you weren’t in ad operations, what would you be doing? If it were still in corporate America/Publishing, probably something in Sales or Marketing where I do a lot of presentations. If money were no object I’d be a makeup artist, something I moonlight on the side doing and really enjoy.  

Time Management

Inbox – aim for zero or is it infinitely long? I used to aim for zero, but the only time that ever happens is if something’s wrong with the email network, which usually means something is wrong with the website, and that’s never good for an ad ops person. For the most part, I try to make sure I at least don’t have to scroll up and down to see everything in it.

How do you manage your to do list? I try to prioritize things based on real urgencies, rather than who is screaming the loudest and marking things urgent. I usually mark things red in my inbox that absolutely have to get done before the end of the day and I start each day that way.

What’s your workspace like? It looks like I live here. I have a shoe rack under my desk, photos of my best friends and from my wedding, and lots of toys that help me keep a sense of humor- something essential when you work with a lot of strong personalities. I just bought a stress ball that lights up if you throw it at someone, and I’m enjoying that a lot more than I should. 

Are you 24/7 or you turn off work at some point? I try not to be, but I can’t resist checking email when I’m home or on vacation (on my company phone.) I can’t stand to watch when people are emailing back and forth about something that I know a quick answer to, so I usually just reply. I just don’t want anyone to waste any time (or mess any of ‘my’ stuff up while I’m out)

What do you spend most of your day on? Management? Tech? Operations? Trafficking? I would say I have a pretty even split of digital ad strategy, new product/industry research, contract negotiation, ad operations, and troubleshooting broken ads. I try to automate as much as possible so that I don’t spend the day running reports, which gets boring pretty quickly.

Ad Operations and Tech

Ad Ops/process apps/software/tools you can’t live without? DFP obviously. Google made sure of that!

What systems are you fluent in? DFP/Doubleclick, Omniture Sitecatalyst, Discover

What’s your least favorite industry buzzword? Right now, “do not track” because no one will give us a real answer on whether or not it’s going to end the advertising world as we know it or just fly on by. Sounds like it’s going to be the ad ops verison of prohibition. Lots of people will know it’s a law but still be making advertising moonshine in their bathtub.  

What buzzword do you find yourself using the most? I try not to use buzzwords because it’s usually an indicator of someone who is just repeating something they saw in an IAB email that they think is important but they don’t know why. I spend a lot of time educating less digital savvy people in my company about things, so I try to simply explain the technical to the non-technical audience.  

What industry trend are you following the closest? At the moment I’m working on a keyword/semantic targeting option which could be a game changer for our unique business.

What’s your advice to up and coming digital strategists? Stay flexible, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and your job is what you make of it. I started my current job (a newly created role) as someone who was going to traffic ads and run reports, which is probably what I still would be doing if I didn’t have a go getter personality, and a great manager.

It’s very easy to put your head down and do as your told, but no one ever got anywhere by doing only what was asked of them. By staying flexible in what I was willing to do to help our sales team sell, sharing my online expertise (even when I wasn’t asked for it) and working with my manager on some internal PR, I’ve gotten myself involved in a lot of digital projects that are pretty important to our company. Three years later, most of the ‘digital’ people in my company know who I am, what I do, and nothing without an online ad goes live without input from me or someone in my department.

It’s very easy to get lost in an operations role if don’t have someone cheerleading for you and if you don’t have a cheerleader, then you need to be your own. Especially in an unstable economy, you need to make sure that people know what it is you do all day, otherwise they’ll assume all you do is put up a few ads, run a few reports, and go home.