What Story are Your Books and Accounts Telling Right Now?

Whatever core values your organization, school, or business has, there is at least one overarching commitment that hopefully holds them all together: consistency. The Queen of Consistency around our office is Misha Frazier. For the last six years, week after week, she has been responsible for client billing, running payroll, and keeping impeccable books and accounts for our team. Her work is utterly critical, if not glamorous in most people’s eyes. When we caught up with her for an interview on her workiversary, there were some surprising insights hiding in the pages of our company books that she brought to light.

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you, and bless you. If it wasn’t for team members like you who are so meticulously organized and wildly good at managing so many details, numbers, and deadlines, the rest of us wouldn’t be able to function.

Misha: [Laughs.] You’re welcome! You know, I’m definitely a task-oriented person, so I love my job. Billing and keeping books fit really, really well with my personality. The technology has changed, but in many ways, my core work is the same today as it was 30 years ago when I started my career. And it truly doesn’t matter to me if I’m doing the same task every single week — my satisfaction is all about checking the task off when it’s done — when it’s accurate, in order, and complete.

You have a very unique perspective on our company, clients, and culture, Misha. What do you think is the best thing about North Star?

Misha: One of the best things we do is our planning meeting in December. For one, since some of our team members live around the country, I love seeing their faces in person! You talk business, have video meetings, and pray with these folks every week, but it’s so good, so important, to have that time in person with them. That planning meeting is a huge investment in our culture and plans for the near future, every year. It’s critical.

Ask me or anyone on this team what they love about North Star and we would all mention the culture. This is simply a different and wonderful place to collaborate and work. But I bet the second thing any of us would say is “our clients.” To me, that’s remarkable. I mean, we love these people, and we’re invested in their lives, professionally and often on some personal level, too. We know them and care about their organization and their families. In my professional experience, I don’t know that all businesses genuinely feel a connection to their clients, but I know we do.

What are you seeing and hearing from our clients right now?

Misha: Obviously this is a very difficult time for schools and businesses across every industry. While everything is shut down or uncertain, everyone is considering where they can cut costs and how to invest their limited resources. What we’re seeing from so many of our clients, especially a large number of our school clients, is that they are maintaining or ramping up their marketing efforts in response to all of this. They are getting creative with virtual tours. They are catching up on their backlog of vital projects.

They are saying, “If we don’t stay in the forefront, prospective parents might forget about us.” So, they are investing now to ensure they can make a strong comeback with enrollment after this is over. It really is a true partnership we build with our clients and these times are revealing the depth of those relationships. They are leaning on us more than ever for marketing leadership that will get them through this upheaval. Our team is working overtime to develop resources like ReSearch, the private school turnkey marketing solution for recruitment and enrollment we just released. So, we’re not just telling our partners ‘we are in this with you,’ we’re getting down in the details of sorting out where to go from here with them.

What has this time looked like for you and your family?

Misha: We are certainly celebrating in our house that it’s easy for me to keep working from home! I have one son who has graduated from college and can work from home as well. And my other son is in college now and completing his junior year at home. We’re grateful he can still complete that. It’s amazing how the whole world transitioned so quickly. Last year they would have freaked out, but the teachers have rocked. They’ve gotten this down quickly and efficiently.

That’s been the story with our whole North Star team, too. In practical ways, this transition hasn’t been a struggle for us. We already had a culture where working from home is normal. We’ve had to adjust message workshops, group meetings, and things like that, but we have the tools in place, like Via [North Star’s proprietary project management software solution for marketing] which is up and running beautifully, keeping us and our partners on track. Since North Star has been proactively investing in our infrastructure and processes all along, it has made so many things easier for us during this time. And it’s made a difference for our clients, too. Our team’s investments mean we’re ready to lead and walk with them through something none of us could have predicted we would need to navigate.

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