by Kendall Shepherd
Take a peek behind the curtain to see what life at Opal is really like. In our latest Employee Spotlight, Opal’s Program Designer April Reissmann shares her story.
April Reissmann joined Opal in November 2019, just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way we work. Today, as our Program Designer, April builds experiences that remove barriers to help our employees—and our customers—do their jobs better.
How would you describe your role at Opal?
As a Program Designer, I like to think of myself as a professional problem solver. I like being presented with a challenge and designing a solution from soup to nuts.
Here’s an example. One of the first programs I designed at Opal was the Opal Pro Program—affectionately known as “The O.P.P.”. It’s for new customer-facing employees who need to quickly understand how our product works, what value our customers get from it, and how to help them make the most of it. As part of The O.P.P., those new hires take learning center courses, meet with specific folks from the go-to-market team to hear their experiences firsthand, and learn how we position Opal and how existing customers are already using it. At the end of the program, they give a presentation to an internal team that pretends to be customers and asks the kinds of questions our new employees will hear from actual customers. The program really provides a safe space for new employees to learn the product and hone their skills.
How did you hear about Opal, and what made you want to join?
I found Opal through a good old-fashioned LinkedIn search during my job hunt. I was looking for training positions and was drawn to the job description Opal posted. The way they talked about the role and the company sounded so different and really stood out. I’ve been lucky enough to work for companies with amazing culture in the past, and I wanted to find that lightning in a bottle again. And it worked!
My title has actually changed a few times. I originally applied for a training specialist position, but my hiring manager wanted someone who could also produce content. I was honest about my experience—I didn’t have any Adobe skills, but that was just due to lack of access to the tools. I told them that I’d love to learn, and they took a chance.
And it became clear pretty quickly that my skill set could be utilized in a different way than what we’d originally anticipated. I began to gravitate towards designing new programs, not just creating training content. Some programs I’ve designed include a new hire onboarding and a certified trainer program, and right now I’m working on an implementation program.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I come from the field of education, and have always said that the reason I’m here on earth is to help people. The way I do that right now is to help people do better at their jobs. I love being able to approach the whole problem and to use human-centered design and design thinking to solve it—produce the content, create the steps, provide documentation, and really just tie a bow on a program and deliver it.
I went through Simon Sinek’s “Find Your Why” exercise and realized that my why is removing barriers and empowering people to help them realize their full potential. And that’s what designing programs is all about: removing barriers, whether that’s a cumbersome process or an overwhelming scenario.
What’s the biggest professional challenge you’ve tackled at Opal?
Definitely navigating the remote world. I started in November 2019 as a content producer and substitute trainer, and when COVID-19 happened, we lost our two full-time trainers. I had to step up and get up to speed really quickly, while all of a sudden working from home. For my team, we had to navigate not only how to work in this remote world, but rethink the role of education as it applies to our organization. We had to reconsider instructor-led training, and figure out how we could help our customers self-serve content so they could improve their Opal skills on their own time.
How do you achieve work-life balance while working from home?
It’s so hard. I’m not sure that I have. Something that’s been a rock for me during these times is trail running—I’m lucky to live close to Mt. Tabor and run in the mornings. I still have trouble stepping away from my desk once I get started working, so I have to run first thing in the morning or there’s a good chance I won’t get to it. I do leave my computer at 5pm every day, with very few exceptions. I also got a pandemic puppy named Alan, so having him has been a huge help with mental health.
One thing I am pumped about is Club Med. It’s an internal culture club at Opal centered around meditation. When we were in the office, we used to sit in the back meeting room every week and do a silent or guided meditation. When we went remote, a former colleague referred me to take it over. I was busy, but I knew I couldn’t let it go, so I started leading virtual meditations or playing guided meditations. We get together on Zoom, chit-chat for a little bit, and then turn on the guided meditation, turn off our cameras, and do our meditation.
What advice would you give someone on their first day at Opal?
Be you. Be unapologetically you. One of the wonderful things about Opal is that we don’t have two faces. You show up as yourself—your whole self—and not only are you appreciated, you are valued for what you bring to the organization.
Are you looking for lightning in a bottle, just like April? We’re hiring! Join our world-class team in celebrating a culture that supports our colleagues, promotes an inclusive and diverse environment, and recognizes great work at every level. See our open roles here.