Stephanie el Tawil, supervisor of Opportunity Development in Outreach and Engagement, began working at USI about three years ago. She began during the same week we launched our new logo. It was a happy time of celebration and she has been celebrating ever since. She always looking for a way to put a smile on the face of others or make you laugh so hard your ribs hurt. She truly is the “Captain of Fun.”
Since she is an unconventional lady, instead of my two paragraph introduction, I give you the brief one above and share Stephanie’s video introduction of herself. Enjoy!
Video shot and edited by Ashley Watson.
What’s the most important personal attribute that you bring to your job?
At my last job, it’s what I hated the most, but here it’s what has made me shine the most. I worked at Starbucks and they drill “customer service” into your head and I hated it. I don’t like to be phony with people. I like to be genuine. There, I struggled to force connections, but here it happens naturally.
My ability to connect with people is the thing that has made me most successful here, as well as finding the most joy in my job. It’s not just communication and being able to talk with anybody at any level but also that I can read people well. I’m very intuitive about how things are going in a conversation or a meeting. I can gauge frustrations easily and I’m good at turning that around into something fun and positive.
I’m not fake and I think people can see that it me. I have that bartender face where people want to share things with me. I don’t let someone’s title affect how I talk to them and that has actually brought in a lot of personal community connections with USI.
Why are you called the “Captain of Fun?”
It started with party planning. I was the newest person and didn’t know any better to take that role on. The first email I sent out was about a breakfast and I think I wrote “bacon” in the email 17 times because I really wanted bacon to be there. Ever since then I’ve gotten labeled as the “fun person.” Three or four events later I became the “Captain of Fun.”
I like bringing people together and taking those moments to have a little bit of fun. I like singing through the hallway and getting somebody else to sing with me or having a rolling chair race. I enjoy the party not for the party’s sake. I enjoy it because people need to connect outside of work and see how it affects your team when they come back.
What TV channel doesn’t exist, but should?
I struggled with this because there are so many TV channels that shouldn’t exist, but do. If there is one I’d watch all the time, it would be a Halloween channel or scary channel, not like horror scary, but suspense scary. I want something that during the day plays things like Hocus Pocus, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, maybe some kid mysteries and then in the evening goes into some scarier stuff like semi-horror but not gory, not violent, but suspenseful.
What’s something you thought you’d grow out of but haven’t?
I am very immature a lot of the time so there’s probably a lot of things I probably should have grown out of. Maybe the way I dress, a lot of times I’ll wear little bows in my hair. I like singing in the hallways and at my desk and I probably should have grown out of that years ago.
They say that everyone has a book in them. What would your book be about?
I don’t think I have a book in me, maybe a comic book of very short stories, little excerpts of the stages of Stephanie, maybe written by Stephen King.
Three interesting facts
One: I’m the middle of nine children. Most people think I’m an only child based on my personality.
Two: I was marooned on an island with Sting 10 years ago.
Three: I like to make up extravagant stories when I’m cornered for information.
I never met Sting, but the first one is true.
If you had a narrator narrating what was happening in your life, who would it be and in what style?
It would definitely be a musical and I would be narrating myself. I would be looking at the camera “Office-style” as I’m narrating it. I’d be singing songs about making copies.
If you built a themed hotel, what would the theme be and what would the rooms look like?
I don’t want a hotel. I want a castle in a live-action role-playing (LARP) theme. You could pick what genre you want like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Everybody would be in full costume and would do quests. There would be people who role play with you through the quests. Maybe we would offer quest packages depending on how physical you wanted to be and how long you stayed. There could be sword fighting. I can’t promise dragons. We would serve steins of ale, but no eel, even though that was a popular medieval dish.
Each room would be specific to a character and you’d have to interact with them. The nerds of the world like me, would love it and pay lots of money to come visit. Then I could live in a castle the rest of my life.
Photo Credit: USI Photography and Multimedia
Stephanie "Captain of Fun" el Tawil