Woman Wednesday Issue #23

The Assist Newsletter
June 8, 2022
Woman Wednesday

Name that Woman Trailblazer: She was the first African-American congresswoman and the first black woman to run for president, with parents from Barbados and British Guiana.

👉 Click here to reveal this woman.


Meet Dena Oneal 👋


Dena Oneal

Hi, I’m Dena!

I joined Stones River Consulting in October of 2020. I have over twenty-five years of experience in project management, staff operations, and fostering strong interpersonal relationships.

In my position as Director of Operations, I am responsible for the oversight of day-to-day operations and communications, project management, and work to develop and implement organizational strategies, policies, and best practices.

I attended the University of Tennessee with a major in Speech Pathology and have a Master of Education (M.Ed.) from Middle Tennessee State University. Enjoying reading, crafts, and volunteering in the community with the Alzheimer’s Association and Mindful Care, I am happily married and have two sons, Sean and Connor.

🔗 Want to connect with Dena? Say “hi” on LinkedIn.


6 Ways To Plan More Successful (And Less Stressful) Team Retreats


Offsite's People Leader's Guide to Planning The Perfect Team Retreat

Running a remote-first company is hard. Our friends at Offsite want to make it easier for you by sharing this free eBook sharing “best practices” for planning team retreats from People Leaders at VC-backed startups.

Keeping employees engaged, aligned, and accountable can be challenging when everyone is working from home, and loneliness can become a real struggle if you, as an employer, are not providing adequate opportunities for in-person connection.

Hear from People Leaders at On Deck, Common, Forum Ventures, and other remote-first companies so you can avoid painful mistakes in planning your next Offsite and organize in-person team retreats your colleagues will love.

Get the free guide

P.S. People often skip step 1 — don’t make that mistake!


Dena’s Secrets


Q: How did you get into your current role/industry?
My roles in education provided on the job training that set me up to be successful as a Director of Operations.

I was at a point in my life where due to health reasons, I could not be around children full time. SRC needed a Director of Operations and I fit the bill.

Q: What’s something you do to help boost your productivity?
Playing music is a key thing for helping me focus. Even in college I would find instrumental music and play it as I studied. If I chose music with words, my brain takes a hard left into “Let’s sing along!”

I curated song lists on my Spotify and event started my own Youtube Channel with meditative music that I can play as I work. It helps me really get in my zone.

I’ve also started using Office Otter as a task list. It is an online system where I can post my tasks, my team has a link where they can email me tasks, I can tag tasks in order to organize them, and it has reports at the end of the week where I can view where my time is going.

Q: How do you find work-life balance?
Finding my work-life balance has taken years.

I worked in the education field for 19 years. The long hours made that balance difficult and I missed things in my kids’ lives. Now that I work in a remote position and it is work I can just shut down at 5pm and walk away, my balance is much better.

It also helps that the company I work for values putting family first. There are no after hour emails, text or calls.

Q: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve received so far?
Ask for help! I know that seems super simple but most people (me included!) find it difficult to ask for help.

We don’t want to be seen as incompetent. There is a huge difference between asking for help and directions vs. asking for help as a way to have someone else do the work.

Q: What’s your favorite software or app that helps with your workflow?
As I mentioned before, Office Otter is a huge help for my workflow.

We also use Slack for our inter-office communication. My entire company is remote, so there is no going over to someone’s office to collaborate or chat.

We have different channels set up for different teams and topics. This helps when you need to search for information that has been posted.

Q: What’s a book or podcast you’d recommend to a colleague?
I just picked up Yes, You Can Talk About Mental Health at Work by Melissa Doman.

I attended a virtual workshop where Melissa discussed why it is important and how to effectively speak on this topic in the workplace.

I have training in mental health and believe this once “taboo” topic needs to be discussed in professional settings in order to support staff effectively.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time outside of work?
I volunteer for the National Park Service as a photographer. I love photographing special events.

I also help out with the Alzheimer’s Association, Nourish Food Bank, and my college alumni board with the University of Tennessee.

Recently I was able to volunteer to go to the Hill in D.C. to advocate for bills in front of my Congressional representatives that will help patients and families dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementia.

⚡ Find ways to utilize Slack more effectively.
🧠 If you are in a difficult work environment, here are some ways you can stand up for your mental health.


65 Creative Employee Reward Ideas


Bonusly's 65 Creative Employee Reward Ideas

You don’t have to spend a lot on employee rewards in order for them to be meaningful and effective 🎁.

Because you can give smaller rewards more frequently, they can have a more significant impact than larger rewards you give less often.

💡These 65 creative ideas will inspire you to start showing your employees you appreciate them more often.

Download the free PDF today


Recognition Goes a Long Way


An important lesson I have learned through time in my job is that you need to ensure you are sharing your teammate’s wins.

So often, the communication that people receive centers around what wasn’t finished, what was done incorrectly, or what else needs to be added to their tasks.

Recognizing people (in a genuine way) for work they have done that is above the expected task, education milestones, birthdays, or even work anniversaries helps motivate staff.

They feel you are invested in them and that in turn will help them feel invested in the company.

Be sure to write individual notes, not a standard note. You know they share with other co-workers! It doesn’t have to be elaborate; a postcard with a brief thank you can mean so much to someone.


Our awesome partners help keep our content free 🥰


Sanebox uses personalized algorithms to keep your inbox tidy and works with any email client and device you use.

Electric’s got you covered on the IT front and is even offering a free pair of Beats Solo3 Headphones for taking a qualified meeting.

Factor’s currently offering $120 off their no-prep, no-stress meals—delivered right to your door.

Office Otter is the free automated to-do list you didn’t know you needed (until now).


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