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She keeps the office ticking … and fed

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in Career Management

Marie Boker is the director of first impressions at Phelps, an integrated marketing communications agency in Playa Vista, Calif. She was downsized from another agency almost 20 years ago, but when that company was acquired by Phelps soon after, she got a boost: “My former bosses told Joe Phelps, the CEO, to hire me quickly and then he would never have to hire another receptionist. Let’s hope he never has to hire another one, as I really enjoy being here.”

No two days are alike, but a typical day starts with sorting and delivering the day’s mail, checking the kitchen for fresh coffee and ensuring that the office supplies are in order. Boker also runs the orientation for new hires, trains some positions on different office procedures and ensures employees of the month are properly recognized. And she keeps things moving in the office by answering phones, ordering client gifts, and handling and coordinating food deliveries.

One of her biggest challenges, she says, is overseeing meals: Twice a week the company brings in lunch for more than 80 employees, and Boker is in charge of making sure there’s enough for everyone, that the offerings aren’t too repetitive and that the cost stays under budget. “I had no idea how much I would enjoy it.”

Boker says she’s included in the company’s creative process, which she enjoys. “Phelps has agencywide brainstorming sessions and everyone is invited to participate,” she says. “Since I enjoy writing, this is a great opportunity.” In addition, the company has semiannual off-site retreats that everyone attends, including the admin staff.

Boker says her favorite thing about the job is the people she works with, clients and suppliers. In addition, the office in Playa Vista is focused on wellness and is in a great location, she says. One of the most unusual changes she says she has gone through at work is loving dogs after being an avowed “cat person.” “In 2000, we had our first office dog, and now [we] have grown to be a dog-friendly office,” Boker says.

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