Employee Spotlight: Aubrey Harrington

Welcome to the Employee Spotlight Series! This week, we are featuring Aubrey Harrington. Aubrey is a Data Analyst and has been a part of the team for a year and two months. When asked to describe SpendMend in three words, she stated, “Supportive, Innovative, and Driven.” We are grateful to get the time and opportunity to learn more about Aubrey. A fun fact about Aubrey is that she went to Kennesaw State University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees! She got her undergraduate degree in accounting and her masters in applied statistics. She picked those degrees because she is very enthusiastic about numbers, and enjoyed her introductory accounting classes. Outside of work, Aubrey enjoys reading! Her favorite genres are romance and the occasional historical fiction. Her favorite books are “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Can You Keep A Secret”, and her favorite book that she has read this year so far is “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. Aubrey’s brother loves reading as well, so they compete in an annual reading challenge together! They use the Goodreads app to track their book reading progress. Currently, Aubrey is winning against her brother’s friend with almost 57 books completed! Be sure to check out the full interview below to learn more about their reading challenge! Aubrey also likes spending her free time volunteering at her church. She started to volunteer last November/ December and she is a small group leader for 3rd graders. On Sundays, she gets a group of about 10 students and facilitates fun activities that teach lessons and bible stories. Her favorite memory of volunteering is when her groups of kids had to create an outline of a boat using tape on the ground. They were able to be very creative and act like pirates on the ship, and they had a fun time!

Aubrey is valued by her team members for her dedication and leadership abilities. Michele Gort, Data Analyst, said “Aubrey is what I would consider the “Ted Lasso” of the analytics group who is always willing, eager, and ready to take on any challenge while keeping a huge smile on her face. I feel truly honored to work with her every day to observe her resilience, experience, knowledge, and critical thinking skills when tasked with any issue. No amount of words could ever explain how much I truly appreciate her leadership, guidance, and friendship.” We couldn’t have said it better, Michele! We are grateful to have team members like Aubrey!

Interview with Aubrey:

What is your role at SpendMend?

Data Analyst

How long have you been with SpendMend?

A year and 2 months

How did you first learn about SpendMend?

My dad plays pickleball with Matt’s dad and he passed along Matt’s information to me.

What 3 words would you use to describe SpendMend?

Supportive, Innovative, and Driven

Why do you look forward to coming to work?

I look forward to working with an amazing group of people and learning new things while creating meaningful visualizations.

Before working at SpendMend, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

I don’t think either of the 2 jobs were interesting or unusual, but I worked at a Kumon Math and Reading Center for a couple years and Kroger for 11 years.

What piqued your interest to work for Kumon Math and Reading Center? What was your favorite part about the job? Least favorite?

Kumon was the perfect job for a teen in high school. It was only open 2 days a week for a few hours right after school. Math was my favorite subject in school and working with kids interested me so it seemed like a good first job. My favorite part was when I was the front desk kind of receptionist/greeter and entered the kids grades. I got to check the kids in/out and talk to parents. I really liked the interaction with the kids and parents. My least favorite part was cleaning at the end of the shift, especially when it was my turn to clean the bathroom. 

Where are you located? Where are you from/grew up? 

I live in Woodstock, Georgia, but I grew up in Bel Air, Maryland. The neighborhood we lived in made the shape of an 8, but we lived at the top of a hill. It was always fun riding bikes and roller blading around the neighborhood or we would turn the garage into a roller skating rink. We had great hills for sledding too.  

Where did you go for higher education? What did you study and why? 

I went to Kennesaw State University for undergraduate and graduate school. I majored in accounting for an undergrad after changing my major 3 times. I love numbers. I started out as an early childhood education major, but I really enjoyed the intro accounting class and I had been loving working in accounting at Kroger at the time so it felt like a good switch. I ended up not using the degree and went back to school for my master’s a few years later. I have my masters in Applied Statistics. I knew I wanted to change careers, but I didn’t remember much from accounting. So I looked through the graduate program catalog at KSU and applied statistics sounded really interesting to me (I didn’t get very far in the A-Z list). 

What is one fun fact about you?

I was born on leap year (February 29th) so I’ve only had 7 real birthdays.

What type of music or podcasts do you listen to during the workday?

Lately, Spotify is playing Halsey Radio, but if it’s Pandora I listen to the 90s, 2000s, and today station.

Do you have any hobbies or participate in any activities outside of work?

I love to read. My brother and I have a reading challenge every year – it gets pretty competitive. But I compete with his friend now because my niece keeps my brother pretty busy. I volunteer with 3rd graders at church on Sunday mornings too. That’s really fun.

When did you start reading as a hobby? What is your favorite genre to read? What is your favorite book? 

I have always loved reading. I remember going to the library as a kid a lot and I can still spend hours in a book store or library. My favorite genre is romance. I also enjoy some historical fiction. My favorite books are To Kill A Mockingbird and Can You Keep A Secret, but my favorite book this year so far is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. 

Can you explain the reading challenge (the goal? How did it start? Is there a prize)? Who is winning so far?

My brother and I use the Goodreads app to keep track of reading and every year we set a goal for the number of books to read through the reading challenge in the app. Then we compete with each other throughout the year. I’m not sure when or how it started, but we used to have the same job in different stores at Kroger and everyone thought we competed in department performance metrics. We never did, but we were (and still are) very competitive with reading. There’s no prize just trash talk and bragging rights. One year he stole my lawn gnome and sent me various pictures of him torturing the gnome telling me to stop reading or else. Poor gnome got thrown in the trash, put in the microwave, stomped on, used as a doorstop, T-Rex ate him, zombies got him, army men shot him, he got waterboarded, and put in the oven. We had a family text chain with the name of a movement we made up using a hashtag like #FreeTheGnome or something along those lines. Last year I won by one book. I was in quarantine and couldn’t really celebrate on New Year’s Eve so I finished a book to win. This year I’m competing with my brother’s friend because my brother and sister in law had a baby (first time aunt! :D) so he can’t keep up with the amount of books I’m reading. I am winning though! I set my goal for the year to 36 and so far I’m at 56 (almost 57). His friend is at 47. 

When did you start volunteering at your church? What made you start volunteering? 

I started volunteering last November/December. I always wanted to for the past five years or so, but when I was at Kroger I wasn’t able to make a weekly commitment because I worked most Sundays. 

What does your volunteering entail and what do you like the most about it? 

I am a small group leader for 3rd graders so  I get a group of about 10 or so kids for an hour. They have activities planned out for the kids that I follow and try to get the kids to have fun. All the small groups meet for a bit for a game and lesson/bible story and then after we usually have a activity related the main idea from the lesson/bible story. I really enjoy the activities and hanging out with the kids. 

Can you share your favorite memory of volunteering?

I think one of my favorite days was when we created the outline of a boat using tape on the ground. There was a captain who would yell commands and kids had to follow them as fast as possible. So like scrub the deck, swim to shore, say “aye, aye captain”, and my group made up their own for walking the plank. I had another set of kids that day who made a tic tac toe board out of tape and we used glow sticks for x’s and o’s. I was constantly moving and jumping between the 2 games making sure everyone was included/having fun, but it was the best hour. 

Can you describe an interaction when you helped a client or a supplier that stands out in your mind?

I interact with supervisors, managers, and CVMs mostly. I can’t think of a specific interaction, but whenever I can turn something around quickly for them or I create a new visual for a client based off a special request and get a nice response back I feel appreciated.

What was the best compliment you’ve ever been paid by a client or supplier?

Not to brag, but I was told I was the best once lol 🙂

What is the best part of serving the healthcare market?

I like being a small piece of the puzzle in helping hospitals save money. I enjoy working with data and putting together meaningful reports. I like having clients where I know the hospital or health system or I’ve been to a location.

What has been your experience with SpendMend community service events?

I virtually walked for Bee Brave last year. I walked a trail in downtown Woodstock with a friend.

Do you want to shout out a co-worker who has helped or inspired you at SpendMend?

The analytics team! We all help each other and they’re a fun group to work with. Jaycie is my go to person for help or to proofread stuff for me. She has answered  “Does this sound okay?” too many times to count.

What advice do you have for prospective candidates who want to join the SpendMend team?

Do your best and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What has been your proudest accomplishment at SpendMend?

I’m really proud of how fast I’ve caught on to the work and what we do in the short time I’ve been with SpendMend.

What is something you’re looking forward to for your future at SpendMend?

Learning new things!