Stefan Feldmeier, Technology Sales Director at Oxford, is a driven, competitive individual willing to introduce new ideas and face change head-on. In his tenure at Oxford, he has held several positions, all with the end goal of improving customer experience and forging new paths for the business. This article will delve more into Stefan’s winning attitude and successful career with Oxford.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, on a Saturday and then started at Oxford on a Monday. I was an Account Manager for two years, then held a position as an Account Manager Lead for one year. From there, I progressed to a Group Lead, Business Development Manager, Senior Business Development Manager, and Business Development Executive. As of July of this year, I took on the role of Technology Sales Director.
I’ve always been a competitor — I won Rookie of the Year when I came on board and then eventually earned Account Manager of the Year after that.
Q: How long have you been with Oxford?
A: Almost nine years — all on the business and sales side. I enjoy establishing client relationships and working with other Account Managers to expand Oxford’s business across their accounts, especially as it pertains to emerging technologies.
Q: What daily habits do you recommend for success?
A: Control what you can control. We’re in the people business, so you’re dealing with ever-changing variables. It helps tremendously to have a good attitude, stay patient, and remember that good things will come. It takes time to get going and build the relationships you need to be successful. You will see it down the road, and you’ve got to be able to keep your eye on the prize. Stay the course, and it will come to you. Believe in the process and trust things will work out how they’re supposed to. If you’re consistent, you will win.
Q: What is one of your greatest achievements to date (personal or professional)?
A: Balancing being a new father and taking on a leadership role within the last year.
Q: What attributes do you think are most important in a leader?
A: Listening. Hearing your people, empowering them, and understanding other points of view is critical. People have different ways of doing things; it’s always important to hear people out.
People have ideas that are beneficial to the organization — you never know how things might work out. For example, I put together a presentation a while ago on AWS, and now I manage the partnership with them.
I’d also say getting to know the people you’re working with is essential. My advice would be don’t be so transactional. Learn people’s strengths and leverage them. If you have a good understanding of the team you’re working with, you can mix and match people’s skills to create the most efficient team.
A lesson I had to learn as a leader was empowering and trusting my people to be successful. I like to keep my hands in everything, but learning to let things go and take a step back was a powerful lesson. Allowing my team to have independence and get things done their way was an excellent lesson for me to learn.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read on business?
Q: What skills do you think will be most in-demand in 2022?
A: Cloud technologies. The world is becoming automated in many different ways, and it’s an ever-changing market. Companies are trying to keep up with their competition and figure out how to be efficient with their resources and budget. It’s the most efficient way to scale a business.
Q: As technology continues to advance, how do you see that impacting the recruiting and staffing industry?
A: Many consultants have experience with emerging skills, like cloud technology, but as the market transitions, our consultants and recruiters will have to adjust. It’s a domino effect. We’ll have to adapt to match the support our clients are pursuing.
We’re also seeing a shift in the market in terms of the skill sets that are available. Right now, there’s a lot of demand and very little supply. Most clients can’t keep up with the changes they’re seeing. As this continues, we’ll have to adapt to stay competitive, just like our clients will.
Q: How do you define customer care?
A: Customer care can be anything from the first contact to educate an individual on Oxford’s position in the market to sending flowers if there’s a death in the family.
In a nutshell, customer care has to do with the relationship. Everything is relationship-driven. This includes ensuring clients have the right talent when they need it, engagement management oversight, and making genuine connections on a personal level with our business partners. These actions showcase our credibility and passion and strengthen our relationships.
Q: What advice would you give to individuals interested in consulting?
A: I would try to understand where they’re at in their career and what they prefer to do — is it fast-paced, project-based work? Is it growing within their organization from an operational standpoint?
Q: How do you support driving change with your team or colleagues based on strategic business decisions?
A: To me, it’s about reminding my peers that we have great leaders looking out for our best interests, and they’re making a decision that’s best for both the individuals and the team. I try to maintain the mindset that any particular business changes are to “right the ship,” correct something, or improve efficiency. There’s a reason for these changes and a justification behind it. As a leader, I try to make sure everyone is on the same page and answer questions.
Q: What do you like best about working with your team?
A: We have some fantastic people on our team, both professionally and personally. We have fantastic resources that we can trust and lean on, from Consulting Services to our Recruiters, Operations team, and Leadership. They are extremely confident and impressive individuals who are fun to work with. We’re able to joke and take a breather when needed, but we’re also able to step up and get the job done to create happy, repeat customers.
Q: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
A: I think at first this was a tough one for me, it still is, but a good leader can delegate and not try to do everything. Now we’ve divvied out responsibilities, so everyone knows what they’re called to do. So, trusting my peers and colleagues and sticking to that plan has freed up time and effort toward a common goal.
Q: Why Oxford?
A: For clients, we have the best people. We’re proactive, and we establish genuine relationships with our consultants before ever needing their support. That leads to a fast turnaround without sacrificing quality for our clients. We work with the best of the best, and we treat our consultants well, which is why they prefer to work with us. That means we can deliver better people for our clients. We continue to improve each day, learn from our mistakes, and make adjustments accordingly. We genuinely care to do that.
From a consultant perspective, we understand the individuals we work with are some of the best in their field. We want to make sure they’re compensated accordingly and treated like the professionals they are. That includes timely payment, benefits, and a dedicated recruiter to help manage any issues and ensure they are set up to focus on the things that matter. Our consultants know they have a dedicated team behind them to ensure they have everything they need.
For internal employees, we have a winning culture. It’s a work-hard, play-hard environment, but we have many great people who work here with different personalities, geographies, and backgrounds. For instance, I went to school for kinesiology, and now I’m in sales. We all have a common goal: success. It’s all about how we build Oxford’s brand to be as big as it can while supporting our clients with the best possible service. If we keep the relationship piece in mind, the growth will come on its own. There is also a lot of opportunities to grow within the organization.
Since I stepped into my role at Oxford, I’ve felt supported, knowing there are resources I can lean on. I know I can pick up a phone and call any VP with the awareness that I’ll be heard and supported. The camaraderie, resources, and people available for advice and collaboration make all the difference to me. There’s no way anyone can do this by themselves, it’s a team effort, and the entire team is working towards the same goal. There’s also a lot of flexibility to explore and grow as an individual at Oxford. For example, I brought up channel partnerships a few years back, and now, here I am, managing our AWS Partnership. So, in essence, I was able to create my path.
Stefan’s work-hard, play-hard mindset has allowed him to build a career in which he has chosen a path that interests him and works with individuals who have become more friends than colleagues. His achievements, both professional and personal, speak for themselves. He will continue to make great strides at Oxford and champion clients’ needs and happiness over all else.