First there was Duane Hixon (CEO) and Earl Seals (president). And then came Becky Clapper. This Pennsylvania native has the distinction of being N2 Publishing’s very first hire. And today, she remains our longest-serving team member. In fact, Becky celebrates her milestone 15th anniversary with N2 in March 2020.
So, how did Becky get to be N2’s inaugural employee? Well, it all began with a “help wanted” ad. At the time, she’d been working at Ruby Tuesday and was “searching for a full-time real job.” And while today N2 has a pretty extensive interview process, Becky was hired after a single meeting with Duane.
Becky’s immediate responsibility was to pound the pavement – in other words, make sales. That’s right, she was the O.G. Area Director, and she had none other than Duane himself showing her the ropes.
“Duane would take me out in Wilmington [North Carolina] in his beater car and show me areas. He’d be like, ‘There's a lot of businesses around here, you know, that you can stop by and do appointments with,’” Becky recalled.
Becky sold ads for about a year before she transitioned to the then five-person Home Office team. (Today, we have 300 Home Office team members!) And she has an interesting theory about why that change came about. In the car one day as she went to appointments, Becky received a call from Duane. He wanted to know if she knew how to spell “alma mater.” She did, and after spelling it aloud, Duane exclaimed, “And you knew that? You just knew that?!’”
“I was just like, ‘Well, yeah,’ and I feel like that was a little bit of a turning point,” Becky said now, going on to joke, “So when they had a need for some things at the Home Office, I guess I impressed him with my mad spelling skills.”
JILL OF ALL TRADES
She actually impressed with her willingness to take on any and all tasks. Over the years, Becky has held so many roles, “the joke is that I've done everything except for design.” No, really. She even used to help run N2’s industrial printers by refilling them with paper and toner. She also bagged the magazine issues up and loaded them into her two-door Ford Escort, filling it to the brim. Then it was off to the post office’s loading dock.
And that wasn’t all: “I've done what is now Accounting Field Support. I used to help process [Area Director] commissions back in the day [when] we would track commissions by spreadsheets. I've done HR. I've done legal. I've done Field Support. I've done [magazine] editing and administration.”
A favorite part of Becky's role is working with her Administration partner Jessica Chandler to produce fun and engaging events for the Home Office, like the annual Culture Games.
Becky eventually landed in her current, and favorite, position: Engagement Team Leader. Not only does she keep N2’s headquarters running smoothly, but she also coordinates visits for Area Directors and is the publication director of N2’s internal magazine geared toward Home Office team members. And to say she’s seen some changes in nearly a decade and a half would be an understatement.
As for growing pains… there have been a few. “Technology would be one,” Becky confessed, recounting, “There were times like working in the Editing department where, gosh, we were just so bogged down because we had a system that didn't work well and [had to wait] for new technology that was in the works.” And then there was no small matter of office space as N2 grew, and grew, and grew. “Sometimes it got challenging to find places for people,” Becky said, to the point where a tiny room for Field Support was filled with so many people, there were jokes about the necessity for “bunk desks.”
N2 ARCHIVES DEPARTMENT
With so many varied responsibilities, Becky could have a lot of titles. But one that especially fits is “historian.” Where there’s a Becky, there’s usually a camera too. And don’t even get us started on her record-keeping.
“I refer to myself as the Archives Department because Mike Mason (Director of the Legal Department), every once in a while, will ask me for some legal document from back in the day and see if I know where to find it or what the policy was from back then,” Becky revealed. But there’s also a very good reason she’s always snapping photos: “It's kind of just like our newsletters. People like to see their pictures in print.” Furthermore, she pointed out, when reminiscing about things from years past or sharing stories with new team members, “there are times when we don't have pictures and it's like, ‘Oh, man, I wish we had pictures to show.’”
With Becky and her ever-present camera, that problem is solved. Another valued part of her role at N2 is orchestrating monthly Home Office Team Meetings. At each meeting, there is a mix of inspiring messages and, dare we say it, funny shenanigans.
Becky said, “I love that it gives people an opportunity to shine and share their story from the stage, and I love that it’s also a time for everybody to get together because we don't see everybody in the office every day. So it's just a happy occasion every month where [Home Office team members] get to come together to learn and grow and [enjoy] camaraderie.”
Of course, it takes a lot to pull off each meeting. There are “meetings with a group to come up with the content, who are our speakers, what are they going to speak on, who are our emcees, what events are we going to promote,” Becky detailed. “And then it's a matter of working with each speaker and coaching them on their content and their presentation skills, and putting together a slideshow. And then of course there's all the behind-the-scenes stuff.”
She was quick to give credit to her partner in crime, Jessica Chandler, and the team members who volunteer to help out. “We couldn't have a meeting without the help of so many people, from people at the check-in desk to our greeters. Sometimes we put people on what we call ‘chair duty.’ There's a lot that goes into it.”
TO THE FUTURE
Becky plans on staying put – not only in Engagement, but N2 in general. “I mean, I just love what I do and who I do it with, and I cannot imagine working anywhere else,” she said. “[Before,] I never really had a good direction, so I'm so happy I landed at N2 and N2 has given me direction.”
For Becky (and the rest of us, for that matter), it’s a wonderful thing Duane regularly reminds people that he hopes team members one day retire with N2. Becky said with a smile, “That’s the plan!”