Stephanie McDonald: Employee Spotlight

March 18, 2023

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Washington, Illinois. When I was four years old, we moved to Black Oak, Arkansas, for two years. Then, we migrated to Paragould, Arkansas, where I live today. 


Where did you go to school?

I attended Greene County Tech for elementary and high school. Then, I graduated from Arkansas State University with a degree in corporate finance.


Brag about your family.

I am blessed with a fantastic family and support system. My 77-year-old mother lives with me and is my best friend. I am also very close with my older brother and sister and their families. I have four amazing nephews and one niece. Two of my nephews and my niece are married, so I have two bonus nieces and one bonus nephew. I love them all dearly and am so proud of the people they are. I also have two dogs that rule the roost—Troubles and Coco. 


What do you do for fun?

I love traveling to new places and spending time with my family playing cards or board games. I also love a good movie or TV series, and I enjoy going to eat and shopping with friends. I attend Southside Community Church in Paragould. 


What was your first job?

My first job was during college. I was on a full scholarship for basketball and decided I wasn’t happy. I gave up my scholarship (man, the mistakes we make when we’re young) and transferred to Arkansas State University. At that point, I needed a job and started working at Panchos as a waitress. I went from having a free education to 100% putting myself through college. 


What is your dream job?

I love working with people and building relationships, and enjoy a challenge. My current role allows me to do all three. I’m blessed to be doing what I love.


What quote/motto do you live by?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

This sums it up. I don’t know how anyone navigates through this cruel world without Christ walking through it with them.


Tell us your Optus story. When did you start, and what position? Have you moved positions/jobs?

I started working at Optus in June 2007 as an account manager. I actually turned down the job twice before they called me back to interview with “The Closer,” AKA Mark Duckworth. 🙂 After meeting with Mark, I decided Optus might be right for me. My first few years were challenging. I made a lot of calls, and I remember getting excited when someone would agree to let me send them pricing. I won over a few accounts by selling line cords (LOL). In 2013, I accepted a position managing associate account managers (AAM). At the time, this group served as a support role for the sales team and concentrated on learning the necessary skills to become a salesperson. I stayed in this role for about a year but missed the relationships and excitement of working in sales. So, in 2014, I transitioned to a hybrid role supporting enterprise accounts and began to rebuild my deck in the national space. During my first year in a sales role, I sold a 1.4 million dollar NEC phone system to one of my accounts—one I’d brought on a few years prior and continued to manage while leading the AAM team. Afterward, with a lot of determination and hard work, I continued to build relationships and bring on new customers. In 2017, I was promoted to Major Account Manager; in 2019, I stepped into the role of National Account Manager. Beginning this year, I am once again transitioning into a new position, Director of Strategic Accounts, to help advise and advance our core services, including IT project rollouts, help desk, professional services, network infrastructure, and field services. I am excited about the challenges ahead and my role in continuing to help our clients evolve their communication strategies.  


What is your official job title?

Director of Strategic Accounts


What SHOULD your job title be?

Firefighter some days 😉


Describe your day-to-day job.

My day-to-day responsibilities include working with enterprise-level customers to help them advance their workplace communications and technology infrastructure. I advise our customers on best practices and strategies to ensure their business technology is secure, agile, and offers the best customer and employee experience. Then, I work with our internal teams to ensure our customers receive the best service experience. I also analyze the market and look for other businesses that could benefit from our services. 


What is one thing that Optus does better than any other employer you have had in the past?

Optus has an open-door policy. I love that our leadership is always open to hearing us out. We can speak directly to anyone in leadership at any time and share our thoughts or opinions. I am not sure they always like it, but I do. 🙂 


Tell us about one learning or growth opportunity you have had while working at Optus.

I have been at Optus for almost 16 years and continue to grow and learn every year.


What do you like most about working at Optus?

I love the people I get to work with and the relationships I have with my customers.


Have you received recognition from Optus on a job well done? If so, what was the recognition?

Yes, I received the quarterly MVP award several times and Salesperson of the year for 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. (Edit: Stephanie won MVP again in January of 2023) 

I also received the Optimum Employee of the year in 2017.


What is your favorite part of the community Optus has cultivated?

We have great support here at Optus—from leadership to service delivery and everything in between. In sales, you can’t be successful if you don’t have a good team supporting your efforts. It takes everyone in the company doing what they do every day to keep our customers moving forward, and I love being a part of a group that makes things happen. 


Interested in joining the Optus community? Check out our careers page.

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We post often about how Optus is helping large organizations across various industry segments get more out of existing communications infrastructures. Be sure and check back regularly for the latest lifecycle extension information from Optus.