It’s time to play the Know Your Colleague Game—the game where teammates answer a series of questions to determine just how well they know each other.
Let’s meet our colleagues…
Like friendship, one important quality of a strong partnership is time. Time to get to know one another. Time to build trust and rapport. However, time isn’t always the first indication of a strong bond—especially if you’ve got two partners who really want that bond to happen. Today’s partners are a perfect example.
Nicole Duffey, SVP & General Manager of SSD, and Nigel Stenner, VP & General Manager of SSD, met just two years ago, but you’d never know it from their unique bond. They joke with one another, always seem to know what the other is saying (sometimes before they even say it), and ultimately, make an amazing team.
“We balance each other out,” Nicole says. “Nige reminds me when things need to be kept simple by outlining exactly what needs to be done in clear, concise steps.”
“I’ve always been a science-based guy, so some of the softer skill stuff still trips me up,” Nigel shares. “Nicole reminds me to do the little things that don’t always come naturally to me, like wish someone a happy birthday or send a thank you email. I really appreciate that.”
When they met, Nicole sensed instantly that Nigel was just a real, down-to-earth person. He came in ready to roll up his sleeves and put in the work. He doesn’t put on airs or try to make people think he’s something that he’s not. Their partnership kicked off the right way because they both had the same mentality—find out exactly what needs to be done and run with it.
For Nigel, what started as a new partnership evolved into a mentorship. “Nicole has gone from being my manager to a guide and mentor to me—she keeps me on my toes,” he says.
Both believe that a good partnership is about being completely honest and transparent. A partnership is built on mutual trust and respect—something these two have built over their time together. They listen to each other, encourage one another to continually improve, and always make sure to laugh along the way.
We asked Nigel and Nicole to answer several questions about each other. Both were asked to keep their answers a secret. For every match, they will score a point towards their final score. Now, it’s time to reveal their answers and see just how well they know each other.
Nicole said her greatest strength was being an accepting person—someone who looks out for others and does her best to be open to new situations, even challenging ones. Nigel revealed a different, but equally important, characteristic for Nicole—her dedication, especially to completing tasks.
“Nicole not only makes sure everything she says she’s going to do is complete, she always makes sure it’s the best that can be done,” he explained.
If it wasn’t his strong jawline, Nigel said his greatest strength must be that he’s a nice person. Nicole’s answer? Nigel is great at accomplishing major work objectives without complicating them and maintaining a positive, can-do spirit while he does it.
Ding, ding, ding—we have a match! +1
When asked what she was most passionate about, Nicole said it was getting things right and including all necessary details. Although it wasn’t a direct match, Nigel’s answer revealed another truth about Nicole—her passion for her teammates. Despite some difficult obstacles over the last year, Nicole remained focused on her team.
“The people she manages are always at the front of her brain,” Nigel shared. “She is always thinking about how different business decisions will impact her team members.”
Our team made this one look easy! Knowing Nigel’s commitment to eating plant-based foods, Nicole and Nigel both agreed that he could definitely have another career in the culinary arts if he so chose.
Another match! +1
According to Nigel, Nicole is not only reliable, but truly dedicated to producing great work. “She always delivers—and the stuff that she produces is always top-notch. She’s reliably great at everything she does.”
One of Nigel’s strengths lies in being even-handed. He’s diplomatic when it comes to working with others—he knows how to keep both sides balanced and content.
As Nicole revealed, he’s also a really great listener. He’s able to pick up on the minor details that others often miss, circling back to them to ensure they receive the attention they require. “He always listens to the details and follows up, showing that he’s paying attention and engaged in the conversation,” she said.
Over the last year, Nicole and Nigel’s team saw some pretty dramatic changes—and some adaptation to new roles. One of those changes was Nigel’s promotion to General Manager.
Nicole shared that, with all of these changes, her goal for the year was to feel comfortable letting go. It’s a tricky balance—she wants to be there for Nigel when she’s needed without stepping on his toes, but she also needs to fully settle into the larger organizational change. As Nigel said, this year Nicole will broaden her scope and take on a wider role within PRA.
We’ve got a match! +1
Both Nicole and Nigel believe that we’re all patients in some way, shape, or form—and by helping those in our community, we can continue to help people live better lives in other ways. For Nigel, that means supporting those in his community who have less than others. Serving on the board of a local, low-income credit union, he helps people who don’t have a lot of money make more of the money they do have.
Another match! +1
Similarly, Nicole also draws upon her experience as a nurse and her passion for wellness to focus on and support the progression of important initiatives such as the 2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife. For this initiative, Nicole works with a client partner to help spotlight nurses and the innovation and value they bring. She’s also leading an effort for PRA to partner with a client to support their Using Big For Good TB initiative, which provides TB education and/or screening programs in areas of greatest need. Nicole believes in using her role for good things—and that by using the work that she and her team do at PRA, as well as the platform, technology, and infrastructure, we can make a more direct difference for patients in a completely outside-the-box way.
A final match! +1
5 out of a possible 9!
Seems like Nicole and Nigel know each other pretty well. Even when they don’t match, they agreed on the qualities they described about each other. And, they can certainly agree that the best partnerships are ones built off of mutual respect, honesty, and transparency. That’s what they bring to their team, their work, and their personal lives every day.
“I think that partnerships on a professional scale aren’t that much different from partnerships on a personal scale,” Nicole says. “We need to apply the same philosophies that guide us in our personal lives to the ones in our professional lives.” Honesty, transparency, good listening, and trust—all of those things build a strong partnership.
Another piece of advice from these two? Just like in our personal lives, partnerships can grow dull or boring when they stay the same day in and day out. Sometimes you have to stir things up in a positive way—whether that’s with friends and family, colleagues, or clients. Volunteer for new tasks and roles, jump into new collaborations, take chances, and forget your ego at the door.
Nicole and Nigel both understand that in order to grow as an individual and as colleagues, you have to focus on the people around you—and they’re both doing just that.
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