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Coworker Corner: Stef Jones

Coworker Corner: Stef Jones

When you receive an email from Mercy Home or look at our website, you may not think of the team hard at work behind those things. But Manager of Digital Marketing Stef Jones is a key part of that team. It’s part of her job to make sure that everyone using our website and receiving our emails, particularly donors, have a good experience interacting with us digitally.

“You know, being from a nonprofit, I think a lot of people think that maybe we’re not state of the art or cutting edge, but really we are,” she explained. “Mercy Home, I would say, is one of the top websites [for] fundraising … we’re not skimping on getting that done and making sure that we are doing the best we can so we can get the best donor experience so we can raise money and keep this place going for [many] years.”

Stef’s passion for her role, which includes helping with all online initiatives, like fundraising, emails, social media, and helping departments across the agency get their information on the internet in any way that they need—“it’s a mix of making sure we’re raising money to keep everything going but also brand awareness”—often comes out when she speaks about her job.

And it’s a job she had her eye on for a while before she finally started here in December 2015. She heard about Mercy Home from friends who worked here and had a positive experience.

“It seemed like a really great place to work with a great mission,” she said. “And if there was ever a job opening, I let them know that I’d be open to applying.”

Stef began as a coordinator of digital marketing and was promoted last year to manager. Before coming to Mercy Home, she studied graphic design and had a background in art. Wanting a stable career, she worked as a graphic designer but always found herself gravitating to marketing jobs. She did marketing for a start-up company as an intern before moving to another corporation, where she was the lead graphic designer and did all the company’s marketing.

“I just really started liking analytics and getting into that,” she said. “So when I had the opportunity to take this job here and really dive into marketing, I really grabbed the bull by the horns. I was really excited to just make that my full purpose.”

“When I had the opportunity to take this job here and really dive into marketing, I really grabbed the bull by the horns. I was really excited to just make that my full purpose.”

With Mercy Home’s help, Stef also recently went back to school to broaden her digital skills and is studying web development. She hopes that eventually this will help Mercy Home further optimize things with the website and avoid needing to reach out to third party developers as often and do more in-house.

One part of her job that she particularly enjoys is that every day is a bit different. But among the tasks she completes, optimizing the way our website works keeps things especially interesting.

“We’re always trying to optimize everything,” she explained. “So if it was staying the same, it means we’re not doing our jobs. [We ask], what can we do better? What can we be looking at? What data can we be looking at and how can we raise more money? How can we bring more people in? How can we make sure all the departments’ needs are met? So that makes each day a little different.”

In addition to raising money for Mercy Home, Stef also explained how important brand awareness is just as important to our mission.

“[We want] to show what a great mission we have and what a great place this is and [how] it’s actually making a difference in Chicago and just trying to get that out into the world—that this place exists for the kids here and even if they don’t live here, we are such a resource in Chicago,” she said.

“[We want] to show what a great mission we have and what a great place this is and [how] it’s actually making a difference in Chicago and just trying to get that out into the world—that this place exists for the kids here and even if they don’t live here, we are such a resource in Chicago.”

“A part of my job is to make sure our name is out there, that we really are a resource for Chicago for the kids of Chicago—that’s a huge part of my job and I take that really seriously.”

But her favorite part about working at Mercy Home is her coworkers.

“I laugh, even with all the stress and everything—we’ve got big goals,” she said. “We work hard, but every day I get to laugh and enjoy the people I’m around. And it makes work amazing to come into. So it’s worth it.”

Stef is also thankful for the support Mercy Home has given her to grow in her career.

“Mercy Home has always helped me feel that I can progress,” she said. “I have been given the tools and the freedom to really grow in my position. … I really love that I’ve been able to grow in my career and that we’re always learning. We’re going to conferences, it’s wonderful that I’m able to go back to school and have the time to do that. And any time that I [say], this is a great thing that I would like to learn, I’m never given pushback. The more we can learn, the better, and Mercy Home really promotes that. And that’s one of the aspects that I love about the job.”

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