“Outside the Box”
Director of Operations, Strand Center for the Arts
Hometown: Plattsburgh, NY
Education: Military, some college
Jerrod Olsen has worn may hats during his professional career. Fresh out of high school he joined the National Guard months before September 11th. After service stateside, he deployed to Iraq, then returned home and joined the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department. Next he tried retail management and eventually spent five successful years in auto sales. As a volunteer, doing safety and security at the Strand Theatre, Jerrod found a new interest. He joined the not-for-profit’s Board of Directors and eventually stepped into his current role as Director of Operations in 2022.
How does company culture impact you and what do you do to contribute to your company culture?
Our organization’s culture is that of inclusivity and empowerment. Megan Charland, the Strand’s Artistic Programming Director, and I truly believe in empowering our team to come up with big ideas that embrace our mission and engage the community. This team is the driving force behind the culture. I contribute by providing the support they need to see these projects through from start to finish.
Tell us about your community involvement.
Because of my role, I am able to provide support to many community groups, schools and other non-profit organizations in the form of on-site support, consultation, venue space, or collaboration for fundraisers.
What would you do if you had three hours off from work and could not go home?
I would find someone to chat with about life, work or anything that comes up.
What attracts you to your peer group?
My peer group comes from all walks of life, all backgrounds and all age groups. This makes every interaction different, meaningful and fun.
What strategies do you use to approach the day?
Is it important, is it necessary, does it add value? This is not just my day to day in the workplace, but also in life.
What is something that no one would guess about you?
I can fall asleep anywhere within a few minutes. This probably started with my time in the military, needing to get sleep when I could.
What important lesson have you learned in your career?
It is not about the hours worked or the pay received. It is about how you feel about what you accomplished. If you get home and feel good about what you did that day, you succeeded.
What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Taking the role I am currently in. It has proven to be tough, but also rewarding.
How can the North Country improve its Gen IQ? (Gen IQ defined as an ability to lead, market to or innovate with multi-generational workplaces and marketplaces)
Management styles should be inclusive and accommodate each generation served. Tailor conversations to the individual employee. Learn how individuals best respond to requests or feedback and ensure that management is engaging the individual in the best way possible to drive results.