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June 16, 2019

An Interview with our Operations Manager, Tyler Stoltenberg

826CHI is currently seeking applicants for a Program and Recruitment Coordinator and a Field Trips Coordinator. Learn more about what it's like to work at 826CHI from Tyler Stoltenberg, 826CHI Operations Manager, who leaves us some words of advice as he moves on from this role after 5 years.

1. What brought you to 826CHI, and how long have you worked here?

I’ve worked here for almost 5 years, and my first week here was the week we opened our new location. I was hired as the Creative & Retail Manager, and I brought my experience working at a nonprofit theatre with a toy and gift store. Education and the arts are important to me, and I really connected with 826CHI’s mission. I thought running a store in support of that mission was the coolest job ever.


2. What's one achievement you've made here that you're particularly proud of?

Reorganizing the supply closet is up there. (Laughs.) I think because I started working during our first week on 1276 N. Milwaukee, when it was an empty space, I’m really proud of the work I’ve done to organize the space and create systems that make other people’s jobs easier. That’s been a real goal of mine, and I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish that.

3. Can you describe a favorite day you've experienced on the job?

I’ve loved that there is no typical day on this job—I’ve gotten to do so many different things, oftentimes within the same day. I suppose a favorite day would be arriving early, getting some paperwork done, cleaning the store, interacting with awesome store volunteers, meeting interesting customers and getting them excited about 826CHI, talking about our student publications, and seeing people really happy with gifts they’re buying for people in their lives.  


4. What is something you're going to miss about 86CHI?

Seeing students hold their books for the first time at book releases and hearing them read. That has always reinforced why I do this work.


5. Do you have any advice for candidates applying to work in operations at 826CHI? What disposition and expectations should this person bring to their work?

You definitely have to be able to jump in where needed and proactively problem-solve. Look ahead and anticipate challenges. Be prepared to switch the mode you’re working in throughout the day. Candidates should be flexible and willing to work really hard, but it is really rewarding. Be ready to collaborate and work with a great and supportive team.


6. What’s next for Tyler Stoltenberg?

I’m joining the operations team at Mikva Challenge, which is a nonprofit that develops youth to be empowered, informed, and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society. I’m also looking forward to being the Secret Agent Supply’s #1 customer and biggest fan.

Would you like to join the 826CHI team? Find our more about our career opportunities here.