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The Faces Behind The Fan: Meet Red Fan's Director of Finance and Operations, Stephanie Trusler

Last year, Red Fan began the search for a finance- and operations-extraordinaire, leading us to the wonderful Stephanie Trusler.

It’s true -- Stephanie does keep Red Fan operationally sound as our director of finance and operations -- but her impact reaches well beyond the realm of your average COO. Her natural marketing savvy contributes greatly to Red Fan’s new-business pipeline, and her knowledge of the Austin market ensures our clients are always in the know on smart business opportunities and strategic partnerships.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie, not to worry; we took the liberty of sitting down with her to learn more about this (fabulous) face behind the fan!

1. If Red Fan's team members each made up one ingredient of a delicious recipe, what would the dish be and which ingredient would best represent your role?

I would say a delicious paella: unique, flavorful and unexpected. I would likely be the broth or base – not an ingredient that stands out in the front but is important to the overall success of the dish.

2. You recently made a career change from the insurance industry to PR. What advice would you give others who are considering a "career 180°" themselves?

I know so many people contemplating career moves right now. These are people that have been in their careers for 15 or 20 years, aching for something new. They've made it to the top of their respective food chains and are realizing there is so much more happening out there, particularly in creative spaces.

I was in the insurance industry for 15 years, and there are a lot of great examples out there of insurance companies that have embraced social media, marketing and technology to evolve and stay relevant. But at the insurance-agent level, the value of these tools is getting lost.

I would tell anyone considering a career change to evolve in order to stay relevant. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you are putting yourself out there; whether it’s attending networking events or volunteering at a nonprofit, make sure it’s something you enjoy. Do something that energizes you again, and you'll be amazed at what comes your way.

3. Why was Red Fan the perfect place for you to make this transition?

Well for one, Kathleen is a mentor. It's just her nature. She has this ability to see people's potential and actually help them reach it. She knows a good fit for her agency is more than just a slick resume and doesn't silo anyone. She's constantly surprising me - which is what makes her so great in this line of work.

This team is also one of the most gelled and forward-thinking groups I've been around, but they are also inclusive and supportive.

4. When you’re not punching numbers for Red Fan, you are:

I'm currently spending a lot of time scoping out hidden camping gems. The state park camping system books up fast, so you've got to know where to look! My family also likes to travel to great food locales.

Just last month, we drove out to Lockhart and stopped at three of their major BBQ joints - Black's, Smitty's and Kreuz's - getting everything to-go at each spot. It took us two and half hours to collect the loot. We then drove to Lockhart State Park and had a picnic near the river. Naps were involved.

5. What do you find most rewarding about your job?

In my prior roles, I enjoyed the luxury of huge corporate infrastructure. At Red Fan, we create our own internal operational and financial infrastructure from scratch. That has been a lot of fun for me - stretching those muscles, choosing our partners, building out our platforms and processes, setting our financial benchmarks and watching the company make smart, long-term decisions with these systems and processes in place. The collaboration, creativity and transparency at Red Fan have only made that process easier and more fun.

6. If a reporter were to write a feature on Stephanie Trusler, what would the headline be?

It would probably be in The Onion - "Local woman finds shoes in the FIRST place she looks!"

7. What’s something about you that most people don’t know but you are very proud of?

Two things really - one is that I am a registered Pottawattomie Indian. My family has strong Native American ancestry, and it's a history I am very proud of.

Also, I received my bachelor's degree in my mid-30s. It was one of the proudest moments of my life because I worked insanely hard to make it happen. My son, husband, friends and family were there to share it with me, and I am an unapologetic supporter of the "non-traditional student."

If you are an adult returning to school - you have looked yourself in the eye (and in the wallet) and said, "I'm going to do this - whatever it takes," and that's courageous, so I have a huge amount of admiration for adults that make the decision to get it done. And as a perk, you'll have the most current education of most of your peers.

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A great colleague and friend, Stephanie keeps Red Fan on track for success both internally and with our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about Stephanie, be sure to read her full bio here.

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