From her college years at Kennesaw to her current role at See Rock City, Inc., Stephanie Chastain has had a worthwhile career training others. Whether she’s talking to students about real-life solutions to their software challenges or how to simply save time, her Excel knowledge takes her students far!
Marah: What is your professional background?
Stephanie: I started working with adult learners while earning my bachelor’s degree at Kennesaw State. I taught adults computer, literacy, and communication skills at a learning center sponsored by KSU; doing so led me to a full-time position as a help desk analyst. In the analyst role, I began training employees on how to use proprietary databases such as registration software. My role eventually evolved into facilitating other types of training, such as Microsoft Office. That was a long time ago, but everywhere I have worked has needed MS Office training (specifically Excel). I also have a master’s degree in training and performance improvement; what I learned in that program helped me expand my abilities as a trainer.
M: What experience or conversation influenced you to teach Excel?
S: I am all about working smarter, not harder. I like to look for ways to create smoother processes for people. When I hear people speak about the many steps it can take to perform a single function, I want to pass on tips to make the work easier.
M: What excites you the most about teaching and leading others? Why do you enjoy teaching?
S: I enjoy showing learners how to complete tasks more efficiently and save time. I also love the “aha!” moments. It thrills me when I see concepts begin to click for my students!
M: Why is Excel education important?
S: It’s used everywhere! Professionally, it is a required skill for almost any job. You will thrive in your position or gain other opportunities by furthering your skills. In your personal life, Excel can be used to organize, budget, write letters, and create databases.
M: What is your teaching style?
S: Eclectic. Everyone learns differently, so I want the way I teach to accommodate as many learning styles as possible. Participants learn the most by seeing and doing, so I want to be as interactive as possible rather than simply lecturing. I spend a lot of time giving learners opportunities to complete activities with me, ask questions, and talk through real-life solutions to their challenges.
M: In your opinion, what separates UTC’s Excel training program from other schools that have similar programs?
S: Customization and a personal touch. UTC CPE takes the time to discuss the needs of their audience and customize to that audience, creating personalized aspects to their programs. CPE wants learners to have an enjoyable experience and that starts with the instructor. Learning should not seem like a chore; it should be fun!
M: What’s your #1 piece of advice for Excel students?
S: Don’t give up. You may be learning something that seems complicated, but it really isn’t. Once you dig deeper into what you are learning and break it down, it’s much easier to understand.
M: What’s something fun you can teach in five minutes?
S: How to make sure a person knows that you are genuinely smiling, even while wearing a mask. 😊
M: What are three fun facts about you?
- I LOVE Wonder Woman.
- I am currently renovating a house, so we sleep in a camper.
- I have performed as both Queen Guinevere and Mrs. Claus at Rock City Gardens.
M: Is there anything else you would like to share about Excel or the courses you teach?
S: Learning can be and should be FUN! Adults have about a 10-15-minute attention span. As a trainer, my goal is to take full advantage of that attention span and make sure I shift gears often to be the most effective.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.