Norton Norris’ Andrea Marello has been an amazing asset to the team over the past five years, beginning as a freelance editor and now as client account manager. Before ever embarking on her journey at Norton Norris, Andrea began her career as most do, as a student.
Andrea began her education as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she completed a year in AmeriCorps as a social worker during her senior year. After completing her bachelor’s degree at U of I, Andrea went on to study law at Loyola University, passing the bar exam upon graduation. Upon the completion of her education, Andrea, now an attorney, began working at a public defender’s office doing trial work. After doing some amazing work as an attorney for some time, she turned her focus to family, bringing Andrea and her skill set to Norton Norris.
Given the fact that family was Andrea’s focus, she didn’t jump headfirst into her current role at Norton Norris. As previously mentioned, Andrea came into the Norton Norris team first as a freelance editor doing some work in the assessment department. She gradually took on more responsibility as time went on. Today, Andrea works as the client account manager, where Andrea’s responsibilities fall under two main categories.
The first category is working with evaluators. The evaluators perform fieldwork under the direction of a client manager or account manager. Andrea trains the evaluators, maintains relationships with them, and assigns responsibilities for specific projects. The second aspect of Andrea’s work is collaboration with Norton Norris clients. She assesses the needs of the clients and provides them with the information they need in regards to projects. It is imperative to exhibit exceptional customer service in addition to maintaining strong project management skills to see projects through from beginning to end. The work with evaluators and clients then come together with the assessment reports Andrea creates. In these reports, evaluators provide the information Andrea needs to help clients achieve their needs. At the end of any project, Andrea presents the report to the client. Andrea’s keen ability to multitask, more than likely a skill she gained as an attorney, ensures the success and management of both the evaluators and the client.
More recently in her work at Norton Norris, Andrea passed her project management professionals certification through the Project Management Institute a few weeks ago. She did so to obtain credentials more in line with the work she is doing now. Interestingly enough, her prior work and her work now do have some underlying similarities, one of which is compliance. As she explains, “There are enough compliance aspects to the assessment division. I like trying to come up with ways of how to keep our standards in line with any changes that take place in the industry.”
Compliance is a significant strength of Andrea’s, which is essential given that it is a necessity in the field. Andrea breaks it down stating, “The biggest, scariest issue for our clients is basic compliance with regulatory standards. So we are able to give them the feedback they need in order to help keep their institution in line with those standards. [There is a] two-pronged interest level from clients.” That includes basic compliance, regulatory issues and whether they are meeting the legal and ethical standards. Then there are the “soft aspects of customer service,” Andrea notes. Norton Norris assists its clients in addressing whether or not they are tending to the students’ needs and their own school systems’ needs by communicating well and presenting themselves in a favorable manner.
Being able to skillfully navigate these sometimes sensitive issues is one of the things Andrea is most proud of in her career. “I am proud of being fluid in my skillset based on what direction the assessment division is taking. Being able to redefine my role based on what we need. I started more project-based, working on very specific projects. Now I have taken over a more outward-facing, client-directed role. I guess just being able to grow along with the assessment division as that has changed due to industry and Norton Norris needs.”
In terms of her relationship with Norton Norris, Andrea is extremely proud of the work Norton Norris does and how it has grown and developed as a company. “Norton Norris has been providing assessment feedback for a long time and, at this point, is able to really provide clients with varied assessment, with what they are looking for.” The services Norton Norris provides cast a large net, including creating individualized reports, visiting ground campuses, assessing online campuses, reviewing everything from basic customer service needs to having very in-depth financial aid discussions and more. Andrea states, “We cater our reporting and our assessment style to a variety of schools’ needs, which seems like a basic thing you would need to do. But, it is hard when school systems are so different and looking for feedback on very different topics.”
Outside of her work at Norton Norris, Andrea is able to continue to enjoy what brought her to the company in the first place: spending time with her expanding family. With family, Andrea enjoys hanging in the city and trying new eats at different restaurants. When she’s not traversing the city, Andrea enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking, biking, and yoga. With her six-year-old daughter, a baby due at the end of the year, and her job as a client account manager, Andrea definitely has her hands full, but hey, multitasking is one of her best skills!