5 Minutes with Mark 5 Minute Profile Series

Mark joined the B&N at CUA team about a year ago and was immediately thrown into Holiday web orders. He has filled many roles and assisted in many departments during his tenure but once again this year as a GM lead he is preparing for the onslaught of Holiday web orders with the wealth of knowledge he has acquired over the year hopefully making it a slightly less daunting task!

As always Mark arrives to work ready for the challenges he will encounter, a smile on his face and within moments his laughter can be heard across the store.

Two people nominated Mark as the next recipient of a 5 minute profile and when asked why they both responded similarly, "he is always there, ready to help no matter what the issue is, you can really count on him." In my mind that's one of the most flattering things a bookseller can say about another bookseller and I can't argue with that so here is Mark Strycula's 5 Minutes...

What was your first job?

My first job was working as a maintenance worker at a retreat center.

What did you learn from your first job that you still utilize today?

Flexibility. I quickly learned at the retreat center that you had to be able to do a wide variety of things, usually at the same time.

How do you describe your current role at Barnes and Noble College?

I'm the GM Lead and I'm also the primary weborder person. So, in practical terms, that means I have a hand in almost all the weborders that we ship out and I basically serve as the coordinator between Kara and the rest of the GM Crew.

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm currently processing and shipping out an increasing number of weborders as we get closer and closer to holiday and more and more people start ordering gifts for their friends and family.

I've learned how important good communication is, especially when there are so many booksellers in during one day...

Yes, Mark is in a box!

Most valuable thing you’ve learned from working at B&N at CUA?

I think I've learned how important communication is. When there are so many different Booksellers who work in a single day, it's really critical for people to communicate with each other so each transition can go smoothly and things don't get overlooked or forgotten.

What is something that you learned on the job here that surprised you?

The biggest thing I have learned at this job that surprised me is the ability to problem-solve. I have encountered so many situations that required me to think outside the box or look at a problem from a completely different perspective in order to find a solution that is beneficial for both the customer and the store itself.

For all the diversity in our campus partners, do you find any similarities what they’re looking for?

I think all our customers -- whether they are from CUA, from Brookland, or even just visiting -- are looking for Booksellers who have smiles on their faces and are eager to help the customers find whatever it is they are searching for.

What would you say is the one thing that all of the Barnes and Noble employees here at CUA have In common?

I think everyone here has this awesome ability to treat each customer as an individual, so they are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that that customer has a good experience.

Every store has a distinct culture and ours is no different, how would you describe our bookstore culture?

To me, the culture at our bookstore is definitely one of teamwork. The number of times I've seen people from different departments work together to tackle a problem (especially during Rush) is really inspiring.

How do you as a lead help foster this positive behavior and make sure that it remains a part of the culture of this Bookstore?​

The biggest thing I have learned at this job that surprised me is the ability to problem-solve. I have encountered so many situations that required me to think outside the box or look at a problem from a completely different perspective in order to find a solution that is beneficial for both the customer and the store itself.

What would you say constitutes a good day at work?

For me, a good day at work is one in which I’m either able to knock a whole bunch of things off my to-do list or there’s some kind of problem that I’m able to resolve before my shift ends.

What is the one thing you have always wanted to do but have not yet had the chance?

I’ve always wanted to do one of those long relay races. The idea of gathering a group of my friends and going for a long run through beautiful scenery (often overnight) sounds like it would be a really fun and unique experience.

If your name was over the door what would you want this store eto be known for?

If my name was over the door, I would want this store to be known as a great and fun place to work with enthusiastic and personal customer service.

What’s one thing that everyone in the store might not know about you?

I've moved to 14 different places in my 24 years and I've never lived in any one place for more than 4 years.

Favorite part of our bookstore?

The people - we really do have some great people working here and they're what keep me coming back, even after a rough or overwhelming day.

What makes Barnes & Noble at CUA different from other bookstores?

Again, I think it's the people; there's a diverse mix of people who work and shop here, including CUA students, CUA alumni, and local residents. It's really neat to work at a place where that diversity intersects.

Favorite book or books you’re currently reading?

My favorite book is a biography entitled Brazen Chariots. It's about a British tank commander in World War II who retells his story fighting against the Germans in North Africa.

Best day at Barnes & Noble at CUA? Why?

I really enjoyed Odyssey Day; it was a long day of roaming around campus, but I liked getting to interact with parents and students, telling them why I love CUA and our bookstore.

Name two people at the store that inspire you and how/why do they inspire you?

The two people at the store that inspire me are:
1. Micaela Mannix: Micaela really inspires me because she has great attention to detail and is always willing to do whatever job needs to be done without complaining (even if you can tell she doesn’t want to do it).
2. Jessica Clingerman: Jessica is the kind of person you want to work with – even when she seems stressed or overwhelmed, she always has a positive attitude and approaches any task with so much enthusiasm.
Created By
Jonathan Howard
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