You want it, you need it, you crave it: it’s another installment of “Meet the Geeks.” This week, we talked to our Quizmaster Trainer Laura Ewen about everything from airport lounges to honeymoon destinations to her daily To Do list. Keep reading!
Where are you originally from, and where do you currently live? I grew up in Katy outside of Houston, Texas, and now I’m in downtown central Houston and I love it.
I’ve never been to Houston, so what do you like about it? I think that most people in Texas — especially urbanites — have a love-hate relationship with this place, but I love all the big cities I’ve lived in in this wild state. Houston is the fourth largest city in the country, so we have this amazing food scene, I have cheap flight options everywhere, and it’s just a great urban culture with all of the southern fixin’s I was raised to love.
I was going to say that I’ve probably been there on a flight layover. Is it Houston or Dallas that has a Capital One airport lounge? I think maybe that’s Dallas. I went to an airport lounge for the first time ever on my honeymoon, and it felt very swanky.
Where did you go on your honeymoon? South Africa. I’d never left the continent before, so I thought maybe I’ll just go to the other side of the globe. It sounds uninspired to say that the animals were the best part, but that’s true. It’s been a bummer to be on the planet the last few years, and there’s something to be said for seeing nature being majestic and mundane at the same time. It was beautiful, and it sort of screws your head on right about being alive on earth — at least for a little while.
That’s boss. Alright, so back to the questions that Bryan likes: how did you originally learn about Geeks Who Drink? About 10 years ago, I was living in Katy where I grew up and I wanted to meet up with people in town. I’d look for things that we could do together, and that turned into trivia: it was something I did in college and naturally flocked to, so my friends and I played at Little Woodrow’s in Rice Village, which is one of our oldest venues in the city. I was talked into auditioning [to be a Quizmaster], made it and started hosting in 2013. Somehow it’s 10 years later and now I work at corporate and hire people to do the same thing.
How’d you make that jump from being a Quizmaster to joining the company? I had a range of different careers for a minute. I’d been a bartender, then moved into medical sales, and then into real estate. When the pandemic happened, I think I became delightfully aware that I didn’t really enjoy anything I’d ended up doing. When the worst of it passed, the opportunity to work as a corporate trainer for Geeks Who Drink arose and it felt very, very Slumdog Millionaire, like “Oh my gosh, this is perfect for me. I know everything about this. Let’s do it.”
What’s your current role with Geeks? I am one of the Quizmaster trainers and recruiters. We have a team, and our fearless leader is Jonpaul. We hire new hosts, reactivate hosts who have gone inactive due to the pandemic or other circumstances, and then offer them thorough training, ideally in their own local setting. After that, we’ll send them off to host, as well-equipped for the role as they can be.
This is always a tricky question, but what does a typical day look like for you? I’m going to pretend that all of the pieces in my life work correctly for one day, and everything clicks into place. I’d review our postings on Indeed first thing, to see if we have any good applicants for outreach areas that we’re monitoring. Then I’d have a few auditions, sometimes two to three a day. We’ll say that they go well, and I’ll start processing a new hire. Later in the day, I’d put together training schedules and get new hires in touch with veteran QMs in their area so they can shadow those quizzes in the coming weeks. After that I’d probably host a couple of online training sessions, like an introduction to DAS, which is an initial training session for all new hires. We’re also incorporating a lot of people into our Small Batch Trivia brand, since we’re selling out like crazy. That’s awesome for making sure that QMs have work to do and options for subbing, and it also helps to grow the number of venues for Geeks.
Even if that’s your ideal day, there’s a lot going on. What do you enjoy the most about working here? Meeting new people and setting them up to host. I still host two quizzes weekly and love it. I feel like it’s what I get to be most of myself: I get to perform; I get to laugh with people; and I’m always meeting new friends, new regulars, and new bartenders. So yeah, getting people set up to do this hobby that I treasure is very rewarding.
What do you think makes this different, as far as workplaces go? We’re all remote, but it’s awesome that our team can be spread out everywhere but also check in with each other almost every day. Getting to work from home is wonderful. I can spend a lot of quality time with my dog, which can’t be oversold. I’m just very, very invested in this, because Geeks has brought me so many good friends, it’s how I’ve been able to pay my car note, and it’s how I met my husband. He’s a host for Geeks too and we made it nerdy official.
I was going to ask you the same wrap-up question that I ask everyone about their best trivia moment, but it sounds like you’ve already answered that question. Yeah, that’s it. We met, I think at an “Arrested Development” theme quiz. We were working it because we used to have local QMs serve as proctors to make life easier for the hosts. It was a great excuse to get together and get to know each other and, after a couple of theme quizzes, we started hanging out. When you’re a Quizmaster, you’re in a public place for two hours on the same night every week, and it’s really easy to start showing up to someone’s quiz. That’s basically what we did to each other until we finally went on an actual date and owned up to the fact that we might’ve been lightly stalking each other’s quizzes because we had a crush on each other. That was back in 2015, so almost eight years later, we’re officially married.
And you’ve also seen a lion, like, right in front of you, so that’s a marital milestone in itself. We really did look a lion right in the face from about five feet away.
So you can’t be afraid of any Quizzer, because you’ve literally been face-to-face with a lion. I don’t know, let’s not test the universe like that.