Behind the Box with Meriem El Ouazzani

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Ever wonder what's "behind the box" that holds your favorite new armchair or table lamp? Our Behind the Box series lets you meet the leaders at Wayfair making Home possible.

We are excited to introduce our next guest writer for Behind the Box, Meriem El Ouazzani, a Wayfair Service Manager based in Florida, who brings a unique perspective to the table with a background in fitness training and a strong belief in the "BE AN OWNER" mindset that permeates our company. In this Behind the Box issue, Meriem shares insights on how this mantra has transformed their career and lifestyle, emphasizing the importance of ownership and accountability in both personal and professional aspects of life.

Meriem writes:

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As someone who has spent years in fitness, I've always understood the significance of discipline, accountability, and setting goals in achieving results. In fitness, there are no shortcuts; you must take ownership of your journey, celebrate your successes, and learn from your setbacks. When I transitioned to Wayfair, a company that champions the "Be An Owner" mindset, I was thrilled to discover that these principles seamlessly aligned with my values. Just like in fitness, Wayfair values dedication, responsibility, and the proactive pursuit of excellence.

For me, ownership isn't just about managing specific roles or tasks; it's about comprehending the larger picture, being accountable for outcomes, and continuously striving for improvement. In my leadership role at Wayfair, I champion the "Be an Owner" mindset, which not only elevates my own leadership but also inspires my team members to adopt the same approach.

For me, ownership isn't just about managing specific roles or tasks; it's about comprehending the larger picture, being accountable for outcomes, and continuously striving for improvement.
Meriem El Ouazzani, Service Manager

For instance, it was incredibly rewarding when one of my managers approached me about a challenge faced by new team members integrating their team. Instead of assigning blame or expressing frustration, the manager embraced the situation with a positive attitude, exemplifying ownership by saying, "That’s a great challenge for me, and I will do my best to make improvements with them. They seem happy when they leave my coaching sessions!" This instance highlighted the ripple effect of the ownership culture throughout our team.

Another example that stands out is when I observed one of my direct reports stepping up to a higher-level role to address an issue and participating in the fix. This issue was not just pertinent to their team but also had implications for our entire site and potentially the organization. Witnessing this kind of initiative and responsibility is truly remarkable and demonstrates how the culture of ownership is permeating throughout the company. These examples underscore how the "Be an Owner" mindset not only makes me a more effective leader but also fosters a proactive, responsible, and growth-oriented culture within my team. My journey in leadership is marked by these moments, where I see my team members embracing challenges, taking initiative, and contributing significantly to our collective success.

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Here are some tips to create a similar culture grounded in ownership:

  • Embrace ownership in your daily work: Take responsibility for your projects, initiatives, and outcomes. Seek opportunities to make a positive impact and contribute to Wayfair's success.When tackling a problem, it's important to adopt a broad perspective. Don't just focus on the immediate effects; instead, consider how your solution can contribute to the overall success of the project or organization.
  • Set clear goals: Just like in fitness, setting well-defined goals is crucial in your career. Break them down into manageable steps and track your progress regularly. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
  • Cultivate a growth mindset: Be open to learning and adaptability. View challenges as opportunities to grow and develop new skills.
  • Foster a culture of ownership within your team: Encourage your colleagues to take ownership of their work, share successes, and learn from failures.
  • Communicate and collaborate: Ownership doesn't mean working in isolation. Collaborate with your team members, share ideas, and collectively strive for excellence.


A little bit more about Meriem

How long have you been with Wayfair and what do you like to do outside of work?
I am a certified Crossfit coach and have been working with Wayfair for the last 4 years. 

Tell us about your career journey?
I always take a lot of pride answering this question as I was one of the first customer service associates to be part of the launch of the French Canada site. I have always been attracted by leadership and have a degree in Business administration that supports this passion.

What is the best leadership advice you’ve received?
My favorite piece of leadership advice is to inspire others by being the kind of leader you'd want to follow yourself.

Tell us about your life outside of work? Outside of work and fitness, I love home improvement and interior design. I always think of starting some sort of Youtube channel to share my passion and inspire others but never found the time.

Do you have a favorite product you've gotten from Wayfair?
My favorite Wayfair product I’ve purchased was a beautiful sideboard that showcases a textural patchwork of richly varied wood tones, adding a layer of dimension to its clean mid-century-inspired silhouette: