Christy Bass (email@example.com), 42, partner at Accenture in Irving, Texas
December may be the giving season, but for Christy Bass, who spends about 50% of her time on the road, it's more like the season from hell. The worst was four years ago. At the same time that the busy executive had a major client proposal hanging over her head, she also had 60 gifts to buy for family, friends, and colleagues — and it was already the third week of December. "There was no way I could leave the office," says Bass. "I was completely stressed."
Bass had a few lonely packages sitting under her Christmas tree. "I knew that I was completely hosed on the shopping front," she says. "But I wasn't about to stuff gift certificates into Christmas stockings."
Bass decided to outsource her stress. "Falling behind in shopping can drive a person nuts," she says. She called a professional errand service, a group composed mostly of stay-at-home moms. Within days, she had the goods: 60 gifts, ready to go.
Now Bass outsources nearly all of her tasks, including bill paying and mail sorting. Last year, her trusty elves sent out more than 800 Christmas cards on her behalf. "Some people may think that the arrangement is arrogant or impersonal," she says. "But if you take a day in the life of your typical female Accenture partner with kids, especially a single mom like me, there's no way to get this stuff done." Bass pauses for a moment. "Now, my mother would say, 'Christy, you don't have to send out 800 cards, do you?' But Christmas cards are my big burst. They're my one connection with a lot of people whom I've met over the years." The bottom line? "I outsource everyday tasks so I can focus on my work, my children, and my community."
A version of this article appeared in the December 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.