An Interview with
the Women at
Activus Connect

19

September 2019

We believe in encouraging and empowering others to be the best version of themselves, especially to help women pursue their dreams and ambitions when it comes to their careers. With wonderful women on our team, we saw this as an opportunity to write about them and their life decisions. Decisions that led them on their path to get to where they are today in the highly male-oriented space of Contact Center BPO (Business Processing Outsourcing) as well as to get their point-of-view on important topics such as remote working, gender equality, and the challenges and opportunities that they have had to contend with for career advancement.

We asked three women on our team questions around these topics. Their answers are so insightful and speak truthfully of the organization that we aim to be. We have amazing women!

Jennifer Strader
Head of Operations
16 years in contact centers
16 years working remotely

What has been the most significant benefit since you started working remotely? 

Working remotely was not just a benefit for me. At the time I started working in the industry, I was parenting two children with special needs that were demand unpredictable.  The ability to work from home allowed me to have a more rapid response time to my children’s schools and medical needs by being nearby. Additionally, I was more available simply from an hours-of-the-day perspective. No commute meant no lost time in productivity by spending time driving or public transportation daily. I had a lot more time spent “hands-on,” both as a parent and an employee.

Why is gender equality and diversity important to you? 

From a personal perspective, gender equality and diversity have impacted me directly. Without the mentoring leaders that I’ve had throughout my career, and that have been willing to see potential rather than perceive liability, I wouldn’t have gained the sense of self-worth that I have today. I would have missed the opportunity I’ve been given to positively influence as many lives as I have through everyday interactions that expand beyond the little microcosm that is my own personal world. To me, ensuring gender equality and embracing diversity are essential needs for a healthier society. In our increasingly real-time digitally connected world, various differences in opinion, life and economic circumstances, religious and political views, and personal and spiritual values are amplified and non-insulated. Diplomatic solutions to our challenges can only be achieved through intentional acts of non-bias and demonstrating greater tolerance for our individual differences.

What challenges have you overcome to reach where you are today?  

With being a woman in a competitive business that also has unique family demands that diverge from the “norm”,  I’ve been driven by anxiety to be necessary and bring value, to exceed what’s expected, to prevent challenges or at least prepared to adapt and overcome in order to be perceived as an employee that is not dispensable. I’ve had to “unlearn” that my value as a member of society and my ability to take care of what I hold most dear is entirely dependent upon the level of sacrifice I make for my job. The heightened awareness and progress toward gender equality and inclusion have enabled me to begin learning to care for myself a bit more and recognize that there are more people like me than unlike me in this world.

Chris Herron
Head of Project Management Officer
18 years in contact centers
8 years working remotely

What has been the most significant benefit since you started working remotely? 

The biggest wins for me are being able to pursue my career, earn a good living wage to support my family and at the same time, not give up the opportunity to raise my son instead of sending him to childcare.

Why is gender equality and diversity important to you?  

Gender equality and diversity, especially in the workplace, create some sort of social cohesion. Jobs, where men and women are given the same opportunity, can really shape people’s values and behaviors towards any gender or race. I think it also broadens everyone’s mental and emotional ability to accept new things, adapt to changes, and yearn for improvements. With a diverse pool of talent, the increase in productivity, creativity, and innovation is limitless as every single one of these unique individuals has something new to share. As a woman of Asian descent, I am able to bring to the plate in the organization a part of my culture of kindness and family-oriented values from the Philippines, which ultimately, are the pieces that really shaped who I am as a person.

Do you have any advice to give to the future generation of women who are endeavoring to develop and advance their own careers?

I live by three simple things in life.

  • First, embrace who you are.  You do not have to redefine yourself as your uniqueness can be as valuable as the skill set of an executive of a Fortune 500 company.
  • Secondly, Family is everything. As you advance forward in whatever path you take, treat the people around you like they are your family. And they will take care of their job and the company as they would for their own family.  
  • Lastly, Be grateful. Appreciation is defined as an act of acknowledging the good things in life. The more that we focus on these good things, and be thankful for them, the more that we attract positive energy and attitude. And with this, we make good decisions and create deeper meaningful connections with the people that we work with, and that can ultimately inspire and motivate everyone in your workplace.

Dawn Nash
Head of Learning and Development
15 years in contact centers
15 years working remotely

What has been the most significant benefit since you started working remotely?

The most significant benefit has been self-esteem and personal growth. I worked my way through the ranks and have learned so much over the years. Had I not been remote, those opportunities and late nights could have come at a significant cost – working remotely seemed to just fit with my goals and ability to have a work-life balance.

Why is gender equality and diversity important to you?

I have two daughters. One of my daughters is an athlete – I know I am her mother, but I watch this kid and think, “wow, she really has something.” She makes me proud. But what I know is that for her to move forward, in sports, academics and even in any career focus (especially in sports), she will always battle for a place at the table – regardless of her knowledge or skill. I see it time and again in this industry; as a manager, I manage a significant number of women. I want to help them with their goals and growth – because it’s going to take all of us even to create that seat that my daughter will earn.

Do you have a role model, someone that you look to for motivation and inspiration (male or female) that has helped you to get to where you are today?

Over my working career, I have run into quite a few people that I have been inspired by. The one that has made the most change in my life is our very own Jennifer Strader, who I have looked up to for years. She’s a pusher (in the best way, of course). She challenges you, pushes you, and she’s even seen the possibility when I thought there was none. She can spot potential, crack codes, and she has a unique way of communicating that brings a person forward and up. She is not afraid to blaze a trail. There have been others along the way, Beth Beard and Donette Feliciano, both very steady, all strong forces to be reckoned with. And there is my mother – who was a woman in a man’s world until she retired.

Loading...