CCWomen Strong Feature: Alorica's President, Colleen Beers
As part of our CCWomen Strong campaign, we asked Colleen Beers, Alorica’s President of North America and Europe, about how she’s been able to break the glass ceiling, who’s influenced and inspired her, and how Alorica has supported women in the work place.
Colleen is a member of CCW’s Advisory Board and sits on Alorica’s internal board for their Women’s Initiative which is geared toward women in CX leadership training and development, work-life balance and other topics pertaining to women in customer care.
Please tell us a little bit about Alorica.
Alorica is a global leader in customer experience solutions. We are made up of 100,000 passionate problem solvers who make lives better through positive customer interactions, and we support the world’s most respected brands with the best talent and resources necessary to create insanely great experiences. Alorica provides a host of services—from customer care to financial solutions and digital services—to clients across industries of all kinds, many of whom are on the Fortune 500. Alorica contact centers and operation hubs span the globe with locations in 14 countries.
What are some initiatives that Alorica is doing to foster a culture of community and specifically support women in your organization?
We believe an engaging culture starts with more than just coming in for a 9-to-5 job, and that embracing a diverse workforce not only enhances Alorica’s culture but is key to our success. Alorica’s objective is to create an environment where employees feel empowered and connected to the business, their colleagues, and their communities. Our culture is truly what makes Alorica unique—it’s the foundation of everything we do and how we do it, and that starts with our Culture and Employee Experience programs, and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Alorica’s commitment to the diversity of the organization includes programs like our Women’s Initiative, which champions amazing Aloricans around the globe. Launched in 2018, the Women’s Initiative provides a platform in which our Alorica community comes together to connect, support and develop our current and future leaders through a speaker series and networking events, and offers a unique opportunity for participants to develop leadership skills, share experiences and connect with one another.
On a more personal level, what are some things that shaped you into who you are today as a woman professional?
I had great mentors throughout my career. A quality mentor helps shape your views and perspectives—and if you’re a mentor yourself, you’ll play an influential role in shaping someone else’s career. As a woman, I enjoy mentoring (and being mentored by) other women, as we understand the unique challenges females face in the workplace.
I learned to say no. It was one of my hardest life lessons but learning to be comfortable saying ‘no’ and advocating for myself has been critical. I know that as a team member and/or a leader, it can be difficult to prioritize your own activities when others are counting on you for help—but it’s vital to balance the two while still maintaining confidence and communication. Whether it’s a new project, role, raise or promotion—no one is going to do it for you. I personally worked with my managers over the years, set personal and professional goals, and held myself accountable to them. When I did so, I ultimately found it easier to achieve success.
I scheduled ‘me time’! Stress is the enemy of productivity—so I’ve found outlets that I enjoy to combat its negative effects. Volunteering, yoga, rock climbing—anything that helps me relax and rejuvenate! Everyone needs headspace to regroup and recharge; it’s okay to spend an hour every so often on you and you alone. It’s something I still struggle to balance in my daily life – but when I make ‘me time’ non-negotiable, it makes a world of difference, and I find that my working hours are that much more effective as a result.
Let’s talk about the future of women in business. What do you think the future of the workforce will look like for women? Or, how do you think the future of the workforce will change with more women breaking barriers?
Well, I do think we are making great strides in the workplace as everyone – women and men – face new challenges, especially in the rise of automation and AI. The impact these technologies have will only raise expectations, and to weather the disruption, women (and men) will need to be more skilled, mobile and tech-savvy than ever before. To move forward in the world of work, we need to continue to support our younger mentees with targeted resources and organizational commitments to leadership development.
Don’t get me wrong – we’re already starting to see the effects of how women in particular are breaking barriers every day. While there’s a long way to go, more and more women are Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Executive Officers, and in key management and decision-making roles. I see this trend continuing as women move into traditionally ‘male jobs’, whether that’s in the military, transportation and logistics, IT, analytics, you name it. Company commitments to diversity and inclusion are critical in today’s day and age, and I believe it’s an organization’s responsibility to help their people. Period. We’re seeing this already in the Fortune 100, 500, 1000 space; major companies are committing to their employees, helping them grow, change, and be heard.
That’s not to say I don’t think we will continue to face barriers, but rather that hard work, tenacity, passion and inclusion are key ingredients in the pursuit of excellence, and we’re seeing that beginning to pay off. The companies not afraid to ask the hard questions and make pivotal decisions are the same companies recognized for making strides. The further we’re able to push ourselves, the better we’ll do as a group for our clients and employees.
Who inspires you?
Simply put - a lot of people!
My family, first and foremost. My working parents, the community I was raised in, my husband and my children are not only incredible touchstones, but inspire me every day with their actions, kindness, empathy, and their drive.
Years ago, my husband switched careers from IT to pursue his dream of being a Police Officer. He sacrifices so much for us and our local community, and went into the career change with his eyes wide open. He chose the stability and financial wellbeing his earlier profession would have afforded for knowing he’s making a difference in this world, and he wakes up each day happy and proud. That pride and compassion is something that inspires me and keeps me focused on what really matters.
The real fire inside me also comes from my childhood in Pittsburgh. I grew up in an extremely progressive neighborhood and had so many experiences that showed me value of diversity at such a young age. Most of my town were workers who were bold and transparent communicators. They were very direct, shared what they liked and disliked, and they were not afraid to share failures. I spent so much time listening to those life lessons, and it wasn’t until later in life that I realized it was those people and stories that shaped my leadership style, my beliefs in people, and fueled my fire to make a difference.
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