This October, ISG is celebrating the women who are breaking the bias, defining new possibilities for women in the workforce and delivering outstanding contributions to the digital world. On October 26, the winners of the EMEA region will be announced. Among the finalists, there are five Foundever leaders recognized, two from the U.S. and three from EMEA:
Debra Renken: Women’s Advocate
When Debra and her husband moved to Omaha, she accepted her first outbound call center position, which opened up many new doors in her career path. Debra was hired by Foundever as a Product Development Analyst in 1994, and over the years has led a variety of teams. Today Debra is the VP of IT Service Delivery for the U.S. Market. Her strengths: She is a proactive and results-oriented leader, and has grit to keep moving forward to deliver on her goals.
Michelle Parks: Rock Star Leader
Michelle started as a contact center agent for financial services to finance her studies — and left 18 years later, after evolving from outbound calls to management positions, to join Foundever. What makes her a real rock star digital leader is her passion and her ability to see beyond business objectives and associates’ needs. Michelle serves as Chief Client Officer U.S Market and Chief Operating Officer North.
Ana Athayde: Digital Innovator
Ana’s journey as a digital innovator started when she created her own startup of media monitoring and analysis at the end of the 1990s. Ana joined Foundever to help shape its innovative contact center software and bring Foundever customer interactions and case management platform – innso, to the market. She currently holds the position of VP – Global Head of CX Technology Strategy & Partnerships. Her strengths: a holistic view of business and the ability to think outside the box.
Kellie Smith: Rock Star Leader
Kellie started out working in banking and soon became the go-to person for IT, before organizing the entire IT support for the financial institution. She held different positions in digital and IT service delivery before becoming VP – IT Service Delivery EMEA at Foundever. Kellie definitely is a rock star digital leader: her personable, non-hierarchical approach is based on support and collaboration and encourages her teams to give their best.
Mariana Diniz: Rising Star
Mariana is a rising star with solid experience in digital, acquired in different organizations in Brazil and France. She’s passionate about digital and innovation and loves how she can combine creativity and innovation in her position as VP – Head of Global Digital Solutions with Foundever. She recently relocated to Paris and is working out of the Foundever EMEA headquarters.
Our five finalists come from different backgrounds and work in different positions, but they all agree that Foundever helped them get where they are today, notably by recognizing talent and good work on all levels and enabling associates of all genders to grow within the company.
As Debra puts it:
“Foundever has taught me talent is talent, and it doesn’t matter where you’re located or your gender. As a woman’s advocate I believes in a world where all people are equal, and we have limitless opportunities to grow together.”
“I have been recognized for my strengths many times over previous years and as such have been given the opportunity to move upwards on the leadership ladder.”
Promote digital transformation
As a global organization with an innovative approach to hybrid work — Work from Everywhere — Foundever is a great promoter of digital tools and technology.
Foundever may be a global market leader, but it still has its entrepreneurial mindset that enables us to embrace transformation and leverage digital tools to improve the employee experience as well as the customer experience. Digital tools can take on repetitive tasks and allow associates to concentrate on human connection.
For Michelle, that’s an important factor for success:
“The digital aspect of all of it, be it AI or RPA or data analytics or digital tools for all functions, is part of our DNA.”
“Digitization might be seen as a risk in terms of employment, but it also offers great opportunities when we put it at the service of better human connection and use it to augment our people.”
Be a leader
Another thing our finalists have in common: they’re exceptional leaders. All of them agree that getting where they are today is due to an environment where associates are encouraged to be their best and a mindset that promotes collaboration. Their leadership style is to put their team first, to listen and support, identify their strengths and help them thrive.
Here’s Mariana’s recipe for success:
“I love being a manager and making team members reach their full potential. If I succeeded in my career, it’s because I always worked together with a great team.”
To conclude, here’s our finalists’ advice for women who want to follow their example:
“Don’t be intimidated to be the only woman in the room. Like ever.” — Michelle
“Always stay curious and ask questions to keep moving you and your team forward!” — Debra
“Do what you love! And always continue learning in times when everything changes fast!” — Mariana
“Don’t ever be shy to put yourself out there — it used to be a male-dominated world, but it’s changing.” — Kellie
“Don’t overthink – do! Empower your teams to make them progress. And make sure to have fun!” — Ana
Winner or runner-up, our women in digital are leading the way for women and show that at Foundever, they can make a career in whatever field they wish! Find out more about our commitment to equity on our dedicated webpage!