Everywhere Managed is proud to be 100% female owned, and currently 100% of our executive team are women. While we did not set out to be skewed so aggressively towards hiring and promoting women into leadership roles, we intentionally set out to be a different kind of company. It's paid off for us in so many ways, including awards, publicity, and landing great clients.
While sales demand generation may not be everyone's dream job (not many children dream of growing up to become an outbound telemarketing agent) it is an excellent route to any successful career path. One of our corporate values is "Campground Rules", or; "Leave everything and everyone better than you found them." Some of our calling team will spend their entire careers with us, and some will use this role as a stabilizer while they prepare for the next step in their journey. We are proud to have had the opportunity to promote women into leadership roles from the call floor. We promote only from within, and we require any new employee to spend their first 90 days on the phone regardless of the job they've been hired for. Everyone - including our entire leadership team - began their careers on the call floor.
We hire from many unconventional places, including The Shade Tree, which is a temporary solution for women and children experiencing homelessness. We support women re-entering the work force after challenging issues such as leaving an abusive relationship.
We work with Help of Southern Nevada, without grants or financial assistance from their workforce readiness programs - we support several programs, including a program for women re-entering the workforce after years of staying home and parenting their children.
We recruit women from Davis House, a women's recovery home that supports women in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol.
We are beginning to work with Hope for Prisoners, assisting those who have been released from prison to re-enter the work force.
We have also been fortunate to connect with many amazing State of Nevada case workers, who refer clients looking to get off of social assistance programs and begin working again. This can be a difficult transition, and our team is committed to helping women (and men) move from relying on social programs such as SNAP to a full time job.
We also support many of these organizations financially with annual donations.
We're always looking to connect with organizations who share our mandate of providing "second chances" to those who are ready to change their lives. Please feel free to contact us if you're interested in creating a workforce readiness program, a telemarketing training program or if you work with a group that supports marginalized populations requiring workforce reentry. We have found that anyone that can follow a process can be an incredible sales development agent.
We have done many things to become a woman-friendly workplace, including offering 10 weeks of paid time off to new mothers so they can bond and breastfeed. We offer health insurance to our employees, and pay 75% of a plan that provides free pre and post natal care. Our health insurance provider is Sierra Nevada, and they offer free access to online doctors, relieving employees with simple illnesses - like the flu - from the burden of co-pays. While our plan has low co-pays, many people will opt to not see a doctor as "only 25 dollars" may be the money they have budgeted for bus fare or a child's birthday present.
Many women come to us after long periods of instability and unemployment, and we quickly learned that supporting employees through the transition from homelessness or addiction or long term unemployment to full time employee required us to approach things differently. Early on we had a very high turnover, and we discovered that many of our employees just couldn't make the jump without a little extra help. Sometimes waiting three weeks for a paycheque just isn't possible - people no-showed for work because they didn't have any money - the bus isn't free, child care isn't free, before and after school care isn't free.
Many people were experiencing food insecurity and were ashamed to discuss this with their employer - choosing between your own lunch and lunch for your kids is an easy choice for any parent. We addressed this by keeping food in our office at all times for anyone who needed it, and by presenting new employees with grocery cards, bus passes, cash prizes - anything that would make the transition a little bit easier for them. We also have an open door policy - if you struggling, we want to work with you to find a solution. This has included cash advances, paying for school after care programs, helping pay for security deposits on apartments...I am often humbled by the fact that some of our team members will take a 2 hour bus ride to come to their job every day. If you're showing us you want to be here, we'll help where we can.
This led to the beginnings of a project that we call "Life Managed". The goal of Life Managed is to put our money where our mouths are when it comes to our purpose, which is to increase the growth and wealth of anyone we work with or for - our clients AND our employees. It's not enough to hand people a bus pass or a grocery card - many people have never learned how to grocery shop and cook cost effectively, they've never had savings, so they don't understand how to plan for emergencies. Buying in bulk for cost savings is impossible when you only have twenty dollars to spend on food. Healthy food choices are expensive - and shopping somewhere other than your corner store often requires an additional bus ride or a taxi to get the groceries back to your home. The less money you have, the more expensive your life becomes. You can't afford a down payment on an apartment because the landlord demands double the usual down payment due to your credit rating (or your lack of credit rating), so you end up paying more than most wealthy people pay for their mortgages, because you're forced to spend money on weekly accommodations. A decent one bedroom apartment in Las Vegas costs around 800/month. Many of our team were (and are) paying 1200 a month to live in hotel-like "weekly rentals". One of our long term goals is finding a solution for our employees so that they can live in cheaper and better housing, near better schools, for less than they are currently paying. It's an ambitious goal, but it aligns with our core values, and we're committed to looking for solutions.
Our team all buy in to our core values, or they self select out. I have seen amazing acts of generosity towards new employees by our current team. I have witnessed the team pooling money to help someone who lost their food stamps. When someone lost their housing, another employee offered them a room in their home. We've seen our employees gift other team members with presents that were obviously for their co-workers children at the holidays. I'm proud to work with a team that is invested in making the world better. Sure, we get taken advantage of from time to time, but I like to believe that even those who took advantage of our generosity will one day "pay it forward" as they become healthier and happier individuals.
What I am most excited about is our ability to work with someone who has never made a single phone call before, and who probably doesn't have regular access to a computer or the internet, and give them the skills necessary to sell complex technology solutions. We have team members who came in to our organization unemployed and homeless who are now renting homes, buying cars, and managing teams and projects. They can tell you the differences between every disaster recovery solution on the market, tell you why you should consider virtualized desktops for your small business, explain complex security solutions and coach other people to do the same. Our commitment to our team is this: spend two years here, work hard, learn what you can - and if there's no opportunity for a promotion when you're ready to move up, we'll help you find another role somewhere else - not everyone wants to be a telemarketing agent forever, and there are only so many leadership roles.
We had the privilege this year to promote one of our callers to our executive team. One of the things we believe strongly in is mentoring, and we work with industry leaders in Las Vegas to find female mentors for our new female leaders. (Thanks Taurean Consulting! You're the best!) Organizations like NAWBO help us connect with other women who volunteer their time to mentor. We've also promoted women to team leads, database administration and training roles this year.
I'm focusing heavily on how we support women in this post because it's International Women's Day. We support men in the same way. And we have plenty of callers who weren't struggling when they came to work for us - working with a diverse team is important. If you've never had your cell phone or electricity cut off, it may be difficult for you to relate to the person sitting next to you, but somehow, when people buy in to our core values, they buy in to the idea that we all rise together.
I am proud of our team for so many reasons - I'm proud of the people who join toastmasters to improve their skills, I'm proud of the people who paid for their very first car this year. I'm proud of the woman who worked her way from the call floor to the executive suite in two years by working hard every day and never saying no to a challenge she was given. Sierra Pope, you're truly an inspiration to the team you lead and to me!
This year our Director of Operations retired. She's my Mom and she is a dynamo, and truly the reason that our core values are what they are. She raised ambitious and generous daughters. The day she agreed to come work for me was one of the best days of my life, and she was integral in the growth of our company. She is gentle, empathetic, supportive, and brilliant. Her work ethic is second to none, and she focused on all the details so that I didn't have to. I could not celebrate International Women's Day without celebrating Sharon Lagace.
I am blessed to have the best sister in the world -- Tracie Orisko, who runs our sister company in Canada, Managed Sales Pros. Tracie went from an executive assistant to a sales development agent (who just lost the "most managed services sales appointments ever scheduled in one day" title (it was 7) to Ashley Battel, one of our Canadian employees...) to the leader of a company that celebrated 621% growth to become the 25th fastest growing company in Canada in 2017. She mentors, she volunteers, and she encourages others to do the same.
We are now beginning to celebrate a new generation of female leaders. Tracie's daughter, Anna, is blazing the trail in her home town of Dauphin, MB. Anna has been interested in social causes since she first volunteered at Winnipeg Harvest with Carrie and Tracie when she was 10. She has been an advocate for those in need ever since. She just finished organizing a Gala for Habitat for Humanity where she sits as Youth Chair and has now been invited to be one of 300 youth in Canada to attend the Youth Summit in Ottawa where she will get a chance to share her experiences and perspectives with the country's leadership. (This means she's been invited to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it's a big deal!)
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own amazing daughters on International Women's Day. My oldest daughter Madison works part time for us from her university dorm room in the UK, scheduling sales appointments for a managed security firm. She will be the first woman (first PERSON) in our family to graduate from University. (Counting my chickens, it's only her first year!) She was selected as the Apprentice to the Master for the Worshipful Company of Coopers, and her role includes helping raise funds for the many charities this organization supports.
My youngest daughter, Charlie, is a joyful, clever and kind girl who has already expressed interest in STEM. At six years old she participated in a Microsoft sponsored coding class, and she's enjoyed it ever since. Fingers crossed she will go on to a career in technology -- and by the time she gets there let's all hope that pay inequity, harassment in the workplace, and gender bias have become a thing of the past. Charlie has a heart for service, and enjoys preparing and distributing care packages to the homeless in Las Vegas.
This post is getting "too long for a blog post, Carrie". Thanks marketing team but I'm doing it anyhow. I was/am mentored by a man - his name is Gary Brownstone, and I don't think he's actually ever realized I wasn't also a man. My EO chapter has some incredible women business owners that help me every day. Monica, Theresa, Rhiannon, Reyna, Diana (and so many more - Las Vegas has the highest concentration of female EO participation in North America!) you help me get better every day! I'm the only woman in my EO Forum currently, and the men in my forum are incredible advocates of women business owners. (The other female member of our forum just successfully exited from two businesses. She is on hiatus while she travels the world with her family and I miss her face!)
From one person calling companies from their kitchen table, our business has grown into an international, industry recognized multi million dollar call center. I'm blessed every day to work with the women in my world. I was delighted to be a finalist in the technology entrepreneur category of the Las Vegas Women In Technology awards last year and my team came along to celebrate with me!
And to the women in my life who loved and supported me through rehab, through the stress of starting a new business, through parenting challenges - thank you! April (the kindest person I know), who helped raise my daughter while I built a business. Catharine (never on time and always worth waiting for), who has always been a shoulder to lean on or cry on. Meika (hey sexy Mama, wanna kill all humans?), who always knows just what to say when I'm having "that day". Caitlyn, my channel partner in crime (I love you, potato-gram bronzer-obsessed marketing dynamo princess), Shannon (you fierce female dynamo, you inspire me every day!)
And without the support of my partner, Josh, I'd never have been able to achieve any of this. Cheers to the allies that make being a female business owner and leader easier!
So, to summarize: Happy International Women's Day. Never doubt that you can change the world one cup of coffee or one kind word at a time. You can. We all can.