From Cell Block To Corporate America: Inspirational Women from Sales, Marketing & Tech, Part 3
March is Women’s History Month, and to honor the occasion, we are putting the spotlight on our incredible Televerde Graduates. We asked several of our inspirational women to tell us more about themselves, their work, and their journey with Televerde.
Today we share our conversation with Alisha Smith, Salesforce Specialist.
Tell us about your journey with Televerde, Alisha.
How did you first learn of the company?
As soon as I entered the prison gates, I was already hearing the buzz about Televerde from the other women. I was going through the processing details of entering prison and a woman that came in with me told me with the amount of time I was looking at, I should try to get hired at Televerde. I heard so many positive things and saw Televerde as a way to do something productive with my time while setting myself up for success in the future.
What was your educational background?
Prior to Televerde, I earned my high school diploma and had completed some college coursework.
My education has continued in a big way at Televerde, where I’ve learned everything I know about the Salesforce platform.
Did you have prior business experience?
Before Televerde, I had spent eight years working in an office setting. I was originally a personal banker at a major national bank before moving to a job as an office manager at another company.
What were you hired to do for Televerde?
I was originally hired as a Lead Development Representative (LDR).
Was it challenging to get started? Did you ever want to quit? What kept you focused, motivated and on course?
Yes, I found it very challenging to get stared. I was not successful at outbound calling initially, and I absolutely wanted to quit. I had given myself a timeframe of one year. If I didn’t find myself getting better at the position I was going to quit and go to work in the print shop, which was the next best job on the yard.
Right before the one-year mark when I was preparing to call it quits, I was asked to join a new campaign. This was around July of 2014. It turned out to be the perfect combination of role and campaign for me. This opportunity would drive me to new a professional level. This campaign, which I’m still working on, inspires me to learn every day. There are constantly new things to learn and do; improving trainings, assisting with compliance, system updates…I get the opportunity to learn and improve daily!
How important was the role of technology in your professional development?
Technology played a huge role in my professional development. Prior to joining Televerde, I had zero knowledge about Salesforce and would not call myself a tech savvy person at all. Now I work with this technology every day. I’m someone our client can trust as an expert to help them navigate the platform.
In fact, just last week we were asked to help the international team with their transition form Salesforce Classic to Lightning. My colleague Jewel and I will be leading this project.
Tell us about your career progression. What do you do now?
My role has evolved from LDR to Marketing Operations and Salesforce Specialist. I currently provide over 13 different onboarding trainings to a large network of around 900 of our client’s dealers. I also provide support for an assortment of system issues, reporting, dashboards, requests for liability insurance and resale, and international support. The main system I work and train out of is Salesforce and I play a huge role in training our dealer network on how to navigate Salesforce to drive the best outcomes.
In the US prison system, one of the many freedoms taken away from prisoners in access to technology. What we are learning now is that this technology gap punishes people impacted by incarceration long after they’ve been released. In fact, even in low-skilled jobs, tech-savviness is a must-have. Why is technology skill building in prisons important to reducing recidivism? Beyond learning a marketable skill, how can technology help prepare men and women for success after incarceration?
Technology is used in most interactions today. It affects the way people interact, communicate, learn, and think. Preparing the incarcerated community with technology skills would make them not only more marketable, but more valuable in their communities as well.
When I was released in November of 2021, technology was by far the most overwhelming factor. I had no idea how to use apps, which are how we interact with everything from phones to televisions. However, my knowledge of apps in Salesforce made this concept a little less foreign, which was helpful. But for the individuals that haven’t have the opportunity to use technology, these situations can be deflating and scary to say the least. It is so important to have an understanding on how to create a contact in your phone, look up a phone number or get directions. Technology factors into daily necessities too, like using a bank card with a chip, pairing a Bluetooth device, taking a picture and sharing it ( especially important for covid tests), and more.
As far as stepping into my job role, Televerde prepared me with the skills I need to function from home: How to daisy chain multiple monitors and connect my laptop docking station to my monitors. Having these skills in my arsenal have given me additional confidence in my transition.
Can you share one major highlight from your journey with Televerde?
A major highlight for me is working with the same client for 8.5 years. It feels great that I have been one of the same two people to work with this client for the entire duration of the campaign, and that I’ve created the trust to enable such a long, successful relationship. It confirms that the work my colleague, Jewel, and I are doing is what keeps the client signing with Televerde year over year. I love my job every day!
Tell us something fun or interesting that has happened to you while on this journey of transformation.
Prior to my experience in prison, I considered myself a hard worker. However, because of the opportunity provided by Televerde and the client, I have the drive to keep learning and doing more and getting better. I can provide a comfortable living for my family instead of living paycheck to paycheck. I have a renewed passion for life! It’s because of this experience that I have become the confident, humble, and grateful person I am today.