From Cell Block To Corporate America: Inspirational Women from Sales, Marketing & Tech, Part 4
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 Heather O’Dell, Senior Content Specialist.
Tell us about your journey with Televerde, Heather.
How did you first learn of the company?
I first learned about Televerde in county jail. I was already determined to make my time count for something so I talked to the women around me and asked what prison was like and what I could do once I got there to set myself up for a better future. Immediately, the women there began to tell me stories of Televerde. They talked about women they knew who worked there and were able to leave with a career, not just a job, and also a financial savings to help them rebuild their lives. I KNEW without a doubt this was the path I wanted to take, and I began to immediately manifest it.
What was your educational background?
Prior to prison I was earning my Bachelors degree at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.
Did you have prior business experience? If yes, describe.
I had jobs prior to coming to prison, but never in the realm of business. I never thought of myself as particularly business savvy.
What were you originally hired to do for Televerde?
I was originally hired for the role of Lead Development Representative (LDR).
Was it challenging to get started? Was there ever a point where you wanted to quit? What kept you focused, motivated and on course?
Getting started was easy. Staying committed was the hard part. I had always struggled with being consistent and following through to reach my goals. I knew Televerde was the chance to prove to myself and my family that I had changed and could see something through.
There were so many challenging times, times when I wanted to give up and thought about quitting because it would have been easier. When I was on the sales side of things, there would be days where I didn’t think I would meet my numbers and the rejection would eat me alive. I told myself that what I was offering my prospects was something of value. I always saw the purpose in it and that helped me push through.
Once I entered the marketing side of the business, I had to learn so much from scratch. Yes, I had a background in writing, but combining that with business and marketing was all new. What kept me going was my team and the women I was surrounded by. They always believed in me, sometimes more than I believed in myself. It made me think, “You know what, if they have this faith in me, they must be able to see something bigger. I can do this.”
I also remembered Michelle Cirocco telling her story about how she wanted to give up and her friend told her, “Oh you laid out this plan and then you thought it would be easy?! It’s not easy but it’s worth it.” Something along those lines, and I always thought back to that story. Reaching your goals isn’t easy. If it was, it wouldn’t be much of a goal. That’s what makes this such a powerful journey, the challenges you overcome along the way and the way you prove to yourself how strong you are.
Tell us about your career progression. What do you do now?
Originally I was hired for the role of Lead Development Representative (LDR). I quickly moved into the role of Sales Development Representative (SDR). Both of these roles were generating revenue for our client, but this is when I started to develop a passion for our business model, and I saw an opening for the role of Demand Creation Associate which was cultivating leads for Televerde. I then moved into the role of content specialist and transitioned to the marketing team.
Now I’m on the marketing team and I work to execute our content strategy. I get to combine my love of writing with the Televerde purpose and use this to show our clients how we can help them. I develop content that helps our sales team connect with clients and solve some of the most pressing challenges facing the industry today.
What attracted you to marketing? Is it something you’ve always found interesting?
What originally attracted me to marketing was the content aspect. Ten years ago, I had no idea the huge role content played in sales, marketing, branding, or any of that! Flash-forward to 2022 and now I’m well-versed in the impact content marketing has on the success of an organization. I’m attracted to marketing because it fits my personality and I get to be myself. What I love most about marketing is that you get to be creative. There are no limits to what you can do. Simply put, I view marketing as how you help your audience understand the problem you can help them solve. There are so many solutions out there for the same problem, but in marketing, you get to show your audience why and how your solution can truly help them.
Is there something you learned or that you were able to try at Televerde that has really helped in your career?
I’ve learned to not be afraid to ask for help. This is an invaluable lesson. It’s hard to admit you need help or to admit you don’t know something. At Televerde, I’ve always been encouraged to reach out to someone when I need something, and I’m always happy with the outcome when I do. It’s kind of like everyone is a mentor in some way! Because of this, I’ve been able to help other people feel comfortable enough to come to me when they need help and give back to them in that way.
Despite “Ban the Box” laws and other initiatives to encourage second-chance hiring, it’s still not a widely accepted practice for many businesses. As a marketer, how do you think businesses that do hire second-chance employees can better share their experiences and help normalize second-chance hiring.
I think the best way for businesses to share their experience is by being vocal about it. Normalize second chance hiring by not hiding it, but showcasing it and not only for the sake of saying “Oh we practice second chance hiring and we are doing good,” but by saying, “We practice second chance hiring and not only are we doing good for society, but we are also exceeding our results.” Talk about the business impact. Over time, the stats are proving this. We are seeing that businesses that practice second chance hiring aren’t suffering the perceived associated risks. There’s a narrative out there that you put your business at risk when you take part in second chance hiring, but statistically, the results and benefits far outweigh risk. Keep being vocal and continue the conversation.
Can you share one major highlight from your journey with Televerde?
A major highlight from my journey with Televerde is the amazing team that I’m part of. I have been lucky enough to work with a supportive, collaborative team the entire time I’ve been part of the Televerde family. Everyone knowledge shares and supports each other’s growth. I know I can go to any member of my team, whether it’s something about work or life, and they will help, listen, and advise. Because of this, I always feel comfortable voicing my opinion and sharing my ideas.
Tell us something fun or interesting that has happened to you while on this journey of transformation.
I’ve always been a believer in manifestation and the law of attraction. Something interesting that happened to me on this journey is that I used manifestation every step of the way. It’s not just about thinking about what you want and having that happen for you. It’s about truly believing you have what it takes inside you, you are worthy of these good things to come to you.
When I first started my training for Televerde I remember entering a room full of new hires. We were told that we would have to share desks, alternating shifts, unless we were a top-performer, then we would be assigned to a client full time and get our own desk. I thought about this all through training and told myself, “I am a top-performer. I will have my own desk.” Almost immediately after training, this exact thing happened. I was assigned to a new growth client and I generated the first closed deal for them! It was an amazing feeling.