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Professional Development Interview: Avelina Leal, CIAC Certified

The issue inevitably arises as we journey through our careers - if professional certification can help our career development and our organizations. Fortunately we had the privilege recently of sitting down with Avelina Leal, Director Contact Center and Process Improvement, CIAC-Certified Strategic Leader from PerformRx. She talks about her reasons for getting certified, how course study fit into her schedule, and how the certification process had benefited her organization as she was going through it and beyond.

Interviewer: Marta Kelsey
ICMI, CIAC Certification

Interviewee: Avelina Leal
PerformRx, Director Contact Center and Process Improvement, CIAC Certified Stategic Leader

Marta Kelsey: Why did you decide to invest in becoming CIAC-Certified Strategic Leader? Were there specific challenges you were hoping to address?

Avelina Leal: I initially went after CIAC Certification to make me more marketable, and especially more marketable on a global scale. Going into certification I had 20 years of call center experience and discovered through the certification process I still had gaps that needed to be filled.

Our call center at the time (started certification in 2009) was looking for ways to make our call center more efficient. I was looking to lead this initiative and needed to learn how to build business cases for leverage technology for efficiency and communicate the business case as well as value up the organization.

MK: The most frequent hesitation we hear regarding certification is the issue of organizational support for the time commitment required.  Can you speak to whether the time commitment was a challenge for you or your team, and how you overcame it?

AL: Time was not a concern for me. I averaged about 5 hours a week of certification studying and did that in the evenings after work. The certification was a priority for me so I didn’t see it as a challenge. I did attend the weekly web-study courses during work though. Overall, since the certification was a priority the time commitment wasn’t a concern as I was learning through the entire process.

MK: When did you first start seeing actionable results from the certification process?

AL: Immediately! I took the people management course first and started leveraging the new processes right away. The technology improvements I learned took a little longer as I had to develop a proper business case and get buy-in from the organization. Overall, I found every class session had something I walked away with that I could tweak in our contact center.

MK: What have been the primary benefits to your call center of you becoming CIAC-Certified?

AL: I was able to leverage the skills taught in CIAC Certification to build efficiencies in our contact center properly. I used the people, process then technology method to and created a pilot program for new software that ultimately has improved our efficiencies. Just recently it was announced the pilot program was so successful we will be rolling it over all contact centers within the organization. CIAC Certification taught me the framework to build this type of program and to implement it successfully.

MK: What would you tell someone contemplating going through CIAC Certification?

AL: Enjoy it! Journal through the process and review your notes to prioritize initiatives you can implement within your center. I had learned a lot about the concepts taught during the CIAC Certification process prior but didn’t learn how they all fit into the complex world of contact centers until I completed the CIAC Certification process.

CIAC Certification