Published: January 15, 2020 | Comments
In 2018, we launched the ICMI Featured Contributor program. Each year since, a new roster of featured experts, from a variety of backgrounds, have shared their knowledge to help ICMI educate, inspire,
and shape the contact center industry.
We’re pleased to continue that program this year and excited to announce
the 2020 lineup!
(L-R, top row: Debra Bentson, Annie Button, Murphy Fraser; 2nd row: Bob Furniss, Nick Glimsdahl, Chris Hanna, Jessica Harris; 3rd row: Todd Hixson, Brett Holleman, Jen Jackson; 4th row: Sheri Kendall, Leslie O'Flahavan, Chris Rall, Jason Stern; bottom row: Josh Streets, Neal Topf)
What will ICMI Featured Contributors do? They’ll be your voice throughout
the year. They’ll answer your burning questions, push you to think about
new ways of approaching contact center leadership, and hopefully inspire
you with new confidence. Each of these writers will share regular articles on ICMI.com and in Contact Center Insider. We hope
you’ll follow along!
Without further ado, get to know our 2020 ICMI Featured Contributors.
Dr. Debra Bentson
Debra Bentson has built and led workforce management teams for 20 years in a variety of industries. Debra earned her doctorate in business administration; she's also a two-time member of ICMI's Top 50 Thought Leaders to Follow on Twitter, a CWPP (Certified Workforce Planning Professional), and a member of both the Nor-Cal Contact Center Association Steering Committee and the ASUGA Board of Directors. Debra is a member of the DNF (Did Not Finish) racetrack safety team at the Antioch, CA, speedway. Her prescription for life is, "Work and play, laugh loud and often, be safe and strong, and live on your own terms." Learn more about and connect with Debra on
LinkedIn and on Twitter @theccdoctor.
Annie Button is a Portsmouth-based writer, specializing in business growth and development. Annie enjoys sharing her experiences and knowledge, and has written for various online and print publications.
A child of the Midwest startup space, Murphy Fraser is a curious and creative leader whose passion is people, pure and simple. As a former contact center supervisor for a food tech company and currently as the client success manager at Skillshare for Teams, she enjoys helping young companies move from customer-curious to customer-centric through process building, engagement strategy development, and experience design. A true advocate for all things customer and employee, Murphy is a believer that when we keep our business interactions human, everyone wins.
For more than 30 years, Bob Furniss’s career has focused on the customer experience. As a leader of company contact centers and as a consultant, Bob has helped companies optimize customer engagement moments by creating service roadmaps, implementing CRM, and improving their digital channels. As a member of the National Speakers Association, Bob speaks internationally on frontline leadership and the importance of developing a customer-obsessed business culture. Based on his passion for improving customer experiences he has created a career hashtag - #ILoveThisStuff. Bob brings has worked with some of the best names in the world – FedEx, Delta, Cardinal Health, Lenovo, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – and more. On a personal note, Bob is a proud dad, loves photography, and has a passion for ministry in Honduras.
Nick Glimsdahl is a thought leader in both the customer service and customers experience fields, and his professional mission is to bring together digital transformation, customer expectations, and business objectives to create effortless customer experiences. His background in sales, marketing, and contact center solutions serves as the framework for his advanced expertise in the CS/CX industry, and as a director of contact center solutions at VDS, Nick helps companies stop and evaluate their current state, collaborate with subject matter experts, and listen to their customers.
Chris Hanna has built and led teams that support the customer experience across a variety of different industries. He’s passionate about developing high-potential talent and game-changing cultures, through continuous improvement that enhances both the employee and customer experience. At Evolving Management, he provides solutions to help leaders and organizations evolve their impact and effectiveness. Chris has been an ICMI Mover & Shaker in the category of Workforce Manager; in 2019, he joined ICMI’s Featured Contributor panel, writing articles while also participating in webinars focused on the agent experience. Chris is speaking at ICMI Contact Center Expo in May 2020. He’s also been recognized by ICMI as a Top 50 Thought Leader to Follow on Twitter. You can also connect with Chris on Instagram, LinkedIn, or by email.
Jessica Harris is currently a workforce manager for SafeAuto and is a current member of the SWPP Board. She has more than 25 years of contact center career experience, specializing in workforce optimization, outsourcing, technology modernization, project management, data analytics and business continuity. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys family time, gardening and being a volunteer puppy-raiser for Canine Companions for Independence.
Todd Hixson has been in contact center operations/management for around 20 years, working for Travelocity, Cabelas, and Intuit prior to joining Hulu. He has been an outsourcer, an insourcer, and an us-sourcer, with a belief in efficiency realized using creative scheduling, performance-based "right for me" shift bidding, and optimization focusing on delighted customers and engaged employees. His current projects include capacity planning that relentlessly pursues better ways while ensuring his team "embraces fun." In all of this, the focus is on the fact that it starts with the customer! He has driven back-office utilization of WFM practice, multiple channel skill-based operations practices, and cross-functional "A Day in the Life of WFM" workshops. Todd has served on ICMI's advisory board, consulted in industry standard certification with CIAC and was the recipient of ICMI's distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
Brett Holleman has been consulting within the customer experience environment for over 20 years, helping organizations utilize appropriate contact center technologies to enhance efficiencies, maintain regulatory compliance and exceed their customers’ expectations. He is located in Southern California and is currently a national account manager for LiveVox, Inc.
Jen Jackson is VP of customer success at Serenova, where she leads the global team dedicated to helping customers achieve quantifiable business outcomes and exceptional customer experiences. Her career includes deep contact center experience and leadership roles at Dell, as well as emerging companies like Kinnser Software (now WellSky) and Neverfail Group. Jen is known for a people-first philosophy of leadership aligned with today's workforce and technology.
Sheri Kendall's passion for creating positive change within organizations led her to Wayfair. In her current role as training manager she has developed programs that have inspired those in leadership to create a coaching culture. The customer service education that she provides inspires agents to do their best work and to find purpose and meaning in the service they provide. She holds a Bachelor's degree in business management from Northwestern Christian University and a Master's degree in training and development from Roosevelt University. Her career in education began in 1999 and since then she has developed workplace learning opportunities for non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, government agencies, healthcare organizations and contact centers. Follow Sheri on Twitter and LinkedIn.
E-WRITE’s Leslie O'Flahavan has helped thousands of people learn to write well for online customers. She delivers customized writing courses for frontline agents, social media managers, and contact center managers. She is a problem-solver for all the writing challenges faced by contact centers: email, chat, text, and social media. She helps contact centers train agents to write well, measure the quality of their writing, and rewrite their template libraries. In 2018, she completed an overhaul of customer service writing for a global airline’s domestic and international contact centers. Since 2015, Leslie’s been on ICMI’s Top 50 Thought Leaders on Twitter list. She's a LinkedIn Learning (Lynda.com) trainer for the courses “How to Write Customer Service Email,” “Serving Customers Through Chat and Text,” and “Serving Customers Using Social Media.” Leslie is also the author of Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents. Connect with Leslie via email or follow her on Twitter @LeslieO.
Chris Rall joined Unymira in 2016 and is currently Sales Director for North America. His work and educational background is in application and knowledge management with previous positions at Vodafone and IBM. This has given him deep insight into the challenges and processes of enterprise customers, particularly in terms of customer service. When not traveling the country, Chris is located in Miami, FL, often training for obstacle runs, writing music, or spending time with his family. Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisRall3 or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Based in Fort Collins, CO, Jason Stern is responsible for sales and marketing functions for Transparent BPO. With over 17 years of experience in the BPO industry, including contact center Six Sigma process improvement consulting, he has successfully launched programs for multiple industries worldwide, delivering customer support, sales, and retention across multiple channels. He has spoken to thousands of contact center professionals and he thrives on helping people and organizations solve challenges within their customer service operations, including cost reduction, improving the customer experience, and other KPI bottom challenges, including call center attrition.
Josh Streets lives life with one purpose: to bring out the best in people and their businesses. He is a trusted advisor to executives and organizations across the country regarding contact center, operations, technology, and leadership performance. An entrepreneur, consultant, and mentor, Josh learned the importance of high-performance leadership and honed his business skills over nearly two decades in senior leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. Since 2015, his consultancy, Scoreboard Group, has worked with large and mid-sized companies on strategic business performance projects. Along with finishing his upcoming book Fix the Root, Get the Fruit, Josh spends a great deal of time traveling with his family and supporting several nonprofit organizations and causes.
Neal Topf, president and cofounder of Callzilla, has worked for over 20 years in the customer care industry. Building and developing Callzilla in to a high quality and customer experience-focused contact center solutions provider is Neal’s professional passion. He has contributed content to leading industry groups and enjoys collaborating with brands, thought leaders, and competitors to continue to shape the customer care industry. Neal resides in South Florida and his great joy comes from being a dad to his 7-year-old son. Neal is also a lifelong Washington Redskins football fan and is optimistic about the coming season for the first time in 20 years.