Letting her curiosity guide her career, Krista Bourne nimbly progressed from a mailroom employee to a call center director to a retail sales leader to market leader — all positions that laid the foundation for her current role as Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations.
As a woman in leadership, Krista found the power to go beyond in reimagining sales and creating positive change company-wide. Continue reading to learn more about Krista’s career path, leadership journey and what it takes to join her team.
When she began her career sorting through correspondence in the mailroom of legacy Verizon company Bell Atlantic Mobile, Krista discovered bins full of customer letters. The issue? There was no team in place to review or respond to these letters, leaving many unopened.
Krista promptly took action, reviewing and addressing each letter. This helped her learn more not only about the company, but also the industry as a whole: “Through my experience supporting those letters, I really got to appreciate how people were using our services and why they were so passionate about those services,” she said. From there, Krista’s curiosity led her to new heights as she took on different roles in that same call center, ranging from customer support to becoming a director.
In addition to curiosity, feedback has also played an essential part in Krista’s career journey, often using it to help her develop both personally and professionally. After working in the company’s Rochester, NY, call center for six years, Krista moved to Alpharetta, GA, to challenge her leadership skills in a new director role. Here, she used constructive feedback from her new team to help her grow as a leader.
“I had no reputation, no credibility — I needed to come in and learn all of that. I got to practice my leadership skills by listening, being authentic and making sure I stepped back and allowed this team to teach me,” she said.
Whether it’s your first or fifth time taking on a leadership role, you must stand firm in your beliefs and opinions — a stance Krista has long held. “We have a tendency to try to adapt to the environment and play to the audience,” she said. “While there needs to be flexibility and compromise, you also have to be able to stand tall in your truth. If you’re comfortable doing that, you can find success in any leadership position you take on.”
Having a voice to express your opinion is important, but it’s equally important to have a wide variety of opinions at the table. On her team, Krista makes sure there is always an abundance of perspectives going around to ensure representation and diversity. This is one thing that motivates her to come into work every day, ready to empower those around her and start new conversations.
“Representation makes a difference in the decisions we make and the minds and hearts we inspire,” she said. “We need everyone at the table, otherwise we’ll miss subtle moments where we could’ve made a major difference if we had a different perspective at the table.”
While Krista describes the corporate culture in Consumer Sales and Operations as optimistic and empowering, she also says it’s still under construction, constantly looking for ways to improve. When hiring on the frontline, she looks for employees who are flexible, open to change and detail-oriented. When it comes to leadership, Krista seeks individuals who are transformative, resourceful and likable — for her, these traits are a game-changer.
“We need people who are focused on the experience, building relationships and are flexible with change so we can keep the business alive for the long term. We need leaders who can be transformative so we can bring all these things together,” Krista said.
Krista advises candidates to be curious and ask questions. For Krista, these traits are tools — not options. But overall, remain competitive and think about the impact you want to make in the business.
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