‘What You Have to Say Matters’ — Finding My Voice While Growing a Career in Customer Care

Sponsored by Realtor.com

Meekyoung (Meek) Lee

Photo courtesy of Realtor.com.

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Fairygodboss
July 19, 2024 at 8:29AM UTC

According to Meekyoung (Meek) Lee, the Senior Manager of Customer Care at Realtor.com, her success as a leader in customer service stems from traits and skills she acquired when studying classical music performance and competitively playing classical flute. 

“From a young age, I was introduced to this concept called ‘grit’ and started to love ‘practice,’” shares Lee. “Even after I stopped playing, I realized that I grew to be passionate about people leadership largely due to how similar the two worlds are.” This experience also provided her with the skills of “adaptability, navigating and delivering results within high-stress environments [both as a team and individually] and specific skills that allow [her] to coach and mentor effectively,” shares Lee.

And, of course, a strong company culture was also key to growing her career and leadership skills. “Realtor.com has been extremely supportive in my career aspirations,” remarks Lee. “I started as a Customer Success Representative and am now a Senior Manager within the Customer Care organization… I have a supportive leadership team that encourages new ideas and innovations and who are extremely adaptive to changing work environments and best practices.

Not only this, but Lee remarks that the open lines of communication about her career goals have led to her receiving clear direction and guidance from her colleagues on how to achieve her goals. “I have no fear or insecurity about my contributions at Realtor.com,” Lee tells us, “I truly feel I am doing the best work of my career here.”

Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like being a leader in customer care, advice for growing within this field, and the importance of having a supportive company culture.

What is your normal day-to-day life like at work? 

A normal day for me always starts off with a cup of coffee! From there, I say good morning to my teams and ensure I open up my teams’ queues, catch up on emails, conduct roll calls, prep my calendar and check on any other daily reports before the day starts to pick up pace. After that, it’s go-time. I could be anywhere between cross functional meetings, one-on-ones, leadership meetings, and just offering general support/feedback to my teams and staff. 

We listen for customer concerns and feedback along the way and ensure our teams are supported as they provide the best service to our customers. I also work on high-level initiatives to support and improve business operations and team culture, including resource building/auditing and overseeing and executing cross-functional action items.

Do you have any recent projects or accomplishments that you are particularly proud of?

I’m particularly proud of my teams’ accomplishments. I’ve adopted a couple of brand new teams over the last few years, and I’m proud to say that these teams almost feel like castles that were built from their first bricks. I’ve seen many of my team members develop into leaders themselves or move on to contribute to other areas of the business. I couldn’t be happier to lead them along the way. 

What do you find are the most rewarding and challenging aspects about being a woman in your line of work? 

For me, it’s having the opportunity to allow engagement and team culture to emerge from the fruits of my and my teams’ efforts. Women in leadership are not dominant in most industries, and getting to see strong teams perform and drive impacts that help achieve our business objectives keeps me feeling motivated and passionate about my job. As a woman in leadership, I want to make sure that I’m cultivating a team environment and culture that sets the standard of measuring individual and team performance based on facts and data, finding strengths in my team by allowing individuals to be their whole selves and working to break down walls and implications of gender roles in the workplace that have been upheld for a long time.

The challenging aspect is, of course, navigating a male-dominated world. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by a very diverse leadership team (arguably the most diverse leadership team I’ve ever worked with) and to have supportive women and men in leadership that I can lean on. However, it can always be challenging being a trailblazer of sorts. You have to love the challenge to really make the impact. So this is a challenge that I have come to love!

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for women looking to start a career in Customer Service/Care?

Develop your voice and use it! I have times in my career where I may say something in a group, and when a male counterpart repeats exactly what I’ve said to the same group, the group rallies behind the male counterpart. I’ve also found that my male counterparts are unapologetic about having a voice in a group setting, while I recall walking away from conversations wondering why I didn’t speak up when I wanted to. Over the course of time, I’ve realized that finding my voice and using it was going to take practice. It was going to take courage. But when I have, I’ve been met with nothing but positive responses, and I’ve been able to lead large group projects and initiatives. Find your voice — because what you have to say matters and is important.

Photo courtesy of Realtor.com

When growing your career at Realtor.com, was there anything that surprised you?

I think what surprised me has been how quickly I’ve been able to grow my career and how much I’m learning along the way. I know that my time at Realtor.com will be cherished as the experience that shaped me as a working professional. 

What is the most important/life changing book you’ve read that has helped you in your personal life and career.

I absolutely love the book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” by Angela Duckworth. The author embodies the representation I am talking about: an Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) woman speaking to other AAPI women (and beyond) — just like me. 

What really spoke to me is how much of a foundation it presents for ALL people who welcome it. The author debunks a lot of theories about who is “naturally built” to be successful and emphasizes that passion, perseverance, and a mindset can pave the way for anyone. It’s the perfect book for the underdog, and I think sometimes women feel like underdogs. I find that I talk about this book a lot when I’m coaching my team members, and it’s really helped goal-setting, practice, and development come to fruition in tangible and intentional ways. 

Is there anything else that you’d like to mention? 

Representation is key.  More women in leadership will bring fresh new perspectives and powerful teams to businesses like Realtor.com.



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