The CX Pod

You probably think this podcast is about you, don't you? Well, you’re right. This is a customer experience podcast hosted by Elizabeth Glagowski of the Customer Strategist Journal.

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Expand your circle of wisdom to elevate leadership potential

October 4, 2023

Women make up a majority of contact center workers, but what does it take to move up the ranks and excel into a CX-focused leader? We talk to Rebecca Jones, general manager of Mosaicx about how women (and men) can tap into circles of wisdom and trust for personal and professional growth in the CX industry.
Key takeaways:

  • Develop and expand circles of wisdom to grow and tap into diversity of thought
  • Don’t be afraid of “imposter syndrome” because it means you’re pushing beyond your comfort zone. Just don’t give into it.
  • AI tools can help break through growth and development 


Liz Glagowski: Hi and welcome to the CX pod. I'm Liz Glagowski. And today we're talking about leadership. This summer, I had the opportunity to visit the customer contact week show in Las. Vegas now, while I was there, I kept hearing about an engaging presentation within their CC women track from Rebecca Jones of Mosaics. She facilitated A valuable discussion on leadership and what it means to exist loudly. So, I'm excited to have Rebecca bring some of that conversation to the CX pod today. So welcome, Rebecca.
Rebecca Jones: Thank you so much for having me, Liz.

LG: So really excited to talk about this important topic, so maybe you just start from the beginning a little bit about yourself, a little bit about mosaics and how you've gotten involved with CC women.
RJ: So, Liz, my name is Rebecca Jones, but my friends call me Becky. So happy to. To convert there a little bit.
I currently serve as the SVP or General Manager of Mosaics, which is a company within our West. You know, I've served in this capacity for about a year and a half or so before my time with WI served in roles of increasing responsibility over the past ten years in spaces like customer experience, operations, data management, things like that. I really became aware of and learned about C. Women leading up to the June event in Vegas and was just so. Impressed with the program. Them the women involved and their reach and supporting women across the contact center as well as this, this growing CX space and so much so actually that I'm signed up for an annual membership and really started to get more and more engaged and involved.
It's an exciting opportunity. And one that I find is supporting women in a space that traditionally haven't necessarily been supportive or had the opportunity to kind of rise up through their organizations. So, it's important for me in my own journey to give it back. And I thought this would be a great way.

LG: Well, you know, you make a good point about in the contact center space. You know, women make up a majority of the employees, especially the frontline employees and. And so, what's your philosophy about empowerment and leadership within that space, especially for those closest to the customer?

RJ: So, you know, a couple of things. My, my personal philosophy, particularly in leadership space is really around servant leadership. I fully embody kind of that servant leadership mentality. I believe in supporting from a team perspective, you know really ensure. Saying that everyone has an opportunity to participate in decision making, particularly as it relates to kind of business outcomes and the direction that we're going. I think diversity of thought is critical to the success of our business and making sure that we get the best of all ideas, ideas really allows us to rise. To the top and enable for enable our business to move quickly and build trust across our organization, but also that trust by being inclusive in our conversations and our decisions. Builds that space for people to feel comfortable taking a risk, taking a chance, failing forward fast, and innovating quickly. So, in a tech environment, in a contact center environment, I think that leadership philosophy really establishes an opportunity in the organization. For people to feel empowered because they. Are a part of the decisions.
And that's my philosophy is really to enable those types of conversations from a position of trust in your team and then pull the best of all of those thoughts or ideas together to help drive growth, innovation, decision making, etcetera.

LG: So, at CCW, the theme of the CC Women's track was loudly. Can you talk a little bit about that and some of the discussions you had there and how it ties to some of that philosophy?

RJ: Absolutely. You know, one of the funny things about existing loudly is that can really mean so much. And I think in this space of feeling empowered and leading from a position of support, it's really about allowing people to be themselves to show up how they are, who they are. And facilitate allowing them to be a part of the conversation. You know, one of the things that we talk about with women and as women kind of moving into their leadership career is don't. Particularly leaders at the top right don't continue to believe that there's only one seat at the table. It's really about making room for more.
And I think this thought and concept around existing loudly is really about that. It's about being accepting of everyone, allowing them to show up who they are and valuing that difference of people. And from that is where we get the diversity of thought and conversation and better decision making along the way. And so, one of the one of. The key topics. That I talked about there and I think we'll probably get through in our conversation a little bit is just encouraging women to have confidence in showing up and creating some, some tools around ourselves, some support around ourselves to enable and facilitate that. You know really existing loudly.
And I think one of the things. That's really important to know here is about creating sort of circles of trust. And that community around you, who you can rely on in moments when you feel like maybe you should be quieter in how you show up, right? And having those people around you who can encourage you to truly exist loudly and be who you are, show up because it is the things that make us different from each other. That really are our superpower. And making sure that as women, we don't diminish those superpowers, we don't diminish our light, because when we don't bring those things to the table, we can't truly drive change in our thought processes and be a part of the conversations. Which are going to drive. Decisions of the next generation.
LG: Yeah, I love that idea of the diversity of thought and building that trust and community. So, you feel confident in order to kind of exist loudly as you can. What recommendations and tips have you discussed? Has the group discussed for people looking to grow into a leadership position or grow as a leader? And what other tips might you have? Also, for leaders looking to help others in this regard?
RJ: One of the things that I spoke about at the breakfast in in Vegas for CC women was this concept. Of circles of. Wisdom. I truly believe not only for myself, but really for other women and leaders. One of the things that is most important is to surround yourself with people who are different from you, who have had experiences not only like the direction that you want to go. So, for example, if you're looking for. A promotion in a certain direction or a certain area, you know. Finding someone who has already done that already have those experiences and pulling them into your circle of wisdom. Right. It allows you the opportunity to ask questions of those people who have experiences, who are different from yours, that you either want to learn from or make sure that you don't have a blind spot for.
And so those are really something that I encourage folks who come to me for advice to, to build for themselves and. And those circles of. System really are in different spaces, and I think the more diverse you can create, the more diverse in a circle that you can create, the better that you will be overall as a leader and as a contributor to your organization or your own professional development. I think when you can think about people who have, for example, if you are naturally a technology. Leader, if you find someone to add to your circle of wisdom who is in a client relationship, you know part of the business or a customer facing part of the business or an operations part of the business, then you're diversifying your perspective.
For areas of execution or functional sections of the business that are very different from the things that you think about on a day-to-day basis and that helps to enhance your decision making and helps to enhance your thought process and your approach to strategy. I think in addition to that, when you consider the people that you. Add to your circle of wisdom and think about. Who those people are at their core, right, whether they are male or female, whether what color they are, what gender, what race, what ethnicity right when you're very intentional about finding people who are very different from yourself, both functionally as well as culturally, that only is going to. Improve your thought processes and your approach. Which in all dynamics of your life, and I think as leaders, particularly those who are interested in either becoming a leader or moving up as a leader, it is even more critical to ensure the diversity of the people that you have around you not only just people that you hire, but really those that you lean into for. For support or ideas or you know, just to bounce. Ideas off of, etc. So those are some things that I really spent a. Lot of time.
With the other concept that's a little bit different from that is this. Concept of a circle of trust. Just this generally for me has always been a much smaller group of people think, you know, maybe your sister who or your brother. Right. Who's going to tell you that, hey, your shirts tag is hanging out or you've got a piece of toilet paper on your shoe, you know. I mean, it seems a little bit trivial, but when you can find. A very small group of people who are willing to tell you the hard truth. That can be a really empowering support system for you. When particularly for women, we're faced with things like imposter syndrome, where we're we have a tendency to believe that we're not good enough for the next role. We're not good enough for the next conversation or to be a part of a decision. And you know, things like that.
I think where we can rely on our circle of trust to tell. Hey, you can do that. I know that you have these thoughts in your mind. I can see it in how you're showing up. I can see it in how you're speaking. Those people can encourage you when you're falling back. There are also people who can, you know, rein you in when you've maybe overstepped a little bit, right. These are the folks around you in a professional setting. A personal setting and a friendship and her peer setting, who are just really not going to be afraid to tell you the hard truth that you need to hear. Whether it's an encouraging truth or whether it's a, you know, someone to kind of check you against your areas of. Community, I think as an individual contributor, that's mostly important when you're facing those early growth spaces and you're feeling a lot of imposter syndrome, I think as a leader, it's important to have those circles of trust because as leaders, sometimes our team members. Don't tell us the hard truth. Hey, you're overstepping or you're coming off a little harsh here. Or maybe you're not being as inclusive with this group of people. Or you seem really busy, and people are not approaching you. You know there's all sorts of different blind spots that as leaders we can kind of fall prey to. But having a person inside of your organization or in a professional setting who is not afraid to tell you where you have blind spots or where you're not showing up. Can be tremendously empowering and really help you grow as a leader and ultimately serves the team around you that you support and help you grow a more empowered and engaged organization.
LG: I like the differentiation between the circle of wisdom and the circle of trust. One is really more wide-ranging and one is going to be a little smaller and more of a core team. Do you find it as we move more into an at home and virtual world that it's more difficult to create some of those circles?
RJ: It definitely is and it has. I think that these, you know, circles of support or these groups of support were much easier to form more organically when we were all in the same room all to or we lived, you know, all in the same area. And I think as we've moved through the pandemic and businesses have moved to more of either a hybrid approach or a fully remote environment. And quite frankly, we've learned that particularly in technology that in order to achieve true diversity of thought, we've got to hire in multiple regions.
You've got businesses who, to your point, are very widespread and I think it is on a professional level on a professional development and particularly for women, I think it is a little bit more difficult to establish those circles, but not impossible. It just has to come with some intention, and I think maybe some courage and you know quite transparently sometimes those are hard things for women. You know, we have a lot on our plate, both personally and professionally, and I think we tend to take on a lot of responsibility and sometimes like our professional development is the last on that list or even our own personal care is the last on the list. But when we take a moment from a Wellness standpoint from a professional development standpoint and we're intentional about inviting others in, we take a moment to be vulnerable and courageous and go and. Ask for help. Or ask for friendship or peer support it.
It can be a really powerful friendship, partnership and tool not only for ourselves, but honestly for the other person. Even if it's from a mentor standpoint, that mentor is going to learn quite a bit from the mentee. If it is a peer, you're going to learn from each other like iron sharpens iron, right? Those things are true. And I think a lot of times, a lot of times as women, we think that we're burdening someone else by asking for support or asking for mentorship. Or inviting someone into ours. Circle well the. Value that you're gaining is inversely true for the other person. And I think if we can take a moment to be courageous and reach out to others, even when we're busy, I think it can find a better path for us, for Wellness, for professional development, et cetera, et cetera. So yes, I think you're right. It certainly is more difficult, but with intention it's still possible.
LG: I like your perspective on how this helps personally as well as professionally with Wellness self-care that if you consider that part of your self-care.
RJ: I think organizations like CC women really helped to bring women together and start to normalize some of the challenges that we feel like are our fault or only us, right. It really helps to bring us together around common challenges. Things like imposter syndrome, things like remote work, balance of professional and Wellness, and you know, women's healthcare. Except you know all of those things I think do give us a common ground to bring women together and help to support each other that frankly over the last. Three or four years has been the thing that is the most encouraging for me as a female leader. To see more and more women being more supportive of each other than I have seen in in decades past. So that is an encouraging change in. In direction for women, and particularly women in leadership and tech.

LG: What types of outcomes are possible for companies, employees and even down to the customer level when a company is committed to leadership development and building those circles of trust giving employees the space to do that and encouraging that the leadership development and professional development?

RJ: You know, one of the things that we see statistically are businesses who are intentional about diversifying not only their leadership team, but really their executive. Teams are more profitable. Generally, their employees are more engaged and that diversity of thought at the executive level, at the decision-making level, the diversity across their employee base and the increased employee engagement drives happier customers. And frankly, more profits on the company's top line as well.
So, I think one of the things that is more important than ever are for companies to really lean in, in supporting professional development, especially for women and minorities and ensuring that they have a growth path to not only have their voices heard and participate in decision making. But also, just to broaden the thought leadership in areas of technology course correction changes that that businesses may be driving.
The pandemic led to lots of resource challenges and cost challenges for many companies and I think one of the learnings that we've had coming out of that is we really do have to understand what our employees need, ensure that they are engaged in the process, particularly because of the remote. Nature of many of the businesses that have. Continued to move for. Board and to make sure that as we're working through those employee engagement initiatives and processes that we're creating intentional paths forward for women and minorities, so that those decisions can be represented across all like sections of the business.
LG: What's preventing that from happening now, from? Individual level or even a systemic or organizational level. What are some challenges to actually doing that?
RJ: Let's start with maybe some of the obvious things obvious challenges facing. You know, women at more of an employee or an individual contributor layer. I think for women itself us, certainly a lot of imposter syndrome is a is a huge thing that I see hold a lot of women back. You know we've heard. The statistics you know. Men are three times more likely three to five times more likely to apply for a job, regardless of the criteria for that job, and women will see that list of prerequisites. And if they don't meet all of them, they will most likely not apply. And I think this is rooted in confidence.
This is one of the things that I coach a lot of people on today and it it's, you know, be willing to, to go after any opportunity. Right. You'll see that list of 10 things if you're meeting three of them. Like, go for it because your peers on the other side are going to apply. And you may as well too, because the worse that you can hear from that. No and I think that is part of it.
The other thing that I speak to a lot around Imposter syndrome or confidence is a lot of times as women will start to feel this. I don't think I'm good enough. You hear a lot of words in the back of your head. And that are sort of speaking back against your own confidence and a lot of times we will take that as a sign that we're overreaching or that we just need to step back and kind of be in our place. And I challenge that notion quite a bit with. Most of them.
People who I work with and tell them when you're hearing those thoughts of imposter syndrome or those thoughts against your confidence. What you should understand is that's where you're just at the curb. You know that you're stretching yourself, and those feelings mean that you are at the precipice of your next step. You're at the precipice of moving on and feeling comfortable. It's just that very edge of a stretch were. You start to feel. A little discomfort, a little uncomfortable. It's a sign that you're moving in the right direction.
You're taking the right steps to get to the next level, and if we can change our perspective, change our lens about imposter syndrome, and instead of that being something that's a challenge or it is something negative if we can view that as a positive sign that we're moving in the direction that we want to move. We're making the changes that are going to help us grow, it's a little bit of growing pain. Then it can be an encouraging thing. Like, yes, I'm feeling imposter syndrome. That's a great thing. It means I'm almost there. It means I'm still growing. It means, you know, I'm making the changes that are going to help me stretch and grow in the next phase of my life. And whatever is right, a person will grow. Excuse me, a personal goal or a professional goal. I think that can be a really empowering thing, depending on how you look at in your lens, in terms of businesses, what's holding us back.
I think a lot of this remote work, you know, finding a balance makes it hard. We get lost in our day-to-day things that we have to get accomplished, and we tend to not be intentional with creating space to have conversations across the diversity of thought. For example, right, we tend to go to the people who are most like. The people who have experiences similar to our own help make decisions because we just need to make that decision quickly and we get caught up in, I think, confirmation bias as leaders. And so, as a business, if we really invest in diversity of thought. Supporting women in leadership, supporting minorities in leadership, then we can be intentional in making sure that those voices are heard. And that there are pathways to create additional spots intentionally for people who are different from us, who have had different experience for us. And like I said, we know that those businesses who are intentional there have higher profits and are growing faster and having more opportunities in the marketplace.
LG: Sticking with business for a minute, how then does some of this leadership focus and philosophy connect to your everyday job at mosaicx?
RJ: As the leader of mosaicx, it really is my job to ensure that we are growing and the way that I do that is ensure that we have we are creating. Conversations across the organization ensure that our employees down to every individual contributor. Regardless of the section of the organization that they're in, we ensure that they have a voice and the data and the feedback provided by all our employees informs the decisions that we make. We create pathways for idea generation in order to, you know, facilitate innovation. And a growth culture.
Our business is square in the middle of conversational AI, and we have to stay on the curb and the cutting edge of the changes that are happening in our market and the. Only real way to do that is to support openness of ideas, openness of communication and collaboration, and the only real way the organization can facilitate that is to ensure that there's trust across the organization and that people feel comfortable speaking up raising their ideas, you know, not have a fear of failure or not have a fear of you know, being laughed at because their idea is a little.
Because you know, one of the things that we're finding is as the as AI and Gen AI are adopted, it is certainly become more and more democratized and the pace at which it is being adopted is generating tremendous evolution of technology. Right now, and women and minorities and everyone are leveraging that technology to solve day-to-day problems and it's no problem solving and idea generation that we're doing in small spaces that can really lead to make breakthroughs in innovation not only for our business but for others.
And so, for me to ensure the growth of our business and that we stay relevant and ahead of the curve, it's really important for me to make sure that I'm creating space for ideas from women. Minorities from my entire organization. Because the next best thing that next great idea or invention could come from anywhere in our organization, I have zero assumption that's going to come from me or my leadership team specifically. You know, we want to create that channel. So that organic ideas and thoughts and. Innovation can come from anywhere in our organization.

LG: I was going to ask about with the rise of AI, especially in the contact center space, that there is a need to balance that human side that we've been talking about all this whole time with the innovation and the technology pieces and making sure that the humanity doesn't kind of get lost. So, what's your what's your perspective on that? And then as it exists as it pertains to the leadership discussion we've been having.
RJ: I love that you asked. That. Thank you. Thank you. It's great. Question for us and this may be slightly different than some of our peers in space. We truly believe that AI and Gen AI should be leveraged to enhance the human experience both for our customers and for contact center agents. Mosaics is a product and a company which. Leverages conversational AI to create you know, an entry point for a company and a lot of times that can be thought of as a way to prevent customers from reaching the contact center agent and maybe replacing you know, the contact center itself. And that's really not our philosophy, we believe that our technology, our IVA technology, our outreach can be leveraged to facilitate a greater interaction between customers and the AI itself. And then allow the opportunity for those contact center agents to spend more time on the higher-level thought processes that need to occur to support the technical questions that their customers may have.
It should also be leveraged to enhance the experience of the contact center agent themselves. How can we bring AI to play? Whether that's tools or resources. Or just call flows that help those agents you know have a higher quality conversation with their customer and really be able to solve and tough questions computers will never take the place of the emotional conversations that have to happen between a customer and a contact center.
And I think one of the things that's gotten in the way over the years prior to the adoption of AI and Gen. AI has been all of the sort of tactical things that a contact center agent has to get through, you know, tell me your account number or your name, you know, all of these different sort of pieces. And if we can remove those boundaries. And we can get right to the heart of what the problem is that the customers experience and. How do we approach that? From an emotional standpoint and let the let the human agent have that human conversation that no computer is ever going to. Be able to replace. And that's really our philosophy is finding the balance between automation of the tactical things that kind of get in the way of. Serving your client while supporting you know the company's brand or the experience, the brand experience that they want their customers to have.
LG: Excellent. So, with that in mind, what are you most excited about for the future both in the contact center space and for women in leadership?
RJ: Yeah, that's really a big question. You know, as I mentioned, Gen AI has been so rapidly adopted and frankly democratized that I think particularly for women. It is an opportunity for us to get our hands on some of the most sophisticated of tools these Gen. AI bots are available right online right now. We can log in and leverage all the different ones from all the different companies, right? There's so many and use those too. Write papers. Write our resume. You know a number of different things. Like all number of things. And I think that. Really helps to level the playing field for women. Not only in leadership, but in any role. Right technologies, role and operations role, customer facing role, it doesn't matter.
It really starts to level the playing field and help us to have the same foot in the door as our male counterparts. I think that is really empowering and I would always encourage. And recommend for women to take the time, the extra few minutes at the end of the day, to play around with all these new tools because they're readily available on the web. And I guarantee your male counterparts. Are doing the same thing.
As far as our contact center space? The things that are so exciting about the future are really the ability to leverage some of these new tools. I think thinking about ways and ideas that can be used to enhance your interaction with clients, it is really a cool opportunity to be the voice. Within your business to raise ideas and evolution. I think it's an opportunity for us to focus on higher level engagement with our clients rather than the tactical interaction that has sort of been the norm in contact Centers for. Quite some time. And I think it gives us a fast track for evolving our career, whether that is. Again, an individual contributor type of a role in technology or whether that's moving into leadership. I think it really gives the opportunity to evolve the contact center interaction with the customer as well as overall our opportunities to learn and grow as humans and move around in the organization.
LG: Great. Well, thank you Becky so much for this great conversation. I hope I've potentially entered your circle of wisdom. I know you've entered mine, so I look forward to more conversations both within CW and then within the industry overall. So, I really do appreciate you taking the time too.
RJ: It's been a wonderful conversation, Liz. Great to spend some time speak about things that ar close to my heart. And really, hopefully something landed with one of your listeners and we can really help someone find their voice and maybe create a broader circle for themselves.