The Boss and the Fixer
“Believe in yourself. What you have done thus far has prepared you for this point. But have a backup plan, just in case.”
With that thought, Vidya Ravichandran left a promising career in the corporate world and launched GlowTouch in Louisville, Kentucky. Entrepreneurship was something of a family business and the fork in the career road that Vidya knew she would eventually take. From its early days with a modest staff, the company has grown into eight cities in four countries and employs thousands of people who cater to various client outsourcing needs.
About 1,000 miles away, in Houston, Texas, Tammy Weinstein was living the entrepreneurial life as a one-woman band providing litigation support services. Like many businesses, it went through cycles. During one of the lean periods, Tammy became a tech support agent. Several companies and 26 years later, she is GlowTouch’s Senior Vice President of Marketing & Analyst Relations. Along the way, Tammy earned the nickname “The Fixer” for her propensity to take over struggling programs and steer them to solid ground.
Long before companies talked of diversity and inclusion, GlowTouch was building a leadership team that reflected its clients and its communities. But Vidya will also tell you that while the company is a certified woman-owned business, that’s not what defines it. “Earning business comes down to delivering results, and clients want to see a track record of performance,” says Ravichandran. “Having a diverse staff means more voices are heard and more perspectives are considered. When different personalities and experiences are united by a common goal, that’s how you make diversity into an asset.”
The current leadership is a mix of industry veterans and newcomers who span various nationalities, age groups, and careers of origin. Tammy is among the veterans, parlaying a knack for technical troubleshooting into problem-solving assignments at the Program Manager and Operations Manager levels. Her initial job was never meant to signal a career switch, “but I enjoyed it and kept moving, eventually getting the opportunity to open a new office for my then-employer. Enjoying it is critical; work does not always have to be serious. We can do that when necessary, but we can have fun while also being productive.”
Weinstein is among several women at the Senior-Vice-President level in the company, and Ravichandran sees that as part of the evolution of the labor force. “With more women working and holding positions of responsibility in greater numbers than in past generations, there are far more strong female candidates in the pipeline for leadership positions,” says Vidya. “Experience also breeds confidence, which transcends gender. Knowing that you can trust people to deliver is invaluable, especially as the organization grows and competing priorities emerge. Some delegation becomes necessary and having people whose opinions you value is priceless.”
An open environment where ideas are freely shared has created stability. The average tenure in the leadership cohort is nine years, maintaining organizational continuity and preserving institutional knowledge while also introducing fresh ideas. To perpetuate this, the company has developed a career path program that encourages employees to pursue the areas that most interest them within the company.
“Most successful people have someone they can point to as instrumental in their growth – a boss, a coach, or a more senior co-worker,” says Vidya. “In turn, it is incumbent on us to nurture newer employees and put them in positions to succeed.
We also work to achieve that outside the corporate walls, be it through impact sourcing that creates economic opportunities or community-based efforts that target a specific need.”
The company’s materials often refer to how doing well in business serves as the conduit to doing good for others. Whether this involves creating economic opportunity for disadvantaged populations, adopting local parks to maintain, or building a school, active corporate citizenship is part of the GlowTouch ethos. It is also a recognition of operating a global enterprise in a time of significant change where brand loyalty can be fleeting and individual motivations have changed. Internally, employees increasingly want to work for values-based companies that think beyond the bottom line; externally, clients seek cultural alignment in choosing outsourcing partners.
Meanwhile, the perception of customer service has changed. End users expect support to be part of the overall experience. Organizations recognize that what was once regarded as a cost center now has tremendous utility as a retention arm with revenue potential. All of this goes back to having a plan to launch a business and the ability to evolve parallel to conditions on the ground. “All you can do with challenges is face them,” says Vidya. “Be confident in your judgment and seek counsel from those around you. Success is not accidental, and it’s not without obstacles, but that makes it worthwhile.”