When describing the makings of an individual that has had great corporate success, such adjectives like, ‘accountable’, ‘tenacious’, ‘resilient’, and ‘aggressive’ may be fairly offered—but ‘kind’ may escape such a list.
Nicole is evidence that kindness is the catalyst of professional success. By fostering meaningful, enriching relationships, Nicole has demonstrated that leading with your heart can propel you, and everyone else around you, to new, professional heights.
Acting as a cornerstone for the auditing department for over four years, Nicole has held positions in billing, cash applications, carrier compliance, and finally collections.
Regardless of her team title, Nicole has proven to be a transformative influence wherever she is.
EL: Nicole, thanks again for sitting down with me and congratulations on your nomination to be a team member spotlight! It stands as a testament to the person that you are. I’ve got a couple of questions for you to discover who that person is.
Why do you feel like England Logistics and our culture are so important to you?
Nicole: Well, one thing I like about our culture is the celebration. I love to celebrate, and I celebrate anything. I also really like the teamwork part.
EL: Why are those two elements so important to you?
Nicole: Teamwork is important. You are helping each other out. You’re not so worried about yourself.
Celebration is fun because it’s a celebration. It’s the fun of achieving a goal, and it’s better together.
EL: Absolutely. Speaking to that affinity of teamwork for you, you’re a person that networks really well. As you’ve tried to do that here, what have you learned in creating those relationships?
Nicole: I’ve tried to help out where I can. I’ve had a lot of different positions in my tenure here, and that’s helped me get to know a lot of people.
When you move to a different department, you get to know the people in that department, and then you can still lean on the people that you built the relationships with in the past. Not only that, those individuals can rely on you too as someone with many resources.
So, it’s just a matter of being friendly with each other. I try to smile to the people I walk past them in the hallway.
EL: I love that idea of our networking being mutualistic. Not only do you both benefit from the relationship, but both of your circles of opportunity increase as well.
Can you think of an experience where you’ve been able to assist somebody and they’ve later helped you down the line? Beside your recent marriage, of course.
Nicole: [Laughing] Sure! When I worked in compliance, I was sending my referrals to Ryan C., and we would help each other. He was able to build his pipeline, while I benefited from referral bonuses. But even now I can help cash applications having worked there before, which now helps me in collections.
EL: Definitely. And to follow up on that, can you think of an individual that has invested in you, and what they did to help you out?
Nicole: Tiffany. She’s my current boss right now. She was my team lead when I started in audit. Tiffany has always been my biggest mentor here at England Logistics. Even when she wasn’t my direct supervisor, I could go to her. If I was struggling with something, or I just needed clarity on something, I could go to Tiffany about case issues.
She’s helping me learn and grow. And, she’s given me the opportunity that I have now. She’s been my greatest influence here.
EL: That’s excellent. I know that she’s been that influence for a lot of different individuals. How do you feel like that help has changed the trajectory of your career?
Nicole: It totally has. I’ve worked under people who haven’t really been the best leaders in other places. Sometimes, that lack of leadership has stunted my growth.
Working under Tiffany, she has known me for a long time since I started at England, and she sees my potential and believes in me. I don’t think I would be in the position where I’m at right now without her.
Having a leader who believes in you makes all the difference.
EL: Yes it does. It does make all the difference for how much a leader can cultivate and motivate your growth.
Nicole: It’s very motivating! When the opportunity for a supervisor position came up, I knew I wanted to help my team and apply.
I went to Tiffany and I expressed my interest, and she had me apply. I thought I was in trouble because she knew my weaknesses too well.
But she believed in me enough to give me the opportunity to change the team, and since then, the collections team has done great. It’s just nice to have a leader who believes in you and wants you to succeed.
EL: With all her experience in coaching and helping you, and you now being more in a leadership position, what are some of the practices that you’ve taken and implemented that you have found to be successful within your own team?
Nicole: Helping the team to know that they can achieve hard things. I think we all struggle in our jobs, but acknowledging the good is important, as is offering encouragement.
I also think it’s important to believe they can do hard things. That’s helped us to grow.
EL: Yeah, absolutely. It’s pretty amazing how much believing in someone’s potential can change them.
Can you think a time where you’ve been able to demonstrate that belief in someone? And if so, what was the result of that?
Nicole: I had a friend in collections that comes to mind. Since I’ve had this position, he has completely taken ownership of his roster– he has one of the lower balances of everyone on the collections team! I’ve been able to coach and help him do that.
That’s been rewarding for me because he’s grown so much. He’s a great talent in collections.
EL: Yeah. It seems like you’re providing a pretty successful template here: You give them the starting place, you show them where they need to be, and then you believe in them to the point where they can finally have the confidence to do those things themselves.
Is there anything else in your leadership experience that has made an impact on you?
Nicole: I didn’t realize how hard it was. Like I guess when I first went after the job, I knew I had the tools and the knowledge to get the balances down, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to manage people. Everyone has their own personalities and you need to learn to be adaptable.
That’s one thing I’ve had to learn.
EL: In managing different personalities, what has made that possible for you?
Nicole: It’s a matter of really getting to know people. That allows them to open up.
It kind of goes back to our previous discussion. If you take the time to get to know somebody, they’re more likely to be of help. They are willing to give time because you’ve invested time in them.
It really helps when you respect them. It just took getting to know them.
EL: I think there’s something really special that happens when you do show somebody interest outside of their position. All of the sudden that relationship becomes more meaningful, and they can more comfortably talk to you about issues that they’re having in their progress. I think that’s a really wise observation.
Nicole: Right, it makes things easier.
Even if you need to give them bad news, and you’ve developed that relationship with them, it’s so much better than just a boss giving bad news—it comes from a peer that’s on their side.
EL: Absolutely. It becomes less of “I have a problem and you need to fix it” and more of “We need to find the solution and I trust that you can help me in that.”
Now winding down to some of the more conclusive questions, I’d like to know where your motivation comes from. Why do you choose to come to work every day and put on such an awesome smile?
Nicole: Well, I like working here, so that helps! I love coming to work and I love seeing the results.
I also love solving problems. It’s exciting to be able to make an impact and resolve issues. And, of course, I love the people I work with. Collections is a great team!
EL: Sounds like when you find a culture that you enjoy, motivation just comes naturally.
Nicole: Well, and I definitely want to do the very best that I can every day.
But without the team, and the culture, it wouldn’t be as enjoyable to come here and get the work done.
EL: You’re also really, really good at identifying and solving the problems as well, and then calling on people to do so.
Now, as a final question, where do you go from here? In what ways do you want to grow?
Nicole: I just want to like keep learning and growing as much as I can.
I’ve worked here for 13 years now. I’ve had five different positions, and each position has helped me in the next position. If something else comes I’ll be sure to apply all of my learned knowledge so far.
But it’s good to take it day by day, I guess, and just keep growing. There’s still lots to learn.
EL: Sometimes it can be discouraging to go through different positions trying to find the one you are passionate about.
But, you’re saying the experience has actually given you the trajectory to be the leader that you are now, and to be in the position that you are now.
Nicole: It’s given me the confidence that I have now too. Changing positions has given me a whole new perspective on something. When you are put in someone else’s shoes, you gain more empathy for them.
It’s helped me in all of my positions.
EL: Well, I think that is certainly a contributing factor to what makes you such a team player. I think a lot of it has to do with your innate ability to connect with people, and as long as that continues to be a priority, I’ve got pretty strong confidence that your trajectory will only continue to be up, because that’s where you’ve taken others.
Nicole: I like helping people and also being in this job. I can help a lot of people, and it feels good to be helpful.
EL: And that’s probably one of the best expressions of our culture that really you could offer.
We’re on the search for more Nicoles. If this interview resonated with you, apply at this link: https://www.englandlogistics.com/search-all-available-jobs/