What’s been your career progression at DISH? And what do you currently do as IHS Dir. Of Training?
I’ve been with DISH for 10 years as of July. I started at DISH full time right out of college through the University Relations program – I started as a Marketing Specialist within the sales team focused on retail services, working with our third-party retailers. I pretty quickly transitioned over to be an instructional designer creating training content for those retailers. Then I was promoted to be a manager of that group, and we started to work with a larger audience, including direct sales, sales partners, alliance management, and retention.
Most recently I moved over to IHS in September last year to be the Director of the Training group.
What are your teams’ main responsibilities?
My teams support and train all of our technicians both for DISH satellite installs and on-site sales for DISH customers, and we also handle training for all our fulfillment work such as appliance repair. Now we’re also supporting OnTech and Wireless tower technicians as well.
The training team is structured as two primary groups. One team is located at Meridian, scoping out and working with project managers and subject matter experts to develop training materials. We also have a field organization of eight training centers around the country with managers, trainers, and coordinators. Additionally, my teams manage technician communications, IHS events, and technician licensing.
How has DISH changed culturally since you started?
It’s changed a lot! When I started we were just focused on DISH TV, and now have so many other ventures, which is great. We have a much more ambitious scope and set of goals which is very motivating and exciting for everyone. On the cultural side, we’ve become a lot more employee focused. The resource groups like the Women’s Network, Out @ DISH, the collectives – they never existed formally, they had to happen organically. Creating an environment where employees can succeed and bring more of their whole life to work is really fantastic.
What is one of your proudest professional accomplishments?
Getting to build and develop teams – over the years I’ve been able to start several teams from scratch, putting processes and best practices in place, hiring and onboarding. Seeing us collectively achieve goals and then watching people I hired advance and move around the company has been very rewarding as a leader.
What has been an important challenge in your career, and how have you tackled it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had was moving over to IHS this last year. I spent almost a decade in the Sales organization and went from really being an expert in all the things I was doing. I knew my team, was the most tenured person in my department – I knew all the ins and outs and how to be successful. Coming over required me to step very far outside my comfort zone and learn an entirely different part of the business.
Embrace the change, because generally something hard or challenging will make you grow and develop the most. From a personal standpoint, it’s been really good that I haven’t known everything here. Reinvigorating that spirit of curiosity and learning has been great. It’s a good position to be in because you can ask intelligent questions and appropriately challenge how we’ve been doing things. It all ties into CPAW, being curious and adventurous, and I’m willing to ask the questions to make the team better. That’s helping me be successful so far.
What advice would you give to someone just starting their career?
Be open to all the opportunities that are given to you. DISH does that very well because we look for energy, intelligence, and the need to achieve and not necessarily specific experience with this one type of thing. You can jump in and raise your hand and try something out. Be open to something you might not think you’d be good at but maybe a manager or mentor thinks you can learn. I didn’t even know training was a career path, but one of my VPs in the past encouraged me to consider it, and it turned out I had a passion for it.
On a personal skill level I’d also say focus on relationships and building relationships. I’ve had a lot of success by walking up to people and saying, ‘I don’t know who to talk to, can you point me in the right direction?’ And don’t just rely on email, picking up the phone or going to grab coffee to learn what somebody does can be invaluable over time.
How has being part of the DISH Women’s Network affected your experience at DISH?
As a manager of women, getting tools to better support people on my teams has been great. Networking has been very positive through the Women’s Network. I think the Women’s Network has done a great job of bringing some of the issues and concerns around women in leadership to light across all our leadership and across the whole company. It’s great to have a more open dialogue so people are more aware of these types of issues. I always wanted to move into senior leadership roles, and I can’t say for sure, but I’d think that both by my efforts and leaders and executives being more thoughtful and aware, that probably increased opportunities that have benefitted me.
Have you ever had a mentor or sponsor here at DISH? If so, how did you develop and foster that relationship?
I’ve had a lot of informal mentors and sponsors and certainly many people who’ve been very supportive of my career growth and development. All my direct managers have been very active in my development. I see that as a two-way street. I’ve always been open in sharing, ‘Here are some of my goals and here’s what I could use from you, here are the things I’d like to learn.’ One thing I’ve often asked is “What are my blind spots?” I think managers and mentors can really help you because they can see things you’re not noticing.
I’ve never been afraid to talk to someone at the level I’d like to be at. If you put yourself out there, with a reasonable expectation of their time, very few people are going to say no. I’ve been able to develop relationships in different departments to learn about those parts of the business and different skills that I can add.