Helping other people at work isn’t something Ray does for a job. It’s his passion and drive. It’s his reward.
“I love the chance to work with people and see results. It’s fun to see people blossom.”
His passion for helping others launched his career at SYKES in Eugene, Oregon, where he started as a customer service agent, then earning a series of promotions including quality assurance, then trainer, and recently getting promoted to his current position as LEAP Champion. It’s a title that makes him sound like a superhero, a description that’s probably true in the eyes of the agent managers and agents he helps. “I’ve got a lot of folks here, where I’ve helped them go from knowing nothing about this job, to knowing everything they need to get out there and succeed,” Ray says.
“You see someone struggling at something, and then you work with them, giving them suggestions or tools, and then they find that ‘ah-ha!’ moment. They now know how to do something and then they start to see that not only can they do it, but they can do it well. That’s how I get to help people really work, learn and grow in their jobs.”
It was a lack of room to grow at work that led Ray to seek a career at SYKES. For eight years, he had worked across the street from the Eugene center as manager of a pizza restaurant. During that time, he got to know some of the employees at SYKES who would come there for lunch. He heard from employees how SYKES provided opportunities and room for advancement, and that people there were a real team, almost like a family. One day one of the managers told Ray he should apply.
“I’m a people person,” Ray says. “I’m able to talk with whoever comes in the door. I always have a smile and am a positive person and I guess they liked what they saw.”
So, after eight years in the same job in the same pizza place, Ray stepped out the door, walked across the street and went to work at SYKES, stepping into a bigger world.
He wasn’t concerned about leaving his manager’s job and taking a position as an agent. “I knew that there was going to be a chance to move up if I did my job right.” Nine months later, Ray received his first promotion and eventually was promoted to his current position as LEAP Champion, which stands for Leadership, Execution, Accountability and Performance.
One of the aspects of working at SYKES that Ray loves is the access to world class experts and the job training they have given him.
“When I was preparing to be a trainer, they brought in an expert from one of the world’s largest companies.” When preparing for his current role as LEAP Champion, SYKES sent Ray to Dallas for two weeks of specialized training. “I’m extremely satisfied with having the chance to do this kind of training. SYKES is making a big investment in me, and giving me the chance to experience a lot of things I might not otherwise be exposed to.”
Ray didn’t spend all his life working in pizza before SYKES. He grew up in Iowa, and worked as a pastor in Portland. He got married and moved to Alaska, then took a job teaching English in South Korea. When his wife became pregnant with their second child they moved back to Portland. Following a divorce, he moved to Eugene, and wound up as a manager of the pizza restaurant.
While SYKES has helped set Ray on a new career path, it’s also given him a place to find new friends. “We work hard, but a lot of the folks here do a lot of their play together too. I think the biggest thing most of us love is the camaraderie. We’re building friendships.
“It’s been a lot of fun to get to know people, to meet people you can learn and grow from. You find out who they are, and they find out who you are, and friendship grows.
“Just making those kinds of connections and being able to spend time together is really fun for me.”