The translation bug first bit Kristel Bourassa when she started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
The native French speaker from Canada, says, “In high school I was really bad in English, but just before college I started watching TV shows like Buffy and my English got better.”
Buffy helped Kristel improve her English so much she decided to stake her future on it, earning a bachelor’s degree in translation. After graduation, she found the opportunity to put her bilingual skills to use at SYKES.
“I came to SYKES so I could practice my English and French, plus I’ve always liked to help people. That’s what got me here,” she recalls.
While Kristel started as an agent helping people on the phones, she was soon promoted to back-up supervisor and translator.
“I’ve always felt very supported by the people at SYKES. My trainer always pushed me to try something else. And I’ve been inspired.”
Says Max Cote Tremblay, site director at the Sherbrooke, Canada site, “Kristel quickly showed her leadership skills, helping other agents achieve success and impressing the human resources group by displaying a high level of accuracy and efficiency.”
With her supervisors wowed by her performance, Kristel was offered a promotion to Human Resources Assistant, where she is one of two people in that role responsible for working with 600 employees across Canada. Every week she handles questions from agents (as many as 300) with the speed and agility that Buffy used to dispatch demons. She also helps resolve problems, like helping an employee work out time off so he could take his children to his ex-wife’s funeral, or arranging an accommodation for an employee with medical needs.
“I love the fact that I can help people,” she says, “to take a situation and do everything I can and make it better.”
Kristel is also grateful for the opportunities and encouragement SYKES has given her. “I’ve always felt very supported by the people at SYKES. My trainer always pushed me to try something else. And I’ve been inspired. My trainer was always happy and he loved his job, and I think that when somebody likes their job and teaches other people, I think those people will most likely love their own jobs.”
Working with others who are mostly English speakers has helped Kristel hone her English to perfection, but she’s not resting on her laurels. She’s teaching herself to speak Japanese and is studying the Japanese martial art Aikido. She plans on visiting Japan in a few years.
Regardless of where she travels, Kristel feels like she has found a home at SYKES. “The people I work with, I feel very close to them. I feel like SYKES is kind of a second family.”