Keisha Willis started her career with SYKES as a part-time agent with a SYKESHome retail account in 2008, and she’s been Working, Learning and Growing ever since. She came to be known as Mama Bunny and uses that theme to create fun experiences for her team. Now a Senior Team Lead on a different account, Keisha and the coaches and trainers she manages keep the account’s team members hopping along as peak performers.
Married to a soldier in the US Army, Keisha and her family move every three years – they’ve made six military moves since she started with SYKES. A job that allows her to work at home has made the moves easier. “It’s so great not to have to look for a new job or go through the stress of being without a job,” explains Keisha. “It really doesn’t take a lot to pick up, move and set back up in a new location, and get right back to work.”
What do you do?
I’m currently the senior team lead for one of SYKESHome’s longest-tenured accounts. I’m also helping out on another program – documenting their processes and filling various needs there.
What’s a typical day at SYKES like for you?
I start at 6:00 AM and do all the reporting. Then we do a client meeting at 9:00 AM every morning. I make sure the team leads have all the reports that they need to research for the previous day, do KPI reports and tracking and send payroll reports. We do a lot of calibrations throughout the week for the client to make sure that we’re on the same page, so I stay pretty busy. I’m quite fortunate because the coaches and trainers I manage have been with me for years. I don’t have a lot of turnover, and that helps a whole lot because we get into a groove.
How has your work experience shifted because of COVID-19?
Not at all actually! I’ve been working from home since I was hired with the company, which is pretty awesome. I think people are learning it’s a little bit different when you work in a brick and mortar, because you go in and you get to leave at the end of the day. When you work from home, you never leave the office – so you always have that feeling of ‘I have an extra 15 minutes here, maybe I should do this or catch up on that,’ and you have to stop yourself so that you have time for your actual life.
What’s the best part about working with SYKESHome?
The people! I have really enjoyed getting to know so many of the people that I work with. Some have been with me for years, and so I’ve gotten to celebrate the small things with them like birthdays, graduations, babies, weddings – things like that! You become a family. I really enjoy and adore my team, and I am very fortunate to have them. They work incredibly hard, and I love being able to share life moments with them.
What accomplishment are you most proud of at SYKES?
I love the fact that I can tell my team that I will never ask them to do something that I haven’t already done. I can say that because I started as an agent, became a coach, mentor, trainer and then assistant team lead. I’ve done recruiting and reporting – I’ve done a little bit of everything! Then, I became a senior team lead, so I’m very confident when I ask them to handle a call a certain way or to take a step back and let them just vent. Some of the calls are tough, but when I’m giving them advice it really is coming from a place that I’ve been in that situation before. I honestly think that’s my biggest accomplishment, because I feel like I’d never ask someone to do something that I haven’t already done or wouldn’t be willing to do myself.
Tell me a little bit more about your team.
My team is called the Bunny Slipper Brigade! They call me Mama Bunny, and I call them my Honey Bunnies and we have so much fun together. I have a giant bunny suit that I wear to some of the team meetings and we’ve even had pajama parties celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.
What is it like working for SYKESHome and being a military spouse?
We move a lot, and my husband is generally gone for 12-18 months – we’ve learned to adapt really well. Normally I take about a week off when we move – that gives us time to pack up the house, drive to the new state, unpack the house, have power and internet turned on and then I’m back at work! It’s so great not to have to look for a new job or go through the stress of being without a job. It really doesn’t take a lot to pick up, move and set back up in a new location and get right back to work.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love to craft and read, and we go to a lot of festivals! I make floral arrangements, have helped with decorating for weddings and built things for my mom’s craft shows. My husband and son also design and build furniture, so I paint, stain and do all the finishing touches.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a flight attendant, and I actually did it for five years out of college! Aside from that, I thought I was going to be a professional cheerleader.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I hope that my husband is retired from the military, my son is graduating college and honestly, I hope that I’m still with SYKES!
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