2018 Fall Symposium Sessions

September 13, 2018   |   UT Commons Conference Center   |   7:30AM-4:30 PM


The Impact of Contact Centers on Austin's Economy

How will the economy shape up in 2018? What role does our industry play in the local economy? The Austin Chamber of Commerce will kick off the opening general session with current economic data and other interesting facts about the Austin Area Contact Center industry.

OPENING KEYNOTE Tony Budet | CEO | University Federal Credit Union


Breakout Descriptions & Presenter Information 

10:00 AM Workshops

Customer Experience Management | Nicole Coy | Endeavor Management
Every organization today should understand that in a world of having choices, managing the experience is as important, if not more so, than product or expertise. Knowing and designing the ideal customer experience journey has quickly become a critical competitive edge in an ever more fiercely battle for customer acquisition and retention.  Contact centers play vital role in not just the experience journey, but also in building customer intelligence.  It is necessary to use each touch point to understand customers’ functional (what we do) and emotional (how we do it) needs.  We have seen how small changes in the contact center role has helped save or create millions of dollars in new business or avoidable costs. In this session, we will discuss the foundations of customer experience management, provide examples of tools and resources that you can use to understand client's experiences and address opportunities for improvement, and discuss ways that you can implement changes for lasting impact.

About Nicole: Nicole leads the Customer Experience practice at Gelb Consulting, and has over a decade of experience leading engagements for clients across the country. Her passion is creating advocates out of customers through insight-based experience management. Through research and strategy implementation tools such as experience mapping, website user testing, persona development, touchpoint mapping, and decision analysis, she helps organizations translate information into action.

Nicole is certified by SHSMD in Healthcare Marketing Communications, has authored numerous white papers, and has led presentations and round tables at industry conferences. Prior to joining Gelb, she was an instructor at Texas State University and worked with a non-profit organization to launch a large grant program

Building Trust, Creditability & Respect | D'Andra Marquez | Dale Carnegie

Some statistics say that a staggering 40% of employees don't trust management—and without trust, employees feel a sense of uncertainty, insecurity, and worry that creates a barrier to effective performance. With our current business reality and global economy revolving around relationships and partnerships, the ability to establish, cultivate, and restore trust with our colleagues, employees, vendors, and customers is an essential leadership capability. In addition, demands for talented workers are on the rise and competition to hire and retain the best is increasing. There’s a growing need to build trust in your organization and to find ways to engage your employees more fully so they might resist the temptation to “jump ship” to a company that offers a more rewarding and trusting work environment.
At the completion of this module, participants will be able to: • Understand the relationship between trust, credibility, and respect • Minimize trust-busters and restore broken trust • Apply principles to cultivate a trust-based work environment
At the completion of this module, participants will: 
  • Understand the relationship between trust, credibility, and respect 
  • Have techniques to minimize trust-busters and restore broken trust 

About Diandra: Diandra is a dynamic trainer and account manager at Dale Carnegie Training of both Austin and Houston. Over the last 3 years she has worked with numerous community associations around the Austin area in helping these groups understand the importance of human relations and communication in the workplace. She has also provided corporate solutions training for Dell, VMware, Round Rock Independent School District and more in leadership, communication, presentations and stress management.

Diandra received a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing at Texas Woman’s University where she also was on the women’s basketball team. During her time there she was able to commit her time to different volunteering opportunities. She also has a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from Texas State University. Her commitment to the Austin Children’s Services has been a passion or her and she has served as a member of the ACS Guild Volunteer program for 3 years.

Bench Building | Successfully Identifying and Growing Your Emerging Leaders within Your Contact Center today | Michelle C. López, MBA | P.E.A.R.L. Paragon Consulting, LLC [website link: www.pearlontime.com

In a time of the most diverse workforce ever, it is not enough to simply recognize and acknowledge the challenges we face and hope to address as the bus is moving full speed ahead. It is time to take pervasive action to adjust our own mindset and views on leadership in business today and beyond. As we look to inspire, engage and motivate humans, we must have a clear opinion of the differences between managing and leading. In addition, in our action to identify and grow emerging leaders within the Contact Center environment, our approach must be disruptive and innovative, yet simple in nature. In this session, Michelle will ‘flip tables’ and push those who attend, way beyond their ‘comfort zone’ in an effort to infect a new way of thinking to build the strongest bench possible with the human capital within the organizations’ walls.

 Michelle will provide a glimpse of her transformative emerging leader program that has seen a huge success. If you’re looking for the same old workshop, this is not the one to attend.

About Michelle: The CEO and Senior Principal Consultant of P.E.A.R.L. Paragon Consulting, LLC, and Senior Director of Corporate Learning at LegalZoom, Michelle has over 25 years of experience in developing human capital in and beyond the Contact Center environment. She has experienced great success in the legal, contact center, banking, aerospace, government contracting, and engineering fields. Michelle has a knack for seeing what others don’t. She has a passion for empowering organizations and individuals with the mindset and tools to thrive in a highly competitive talent landscape. She is able to do this by inspiring, identifying and growing others and leveraging the power of humans within the organization. Michelle has an exemplary track record in attracting talent, growing humans, building thriving teams, and innovating programs that inspire and drive successful outcomes. Michelle recently discovered, but has always lived the WorkHuman Movement sponsored by Globoforce, which focuses on galvanizing the transformative power of people in the workplace.11:15 AM Workshops

The Art of Giving Constructive Feedback | Kim Dawson | YouEarnedIt

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Research clearly shows that employee engagement boosts an organization's bottom line, yet many companies are in the dark when it comes to creating and sustaining a culture of engagement.

A recent report revealed only 11% of organizations with over 1,000 employees measure engagement more than once a year. With a continuous listening strategy, your business can use employee feedback effectively, increase engagement, improve the employee experience, and benefit the bottom line. In this session, Kim Dawson, Director of Employee Experience at YouEarnedIt, will share:

    • What continuous listening is, and why every organization needs it
    • How to start using continuous listening to gather employee feedback effectively
    • Specific practices you can use to see business benefits from continuous listening

About Kim: Kim Dawson is the Director of Employee Experience at YouEarnedIt. In her role, Kim thrives when developing a unique and purpose-driven culture and oversees compensation, benefits and HR for the company. With a career spanning over 15 years in people-focused HR, Kim believes putting your employees first is the only way for your organization to thrive.

Leveraging Emerging Technology. Risks and Advantages

Technology is moving fast and can become both and enabler and a powerful distraction. Join our workshop with leading technology providers and veteran contact center leaders for a lively panel discussion on the advantages and pitfalls of leveraging technology to drive agent performance and enhancing the customer experience.  Join the discussion and share where have you seen the most powerful impacts.

Liam Delap | Director of Client Solutions | SmartAction

Liam Delap has served as an enterprise technology consultant and senior success manager throughout his entire career, working with dozens of well-known organizations across the U.S. to transform their customer experience. As the Director of Client Solutions, Liam serves as a senior customer experience architect for both existing and prospective clients with a focus towards business outcomes. His dedication to understand each client’s environment and need allows Liam to design custom solutions that provide significant return on investment and the greatest possible customer experience.

SmartAction was founded as an artificial intelligence research company and has since evolved into the leading provider of AI-powered customer self-service solutions. Our cloud- based platform is built for enterprises to satisfy growing expectations for self-service.

Alex Paez-Gerstenhaber | Director of Services at Shop LC

Alex is passionate about promoting quality customer experience environments leveraging culture, technology, and employee satisfaction.  In her current role as Director of Services, Alex leads and manages every aspect of the client services department inclusive of technology sourcing for the organization with an objective of providing consistent CX and increased customer satisfaction.  Shop LC is a remote shopping network operating in a 24/7 multi-channel, high volume and fast-paced environment. The company broadcasts in over 100 million households in the United States and Canada. Based here in Austin, the company is a subsidiary of VGL Group in India.  The group is vertically integrated sourcing and manufacturing fine jewelry and life style merchandise.

Jen Jackson | Director of Customer Success | Serenova

Those who have the opportunity to chat with Jen Jackson, Director of Customer Success at Serenova, will not walk away without a complete admiration for the energy and passion she demonstrates for her team.

Jen's path included leadership roles with tech giant Dell and other emerging companies like Kinner Software and Neverfail Group and throughout her journey developing a philosophy of leadership that is well in tune with today's workforce and technology. Key to the success could be summarized as a near relentless focus on the individual "Employee First" mapping team member's unique personality, personal life challenges and objectives and striving to build a success path with the organization.

Alex Wettreich | Vice President, Sales | Tenfold

Tenfold is Austin’s fastest growing startup with a platform connects company's phone systems with CRMs, ERPs, Marketing systems and other systems of record and provides users with a unified view of the data. Built for enterprises and high-growth companies, Tenfold's solution helps companies increase revenue and build better relationships with their customers by allowing them to measure, analyze and improve every aspect of the customer journey.  Our software connects your existing phone system with any CRM or system of record. 

Tenfold helps companies like Staples, T-Mobile and Adobe have better customer conversations by connecting their phone system with their systems of record.  By ensuring 100% of conversations are automatically logged and auto-surfacing a unified view of customer data at the point of interaction, Tenfold enables better management visibility, a more differentiated customer experience, and hours of additional agent productivity per week. 

Zach Jones | Contact Center Technology Solutions | Simplify Corp.

Our Moderator for the panel discussion. 

Zach Directs the Contact Center practice at Simplify, an IT consulting company that works with over 200+ enterprise clients supporting all levels of IT infrastructure with a considerable focus on emerging contact center solutions that drive productivity, efficiency and cost control. 

Simplify™ serves as a liaison between its clients and almost all of the major service providers in the industry today driven to make their clients' impossibly complex business reality become simpler, more cost effective leveraging a best-practices approach throughout the ongoing communications life-cycle. 

1:15 PM Workshops 

Thinking Outside the Box and Inside the Frame: Developing Creative Literacy for Business 

Christiane Michaelis


Businesses that fail to innovate will become obsolete. Companies that build a culture of innovation find themselves on the path to growth. Creativity and innovative thinking are becoming the most sought after work skills, but 50% of Americans believe they are not creative. Neuroscience has found evidence that everyone is wired to be creative and that creativity can be trained and developed. In this workshop, we’ll explore how individuals, teams, and organizations can learn to generate unique ideas and how to improve creative problem solving across the organization to drive growth and innovation.

Through interaction and creative play, participants will learn:

●        Why we need creativity in the workplace

●        What the impact of creativity is on business

●        How anyone can learn to think creatively

●       When the creative process can be applied to work

About Christiane: Christiane Michaelis is an expert on the subject of creativity. She studies the subject, speaks publicly about its benefits in the working world, and demonstrates it through her company, The Dirty Easel.  Christiane founded The Dirty Easel to help organizations use their creative muscle to innovate and drive growth. Through The Dirty Easel, she conducts team building workshops in which she uses experiential painting as a tool to stimulate the creative process. The painting experience helps people understand how to work creativity -- both alone and in teams. 

Remote Agent Panel | Carlton Whitehurst II,  DentaQuest & Reid London, American Cancer Society

Today’s technology provides an opportunity for Contact Centers to explore the benefits of Remote Employees.  The panelists in this workshop will share their company's journey to effective remote agent programs-the benefits and the pitfalls.  The panelist will share valuable information and tools based on their experience with launching and growing successful remote agent strategies.  Workshop participants will learn:

  • the benefits of using remote agents
  • guidelines for success (and lessons learned)
  • selecting employees suitable for remote work 
  • training, monitoring, setting expectations and managing agent productivity 

Carlton Whitehurst II | Supervisor | DentaQuest  Carlton is a native Austinite!  Carlton has more than 10 years of Contact Center experience, working his way up from CSR to Contact Center Leadership.  Carlton believes you must first experience the ‘day to day’ of the Contact Center agent, to create high performing teams of great quality. He studied primary education and accounting at Prairie View A&M University & recently received his Future Leaders Certification from ICMI CCW University with focuses on People and Financial Leadership, Operational Excellence, and Continual Innovation.  In his free time Carlton enjoys baking, and owns Winc Confections, where he creates 

Reid London | Managing Director | American Cancer SocietyReid serves as the Managing Director of Operations for the contact center at the American Cancer Society.  He has been in the contact center environment for over 25 years with much of his focus being in the Workforce, Quality and Process Improvement realms.  Most recently, he played a critical leadership role in transforming the ACS contact center into a 100 % virtual environment.  Reid has been in the Austin area for 30 years and is a die-hard fan of the University of Texas.

2:30 PM Workshops

Creative Problem Solving | Ron Safarik

Is your company burdened with too many solutions to problems? Stuck with an endless supply of new product ideas? Is morale too high (again)?  If so, this is a good presentation to skip!

The truth is, most organizations struggle with finding creative solutions to everyday challengesCreative Problem Solving, presented by Ron Safarik, uses humorous stories, anecdotes and historical examples to help you and your colleagues break through the mental blocks that limit your thinking. Ron will awaken the creativity in all of us (yes all of us!) and show us techniques that will improve brainstorming sessions, empower staff, and lead to a happier, more productive work environment. Expect an engaging session that will enable you to bring new focus to your personal and professional goals!  Here’s What Past Attendees Are Saying:

  • Very entertaining…a powerful message!
  • I've seen this several times and its never the same!
  • Ron is a very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and interesting presenter, who passionately believes in his message!
  • Ron tapped into a reservoir of my brain that I have not used for a while.
  • Creative and entertaining – Ron really thinks outside the box!
  • His very open and humorous style made it fun! 

About Ron: Whether climbing 1000 foot sheer cliffs, running over 62 miles in a day or challenging his audiences to think outside the box, Ron is a high touch example of how to find creative solutions for common challenges.  With over 20 years experience in the market research, insurance and financial services industries working for leading companies such as A.C. Neilson, Farm Bureau Insurance, The Principal Financial Group, Conseco, and Fringe Benefit Group, Ron Safarik has seen and done it all. He’s led nearly every type of market research, new product development, process improvement, customer service and retention initiative imaginable, and now brings his insight, expertise and engaging humor to audiences around the region. 

Quality Conversations & Your Call Flow | Brad Baumunk  President and COO | Robert C. Davis and Associates 

Brad will discuss his organization’s exclusive Quality Conversation methodology and how to adapt it into your call flow. The Quality Conversation has generated millions of dollars in added revenue for Fortune 500 clients across North America and beyond, applied to reach sales, retention and customer experience goals. He’ll go through every step of the process – a warm and enthusiastic greeting, full discovery, solution, compelling offer, a proven process for overcoming objections and the assumptive close. The Quality Conversation is a meaningful and mutually rewarding dialog that occurs when a person takes and clearly conveys a genuine interest in another individual’s wants, interests, and needs. It goes beyond building rapport to make an emotional connection and establish real trust. Practicing The Quality Conversation with authenticity and proper skills shows others that you truly care and are genuinely interested in them. It works wonders in driving desired results in contact centers, and Brad will be sharing specific examples along with an overview of how to turn your call flow into the basis for Quality Conversations with your customers every day and with every customer interaction.  

About Brad: Brad joined RCDA as a Senior Consultant in January 2014after more than 28 years as a Contact Center Leader and quickly rose through the ranks to vice president and COO and now President and COO. He manages day-to-day operational activities and is responsible for strategic partner relations. He oversees day-to-day operations for RCDA and has direct responsibility for all accounts as well as new business development. Before joining RCDA, Brad was president of the B. Baumunk and Associates consultancy, solution marketing manager and best practices lead in customer service for Genesys, director of resource planning and workforce management for Farmers Insurance, director of operations and account services for National Asset Recovery Services (NARS), director of call center service for EchoStar Satellite LLC (DISH Network) and vice president of operations for Marlin Logistics and ContactNet, and general manager for AOL.

Brad is a leader with a proven track record in sales, retention, customer service, collections, tech support, outbound acquisition and win-back. His broad experience includes working in industries including insurance, entertainment, telecom, health care and merchandising. Additionally, he has extensive near-shore outsourcing experience. He has extensive knowledge in enterprise contact center solutions through his work for Genesys, a recognized leader of enterprise contact center solutions. He is recognized as a highly effective leader, handling a diverse workforce across multiple locations and shifts. His organizational skills result in maximum productivity and profitability. Brad is a self-motivated, results-oriented professional with excellent communication skills, as demonstrated through client, customer and employee interaction at all levels within the organization.


Thanks to our Symposium Sponsors:














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