Stefanie Rollins has completed over two decades at Synergy. During the span of her time at Synergy she’s covered all aspects of the customer’s journey which include service/support, project management, contract management and account management. She also spent a significant amount of time at her customers’ warehouse sites, assessing and working through their operational challenges.
Initially, the firm recruited her to inject a higher level of Customer Service into its software support desk. From there, she was given ownership of the Base Software solution which formed the basis of all the client software. Stefanie enjoyed the analysis/replication/testing part of the role, and the next step was Account Management, where she could look after larger change projects for clients. From this, she took an interest in new client implementations and was promoted to Project Manager which led to an interest in customer contracts. Hereon she took ownership of all Contracts/License renewals and moved into management of the Support Desk. It was she who segregated the team into separate QA, CST, and Service Desk functions with fantastic managers and team members. As the teams grew, her role progressed further to COO and then to a promotion to her current role as Chief Customer Officer for UK/EMEA.
As a business, our goals are always to continue to grow and build exceptional partnerships with our clients. To help the company in these endeavours my focus for 2023 is on improving the customer experience and mapping the skills of our team to the needs of the business.
Saving the Energy:
Stefanie wasn’t always very good at balancing her personal and professional life. A life-changing event a few years ago gave her the shake she needed to take better care of herself. She has shared a few tips on how to strike a balance between the personal and professional domains. Firstly, she says, one must learn to plan and find your inspiration; for example, her inspiration is Life and “my incredible family.” She has realised that she has a responsibility to stay healthy for them as long as possible; she wants to see them grow and help them as much as she can. Secondly, to plan and organise efficiently she has a ‘To Do List’ which she prioritises regularly (“best tip my old boss ever gave me years ago,” she reveals with a smile).
Thanks to that she doesn’t work late every day anymore. She takes frequent breaks and holidays, finds time to laugh with her direct reports as much as possible, and has fun. She approaches challenges head-on after careful thought and evaluation. Stefanie believes it’s important to ask questions when something is not understood – no matter how silly someone might think they are – this is how we learn.
She always tries to be considerate of how others may feel and tailors her reactions to keep people comfortable where possible, but she’s not afraid to ask awkward questions. She’s always open and honest and avoids jumping to conclusions – facts are important as miscommunications can cause trust issues which are hard to come back from. She says being in a leadership position is a privilege – according to her, they have simply amazing staff at Synergy and senior leadership owe it to them to make good, thoughtful decisions.
I love mentoring people. Seeing people grow, develop, and more importantly, love the journey, is the best compliment a leader can have. But when you see them teach someone else the same thing…well, that’s the ultimate reward. That’s why it’s so important to be a conscientious leader. People will look up to you and what you teach them will continue to grow outside your circle of influence. Whether you know it or not, it will multiply. So make sure it’s positive.
Leading the Team, Living the Dream:
Stefanie believes that having a good strong team helps a great deal. She expresses that until you have that, it’s raw passion for what is the right thing. She thinks that one needs to know one’s core values for that; hers are loyalty, trust, curiosity, and efficiency.
For example, she cannot bear inefficiency in something she can impact – so regardless of how much criticism she might face in changing it or how difficult it is, she knows she’s going to get there because she’s built that way. Conversely, if it’s something she can’t influence, then it’s important to learn to be able to let it go if you need to – not everyone thinks the same way as she thinks and she’s learned to understand that that is OK.
E For Energiser, E for Equality
“I’d like to see more acknowledgements of the natural differences between men and women. In my opinion, we are different leaders, we think differently, and we each need to use our strengths. I would love to see more analysis and publication of this. It may help us to shape how we hire as a human race, without the fear of repercussions from perceived inaccurate sexism or hiring because we have to hit a certain quota. I think all people, not just leaders or females, play a role in positive change and breaking barriers. It shouldn’t be just down to the minority to do that – whether it be male/female, black/white, gay/straight. For me, those things are irrelevant. If someone is the most qualified, they should have the job. If a barrier shouldn’t be there, we should all help break it down. I’ve lived through a lot of these types of events.
“As a human race, we seem to swing from one extreme to another before we find a happy medium. I think it’s part of the journey we must go through to find the correct path. Those who are in a position to help or influence need to stay strong, be respectful of differing opinions, and allow the lessons to be learned in as safe a way as possible.”
Keep at it – if it is right, it will come. Support each other – connect, laugh, learn. Pick people up when they are down – be nice, be vulnerable and share. Stay strong – even when you feel at your weakest, you are stronger than you think you are. Take a break, get it out of your system, and let others help. Spread those wings and fly high, really high.