A favorite quote can speak volumes about a person’s mindset. Rita Saavedra Ortiz, Alorica’s Site Director in Kingston, Jamaica, says that she references this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote often: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Rita’s personal story certainly fulfills that mantra. She started out as an agent in 2004, moved into quality nine months later, and then switched to operations in 2011. Just a handful of months ago, in January 2018, she moved from Panama to Jamaica to take on her newest challenge at the Kingston site. By seizing opportunities as they come, Rita continues to grow and learn in her career, and she inspires others around her to do the same.
Read her full Q&A below:
Q: How has working at Alorica specifically led to your personal career growth?
A: When I started working in operations seven years ago, I learned the biggest lessons in my career. One of my mentors said, if you fail, just learn from your mistakes and move forward. He said to step out of your comfort zone. So, I started out with a small account, and then I moved to a bigger account. I liked it—the exposure with the client, getting into calls with client solutions, making decisions about what is good for the business, and getting to know the financial side. When I had the opportunity to work at this big, new site in Jamaica, I knew I could do it even though it would be new for me.
Q: What motivates you every day?
A: I have what I call four baselines that I use every day. The first one is to be myself. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the better you can overcome the roadblocks to succeed. The second one is always be positive. Ninety percent of your day is about how you look at things. The third one is never be afraid to fail. We acquire knowledge from our mistakes, whether good or bad. The fourth one is to get to know your people—not only at the professional level, but at the personal level. Talking to people builds loyalty, and that’s how you get people to not work for you, but to work with you.
Q: If you could change anything in your career trajectory up until now, what would it be and why?
A: Sometimes I think, what if I did that different? Those what ifs are part of fear. Every decision I’ve made, good or not so good, they got me where I am right now. I am satisfied with everything I have accomplished. I wouldn’t change anything. When I transitioned from quality to training, I didn’t want to leave, but it was a good decision. From there, I got to try new things. There’s so many branches in this business. You’d be surprised about what you might succeed in.
Q: Can you think of an example when you faced pushback at work because you were female?
A: I have never felt that being a woman in this business has been a roadblock. I’ve seen many women in this business doing really great things and having opportunities. I always stand up for being a woman in a man’s world. I was a volunteer for the Red Cross in Panama, and I was the first woman to take leadership of a group of rescuers. I was able to stand up and lead that task.
Q: Do you think it is important to be a mentor?
A: Right now, my team is spread all over Panama, and I am still mentoring them. When I see my people growing, being insanely great even when we aren’t together, I feel proud of myself. I am a firm believer in the next line of succession plan. You have to have someone else who can take care of your programs, like a mini me. Mentoring is really important.