An increasing number of young persons employed in the local business process outsourcing (BPO) industry have managed to build successful career paths that have ultimately landed them in top leadership positions.
Gloria Henry, president of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ), stated that she was personally aware of many instances where young Jamaicans have distinguished themselves within various BPO companies. She explained that they often started at entry level and subsequently climbed the corporate ladder.
"The employees who choose to follow a career path in the BPO industry can take advantage of the training and hone their skills so they can move on to the next level. I have seen where many people have advanced to management roles in BPO companies and have even gone on to run other organisations in Jamaica," said Henry.
The professional growth and progress of Omesha Smith, associate director of operations at VXI Jamaica - a call centre and BPO services provider in Kingston is a recent example that supports Henry's point. Smith got her start in the BPO industry as a part-time customer service agent-account associate at Startek in 2013. She disclosed that at the time, she was also a part-time student at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
"I needed to sustain myself while studying at UWI, and the BPO industry provided the most flexible job opportunity. I could align my school timetable with an appropriate schedule at work," she explained.
After three years at Startek, Smith said that she felt the time was right to pursue a position at a higher level. She found that opportunity at VXI Jamaica, where she was hired as a subject matter expert-customer experience coach in July 2016. She noted that although the position required tertiary qualifications, her experience, passion, and willingness to learn convinced the company to take her onboard.
After demonstrating a strong work ethic, effectively carrying out her duties, and often going the extra mile, Smith was promoted to team leader six months later. Her hard work and sustained excellence were again rewarded with another promotion to operations manager in a matter of months. Her rise within the company did not stop there as she advanced to the position of associate director of operations in October 2017.
Making strides in BPO
Omesha Smith, who is 24 years old, has been making strides in the business process outsourcing industry. She stated that she was able to make rapid professional strides over the past two years by challenging herself and stepping outside of her comfort zone. She also credited the training programme and the progressive work environment at VXI Jamaica for her success.
"Training is very big here, and VXI Jamaica ensures that the management team is fully prepared for what is to come. The training is not only on the systems and products, but also on interacting with people and dealing with different personalities. I have experienced significant professional growth because of this, and it has allowed me to easily transition into different leadership roles," she stated.