Insights from a Shoe-lover on Always Putting Customers First
By Pamela Hardy, Project Manager, Global Strategy Decision Management April 10, 2014 05:20 PM
To celebrate the Pathways to Progress program, Pamela Hardy (Project Manager, Global Strategy Decision Management) shares insights from her first job.
When I was asked to contribute to this series, I was flattered. Many of the lessons and skills I learned as a 16-year-old working in retail are transferable to my current role, so I am excited to share insights from my first job with all of you.
As a junior in high school, I began working at a small designer shoe store in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. The owner, Mr. G. - who reminded me of an English professor with his wire-rimmed glasses and full beard - had placed a flyer on the windshield of my car advertising the open position.
During my interview, Mr. G. saw my conversational manner and outgoing nature as assets, especially since the position required a good deal of customer interaction. He could tell that what I lacked in experience, I made up for with my spirit and passion for footwear.
Throughout my tenure at the shop, Mr. G. served as a mentor and the lessons he taught me have shaped my career. With two daughters my age, he understood how to motivate and inspire me to achieve strong business results. He empowered all of his employees by treating us as co-owners of the business, therefore giving us a common goal to work toward: our collective success. I've learned that when employees feel valued, they are naturally inclined to please. My work experience since has supported this belief as well.
Mr. G. also appreciated work life balance. Growing up, Sundays were reserved for family time, so I was not permitted to work at the shop. Unfortunately, Sundays were also one of the busiest days for retail. Mr. G. was respectful and understanding of my circumstances and hired me nonetheless. Because I was not in the shop every day, I learned the importance of delegation and that no one can, or should, do everything by themselves. Work is much more enjoyable, fulfilling and productive once you come to terms with this!
One of the greatest lessons I learned - besides that I have a dangerous infatuation with shoes - is that businesses exist to serve their clients. Customer satisfaction is instrumental in driving success. Through my day-to-day interaction with customers, I became skilled at resolving issues and building client relationships, and realized my passion for this piece of the business. This has guided my career and provided me with numerous opportunities across businesses and functions within Citi.
Today, in my role as a Project Manager within the Global Consumer Banking Global Strategy Decision Management team, I support cross-business and function initiatives focused on building a client-centric culture. Through these efforts, we are working toward becoming One Citi, which means that no matter what region or function we operate in, we are all united by our goal to provide clients with the best possible Citi experience.