Executive Interview : Divinia Fernandes Esch from O'Keeffe & Swartz South Africa
You won GOLD in this years regional contest for Top Performers, what made you enter the competition in the first place?
The desire to influence others, deliver impact and provide inspiration. As a leader within my organization it is important to be able to set the pace and provide an example for others to follow, influencing them to unearth their real passions.
Entering this competition meant taking a step closer to achieving my personal leadership vision, establishing my personal profile and credibility, whilst at the same time increasing my capacity as a trainer and leader. The desire to be seen as a catalyst for learning and change was key for me.
I also made the decision to compete so as to have the opportunity to network and foster really close working relationships with other business partners in this sector.
Competitions of this nature also provide one with the opportunity to benchmark oneself globally. I was really interested in observing how our organization’s training and development strategies measured up against those from internationally recognized companies, with the aim of ultimately improving the productivity of our workforce.
I believe that it is important to never succumb to the lure of the ordinary and entering the Top Ranking Performers Award gave me the opportunity to stretch myself beyond the ordinary and pursue the exceptional. To excel in one’s chosen field, you need to understand where your unique strengths lie and then you need to be able to refine those strengths and come up with strategies that will help you to progress in your arena, as this is where the greatest room for growth lies. Darwin Smith said: "Never stop trying to become qualified for the job." I do believe that competitions such as these enable you to push yourself to confront your adaptive challenges and this in itself promotes growth and development.
How did you and your colleagues celebrate your win and what recognition did you receive internally and externally for this fantastic achievement?
We attended our quarterly management conference at an exceptionally distinguished conferencing venue with an exclusive setting. I was provided with the opportunity to deliver my award winning presentation to the entire management team as well as the Executive Committee Group. My presentation followed suit after our key note speaker address. This created the platform for me to receive feedback around my presentation from this well renowned speaker which was really insightful and refreshing.
I was contacted and interviewed by a media company who in turn released an article on my award win to various newspapers and publications. I was also interviewed on a radio station and am scheduled to be interviewed for a television program to share my thoughts on what the benefits of in-house training are as well as what makes a good trainer great.
I will be conducting a workshop for the Business Process Enabling South Africa for 30 trainers during the month of November. The aim of this workshop is really to promote knowledge share in the sector. This in itself has been fantastic recognition.
How did the win change things for you personally?
It is important to never let ego get in the way of personal ambition especially when you experience great success. I believe that I am currently at the top of my game, because I have acted from my deepest values and capabilities and have acted in a frame of mind that is true to me and this is something that I would never change.
I believe that the win has brought me closer to entering my fundamental state of leadership. I have a greater sense of self empowerment which has enabled me to lead my learners more courageously. I have also become more externally open in the sense that I invite more feedback, I keep an eye out for new opportunities and I engage even more in creative conversations.
Even after winning this award, I have strived to put the collective good first by remaining less self focused and more focused on others.
A new and greater energy is present within me, and I have been able to inspire many individuals around me to even higher levels of performance. What I previously would have thought to be unimaginable now appears to be very achievable and I have greater confidence to address it with ease.
This accolade has really been a huge turning point in my career. My confidence levels have soared to greater heights as this recognition is testament that I have been able to meet the minimum benchmark not just in South Africa but globally.
This win has really created the platform for me to recognize my true potential and continue to use my abilities and contribute even more towards the vision of training and developing people to achieve their potential.
Overall, this award has simply reinforced my belief that success does not come from working on your own, but rather stems from nurturing a team and caring for those relationships within your team.
What impact did the win have on the morale of the center overall?
Mahatma Gandhi said "I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope."
The win definitely lifted the morale of the center overall and also gave individuals the courage to enter the Business Process Enabling South Africa Awards this year, with the goal of entering the Contact Center World Awards thereafter.
Individuals have come to recognize that if you always start with an end in mind; your destination will determine the journey. The award win has also inspired others to greatness giving a sense of pride to be part of an award winning organization.
Looking back at your win at the regional awards, can you share some insights into how you felt when we announced you had won GOLD and what this amazing award meant to you personally?
Winning gold in London for Best Trainer in Europe, Middle East & Africa was one of the greatest and most memorable highlights of my career. Awaiting the announcement was one of excitement accompanied by pressure. I felt like the heat was on and my adrenaline was definitely going.
When it was announced that I had won gold, it was all a test of emotions. All I could think of was "I’m bringing home the gold, and I’m going to Vegas!" The emotions that you feel when you win are pure and untainted. I felt that I was on a completely different level at that point in time. I experienced the feeling of being rewarded for a job well done- having that great sense of accomplishment.
I had catalyzed a commitment to the pursuit of a clear vision and had achieved success. This award was my triumph of sheer determination and professional will.
What would you say to others who have thought about entering these awards but are hesitant because they don't know how they will do?
Entering an award of this nature not only provides you with a fantastic opportunity to compete against other individuals in their respective categories, but it also provides you with an opportunity to compete against yourself and explore your own personal strengths.
Reluctance and fear of the unknown are obstacles that can hinder your progress. If you have the burning desire to want to be more and do more, you have to make a commitment to yourself to get all that you expected out of life. It all starts with investing in yourself and developing a strong positive image. Don’t be fearful as fear all too often can prevent you from going where you need to go.
Knowledge and ideas are never enough. You must put in the effort and discipline of action. What you seize is ultimately what you get.
If you have thought about entering these awards, but are hesitant to do so, remember one thing that the only failure in life is the experience not learned from. Recognize your talents and use those talents to develop them into skills. If you don’t enter, you will never know what could have been! So just do it!
How did the conference compare against other events or against your expectations?
The conference really exceeded my expectations. A high standard was set.
I was impressed with the entire coordination of the process especially the strict time keeping!
The opportunity to network and foster great relationships with individuals from other organizations was fantastic.
I would highly recommend the conference to other business partners in the industry.
In summary, how has winning the GOLD affected you and those around you?
If a tiny atom is split, enormous energy and power is unleashed. Winning gold has enabled me to release my creative power and inspire those around me to do the same.
Novelist HG Wells held that the true measure of success is the ratio between what we might have been and what we have become. Winning has given me the opportunity to really recognize my true potential and increase my leadership presence, but it has also promoted the fact to those around me that it is possible to achieve anything if you have the belief in your abilities. This in essence has built team cohesiveness and support.
For those competing in Las Vegas only. You are competing against the best in the world later this year, please give us an insight into what you will be sharing with delegates during your presentation.
I will be sharing the following with delegates during my presentation:
- How I define the success of my role.
- My training style: how I learn, how I stay motivated and how I achieve great results.
- Strategies that have worked for me as a trainer.
- Challenges that I have faced and overcome in training.
- What sets my training apart from others.
- How to recruit and motivate trainers to become stellar trainers in the industry.
- Tips on how to make training better than ever before.
Interested in hearing best practices?
Go to http://www.ContactCenterWorld.com/conferences
Interested in entering awards and benchmarking your company and/or your people?
Go to http://www.ContactCenterWorld.com/worldawards
About O'Keeffe & Swartz Consultants:
O'Keeffe & Swartz is serious about sales! O'Keeffe & Swartz specialize in the sale of simple insurance products to affinity lists. We have a history of outstanding sales performance in our chosen field and have obsessed about insurance direct marketing for over 18 years. As an outsourced service provider we have the ability to deliver superior sales results to our clients, including the major banks and insurance companies within South Africa. O'Keeffe & Swartz have a proven track record with multiple award wins within our industry. Our world-class, best practices in the fields of predictive dialing, list management, quality assurance and verification underpin these results and ensure good quality sales are made. O'Keeffe & Swartz is an authorized financial services provider.
Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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