Having been at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. for 20 years now, Maria Pavlatos has seen it all. She had various positions within the Bridgeroom – where the Operators sit and execute conference calls – and Events, before moving into the Sales side of the business. Now as Sales Operations Support Manager, her team supports the sales team’s ongoing efforts. Working with the Salesforce CRM platform she provides reporting and analysis, process improvements, training, and promotes best practice using the platform.
We asked Maria a few questions to learn more about her – and her view of the company after 20 years of service.
Q. On your LinkedIn, you describe yourself as someone who demonstrates leadership through innovation, patience, persistence, and passion. Do you think these character traits help you be a better manager?
As managers, we play an important role in modelling how our team interacts and responds to situations. I’ve been lucky to have many managers help guide me along my journey and I’d like to be able to do the same for my team. I recently coached one of my team members, who was nervous about having to do a big presentation. I explained that those nerves never go away, and that I still get them myself. The day you lose those ‘butterflies’ or ‘nervousness’ is the day you’ve lost your passion for the job. I believe that these traits not only help me to be a better manager but keep me motivated to keep growing, learning, and leading my team.
Q. In your video below, you talk about the many jobs you’ve had over the past 20 years at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. What’s helped you the most in your evolution with the business?
When I started with the company, I honestly didn’t even know what ‘conferencing’ was. My cousin told me that there was a position open in the ‘Bridgeroom’ and I was ready for something new. While working as a Bridgeroom Operator, and then as a Supervisor, I quickly began to understand the importance of all these conference calls for our clients. I soon moved to the Sales side of things and used my knowledge of the bridge to support my clients and help them adopt our services. With this background, I’m now fully able to support our Sales team. As previously noted, I’ve been lucky to have many mentors and people who recognized my talents, and who helped guide me to where I am today.
Q. What’s the best change you’ve witnessed in the company over the years?
Seeing the evolution of our services. From traditional Anytime Passcode to Unified Communications; going from the conventional ‘Operator attended call’ to full studio webcast. This is what I absolutely love about our industry – it is always evolving and improving.
Q. Can you share a story with us, something memorable from your time here?
I absolutely love how we all come together globally to make a difference. I really enjoyed how the entire organization participated in Solidarity Week, during which we all worked to raise money for local charities within each country. In the Americas, our Management team raised money by volunteering to have pies thrown at them. It was very heart-warming to see how many people volunteered to help a good cause. And it was also very funny to watch them!
Q. We can see that you’ve finished several LinkedIn Learning courses, including “How to develop your career plan” and also “Women helping women succeed in the workplace”. Is learning new subjects and improving in different areas important to you?
I read an article a few years ago with some really good career advice. (“11 career experts share the best job advice they have ever received” by Natalia Lusinski on Business Insider). I loved everything it said but it was the section on being a lifelong learner that really had an impact. I realized that my desire to learn and improve would have most impact on my career success. Our solutions continue to evolve as the needs for communication expand. I believe it is important to take in as much information as we can to help us improve and grow. Learning never ends.
Q. What advice would you give for someone who’d like to have a career like yours?
Don’t be afraid to start from the bottom and work your way up!