Janni Leo: DigiOutsource
Friday, 18 May 2018
In the Information Age, where technology advances at a staggering rate, has the time come for us to rethink the way we’re approaching learning? Is it enough to simply obtain a tertiary qualification? Or should continuous development be the norm? Consider how quickly mobile technology changes, for example. One minute, the Samsung S8 is released. All the fans get their hands on one. Why? Because Samsung has considered user feedback, creating an improved model. The S8 has ‘learnt’ from the S7’s mistakes. Blink, and the S9 is already making its way onto the shelves. The point is this: even the products we use on a daily basis are constantly evolving. They’re learning and improving, based on our needs. Just like those smartphones, we too should be engaged in constant learning. Janni Leo, a Customer Service Host turned Translator, is just one of the many candidates at DigiOutsource who is doing precisely that. Although she admits to initially signing up to take part in the CCMG’s Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme to maintain her Critical Skills Visa, it soon dawned on her how invaluable her work towards becoming a Contact Centre Brand Ambassador (CCBA) was proving to be. We caught up with her to find out how the experience is influencing her life – both on a personal and professional level.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have always been a person who loves to travel, and Cape Town seemed like the perfect spot to visit. My intention was to stay here for a year, maximum, but this wonderful place has stolen my heart. I have now lived in Cape Town for over 6 years, with a small gap year in between. I grew up in the south of Sweden, very different to what a foreigner thinks when they hear ‘Sweden’! A flat but beautiful landscape, with the best season being summer. I love summer; the winters in the south of Sweden are grey, dark, cold and rainy. I longed for longer summers and the activities that come with that – Cape Town has precisely that.
When I heard about DigiOutsource (formerly Forwardslash), I thought it sounded too good to be true…but the whole experience exceeded my expectations. I have made friends and love coming to work every day. I think it must have to do with the people and the welcoming atmosphere!
When I started working at DigiOutsource, it was in the Customer Service department, which I loved. Working directly with customers is something I have always excelled in – but…I must admit that I always wanted to become a translator. And, when the opportunity came for me to realise that dream, I jumped at the chance. The only sad part was having to leave my team and all the customers I had gotten to know.
What inspired you to take part in the CPD course programme?
Well, to be honest, first it was ‘a must’ in order for me to maintain my Critical Skills Visa. However, it turned out to be so much more. I feel I have developed in many different ways, both personally and professionally.
How long did it take you to complete a course and what does the programme involve?
Every course lasts about one day. At first, I was overwhelmed with all the courses and personal development plans offered. Studying has never been one of my favourite things, but not once did I feel forced to do anything during any of my courses. I just felt like I was developing and learning about the people around me.
Were they difficult, enjoyable, challenging – or all of the above?
I did not find the courses challenging – to me, challenging means boring! I would rather say that they were interesting, but difficult at the same time. The courses challenged the ways in which I think and act. Some parts weren’t personally useful to me, but I definitely learnt something every step of the way!
What’s ‘a day in the life of Janni’ like, and how did you manage to complete your courses while working full time?
My days were very different when I was working as a Customer Service Host. Shift-work meant that I had more time off, sometimes during the day. This allowed me to complete the courses in my free time, with no problems. I could also spend time horse riding, skating and doing motocross, but the normal hours that come with being a Translator have given me more stability. I never thought I would like stability, but I do. Even though the courses I do this year will take me longer to complete, as they will need to be done over weekends, I’m still looking forward to doing them.
Do you feel that the courses you’ve attended have helped you with your personal development, both inside and outside the workplace?
Definitely. The courses have taught me many useful things, not only in my work life, but in everyday life too. How and why I think the way I do, why others react a certain way in certain situations, how to manage my time effectively and how to structure my day. The courses are about so many different subjects, like Anger & Performance Management, Emotional Intelligence, Time Management and more. My advice would be to take part in every course offered to get the full package of useful information.
Have you attended any CPD workshops? What were they about?
I have attended a few and they were very interesting, but not 100% in line with what I was doing or wanting to do. That said, if they are well matched to your areas of interest or development, they are brilliant. I went to one full-day workshop, which focused on improving corporate presentations. I was the last one to deliver my presentation and I felt so out of place because the other attendees were all managers from Absa, MyCiti and so forth (I even apologised for being there!), but it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. They considered me an asset to the event, because I was able to provide insightful viewpoints to the managers and other corporate workers on all the topics that the workshop covered, thanks to my experience as a Customer Service Host at DigiOutsource.
What was your favourite course or workshop and why?
The Anger Management course was the most interesting, because you get to understand why people act in a certain way. I never thought I had any anger inside me, or at least that I never showed it to others. However, I learnt that anger comes in many different forms, and one of the ways it can manifest is in the way you speak to someone. I discovered a few things that I could change within myself on a personal level, but was glad to learn that none of these impacted my professional interactions.
Did you achieve all you hoped to achieve – or perhaps more than you expected?
I certainly did. I am glad to have taken part in all the courses and workshops so far, and hope to learn more in the future!
Do you have any advice for someone interested in a CPD course?
Do not be in a rush, and take it step by step. Try to take in the information and learn from it. See it as a tool that you can use for the rest of your life!
Where do you see ‘future Janni’?
My dream has always been to travel and work at the same time. One day, I hope to find myself sitting at the beach in a hot country, translating documents on the Internet!