In a collection of interviews to mark International Women’s Day 2022, we shine a light on some of the brilliant women at the heart of The Independent.
This is Stephanie White, CS Manager at The Independent.
Describe your job
My role is to be an advocate for customers across The Independent. I solve customer queries ensuring our customer care matches the standard of our journalism. A key part of my role is to build sustainable relationships and trust with customers through open and interactive communication, meeting the needs of our customers as best I can. Another key part of my role is to be the voice of our customers. I communicate the feedback from clients to the key stakeholders within The Independent to ensure our product serves the needs of our customers. I spend a lot of time working with technology devices, understanding how our product behaves in various different environments to ensure I can provide the best support.
How did you get into your profession?
I have always had an interest in technology. It’s something I found quite easy to understand, loved learning about and being around. I found myself in a few roles that didn’t quite fit, but one thing I enjoyed in all of my positions was working with customers. I have always been extremely passionate about ensuring clients are taken care of and ensuring they get the service they have paid for. I hate injustice and have compassion for people. I believe in serving with excellence. I would say these are the things that have gotten me this far.
Who and what has helped you break the bias?
I was raised by powerful women and I have even been blessed to have had male managers and role models who have spent time investing in me and seeing my potential, not my gender. My faith in God has taught me that I was born with a seed of greatness inside of me. My gender is who I am and it is a part of me. It is up to me whether I grow my greatness to its full potential or whether I bury it. I understand being Black and female means I may be at the peak of bias, but I have been taught that is not a reason for me not to reach my full potential.
Which women do you admire?
Wow, Where do I even start! I’ll start with my mother. She is the epitome of who I want to become as I walk through life. I have learnt from her not only the kind of mother I want to be, but the kind of manager I want to be, the kind of employee I want to be. No matter what happens in her life, she always shows up. Professionally she offers nothing less than excellence and this same work ethic she has passed down to me. Another woman I knew, called Paula, was a woman in a field dominated by men, in an industry dominated by men. And she was one of the best in that field. Despite holding the responsibility and reputation she had, she was down to earth. She’d never know but she taught me how to be human in success. Not to be blinded by trying to achieve a goal, but to be human and present in your position.
What are your hopes for the future in terms of breaking the bias?
There have been women before me who have worked, and cried. Who have sacrificed blood, sweat and tears in order to reach their goals in spite of gender bias. In doing this, they have paved a path that I can walk through, but it is my responsibility to go further than they have to make room in new territories for the women coming up behind me. My hope for breaking bias is just that! That the bias is broken! That being Black and female becomes the same as having blue or brown eyes. I hope that the future for my niece means being Black and female no longer becomes something she has to remind herself of before she walks into rooms and sit at tables she’s qualified and entitled to be at
What one bit of career advice would you give to others?
The path is never straight. It’s going to cost. It will cost time, effort. It will cause disappointment. Trust the process! Every experience is training. Don’t cut corners. Success is a process of moving from level to level. To move to one level you have to complete the first level. If you move prematurely, that next level will swallow you up. Don’t forget reciprocity! It’s something I live by. Someone invested in me, I will spend time investing in someone else. Throughout history, women have been able to make it because of reciprocity. One woman makes it, she helps the women trying behind her, who then helps the women behind her and so on. Reciprocity is a principle we don’t use enough, but it is vital to the success of breaking bias.