For a third straight year, T-Mobile has been named one of Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For. Here, we ask someone who can really tell us why: Customer Care Senior Director Karen M. Viola, who’s been at the company for over 20 years. Magenta Por Vida!
As they say, three makes a trend — and at T-Mobile, things are continually trending upward. Fortune has once again listed the Un-carrier as one of its Best Companies to Work For, a highly coveted list created in conjunction with Great Place to Work based on employee feedback. So we sought out some of our own: Customer Care Senior Director Karen M. Viola, who oversees the Menaul Customer Experience Center in Albuquerque and has been with the company for more than two decades. From world-class benefits to an awesome work culture, Viola shares her insights on what makes T-Mobile a Great Place to Work.
You been at T-Mobile for more than 20 years. What originally brought you to the company?
I started my leadership career in customer service and call centers. I moved to New Mexico with my family from California in August of 1997, and by January of 1998, I had accepted a position as a senior manager at this great little company called Western Wireless, which eventually became the T-Mobile of today. When I started there were only about 100 employees, but that grew to 500 within 18 months. Soon after, the site director was promoted to VP and I was given the opportunity to lead the site as his replacement.
What’s kept you here all these years?
Plain and simple: T-Mobile is an amazing company. All the things this company stands for, I stand for. Our excellent benefits, our core beliefs and values. I am always so inspired by our inclusion efforts — this is a special place where every employee truly matters and is valued for who they are. That makes me so proud, and the fact that I get the privilege of bringing it all to life for the 700-plus employees who call Menaul their home makes this the best job ever for me.
What’s your day to day job, and how has that changed over time?
My job is to take care of people the very best way I know how. That means both my family of employees and T-Mobile’s customers. And the foundation for making that happen starts with how I lead. It is a big responsibility that I do not take lightly.
Our “PhenoMenaul” culture is everything. It sets the foundation for everything we do here. In our site, we are like family and committed to making memorable experiences for each other and our customers. We believe there is strength in unity and together we have delivered top performance, built an incredible culture and have a place that we love to come to every day. While business goals may change, the essence of who we are and what we do hasn’t changed and never will. We have a saying here in the Menaul Customer Experience Center that captures the essence of who we are and that is “Magenta Por Vida” which means “Magenta for Life.” That is the kind of pride my team has in our company and it makes me so proud.
Would you recommend working at T-Mobile to others? What makes it a Great Place to Work?
100% yes! There isn’t another company out there that I know of that has the heart and passion we do. Our leaders are business owners. They are empowered to make decisions that are in the best interest of their employees and customers. Our frontline and support teams are encouraged to be bold, think big and offer solutions to barriers that get in the way of us providing exceptional experiences. That makes their jobs so much more fulfilling. We invest in the development of our employees, both from a business and personal perspective and are passionate about what they are passionate about. 95% of our leaders are internal home-grown talent (promoted from within), and they are exceptional. And we had a 13% average college enrollment for 2019. Most of which T-Mobile is paying for in full! Our employees having the ability to work at an amazing place where they can truly be themselves with great pay and benefits while furthering their education is just … WOW!
What are you looking forward to in the next 20 years of your career at T-Mobile?
Another 20 years … wouldn’t that be something?! First, I am looking forward to helping as many people as possible achieve their career aspirations. It’s just something I have always loved to do — develop future leaders. I am also excited to be a part of the New T-Mobile journey: It is going to be EPIC! #MagentaPorVida