Our "Day in the Life" series gives you a glimpse into the everyday lives of team members and our culture here at CenturyLink. The series focuses on all different avenues and roles in our company, from project managers to developers, product owners, technical writers, and administrative staff.
In this post, we highlight Traci Yarbrough, who manages the Lifecycle Management Team located in St. Louis. The Lifecycle Management Team works to transition existing and new customers from their current systems to strategic platforms/products. The following interview provides insight into Traci's role at CenturyLink, what makes her team such a valuable asset within the organization, and of course, some little-known facts about Traci's hobbies and interests.
What skills do you bring to your team? TY: I am happy to be part of a team that has mad skills as a whole; what I bring to the group is a background in software sales, product marketing, and product management. That 16+ years has allowed me to develop specific skills in market sizing, customer communication, data analysis, and sales enablement.
What are your top three unique skills? TY: Completing a 3x3 or 2x2 rubrics cube in five minutes or less, sharp turns on a scooter, and moonwalking.
What’s the biggest strength you bring to the job? TY: A passion for collaboration and teamwork. Both drive innovation and improve productivity within the business.
What has your favorite project been? Why? TY: The hardest project has also been my favorite project. Migrating customers from Virtual Private Data Center (VPDC) is my favorite because it provided the greatest opportunity to learn. We started the work with no precedent and structure. The business went through several changes and we had to become well-versed in the roles and responsibilities of each department that influenced the outcome of the program.
What have you done within your team that you’re most proud of? TY: Creating a framework for product migrations and decommissioning. We have historically been very good at launching products but poor at customer transitions. The framework we have now is enhanced every day, but we are beginning to look across the business and we believe that soon we will be able to proactively transition customers instead of being reactive with their transitions.
What ideas have you brought to the company that you have implemented? TY: Within our team and department, impact analysis is something that we have focused on. Specifically, we assess and quantify the potential impact to the customer experience, Operations team, and revenue if we make a decision to decommission or upgrade a product.
How does your personality help you perform at CenturyLink? TY: I am a huge smart ass; my sense of humor, persistence, and honesty come along with that. I enjoy laughing and believe people appreciate sincerity and honesty. Our company is filled with individuals that are very busy and I make a point to follow through with commitments and hopefully make them laugh during the process.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome and how did you do so? TY: The biggest challenge(s) I have faced so far are the organization changes that have occurred in the last 2 years. Every time the Sales, Professional Services, Product Management or Engineering teams are restructured we must re-educate the business and make a case for them to understand the value of what we are doing. This is time-intensive and often grinds projects to a halt. To overcome this, we are working very closely with executive management. In my case, James Feger and Aamir Hussain are strong advocates for what we are doing and work proactively with their peers to ensure that we are able to move forward.
Describe what makes your specific skill-set an asset to your team and CenturyLink TY: My focus on strategy and outcomes is a benefit to my team. They know what is expected of them, how it fits in the organization, and how they will be measured. The benefit to CenturyLink Cloud as a whole is that I understand how to build a team that can meet the strategic outcomes defined by the business. My team has experience with CenturyLink Cloud, storage, networking, order processing, and operations. They know what needs to get done, how to do it, and they are motivated to execute.
What motivates you each day? TY: Knowing that we have a positive impact on the bottom line. The programs we develop and manage improve the experience of the customer and increase productivity within the organization. To accomplish this we get to work with several departments and individuals in the business. Every week I learn something new and have an interaction that makes me proud to be at CenturyLink.
What’s a little-known-fact about yourself that you’d be OK sharing? TY: I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have read the books 4-5 times, listened to the audiobooks 2-3 times, and watch the movies while doing housework on a loop. However, I have never been to the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios -- it's one of the biggest items on my bucket list.
How does your role translate to your influence and collaboration with others? TY: When people ask me how we fit into the business, the answer is: “We collaborate with the Operations, Product Management, Professional Services, Onboarding, Sales, and Support teams to design and manage transition programs for our customers.” My team is very focused on setting targets and measuring our progress and overall impact. When you can show data and make a case for why your work is impactful, people want to be a part of it. I provide updates with supporting data to a wide audience each week. I'd say 99% of the time, a recipient of the information responds with a question, suggestion, or an offer to assist. This demonstrates the value of what we are providing and the willingness of others to support the goals.
What is your degree in? How do (or don't) you use it every day? TY: I have a double major in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters Degree in Social Work with emphasis on Mental Health and Finance. Both majors help me every day. I always try to have a “make sure you understand the position of the other person first” approach when interacting with my team and co-workers. Making assumptions about what someone is thinking or not respecting the unique perspective they have often leads to misunderstandings and people talking over one another. Understanding the other person allows us to collaborate more openly, work on processes, and agree on outcomes that are mutually beneficial.
Want to learn more about our teams and culture at CenturyLink and CenturyLink Cloud? Check out our other Day in the Life Features and Sign-up for CODE:
- Storage Engineer: Brian Haggard
- Cloud Technical Writer: Daniel Morton
- Cloud Engineer: Rebecca Skinner
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