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Woman of Vision: Michelle Norcross

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“Either do what you love or find a way to love what you do.” That’s some of the professional development advice that Michelle Norcross, Sr. Director of Operations, EyeMed – Customer Care gave during her interview with the Women of Vision Employee Resource Group.

Check out the Q&A between Michelle and Trinitii Brewer, the communications liaison for Women of Vision.

What has your career path looked like?

My path has been very straight. I planned to be a high school English teacher, but my student teaching taught me quickly that was not a direction I wanted to go. I chose to ‘punt’ at that point and proposed a full-time position for myself at the call center where I worked part-time. I drafted a job description, outlined my objectives, made the pitch and got it. Since then, I’ve held every role there is in a contact center; phone agent, supervisor, trainer, training/QA, project manager, workforce planning, operations analysis and vendor management. I’ve been in a contact center role ever since and have been extremely fortunate to have been given great opportunities to grow and experiment along the way, which has led me to my role today in the EyeMed Customer Care Center.

Has there been someone along the way that has helped you in your career?

I’ve been fortunate to have many great mentors and leaders along the way. Very early in my career I had a boss who was willing to be direct and transparent with me about my opportunities. At a point in my career when I thought I was excelling he pointed out some real opportunities that were holding me back. He helped me see myself from another perspective and helped me understand how I was being perceived by others. It was a pivotal point in my career because it helped me truly understand the value of honest feedback. I’ve had many other great role models along the way and am thankful to each and every one of them for their patience and guidance.

How do you live Luxottica characteristics in the work you do on a daily basis?

I don’t think you can work in this industry and not be passionate. Our team is the front-line to our customers. They deliver on the promises we make and leave a first and lasting impression on every life they touch. This is one of the most challenging roles a person can have; taking a customer who has been discouraged and turning that experience into a lasting, positive impression. What a gift it is to have that opportunity every day, but what a challenge to live up to it! You have to engage the hearts and minds of every associate so they can be at their very best every time that the phone rings. Every contact is a new opportunity to make a positive difference for someone and I think that is just amazing!

Do you have any tips for women’s professional development?

My tips are really simple and not necessarily just for women.  For me it’s really two key things:

Be yourself and be true to who you are – trying to be something you aren’t is not only uncomfortable, but will generally come across as fake to others. Know what you value and be who you are.

It may sound trite, but either do what you love or find a way to love what you do. You truly cannot imagine what a difference it makes to your personal joy and to your career trajectory, when you have true passion for what you do.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Now that my kids are almost grown, (my daughter is 22 and just graduated from the University of Cincinnati and my son is 19 and just completed his freshman year at UC) I have more time. Evenings are quiet most of the time these days. Back when it was more hectic – racing kids to activities and working – we planned ahead and made time. I learned a long time ago that life is too short to let it pass you by. I love what I do, but it’s not all that I am. Prioritizing time with family and friends helps me keep perspective.

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