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Desirée Bombenon, CEO of SureCall

Photo courtesy of Desirée Bombenon.

As the CEO of SureCall, a leading business optimization company and contact centre, Desirée Bombenon is continuing to innovate and lead by example. She has been recognized by various organizations and has won many awards, including Women Entrepreneur RBC Momentum Award, WXN Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women, as well as the Stevie International Business Award. In addition, she focuses on giving back to others and creating an inclusive and diverse work environment.

Bombenon spoke with The Edge about her path into business, becoming a leader, and how to overcome challenges.

In 2013, you launched SureCall Contact Centers Ltd. The company has continued to grow and expand since then. Can you talk about the ways in which it has evolved since its early days?

The company has grown in many different ways. We’ve always been a diverse team, but over the past few years, with all that we’ve all gone through in society, it has really highlighted the issues of diversity and inclusion. It’s always been part of our DNA, but we’ve focused on establishing a lot of things to ensure that those protocols around inclusion, diversity, and equity are really being looked at. We created new recruitment protocols that took the cognitive bias out of hiring. We utilize a profile platform that actually provides insight into the values and behaviors of individuals. When presenting applicants to our team, this model allows us to choose individuals without looking at resumes, without knowing gender, sexual orientation, or how they identify. We bring them in knowing that they fit our cultural beliefs and values.

We’ve also moved away from the traditional model of outsourced services, to focus on real customized, innovative, and bespoke solutions for clients. We’ve also invested tremendously in talent development within our organization, as well as learning new tools, so that we can provide the best resources for our team; which is why we moved to an upside-down pyramid model where our frontline team is really at the top. The rest of us are the foundational pieces working to provide a successful work environment. 

In addition to decades of experience, you have also been recognized with various awards and accolades over the years. What advice would you have for others looking to continue to improve themselves and their business?

As leaders, we’re always looking to see how we can better our organizations. A big part of that is ensuring self-care — staying healthy and active as a leader — so that you are your best self to your team. It’s also important to keep yourself apprised and up to date with what’s going on in business, including new trends with regard to how businesses should function. I am very excited about the latest trends in organizational structures. One of those is moving to a more agile framework for your business. My advice to businesses is to never settle for status quo, no matter how big you get. Always think of yourself as a small, agile business.

As soon as we start to work within too much structure and too many layers of management, we lose the creativity and spontaneity that got us to where we were in the first place. A few very beneficial things are creativity, spontaneity, and the ability to react and pivot when new opportunities present themselves.

You have led by example, continuing to be involved in giving back to others through your presence on various boards and your “GoodCall™” program. Can you share why you started this program and provide insights on the importance of giving back?

When I first started working as a leader in an organization, what compelled me was that I was able to give people jobs, so that they could provide for their families and have a good life. As our company grew and became more successful, it was always about the stakeholders in the community. The community always supported us, and it’s really important that we give back — we supply jobs, and thereby we’re an indication of the prosperity of that community.

SureCall is a global company, and we feel that we need to participate not just locally, but nationally and internationally. We’re really fortunate to have been able to activate a program like GoodCall™, where we are focused specifically on helping children. We’re also a certified B Corp, meaning that we uphold the utmost environmental, social, and governance protocols within our organization. Through giving back to the community and looking at critical issues around the world, it really connects you not only to great partners, but also to great talent. At the end of the day, we’re contributing to the greater global good. Utilizing business as a force for good has always been important to me, and I’m really happy that we’re able to continue to do that.

What advice would you have for others navigating challenges within their business?

Challenges are a real conduit to finding new ways of doing things. I think that the most important thing is to learn from your challenges in order to build tenacity and grit, so that you can provide support to those around you who need it most. We’re a flat organization: we don’t believe in titles; we don’t even have business cards. The only reason that we have given ourselves titles is that in society you’re dealing with clients, and they need to know which part of the organization you’re connected with.

We really work as a multidisciplinary team with cross-functional assets. By standing alongside my team, I help get them through challenging times, whereas leading from 30,000 feet is not helpful when everyone is fighting to survive on the ground level. When a crisis happens, it’s your opportunity to really build that collaboration, resilience, and camaraderie for your business. I would say, a key takeaway is to never give up.

Stephanie Hawkins | Contributing Writer

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