Echoes of leadership: My journey from agent to director

Joseph Lee
Joseph Lee

Dec 04, 2023 | 3 min read

Embarking on a career straight out of high school is often deemed unconventional, but for Joseph (Joe) Lee, it was the doorway to a rewarding career within Startek®. From starting as a call center agent to holding the position of Director, Operations at Startek U.S., the chapters of Joe’s professional story are imprinted with resilience, growth and the unforgettable mark of mentorship. 

In this blog, Joe shares how his years at Startek have unfolded, from support from his managers and mentors, invaluable lessons learned and challenges overcome that have shaped his professional growth. 

“Fresh out of high school, I donned the headset as a call center agent, mostly unaware that this would be the beginning of a transformative and rewarding journey. The whirlwind of customer interactions and problem-solving challenges laid the groundwork for what would become an enduring career. 

As I honed my skills on the front lines, I was fortunate to have mentors who recognized my potential. Their support and encouragement helped me move into more senior roles with more responsibilities. Becoming a supervisor and later a manager, I learned the intricacies of team dynamics, leadership and project management. The transition to senior manager brought new challenges — managing larger teams, overseeing complex projects and contributing to strategic decision-making. Each role was an opportunity for growth and I seized it with a hunger for knowledge and a commitment to excellence. 

Becoming the Director of Operations isn’t a solitary accomplishment, it’s a collective triumph. The leaders who supported me throughout have played a pivotal role in shaping the leader I am today. Their encouragement, constructive criticism and belief in my capabilities formed the backbone of my success. Mentorship, for me, has been the secret sauce of success

Joseph Lee - Startek
Joseph Lee - Director, Operations

As a Startek associate, I find a profound resonance with the values that define our organizational ethos. Our values form an interconnected web that sustains our culture and steers us toward success. Taking responsibility is the foundation as it instills a sense of ownership and accountability among our team members. This foundation enables us to work together seamlessly fostering collaboration and synergy. In this collective effort, innovative solutions emerge organically driven by diverse perspectives and ideas. As we strive to delight our customers, each value plays a pivotal role allowing us to stay ahead in a dynamic market. This cohesive integration of values is not just a framework, it's a philosophy that guides us in delivering exceptional customer experiences and maintaining a workplace culture that thrives on excellence. 

My journey has been nothing short of a roller coaster, marked by challenges, triumphs and a constant hunger for growth. Over the years, I've been part of projects that have not only met but exceeded expectations. From orchestrating seamless transitions in operations to spearheading innovative initiatives, each accomplishment has been a testament to the collective effort of my extraordinary team. 

But, as any leader will agree, the journey is a continuous learning. There's always something new to conquer and a fresh challenge to navigate. The role of a director is a dynamic one, requiring a delicate balance of strategic vision and hands-on leadership. It's about fostering an environment where ideas flourish and every team member feels a sense of ownership in the company's story. 

Looking back, the evolution from a call center agent to Director, Operations is both exhilarating and humbling and I firmly believe that my decision to begin my journey as a call center agent truly set me on the right path. As an agent, you not only hone essential communication skills but also cultivate resilience, empathy and a profound understanding of the business' intricacies. It's a fertile ground for both personal and professional growth. So, to those contemplating their first career move, I wholeheartedly recommend wearing that headset and immersing yourselves in the world of a call center agent – the gateway to a fulfilling and multifaceted career journey. 

Startek has more than 38,000 associates in 12 countries across the world. If you’re interested in joining an organization committed to creating opportunities for our associates to learn and grow, explore our open roles.

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