In this interview, Coralee Mazurek, VP, Radio & Communications Services, Prairie Mobile Communications, shares her journey in the telecom industry, her experience in managing a telecom team, strategies for increasing customer satisfaction, developing relationships with stakeholders, customers, and vendors, and utilizing data and analytics to develop innovative solutions.
“I understand the human side to everyone’s professional journey, and strive to provide a supportive, progressive and driven team environment”.Coralee Mazurek, VP, Radio & Communications Services, Prairie Mobile Communications.
She also discusses strategies for reducing operational costs, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and encouraging young people, particularly young women, to join the telecom industry.
Coralee’s insights into the telecom industry are a great source of inspiration for anyone looking to pursue a career in this field.
Here are the questions we asked:
1.Tell us about yourself and what attracted you to the telecom industry and more specifically to your role as VP, Radio and Communications Services?
At Prairie Mobile, our Mission statement is Connecting to What Matters.
I’ve always been attracted to the communications industry. It’s a way to constantly connect with people and technology – both of which I’m passionate about. I’m inspired by our Owner and President, Kim Bishop. Kim is an inspirational entrepreneur and technology leader who encourages curiosity and encourages leaders and teams to prioritize customer experience. Over the past two years, Kim has successfully led a national company to remarkable growth while preserving the family-owned business’ 55-year-old values. It has been an incredible privilege to witness Kim’s success first-hand.
RELATED ARTICLE: About Prairie Mobile Communications
2.What experience do you bring to the role of a VP in the telecom industry?
I have had the privilege of working on the startup of a fiber optic National Internet Service Provider, taking part in an initial public offering, and carrying out several major Telecom Construction ventures, one of which was the Coastal Gaslink Telecom project in British Columbia.
Throughout my career, I have been privileged to collaborate with incredible colleagues and leaders who have had a huge impact on my experience. Additionally, I have been fortunate to be an integral part of various operational teams, as well as to lead and take part in multiple successful growth and sales initiatives.
3. How have you successfully managed a telecom team in the past?
I strive to create clear direction and objectives for my teams and leaders. I trust them to make sound decisions, and provide the data to back them up. To ensure an engaged team that is constantly evolving, I promote top talent and encourage training and improvement of technical skills. It’s also important to have fun together and recognize strong contributions – this helps everyone stay on track. Establishing core corporate objectives and connecting them to individual and departmental KPIs is a simple yet crucial practice for team success.
4. How have you helped to increase customer satisfaction within the telecom industry?
Achieving customer satisfaction starts with fostering a team that loves working together, and problem-solving together. When trust and autonomy are established, teams are better equipped to prioritize the customer experience. I have been fortunate enough to work with teams that have created strong student programs. For example, I had a technical leader train and certify over 200 students to work in IP and RF environments. Having passionate students in the team helps to create an atmosphere of learning while also introducing best practices and info beyond the manual which encourages efficiency and quality. To ensure service excellence, a culture that encourages curiosity and creativity within a structured process is essential. Asking for customer feedback for continuous improvements keeps the process and team from becoming complacent and encourages them to strive for excellence.
5. How do you plan to create and maintain relationships with stakeholders, customers, and vendors?
Relationships take time, effort, and personal investment. We work hard as a team at Prairie Mobile to align around our core values:
Prairie Mobile has built a solid reputation as a quality, customer focused communications provider. Our strategy at Prairie Mobile is to continue to promote growth within our existing offices by providing excellent quality service, offering further complimentary technologies, and further grow locations in areas where our customers require us to be there for them. Customer retention, through service excellence will always be at the foundation of our organization. Our values guide how we fulfill our mission. By connecting with people and helping them use our products and technology ecosystem services, they in turn connect with others, building stronger communities and organizations where we live and work.
6. What strategies have you implemented to advance customer service in the telecom industry?
I once led a team through a Lean Six Sigma process, with a focus on improving service delivery. The key to providing a great customer experience was to create a predictable process and develop a common language among the team. Communication was essential in order to manage the change associated with improving service, particularly when significant changes were being implemented. I found that involving teams in the change management process was essential to ensuring buy-in and keeping morale high. Finally, I recognized that treating employees in the field – technicians, front counter staff, and sales professionals – as brand ambassadors was essential for providing the best service to customers.
7. How have you used data and analytics to develop innovative solutions for the telecom industry?
For one of the teams I was a part of, we set KPIs for each step of the booked to bill process. This allowed us to report on our progress weekly, monthly, and quarterly, giving our internal teams visibility into our service goals, while also providing our board and executives with transparent updates on our progress in real-time. Moreover, customer feedback has been a crucial element for many of the organizations I have been involved with. Utilizing surveys or Net Promoter Scores enabled us to measure customer satisfaction and leverage the Voice of the Customer to enhance service quality. It was especially gratifying to see multiple departments working together to improve the customer experience.
8. What have you done to ensure that your team is up to date with the latest technology and trends in the telecom industry?
Prairie Mobile is committed to providing our customers with the best service possible. To ensure we are up-to-date with the latest technology, we have invested in Prairie University, our internal and external training programs. We have the project and support capability to design, build, and commission traditional LMR (Land Mobile Radio) systems, as well as to provide turn-key BDA/DAS solutions across Canada. Our strong relationships with Public Safety, Canadian Carriers, and Technology Vendors helps us stay informed about changes in the marketplace. We make sure to keep our technical team members engaged with vendors and up-to-date on new technology, hardware, and software. We also combine virtual, in-person, and trade shows to stay innovative and ahead of the curve. By sharing our large projects that integrate traditional LMR with radio and cellular DAS and safety solutions, we strive to provide our customers with the best service and solutions possible.
9. How have you successfully integrated different technologies within the telecom industry?
At Prairie Mobile, we prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of corporate Canada and our communities as a shared responsibility. We proudly provide 24 X7/365 support for our customers and communities through our Engineering Solutions and Technovation program. We stay up-to-date with industry trends, testing and integrating emerging technologies to give our customers the best possible solutions. With our Operations Critical Solutions, we ensure the right capacity and quality of Carrier networks are interoperable with Land Mobile Radio and bridge more complex requirements into a seamless process.
10. What innovative strategies have you implemented to reduce operational costs in the telecom industry?
Knowing your process and working together as a team to tackle complex issues, such as managing increasing costs of equipment and labor, is key. A successful process must be in place with clearly-defined Key Performance Indicators that are constantly monitored and accessible to both leaders and employees.
By introducing a process-engineered service delivery cycle, with one team, we were able to reduce installation costs by almost 50%. Our team, which was comprised of more senior technical resources and paired with highly motivated students who quickly learned how to reprogram, and provision, was essential in achieving this goal. Moreover, our interaction and communication with the customer, coupled with our team’s support and commitment to meeting internal SLAs, reduced re-works and improved customer satisfaction.
11. What strategies have you implemented to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and encourage young people especially young women to the telecom industry?
I am so thankful for my experience with the mentorship program Operation Minerva, while I was in school. It gave me the opportunity to be exposed to the demands and rewards of professional life in science and technology, and to be supported and encouraged by successful women in the field. This has made me determined to do the same for others—to take the time to reach out with words of appreciation and support. Recognition for hard work is so important, and can be so simple. It’s heartening to see more and more women making their mark in Telecom and Technology. I’m proud to be part of an industry that is embracing diversity and creating opportunities for everyone.
Engaging team members should always be a priority. Even those who may be shy or new to the industry can have great insights that should be heard. Leaders should make an effort to build relationships and confidence with those members, providing them with opportunities to grow and learn. I strive to create a supportive and progressive environment that is welcoming to newcomers, minorities and women, encouraging them to ask questions and take ownership of their professional development. I also recognize the unique personal and professional experiences of each individual, understanding the human side of their journey.
TelecomTRAIN appreciates Coralee taking the time to speak with us and for this insightful interview. Her experience and passion for the telecom industry is inspiring. Her strategies for customer satisfaction, data and analytics, innovation, and diversity and inclusion are an example for others to follow. This article was also featured on LinkedIn on March 08, 2023 in honour of International Women’s Day.
RELATED ARTICLE: Celebrating Leaders in Telecom
DO YOU KNOW A LEADER IN THE TELECOM INDUSTRY WHO DESERVES RECOGNITION?
We are seeking innovative and forward-thinking individuals who are committed to pushing the boundaries and advancing technology. Are you aware of someone who has made significant contributions to the telecom industry, and should be highlighted in our newsletter?
If so, please reply to this post with the name of the individual and a brief description of their accomplishments. We’ll review all nominations and select the most deserving individual for a featured spotlight.
Thank you in advance for your help in recognizing the telecom industry’s best and brightest!
DO YOU WANT TO NOMINATE A LEADER OR DISCUSS FURTHER CONTACT US
RELATED ARTICLE: About TelecomTRAIN
TelecomTRAIN, Inc. has been providing technical skills training to the telecom industry for almost 20 years. We can help turn your workforce into telecom experts through various modes of online, on-demand, virtual instructor-led, and in-person training. Visit the TelecomTRAIN website for information on technical courses, free webinars, events and other thought leadership activities.