Women’s History Month 2024: 6 Influential Women in Contact Center and Customer Service 

Women's History Month 2024: 6 Influential Women in Contact Center and Customer Service 

Women’s History Month is all about recognizing women’s vital contributions, who comprise a significant part of our workforce. Beyond acknowledging the triumphs and challenges throughout history, this global celebration emphasizes the importance of appreciating and supporting women who have shaped society, advanced rights, and overcome obstacles.

In contact centers, customer service, and customer experience, women have played a crucial role in transforming industries and setting high standards for excellence. This month calls us to action – to appreciate women’s essential role in our lives and workplaces.

Join us in exploring women who have reshaped the narrative, paving the way for equality and inspiring future women leaders. Let’s celebrate Women’s History Month in recognition of women’s incredible impact in contact centers and customer service.


Women in Contact Center History 

The world’s first telephone operators were young men, but women like Emma Nutt soon replaced them. Nutt was hired by Alexander Graham Bell in 1878 as one of the first female telephone operators. This paved the way for her contemporaries in 1879 when women such as Bessie Snow Balance, Emma Landon, Carrie Boldt, and Minnie Schumann became the first female operators in Michigan.

Over the ensuing decades, exceptional women left their mark advancing workplace equality while connecting callers. Julia O’Connor fearlessly led strikes for telephone operators in 1919 and 1923, paving the way for collective bargaining rights and higher wages.

When World War I created staffing shortages, the Army Signal Corps recruited over 7,000 women to keep lines open. Displaying skill and dedication, these “Hello Girls” countered assumptions about women’s capabilities.

As contact centers evolved from switchboards to today’s complex global hubs, female agents adaptably met each transition. With women constituting over 70 percent of the contact center workforce, the industry benefits from a diverse talent pool rich in empathy, communication, and problem-solving skills, crucial for delivering exceptional customer service.¹

Read More: 6 Qualities That Make a Great Call Center Agent 


6 Female Trailblazers in Customer Service 

Women have been working in customer service for decades. They have shaped the industry into what it is today. With this in mind, here are several women we can admire in customer service and customer experience.

Read More: 7 Secrets to Outstanding Customer Service 


1. Catherine Blackmore

As the GVP of Global Customer Success at Oracle Marketing Cloud, Blackmore boasts over two decades of expertise in customer service. She is also recognized as one of the top 50 influencers in the industry. Catherine combines real-life experiences with innovation to steer first-class Customer Experience (CX) strategies.

In addition to her executive role, Catherine is a prolific writer, sharing valuable insights through blogs, eBooks, and whitepapers. Her career spans prestigious positions, including roles at Salesforce, contributing significantly to the industry’s knowledge base.

Passionate about turning customers into brand advocates, Catherine stresses the transformative power of effective customer service. Her thought-provoking question to businesses is, “What are you going to do to turn them into raving fans?”—encouraging strategic approaches to optimize operations.


2. Annette Franz

With 30 years of experience (both client-side and vendor-side), Annette Franz, CCXP, has helped businesses better understand their customers and employees. She has determined what factors influence customer and employee satisfaction, engagement, retention, and overall experience.

She has also designed employee and customer experience strategies to improve the experience for all parties involved.

Anette is a thought leader, journey mapping workshop/process facilitator, coach, consultant, keynote speaker, and influencer who enjoys teaching people about culture, customer experience, and employee experience through her writing and speaking.

She wrote the book titled “Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the ‘Customer’ in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).” You’ll learn the three methods to earn customer understanding from the book, including a thorough guide to Franz’s six-step mapping process.


3. Nicolle Paradise

Nicolle Paradise served as an ADP keynote speaker on customer experience and leadership and the Senior Director of Customer Experience and Strategy. She is an investor, a board advisor, and the Head of Experience at TEDx San Francisco. She was chosen for the TEDWomen 2018 event. She is Vice President for Customer Success & Revenue Operations for Bodine & Co.

According to Nicolle, clients are never impediments to a business’s operations—rather, they serve as its goal. With over 15 years of experience designing, measuring, scaling, operationalizing, and transforming fast-growing companies, Nicolle is a committed, data-driven SaaS leader.

Her proficiency in Operations and Client Outcomes has resulted in revenue growth for multibillion-dollar companies and international startups, providing quantifiable value for clients, profitability for investors, and employee motivation.


4. Tiffani Bova

Tiffani Bova has aided businesses all over the world in growing their clientele, improving customer experiences, and revolutionizing consumer engagement.

In addition to being ranked in the Top 50 Sales and Marketing Influencers, she has been recognized as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in California” by the National Diversity Council and as one of the Thinkers50 2019 Global Ranking of Management Thinkers.

She is currently employed with Salesforce as their Growth and Innovation Evangelist. In addition to contributing to HBR, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and more, she is the author of the best-selling book Growth IQ, which was declared a Wall Street Journal Bestseller. She is also the host of the “What’s Next!” Podcast.


5. Jeanne Bliss

As a keynote speaker and advisor on leadership and customer experience, Jeanne Bliss encourages the most admired businesses in the world to gain recognition and growth through the humanity of their people and elevated business practices.

Jeanne has over 35 years of experience growing businesses. As the first Chief Customer Officer at Microsoft, Lands’ End, Allstate, and Coldwell Banker Corporations, she oversaw the attainment of retention rates of over 98 percent.

She has trained over 20,000 leaders using her 5-competency framework as a strategic advisor, which has been shown to produce customer-driven success. 1,500 of the biggest corporations in the world have invited her to speak as a keynote speaker on improving their standing among customers and in the marketplace.


6. Sarah Stealey Reed

With over 18 years of global expertise in operations, offshore outsourcing, customer experience, and contact center management, Sarah is recognized as an influential strategic leader. She successfully built contact centers from the ground up, managed them fiscally to support growth, and acted as a turnaround specialist for struggling metrics and employees.

She focuses on establishing operational baselines while consistently enhancing customer satisfaction, ensuring an exceptional experience regardless of location, language, tenure, or channel.

Sarah Stealey Reed has held significant roles, including Senior Manager for the Workplace Services Call Center at Deloitte and Content Director for ICMI, where she oversaw editorial content and community strategy. A versatile professional, she is a writer, blogger, social poster, and a sought-after speaker on Customer Support and Emerging Channels at national events and online webinars.

Reflecting on her transformative leadership style, Sarah shares a pivotal moment where she shifted from a demanding approach to one that embraced kindness and respect. Taking the advice of a manager, she reintroduced her personality and humanity, resulting in improved morale, decreased attrition, and sustained high scores in customer satisfaction.


Let’s Celebrate Women In Customer Service for Women’s History Month 

In customer service, celebrating Women’s History Month highlights the priceless contributions that women have made and now make in this industry. From the earliest days of telephone switchboards to the present digital contact centers, women have demonstrated exceptional qualities that contribute significantly to delivering outstanding customer experiences.

Let’s reaffirm our dedication to empowering women, promoting diversity, and creating conditions where everyone can flourish and prosper as we celebrate Women’s History Month in customer service.

Read More: A Personalized Approach to Staffing: The Salem Solutions Difference 



Celebrate Women’s History Month by empowering your customer service team with top-notch talent from Salem Solutions. As industry specialists, our recruiters understand your organization’s unique challenges in the dynamic customer service landscape.

Whether you need Direct Hiring, Temporary Staffing, Temp-to-Hire, or Outsourcing solutions, we offer tailored services to meet your specific requirements. Contact us today and embark on a journey of excellence, commemorating Women’s History Month by enhancing your team with the right talent for unparalleled success.



1 “CALL CENTER REPRESENTATIVE DEMOGRAPHICS AND STATISTICS IN THE US.” Zippia, www.zippia.com/call-center-representative-jobs/demographics/. Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

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