Sit down with Protect America’s Ciera D. for five minutes and you’ll walk away feeling like a completely different person. The way she speaks of overcoming adversity and then shifts to listing the things that keep her motivated may, in fact, leave you feeling just as motivated.
Born in Baltimore, Ciera moved to Texas two years ago to begin her career as an internet director at a large retailer. After burning out from her intense 90-hour-a-week schedule, Ciera returned to the drawing board hoping to establish a career doing something better. She found her answer with Protect America. After interviewing with CEO Scott Fleming to learn more about the growth opportunities available within the company, she knew this was the job for her.
“I’ve worked for lots of big corporations.” Ciera said. “What makes Protect America different is that even though we’re a national company, you still get the feeling that we’re all under one roof. Everyone has their sleeves rolled up to help their team become successful. “
Ciera practices that sentiment by using her position as the Senior Supervisor for the Retention Department to encourage her team to reach their goals. Her main responsibilities lie in ensuring her team provides excellent communication with customers or potential shoppers. As senior supervisor, Ciera also trains and educates each member of her team to be prepared for every call.
“I’ve found some great success in this building and I had to work very hard to get there but I also believe in the people around me.” Ciera said. “If I’m the best person in my department on the phones, then I’ve done a big disservice to the company. I want to prepare everyone to be just as capable of doing as great job as I am.”
Taking Adversity By Storm at Protect America
Finding success early on in her leadership position didn’t come easy for Ciera. As someone who has become well acquainted with accomplishments and meeting goals, this period of development was foreign.
“There have been so many things that I’ve tried that I’ve done well quickly,” Ciera said. “One of the things I really appreciate about my position is that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. The beginning was a very humbling experience but it taught me so much about how to give information to different types of people.”
Ciera equates this learning curve to playing ports.
“In sports, just because you can do something well doesn’t mean you can teach someone else how to do it the same way,” Ciera said. “What I like about my role is I had to learn how to train 10 or so different people with 10 different learning styles. It’s been a challenge but I really do enjoy figuring out how to help my team accomplish what they set out to do.”
Drive to Motivate
This drive to motivate and inspire her team is evident in the way Ciera coaches them throughout the day.
“I tell my team all the time I’m not their supervisor, I’m super at advising,” Ciera said. “I’m really good at teaching you. I would have no reason to be here if there wasn’t something I could serve them to do. I work for them and I’m here for them.”
An average day for Ciera is typically busy. Walk-in on any given afternoon and you’ll find her bouncing from one section of her department to the next, assisting her team or listening to customers calling in with questions about their system. She stays focused by remembering the company’s mission and its dedication to serving each customer with exceptional care.
“We’re not providing bubblegum for people. We’re providing security,” Ciera said. “When you get on a call with our customers, it can be very heartbreaking to hear what they’ve been through. But it’s great knowing that after we explain their options and educate them, we can make them feel safe again.”
Settling Roots in the Music Capital of the World
Austin, a vibrant city filled with eclectic coffee shops, serene plant nurseries, iconic music venues, and sprawling parks. This is Ciera’s after-work playground.
“Unfortunately, it took me over a year to get to know Austin because of the number of hours I was working at the dealership,” Ciera said. “I hadn’t been anywhere and I hadn’t met anyone. But now I’ve spent time at Zilker Park, the 360 Bridge and the Hamilton Pool Reserve. I’ve also just finished writing my first book.”
Writing is a soothing form of self-expression and reflection for Ciera. Most of her pieces are poems or letters used to better understand past experiences or gain closure from ended relationships. For example, Ciera’s most recent body of work dives into her college years. It shares the unique tale of the different people she met and the growth she endured.
Insights from the Front Line
“The Senior Vice President for Sustainability at GM once told me that the most important thing about going to college is learning how to grow up and that if I didn’t learn how to grow up while I was in school then I wasted four years.” Ciera said. “So after that I went home and asked myself what I learned in college. Then I pulled together all the letters and poems I wrote in university, put them in chronological order and turned it into a story. It’s called “What I Learned in College” and it’s 101 pages long.”
Family is also a driving force for Ciera. While she doesn’t have any children of her own, she co-parents her nieces and nephews. This role is one of the main reasons she strives to work as hard as she does.
“I was the first person in my family to graduate from college and to do a lot of the things that I’ve accomplished,” Ciera said. “This really motivates me to continue to raise the bar so my family can have something to strive for. I want to open as many doors for them as possible. I want them to see that no matter what adversity comes your way, you can do it.”