Hear Her Story: Q&A With Fulvia Stevens, Director of Customer Service at Gildan
Fulvia, Director of Customer Service at Gildan shares the best advice she has ever received and her thoughts on how her success is her family’s success.
Q: Tell us about your beginnings here at Gildan:
I started working here almost 15 years ago. Actually it will be my 15th anniversary on May 17th. When I began, I was in a place in my life where I needed a change. When I saw the job ad in the paper, it caught my attention right away because it was exactly what I was looking for. Gildan was looking for someone who spoke French and Spanish and I’m originally from Venezuela, so it was a perfect fit.
I started as a customer service representative for the European market. It was difficult to adjust to a workday that started at 5 a.m. but I was so excited about the new job that it made it easier. One year later, I was promoted to supervisor for the European market. When my VP called me to his office to make me the offer, I was shocked. I didn’t expect it at all, but when the news sunk in I was extremely proud of myself.
Q: What is some of the best advice you’ve ever been received?
My boss’s boss said something to me once and it was the best piece of advice I’ve ever received. He suggested that I let a negative situation roll over me “like water off a duck’s back”. What he meant is that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff and to not let bad things stick. Instead, he suggested I just move on with my work. This has been very applicable to my work in customer service because it can be challenging to deal with customers. Learning to not take things personally and not let emotions get the better part of me has helped me over the years.
Q: Why do you think giving advice is important?
I am a strong believer in providing timely feedback. I think that’s what prepares our employees to become tomorrow’s leaders. I try to provide constructive feedback to my team on a continuous basis because I know it will help with their professional and personal growth.
Q: When you look back at your career, how do you feel?
I feel proud. I’m amazed at what I have achieved, especially because all of this wasn’t part of the plan. I have been blessed with great mentors who have helped me over the years, including my current boss who has giving me the wings to fly.
However, it wasn’t easy. I would be lying if I said it didn’t come at a price. The long hours meant that sometimes I wasn’t home for my daughter. Fortunately, I have an incredible support system that has helped me a lot.
Q: How have you been able to achieve a good work life balance?
I’m very lucky because my husband works from home, so that has allowed us to be more flexible. When I’m working late, I can give 100% at work because I know that things are taken care of back at the house. If I didn’t have that peace of mind, things would have been much harder.
So my success isn’t just mine, it’s thanks to my family really. For us, a good work life balance means that we are all on the same page. My husband and daughter have been on this journey with me since day one. My success is their success.
Q: This series was launched on International Women’s Day, why do you think it’s important to recognize women on that day?
I would say it’s important because the role women play in a company is crucial. Women bring a different point of view to the table, and I believe that these different points of view can allow a company to achieve greater balance in the decision-making process. Enabling more women to become leaders will only make companies stronger from within.
Click here to read the other stories of the women featured in this series.