In honor of Women’s Equality Day, we are celebrating our female employees and their critical contributions at work, home and in the community. We recently sat down with Lisa Jackson-King to hear her Meridian story.
Congratulations on your recent promotion! Tell us about your new role and your journey with the company.
I spent several years working for the City of Thomasville Utilities before I decided to go back to school. I received my Master of Science degree in Management from Troy University in June 2004. After graduation, I began searching for new opportunities. My career with Meridian Cooperative began as a billing field implementer in February 2005. My job duties required traveling to utilities to teach employees how to use the software. During my visits, I formed many long-lasting relationships.
When I became a Support Manager in early 2017, my responsibilities included leading teams of support specialists who provided technical support using the software and equipment to resolve customer problems. Ultimately, taking ownership of customer issues and confirming that problems were followed through to resolution.
I make it a priority to improve the customer experience. My passion is to motivate others to succeed in accomplishing their individual goals. The positive effect of my leadership has led to the promotion of several employees becoming managers.
I am excited about my new role as the Director of Professional Services because it gives me an opportunity for continued growth. It is my goal to make process improvements as well as establish strategic plans to ensure the success of my teams and promote customer satisfaction.
How do you define service excellence?
I define service excellence as the ability to let customers know they are valued and understood. Service excellence is giving the customer exceedingly more than what was expected and begins with being respectful and responsive.
We recently heard the amazing story of how you and two colleagues helped one of our customers correct a critical error during Meridian’s User Conference. Can you share that story with us?
A crisis was averted. The I.T. Manager at one of our electric co-operatives was informed by the dispatcher that over 600 collection records were mistakenly deleted. She came into the Support Lounge to report the issue and get assistance. She was a bit frantic and fearful of the need for a flashback. I assured her that we could remedy the situation without much disruption to her staff and other district offices. Phillip Pearson and I reviewed the records that were recreated in the Preview database. Kelly McLendon, one of the data team members, was contacted to help resolve the issue. She was able to link the databases and move the collection records from Preview to Production. We were in continuous contact with our customer during this process. The collection records were reviewed and moved successfully. Our customer was very appreciative of the assistance and thankful for the data retrieval. It was a great example of service excellence!
On August 26, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and mark the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. As a woman in the technology field, what are some of the unique challenges you have overcome throughout your career?
I have been a part of some facet of the utility industry for 30 years. During my early years of employment, I was faced with communication challenges. The industry terminology was very similar to learning a foreign language because I was so unfamiliar with terms, equipment uses, procedures, practices, and protocols. I quickly learned about line loss and the safety procedures that a lineman must perform, because it could very easily mean the difference between life and death. I requested a more hands-on approach to overcome the “language barrier” by riding along in the truck with the servicemen so that I could see a substation, watch a meter being read, hold the tools for a meter cutoff, and participate in a meter changeout. This hands-on approach gave me very valuable insight and proved helpful in understanding and meeting the customer’s needs. I have found this approach to be pertinent throughout my career especially when learning programming language and understanding coding for software functionality. All of it has come together and aided in my success as a utility industry resource.
Are there any unique ways you support and mentor the women on your team?
I have taken on the role as a Life Mentor to support the women on my team. I offer career support and personal development support. I use my own past experiences to educate, encourage and uplift. I share the tools that assist them in creating their own game plans for success. I ask probing questions designed for ‘digging deep’ without being intrusive. I remain nonjudgmental and provide honest constructive feedback.
We understand that you are an active volunteer. Tell us about some of your contributions to the community outside of work.
I am an active volunteer with several nonprofit organizations such as Hands On Atlanta, Atlanta Mission, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities, Junior Achievement of Georgia, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As a member of the Care Committee, I have participated in several projects and led a few events, as well. The pandemic has presented some challenges, but I have managed to stay active in assisting with community needs. I organized a food donation drive for the Atlanta-area Ronald McDonald House Charities. Meridian employees graciously donated pounds of designated food items that were greatly appreciated by the RMHC staff. Those donations were a significant help in serving many families. In recognition of Veteran’s Day, I co-chaired a raffle event with Jeremy Powell to raise money for the Fisher House. The Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital. The virtual raffle event was well-received with outstanding employee participation. We were successful in making a $2,000.00 donation with a company match. I recently assisted the Atlanta Mission with urgent needs for those experiencing homelessness and I make regular donations to the Atlanta Food Bank and various Georgia Food Pantries.
What advice would you offer to women just starting their careers at Meridian?
I would advise them to stay true to themselves and be open-minded. Secondly, not to hesitate to ask questions and seek help from other tenured employees or management staff when problems arise. Lastly, demonstrate adaptability during the moments of change, for it is one of the major keys to success!