Women in Leadership: Anita Breedlove
Anita Breedlove is the Senior Vice President of Enterprise Account Management at One Call. In her role, she leads the account management team, the activities that support client and revenue retention and searches to identify solutions and drive innovation to meet customers’ needs. Outside of One Call, Anita is the Education Committee Chair for the Alliance of Women and a member of Women Business Leaders in Healthcare.
Read more below about how she leads her team to success!
What are the most important values you demonstrate as a leader at One Call?
Collaboration: As a leader, it is important for me to allow everyone to have a voice at the table and know they are part of the decision making process.
Transparency: For a team to be successful, it is crucial to paint the bigger picture and to make sure everyone understands where they fit into the overall mission. If they understand where they fit in, they are more likely to buy in.
Accountability: Ultimately, the team is accountable to our customers and to each other. I want each team member to take responsibility for their individual actions with that greater accountability in mind.
Growth: There is nothing more fulfilling as a leader than to see my team grow and move into bigger roles. As a leader, I strive to constantly build my team and help them be successful in all ways. Watching them move into leadership roles is one of the best compliments I can receive.
As SVP of enterprise account management, what are some strategies you use to build long-term customer relationships and retention?
As account managers, our jobs are to make sure our customers’ experiences are the best they can be. In a market that is ever-changing, it is important for me and my team to develop trusting and loyal relationships with our customers. One way to demonstrate this is by providing two-way communication channels where our customers can openly express satisfaction or areas for concern and to follow through on any commitments we make. By creating this type of environment, we give our customers a seat at the table and demonstrate that we are a trusted resource for them.
How do you use your leadership values to help your team connect with our customers?
One of the things I have learned myself is to be successful in account management you have to check your ego at the door. You can’t walk into a room and assume you know what the customer needs. I try to show that to my team members too. Our customers have to trust that they have an open space to talk freely about their needs and experiences. Creating this type of reciprocal relationship allows us to not only connect with each other but also with our customers and that is essential for an account manager.
How did you get where you are today and who were the influential people that helped you along the way?
I was very fortunate to have parents who always encouraged me to do my best and instilled in me the core values of integrity and working hard. I have also had two mentors, Mary Sue Campbell and Chuck Lusty, who have influenced my career and my life. Having coaches who are able to see what you do well and help cultivate those skills while also recognizing your downfalls and help you improve in those areas makes the development journey easier to navigate. I would encourage everyone to find a coach who is invested in your personal growth to help you become all you want to be in your career and life.
What is the best advice you have received from a previous boss?
“Get comfortable with change because it’s the only constant in business.” Being able to be responsive and act quickly in an ever changing environment is a fundamental skill not only in account management, but especially in a leadership role. Change is also one of the best ways to learn and to grow personally. Nobody loves change and helping the team navigate through change and focusing on the end goal is a leader’s responsibility.
What advice would you like to give the next generation of female leaders behind you?
‘Focus on developing your strengths more than you agonize over your weaknesses.’
As women, sometimes we tend to focus more on trying to improve what we perceive we aren’t good at. Instead, we should develop and capitalize on the skills we are already good at and surround ourselves with good, positive people who will complement our skill set.
What resources do you use to develop your own leadership skills?
I attend seminars and I love to read, whether it be blogs, articles or books. At any given point, I may be reading 3 or 4 books at the same time. There is one book in particular that my executive coach gave me called ‘Leading at the Edge’ that has stuck with me over the years. It puts leadership into perspective and reminds you of how much people depend on your ability to lead them. I will never stop learning how to be a better leader so I take advantage of any opportunities I can to learn and to grow.