Temeka Cartwright, Director of Training, “I think OppLoans is a great place for parents to work.”
Five years ago, when my daughter was only eight years old, I started to work for OppLoans. She is now 13. As I’ve grown with the company, from Loan Advocate, to Supervisor, to Director of Training, my daughter has grown too. She saw me start my career at OppLoans as a newly divorced single mom and has seen me thrive and grow in the five years since.
Through everything that has gone on in the past five years, OppLoans has been incredibly supportive. Back in the early days—when we were a much smaller firm—there were times when I didn’t have a sitter to watch my child and I was unsure how I could juggle growing in my job and being a single mom. Luckily on those days my supervisor allowed me to bring my daughter into the office.
The flexibility offered was a life saver. If I needed to work from home because my daughter was sick, I could do that. If there was an emergency at home, I knew that I could leave to take care of it because the rest of the team always had my back.
When a workplace is supportive like that—when people are looking out for each other instead of only looking out for themselves—everyone benefits. It’s not just the people with kids that reap the rewards. It’s everyone.
Many of the skills I’ve learned from being a mom have been extremely helpful in my job as a manager. I also incorporate many of the lessons I learned on the job to strengthen my parenting skills. In either case, I try above all else to be honest and fair. I’m only going to make promises that I can keep, and I’m going to tell it like it is.
OppLoans is the kind of company where this honest approach works. People are open to fair, constructive criticism, and leadership maintains a blanket open-door policy. If something is not working, they want to know.
At other places I’ve worked, all the ideas and solutions came from above. It was the bosses telling everyone what to do. But at OppLoans, I’ve lost track of how many times a great idea came from someone working on the front lines.
I try to manage my team with as much vulnerability and transparency as I can, another lesson I’ve taken from parenting. I realize I don’t know everything, and I’m never too quick to be authoritative on any subject because I know that there are other perspectives at play, ones that are just as valuable as mine.
Even when I am the true authority on a subject, those other perspectives are still incredibly important because I’m looking at problems as a director. Their vantage point is different than mine. I make sure I consider that.
As the Director of Training, it’s my job to help other OppLoans employees succeed, whether that’s through training new hires or providing ongoing education and skills to keep our veteran employees up to date.
But within my own department, I’m also responsible for helping people develop their careers. And one of the most rewarding parts of my job is when someone I’ve managed becomes a manager too. Part of great leadership is teaching people how they can also be leaders.
That doesn’t simply mean telling them what to do or assigning their projects. It means providing the opportunities, skills, and tools for them to further their knowledge and careers.
The success I’ve enjoyed at OppLoans is a great example of how the company rewards employees who work hard and do more for our customers. And part of that success is due to my bosses believing in me before I started believing in myself.
I think OppLoans is a great place for parents to work. We create the opportunity to move their careers forward, with the support they need to help them care for their families.