Fostering Leadership Roles for Women in CX — A Q&A With Mandi Geary

Gladly Team

Read Time

4 minute read

As Women’s History Month is celebrated throughout March, now is the perfect time to reflect on the exceptional work of women in CX. Women are the backbone of the support center, yet they continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles.

According to data from the Women in CX report, women represent 70% of the workforce in customer experience — yet they only make up 30% of CX professionals in management. On top of that, only 12% of women in CX get promoted into leadership roles within their organizations, showing that when women are hired for these roles, they’re external hires, not in-house talent.

However, the tides are changing. Thanks to leaders who are trailblazing the way for others, like Mandi Geary, Director of Customer Service at BSN Sports, the landscape is shifting in favor of those who tirelessly strive to make a difference in the support center.

Mandi Geary Carves a Path to CX Leadership

BSN Sports is a popular custom sports brand that offers high-quality equipment for men’s and women’s sports like lacrosse, hockey, and soccer. Their specialty in providing customization demanded a strong leader at the helm of CX to ensure quality in service and execution — especially as competing ecommerce brands closed in on their niche.

Enter Mandi Geary.

Throughout a well-earned and exemplary career, Geary has demonstrated the power and importance of female leadership in a male-dominated space.

We discussed with Geary how she found her way to BSN Sports, carved out a space for herself and her peers, and demonstrated the power of women in leadership in a field that sorely lacked it — alongside the benefits BSN Sports reaped as a result of her involvement.

1. Can you share your journey on how you got started in the CX industry, particularly in a leadership role within BSN Sports?

My mission has always been to foster positive change in the world through meaningful connections and effective resolutions. Fundamentally, I strive to assist individuals and contribute to the betterment of society. My professional journey began as a licensed counselor, where I specialized in crisis intervention and counseling for adolescents facing challenges such as addiction.

A pivotal moment in my career occurred when I transitioned to a customer service manager role at Wells Fargo Bank, which propelled me into leadership and customer service realms. Along the way, I found my niche in the contact center space, ultimately leading me to BSN Sports. Throughout these diverse experiences, my central focus has remained consistent: facilitating personal and professional growth for individuals, and enhancing the overall customer experience.

2. What does being a challenger in the CX industry mean to you?

To me, embracing the role of a challenger entails actively seeking out challenges to tackle. In the realm of CX, the primary challenge lies in recognizing that CX should stand as its own pillar within businesses.

While we typically prioritize departments like marketing, sales, and IT, CX often takes a backseat or is overlooked entirely. However, CX transcends mere customer service; it encompasses delivering exceptional experiences and comprehensively understanding the customer journey. Moreover, it involves leveraging customer data to analyze business operations, identify underlying issues, and drive improvement.

Additionally, integrating technology and fostering innovation are integral aspects of enhancing CX. By championing CX as a central focus, organizations can truly differentiate themselves and thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

3. Let’s talk about how you’ve applied your challenger mindset recently. Can you share a specific example of a CX project or initiative you spearheaded that significantly impacted your organization?

While it might sound cliché, our main challenge and initiative have revolved around implementing, adapting to, and fine-tuning Gladly software. This platform has truly revolutionized our CX space and transformed how we serve our customers.

Our customer interactions are now consolidated, leading to streamlined communication. Previously, we spent over two hours daily manually organizing emails across various inboxes. Thanks to Gladly, this process is now fully automated. Customers no longer navigate multiple phone trees or endure lengthy wait times; they are promptly connected to the right customer service representative who can efficiently address their concerns. Furthermore, the integration of SMS/text channels through Gladly has been well-received by our customers, who appreciate the convenience of accessing customer care swiftly via their mobile devices, even while on the move.

Additionally, the implementation of Gladly has empowered us to develop an authentic Voice of the Customer program. By leveraging the consumer insights and data available through Gladly Topics and customer timelines, we can provide vital feedback to the business. We now scrutinize product data at a granular level, enabling us to quantify and qualify specific issues pertaining to sizing, construction, material, or other aspects of clothing items. With access to this data and insights, we can effectively pinpoint the root causes of issues.

4. As a mentor and role model to countless aspiring CX leaders, what qualities do you believe are essential for success in the fiercely competitive sports retail world? How do you encourage others to embrace their uniqueness and pursue their passions fearlessly?

I believe that communication stands out as one of the most crucial qualities in any endeavor. Communication encompasses a multitude of aspects, from discovering one’s voice or preferred method of expression to effectively conveying needs and requirements within and outside of one’s department. Whether verbal, written, or expressed through various forms, communication serves as the backbone of collaboration and understanding. Most importantly, it entails actively engaging and utilizing one’s voice, choosing to be an active player rather than a passive spectator in this industry.

I firmly believe that fostering encouragement begins with building a strong relationship. Before advocating for someone or encouraging them to pursue a goal, I prioritize getting to know them on a personal level. It’s crucial to inquire about what makes them unique and genuinely understand their perspectives and aspirations. By doing so, I aim to help individuals recognize and embrace their distinct values. When mentoring others, I consistently challenge them to pinpoint what sets them apart and what makes them stand out in their own right. This process of self-discovery not only empowers them to recognize their strengths but also encourages them to leverage those strengths to achieve their goals.

5. As a trailblazer in your field, what do you see as the most exciting opportunities for women in executive roles moving forward, and how can they continue to break barriers and shatter glass ceilings in the corporate world?

The 2023 Women in the Workplace Report revealed a significant milestone: women now occupy 28% of C-suite roles in corporate settings, marking a commendable 6% increase since 2018. While this progress is worth celebrating, it’s evident that there is still much ground to cover in terms of representation.

Particularly concerning is the slower growth of women in manager and director roles compared to the more accelerated progress observed in C-suite and VP-level positions. These statistics underscore an important opportunity to continue and bolster initiatives aimed at advancing women within corporations.

Key strategies include fostering mentorship programs tailored to women’s career development, and prioritizing the hiring and promotion of qualified women candidates. By collectively addressing these challenges, we can strive for greater gender equality and inclusivity across all levels of corporate leadership.

Leading by Geary’s Example

As Geary continues to pave the way for women in CX, leaders and executives should follow her example by hiring and promoting accordingly. Geary stresses the importance of providing mentorship and expanding access to opportunities for women, which is crucial for unlocking their leadership potential.

The conversation doesn’t have to stop here. Keep this discussion going, and become a part of necessary change in the CX space by joining the Gladly Connect community today — where you can voice your opinion on how leaders can create a more representative support center.

We also have several upcoming events, including our annual Gladly Connect Live 2024. Join Mandi Geary and other industry experts as they delve into top-of-mind CX topics and share best-in-class tips and strategies. Attendance is free, whether in person or virtual — register now to secure your spot.


Learn more about Gladly Connect Live 2024 and how to register for the event