Getting to Know Altec – Cathy Champlin

As part of our Getting to Know Altec blog series (last month we interviewed Scott Hall, Altec’s Northwest Sales Director), this month we are highlighting Cathy Champlin, Customer Support Manager based out of our office in Tacoma, WA.  Cathy manages the DocLink support team, which engages with and helps customers work through any problem they are having.  She also heads up our customer training efforts, hosting free how-to webinars twice a month and our DocLink Advanced Admin Training, intensive 4-day training sessions hosted 4-5 times per year around the country.  So keep reading to get to know more about her on a personal level!

What was your first job?

I did babysitting and housekeeping when I was still in high school.  But when I graduated high school my family moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City, and I didn’t want to go with them so I had to become an adult overnight.  I found an apartment in Seattle and got my first real job working as an Administrative Assistant for Glacier Park Co.  It was an extremely difficult time, but it gave me my first exposure to the corporate world which prepared me well for where I am now.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I like living in the Pacific Northwest, the weather isn’t great but when the sun comes out it’s just beautiful.  And we don’t have to worry about humidity, big bugs, tornadoes, earthquakes.  Although we did have a volcano erupt a while back…!

What do you like best about working at Altec?

Definitely the people.  Bottom line is I am very lucky to manage an incredible team in the support group.  And I have a great group of peers.  Everything at Altec is very collaborative, extremely enjoyable and effective.  Also I am able to have a bit of autonomy to come up with my own solutions which, in my experience, is unusual in a corporate environment.

What is your favorite activity to do outside of work?

Travel for sure!  I am lucky that I have opportunities to travel.  My kids are all grown and out of the house so I have the time for sure.  Last year I spent 3 weeks in Cambodia and Thailand, and I’m currently planning a trip to Italy.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?

When you work with support, much of what you do is reactive – I can go in with goals for my day but that can be blown out of the water to make sure customers have what they need.  Having to be so reactive makes it hard to plan.  But every day is different, which I love about my job.   It’s definitely not boring!

What is your favorite thing about your career?

The fact that I can balance the support aspect of my job with being able to work with customers as a teacher/trainer in my favorite aspect.  I really enjoy teaching and sharing ways for customers to be able to help themselves.  When I see the lightbulb go on in their eyes during a training session, it’s the most satisfying thing to me.  It’s nice to balance the reactive aspect of my job with something that so positively impacts our customers’ ability to do their jobs.

If you could have a conversation with any person living or deceased, who would it be and why?

It would have to be my maternal grandmother.  She pretty much raised a family during the Japanese occupation in Korea.  My family owned a business, that supported the family completely and it got taken away from them.  So the lengths my grandma went to make sure her children and family were OK is just astonishing.  From all the stories I have she sounds like an amazing woman and I wish I had the chance to know her.  Unfortunately she passed away when my Mom was 17.

What would you sing at karaoke night?

I stay away from microphones for singing, I can clap and smile and maybe shake a tambourine, but I’m tone deaf so no one needs to hear that!

What makes you laugh the most?

Spending time with family and friends, we laugh at the silliest things and just everyday life!

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

I happen to have two incredible daughters who are out on their own and are so busy with their everyday lives.  My 28-year old daughter is currently living in Cambodia teaching English to grad students after a stint in the Peace Corp.  And my 26-year old daughter owns her own organic farm locally.  We don’t get much time together, so any time we can share is precious, doesn’t matter what we do.  So a day with them is my ideal day.

What is your favorite meal?

My mom is Korean, and when I was growing up she’d make traditional Korean meals with kimchee and side dishes.  That was Mom-and-me time – my sister and Dad didn’t like the traditional Korean foods.  So when I have a chance I like to eat a nice Korean meal.

If you were a super hero, what powers would you have?

For selfish reasons I’d want the ability to teleport so I didn’t have to commute or travel.  Right now my drive to the office is about an hour, and I travel a lot so if I could teleport that would be great!  But if my super power could fix a problem in the world, I’d want to be able to save the environment and eliminate all the junk in our oceans. 

What was the last thing you recorded on TV?

I don’t watch traditional TV anymore, I cut the cord with cable/satellite.  But I’ll watch Netflix or movies on Prime – I’m binge watching Mad Men right now and I’m completely hooked into Game of Thrones.