MaryMargaret Spiteri ‘14, who has lived and worked in Hillsdale since moving from Virginia Beach her freshman year of college, accepted a position this January as director of the Kendall Contact Center.
Spiteri, who majored in Exercise Science, has held various customer service roles since age 15. During her time at Automated Logistics Systems, which provides internships for students on campus, Spiteri made anywhere from 80 to 100 phone calls per day to connect truck drivers with businesses.
Spiteri’s immediate plans for the center include fine-tuning the program and looking for more efficient ways to perform different tasks, like reaching out to donors. She will continue the Contact Center’s phone-a-thons for fundraising purposes, and she looks to do more fundraising in the future for sports teams and greek life. She also plans on continuing the positive student culture and helpful professional development training that Papciak left behind.
Spiteri said her versatility assists her in many different areas of her life.
“Through being a student and working, and now being in the Contact Center, you have to be versatile and able to think outside of the box,” Spiteri said. “Something that really helps Hillsdale students succeed is being able to take a problem and look at multiple different solutions.”
Spiteri served as Assistant Director for the Contact Center starting in July 2017 under John Papciak ‘13, who first began designing the center in fall of 2015.
Papciak envisioned a small space of less than 10 desks within the Admissions Department, where he worked. After meeting and hearing the needs of various departments around campus, he realized the college needed a much bigger space.
Papciak received clearance from Doug Banbury to build a larger center in January of 2016. His job changed from working within admissions to preparing and planning the inner mechanics of the Contact Center, from choosing phone and computer systems to training students for phone calls with donors, alumni, parents, and prospective students. With the help of students and interns, the current Contact Center opened in September of 2016 as a sector of the Business Improvements Department. Papciak credits its success to students.
The Contact Center currently employs 60 students, including nine student leaders, who completed extensive training and an over-the-phone interview to prepare them for their work, which includes speaking with donors, directing callers to professors, and doing follow-up admissions calls.
“I relied a lot on both student workers an interns,” Papciak said. “It is in a lot of ways a student built organization.”
Papciak, who recently left Hillsdale to work for the Randal Retail Group in Chicago, said he passed on his brain-child to Spiteri based on her work ethic, promoting her to director this January.
“My goal was never to stay in this role permanently,” said Papciak. “My role is building instead of maintaining or staying.”
Reflecting upon his time at the Contact Center, Papciak said he will mostly miss working with the hard-working students but is looking forward to seeing Spiteri in this role.
“We have incredible students that i have been privileged to work with. They make this job so much more fun,” Papciak said. “This is an exciting time for [Spiteri] and students, and it will be fun to watch from afar and see the mark she leaves.”
Like Papciak, Spiteri recognizes the student’s hard work to help both the Contact Center and the college as a whole.
“The best thing the Contact Center provides is for the students to have a hard job that is similar to real-world work,” said Spiteri. “Something I really champion about it is that we can keep the students gaining momentum after college in using their experience in the Contact Center.”
Laura Peter, mother of Spiteri and former assistant swim coach at the college, said she has watched her interpersonal skills grow and flourish in her daughter since childhood.
“[Spiteri] is a people person,” said Peter. “She is good at making connections and she has always been like that; she builds a lot of loyalty on people because she is such a people person.”
According to Spiteri, the day-to-day tasks at the Contact Center have run smoothly through the transition.
“At this point, [the Contact Center] is a well-oiled machine,” said Spiteri. “[Papciak] has helped to create a strong foundation here, and it is really nice to come into this position the way he has presented it.”