Blog Growing a career, a company – and a culture

A conversation with SVT’s newly appointed executive vice president, Tina Peters.

Did you always see yourself as rising to company leadership?

I really did. I truly enjoy working with people and helping them grow. Whether it’s giving my daughters the opportunities I didn’t have as a kid or nurturing the growth of our employees, I’m really excited and motivated to deliver that experience, and to harness that energy to grow this company.

Let’s talk about energy. Where does SVT’s come from?

It’s our culture and our people. It begins with that we call a “family-first culture,” one that not only respects our personal families, but our work family. It’s a culture that’s really built on teamwork, on helping one another grow as individuals and as a group.

Lots of companies boast about their culture. How is SVT different?

Well, for us it’s about more than talk. When we’re hiring, we actually interview for culture before we interview for skills because you can have one bad apple it can kill the culture. As a result, our culture is very strong. I’ve had new employees tell me that coming here is like culture shock in a good way. There’s almost a disbelief based on their prior experiences. They keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it never does!

What are the particular qualities of SVT’s culture?

Well, we don’t just work together, we have fun together and support one another. And we’re very clear about roles, responsibilities and expectations. It’s about being accountable to one another.

How do you foster a sense of mutual accountability?

It has to come from the top. And your internal and external actions have to match up. We talk about delivering a “premium experience” for our customers – really focusing on what they need and doing everything we can to provide it. Well, we try to do the same thing internally through servant leadership and meeting our SVT family members’ needs. The external experience is a reflection of the internal one. Sure, our Sales department has external clients, but their customers are also our Operations staff, and Operations’ customers are Sales. It’s all connected.

As a company leader, what can you give your team members to help them succeed?

Feedback, coaching and support are essentiial. You can’t just give someone a performance review and expect them to perform. People need clarity about expectations, and they need to be supported in order to meet them. When someone is clear about their role and empowered to fulfill it, that’s when you really see great performance in an organization.

Along with a strong culture, what else drives SVT forward?

Clarity of purpose is essential. We have a clear strategy to be a premium, proactive communications partner for our clients, and that strategy is understood and shared across the organization.

It’s also critically important to have the right people on the team, meaning you have the next level of leadership ready to go. Part of what makes SVT unique is that we have people who are trained on the culture. They have an open mind. And they pay attention to the world around them so that SVT can change as the world changes around us.

I’m confident in saying that SVT has some of the smartest, most talented people I’ve ever known. They have amazing capabilities. And a big part of that is because SVT provides the environment where their talents can flourish and each team member can reach their potential.