STORY: Three IT Associates de-mystify how growth and knowledge drives success for this essential teamMarch 24, 20225 min read
Technical training, exposure to multiple industries and an open and inclusive culture help IT Associates innovate across CCG.
They are often the quiet contributors to a project, taking a business idea from concept to delivery to allow strategic business endeavours to get off the ground. What they do and how they do it can be mysterious to many, with technical jargon, architectural details and complex processes at play. To succeed in IT requires incredible technical knowledge, a solid understanding of business processes, and innovative mindset with a natural curiosity to understand how multiple industry business systems all work together. Most importantly what’s needed is the desire for continuous learning.
The IT department at CCG has enjoyed an incredible period of growth and development over recent years. In the last decade alone, CCG has undergone a major technology transformation, replacing every major business system required to support the different lines of business under the CCG umbrella including CAA Insurance, Orion Travel Insurance, CAA Travel, Membership and Emergency Roadside Services, while also implementing industry-leading innovations like CAA MyPace.
We spoke to three tenured Associates to uncover their secret to success working in IT. What drives the culture of a team that often works behind the scenes but is vital to the success of all organizational projects?
Typically, IT Associates have exposure to many business areas, giving them a well-rounded view of the various industries in which CCG operates. At first glance, one might think that this kind of exposure helps drive innovation and growth. But, while this is true for many, Lindsay Lamothe, Senior Business Systems Analyst for CCG’s Roadside Product Management, explains it’s more nuanced.
“I think working in multiple lines of business at the organization led me down the path towards IT. I have no formal training in IT but having exposure to the business side of things gave me insights that continue to be valuable now that I work in a business enablement area,” shared Lamothe. “Being exposed to multiple industries while working in IT is a valuable opportunity to grow knowledge, but I think anyone who can learn more about the multiple industries we operate in would be well-positioned to do well in IT.”
Lamothe started at CCG as a summer student to pay for university and eventually came on full-time working in auto travel, helping Members with TripTiks. She worked on the frontlines for ten years before shifting into IT and roadside assistance and has now been at the company full-time for 18 years. Her sense of purpose comes through very clearly when you speak to her about the impact of her work.
“I am proud to work in IT at CCG because I am passionate about roadside operations. What we do saves lives,” said Lamothe. “If each code fix or enhancement that we work on gets us to the Member even five seconds sooner, that could be a matter of life or death. I know that we are making a difference in people's lives.”
Voytek Bialkowski, just accepted a promotion to a director position in Enterprise Resource Planning. He also started his career at CCG and credits the technical learning opportunities offered for his continued success. Next month he marks the impressive milestone of 15 years with the company.
“CCG is unparalleled in the marketplace in terms of professional growth and learning opportunities,” shares Bialkowski. “Our senior leaders have created a true knowledge culture by encouraging and celebrating professional development, certification, and lifelong learning. In my time with the IT department, I have earned four SAP certifications that furthered my technical skillset. I have also leveraged many of the programs available for Associates, such as the Lean Six Sigma White Belt and the Queens mental health certificate.”
What truly sets CCG’s IT department apart is the emphasis on technical training that many Associates can receive right out of school or with little prior knowledge.
Bialkowski explains, “CCG has provided me with multiple avenues for technological growth. Working on best-in-class systems and learning their functional and technical components has allowed me to become intimately familiar with SAP’s software suite, Greenfield SAP strategies and methodologies, data quality and data migration, application management, software development and testing lifecycle, as well as SQL and other query languages.”
It's clear through the experiences of Lamothe and Bialkowski that learning opportunities and a broad array of opportunities to contribute to different areas of the business are key drivers of the success of CCG’s IT Associates. While hard skills and insights are essential, equally important is the culture of a team and the people that one works with to get things done.
John Zhao, Manager Quality Assurance in IT App Development & Architecture, shared his take on CCG’s culture and how that plays a role in delivering exceptional service to CCG’s business areas.
“Collaboration and mutual respect underpin everything we do in IT. This is a big part of how we continue to learn and support each other,” shares Zhao. “Beyond these two values, we are encouraged to apply innovation to our daily process and products.”
Innovation, being care-driven, leading by example, and collaboration are values that define CCG’s corporate culture across departments. Still, it is evident in speaking to Zhao that with tight deadlines and often unexpected challenges, they are especially engrained in the culture and approach of the IT department.
Zhao’s experience at CCG aligns with Bialkowski and Lamothe’s, showcasing how fostering and developing technical knowledge internally and maintaining a broad perspective that can connect the dots across multiple industries are standard features of our IT approach.
All three Associates underscore how the innovative and best-in-class approach of our IT department starts at the top. From Jay Woo, our CEO, to Apra Sekhon, our Chief Innovation Officer and Kin Lee-Yow, our Chief Information Officer, and their leaders. Together, they set the bar on integrating technology and innovation to ensure everyone aligns on promoting growth and knowledge to drive success for CCG’s IT Associates.
As technology and innovation continue to grow, it’s valuable for all Associates to understand how this hardworking group of individuals support the essential work we do at CCG.