Q&A 4Her – Kathie L. Edwards, President And CEO of Westpark Communications
Meet Kathie Edwards, president and CEO of Westpark Communications. Kathie purchased the company in 2007 from her mother and has continued to expand the company in technology and services for all industries worldwide.
Kathie talked about her ideas on business in our latest Q&A 4Her interview. She tells us how she defines success, gives advice to other women in business and more. Read on for her interview!
Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
I worked at Westpark as an Operator when I was a high school student through Office Education. I lasted one semester working on the Cord Board Switchboard and swore it was not a job for me and I would not be back.
When my mother asked me to come back to assist 15 years later, I had a whole different perspective. When I returned, I had experience through the corporate world, contract negotiations, sales, service and call center. I would have never imagined that I would ever be back to Westpark, much less have an opportunity to grow the business, purchase the business and provide my mother retirement.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
I always thought an Answering Service was an industry that had no growth. It was an industry of just obtaining messages and relaying. There was not a lot of skill set needed to write/type a message and relay. The operator positions were at minimum wage, with no growth potential within the company. I totally underestimated the power of taking the company to a new level, higher level employees, newer technology, higher level client base, more profit.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Treat all your relationships with respect and never burn bridges. They could be your customer tomorrow or provide you a referral.
What do you love most about what you do and why?
I love the fact that I have such a dedicated team of employees that wants Westpark Communications to continue to succeed just as much as I do.
If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently and why?
I have had such a wonderful journey in my personal life as well as my business life and I am very appreciative in everything I have. I don’t think I would change a thing.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
Spend time with my husband, Ted. Whenever we can, we take short golf vacations and travel to Nashville to see our grandson, Ansel.
How do you define success?
A dependable management team and staff that is able to run the business and allow the time to build the relationships and business alliances. Have the ability to work on the business, instead of in the business.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business, what would it be?
Don’t try to do everything yourself. You have to learn to trust and adjust to be successful, or you’ll never be able to take time away from the business. Join women associations such as WBEA/WBENC, NAWBO, etc. and get active and involved. You only get out what time you give.