Illustration by Eric Jackson

More tips, news and notes from the 2015 SWPP Annual Conference, Day 3:

I was fortunate enough to grab some time with the winner and three finalists of the SWPP 2015 Workforce Management Professional of the Year Award to find out their best WFM tips and their worst WFM nightmares. Each had great insights and experiences to share. Here is what they had to say—along with brief bios from the SWPP award announcement, which has more about their backgrounds and work.

Denise Kapalko, Optum, 2015 Workforce Management Professional of the Year Award Winner

Denise Kapalko is the Director of Workforce Management for Optum in Green Bay, WI. She has over 12 years of experience in workforce management and supports 8500 agents in 25+ locations with her team of 137 workforce management professionals. Denise is one of the first graduates of ULA (United Leadership Academy).

Scott Engman, Optum, 2015 Workforce Management Professional of the Year Finalist

Scott Engman, Vice President of Workforce Management and Planning at Optum in Eden Prairie, MN, has over 16 years as a leader in the contact center industry, with a career focused primarily in outsourcing and healthcare markets. He leads a team of 15 workforce management professionals serving 18,000 agents in over 75 locations at Optum, a subsidiary of United Health Group working with diverse sets of clients across 140 countries that has grown by acquisition.

Darlene Stephens, Infinite Energy, 2015 Workforce Management Professional of the Year Finalist

Darlene Stephens is the Call Center Analyst at Infinite Energy, Inc. in Gainesville, FL. Darlene manages to traverse the fine line between objective analysis of scheduling needs and compassionate response to urgently realized obstacles with grace and determination. She serves both internal and external customers with a commitment to accuracy and thoroughness. She not only creates and implements schedules for customer-facing employees, but she also identifies issues and suggests solutions.

Stephanie Walker, Gerber Life Insurance, 2015 Workforce Management Professional of the Year Finalist

Stephanie Walker is the Workforce Management Officer at Gerber Life Insurance in Fremont, MI. She manages a team of seven workforce management professionals who support 240 agents in two locations. Stephanie has implemented a number of changes in the Gerber Life Contact Center. The most recent, which has done so much to strengthen the relationship between WFM and Leadership, is the planning strategy for Utilization and Occupancy, which are direct goals for both Workforce Management and Leadership.