Veteran leads call center teams with education and experience
Jennifer Jutkofsky-Pine, U.S. Navy
"When I left the military, I felt completely disconnected – I felt helpless," Jennifer Jutkofsky-Pine said after a car accident ended her military and law enforcement career, a plan she'd worked toward most of her life.
In fact, she had always been drawn to a military career, even while growing up in the small, patriotic New York town of Claverack. Many members of her family were veterans, and her plan after high school was to join the Marine Corps.
Instead, she would serve in the Navy Reserves after focusing on education and starting her career in law enforcement. With a degree in criminal justice from the Utica College of Syracuse, she became a police officer in 1995. Five years later, she completed her master's degree in education at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 2006, Jutkofsky-Pine finally fulfilled her military aspirations in the Navy Reserves, dedicating the next 11 years as a military police officer and with the Navy Criminal Investigative Service.
The accident suddenly derailed her career, and Jutkofsky-Pine said she wasn't sure what she would do for a new job. A Maximus recruiter reached out to her about career opportunities. With her education and experience, she was hired to manage the California Department of Public Health's call center.
Jutkofsky-Pine said she had found meaningful work again.
"Working in my current role, I feel like Maximus allowed me to continue supporting our nation in some way. To me, that is vitally important. Maximus has given me that ability to do that."
A military background gives job applicants an upper hand in many areas like leadership, project management, quality control, customer service and dedication to duty, even if the person hasn't performed specific jobs or career fields, Jutkofsky-Pine explained.
"The knowledge I've gained over the years and my military experience have made me – and other veterans – very adaptable," she said, adding that in addition to her multiple degrees, she has also completed other professional development certifications and training to enhance her skills.
Jutkofsky-Pine said her previous work experience and education have given her the mindset that leaders don't just "manage" employees; they can help develop them, too.
"I'm not just training my call center agents to be call center agents," she said. "I've always believed in leadership and investing in my employees, especially entry-level people because they can ultimately be the next manager or even the president of a company one day."
Regardless of the task, Jutkofsky-Pine said she gives her team the tools to overcome challenges.
"I believe in cultivating leadership and then giving them tools to be a great leader, whether it's learning about spreadsheets or learning to use new software," she said.
Jutkofsky-Pine said her law enforcement background also gives her a unique outlook when interacting with and training her call center agents.
"As a police officer, you always have to remember that there's a person behind the badge – a person underneath the uniform," she said. "It's the same with the customer service representatives, whether they're interacting with customers on the phone or in person. We have to make sure that we're pouring into that person to make them feel important."