Sit down with Head of Client Services at Avantpage Translations

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Shelby Crane Project Manager, LSP, Language...

Joanna Oseman is the Head of Client Services at Avantpage Translations and has been with the company since 2016 where she started as a Project Manager.

Since then she has moved into an Account Manager role and now is the Head of Client Services for the company - Shelby Crane, Recruitment Consultant at Adaptive Globalization in New York, caught up with Joanna to just to see what every day life is like at Adantpage, and how she managed to branch out within language service industry.

Here's what we found out:

SC: How did you get into the localization industry?

JO: When I moved to the US after living for several years in France, I wanted to keep the language going and so I looked for work as a translator. I started with volunteer work, and eventually built a freelance career translating from French to English for a few core clients. After years of doing that I expanded to working with a team to offer other languages, creating my own small company and wearing all of the hats that this entails. I found that I loved the project and client management aspects that came along with this, but was ready to work with a larger company and move away from the solitary life of working for myself. I joined Avantpage as a Project Manager at first, moving to Account Manager shortly afterwards before heading our Client Services department.

SC: In your role, what is your day-to-day like?

JO: Pretty non-stop and very rarely the day I thought it was going to be!

A mix of fielding client inquiries, answering new sales requests, checking in with my team and our Operations colleagues, planning for upcoming projects and contracts, etc. All of our teams work closely together, so there are a lot of meetings.

We’re also working to become a more data driven company, and so I have several long term projects underway that have to do with tracking and measuring various information and processes throughout our company. Face to face client meetings are definitely my favourite part of the job, so I also spend time scheduling and preparing presentations and business reviews.

SC: What makes Avantpage Translations an exciting place to work?

JO: The fast paced environment leaves no room for feeling bored or wondering what to do next - I can’t remember ever experiencing that feeling here. And we really have a great team of fun and passionate people.

Everyone here works with Avantpage because they care about the industry and about the LEP communities that we serve, so we’re constantly brainstorming and working to power through our workloads together.

Our team is pretty spread out (Davis, CA; Reno, NV; Mexico City, Mexico and Warsaw, Poland) but despite the distances, we work really closely together. It’s an interesting way to get to know people from other places and cultures and we’re a close-knit group!

SC: What’s your vision for the industry in the next few years?

JO: Obviously there’s a lot of automation heading our way, which is really interesting to be part of. We always have this top of mind when looking at the optimization of our processes, but also in terms of what Project Management will look like down the road.

PMs are already taking on more roles than they had five or ten years ago, and I’m sure this will continue to evolve. At Avantpage we also stay very aware of immigration trends and how this will affect what we do.

Because we work in highly-regulated fields (healthcare and elections), we see the demand for our work increasing as the needs of LEP populations in the US develop.

SC: What advice would you give to people who are interested in what you do?

JO: My best advice is to get as much experience as you can in all aspects of the industry that interest you, in order to figure out your best fit. I’ve worked in several different areas, from translation to project management and vendor recruiting - all of that led me to the role that I have now and continues to inform decisions that contribute to the overall success of our client partnerships.

SC: Avantpage has recently gone through a rebranding. Can you tell us a bit more this?

JO: This process kicked off to mark Avantpage’s 20th anniversary in 2016 and was an opportunity to take a step back and look at who we are and why we do what we do.

We did a lot of story-telling and the entire process was a collaboration between our various teams.

During the rebrand we identified our three core values: rigor, empathy, and opportunity. Working from this basis, we wanted to use the occasion to take a stand for what we really believe in at Avantpage - helping our clients to empower immigrant communities through language access.

Our Head of Marketing, Sabra Rubinstein, coordinated all aspects of the re-brand, which involved a complete revamp of our website, social media, and outreach/marketing materials. We’re all super excited about it and we’ve been getting great feedback from our partners and clients.

SC: What is the best advice you've ever received?

JO: I have a couple of colleagues in particular at Avantpage who give me so much daily advice that I couldn’t pick one piece as being the best - it’s one of my favourite things about our team here. A practical bit of wisdom that I always try to follow is to be wary of making rash decisions, especially when feeling fired up or emotional.

I have a tendency to be impulsive, but with business as well as life decisions, I am careful now to take a bit more time - to let something sit overnight, talk it through with others, and look at things from all angles. It’s definitely a balancing act as I’m constantly working on projects where acting quickly is key, but taking a deep breath first is never a bad thing!

You can reach out to Shelby, or Joanna, on their respective LinkedIn profiles. 

Check out some similar roles to Joanna's, Adaptive Globalization is always looking for top candidates across many aspects in the Localization industry - see our jobs, here.