When asked to describe her job in three words, Caitlyn DeRemer’s response was “making a difference.” As an Enrollment Representative with Cengage’s online skills business, ed2go, Caitlyn spends her days fielding inquiries from learners and assisting them through the enrollment process. As a mother of two young boys, she appreciates her remote position and the flexibility that management provides.
We sat down with Caitlyn to better understand her journey and what makes working at ed2go and Cengage unique.
Can you describe your journey and what brought you to your current position?
Before coming onboard with ed2go, I was raising my two boys, ages six and three. Prior to that, I worked for two years at a call center and several years in customer service. Once I was ready to re-enter the workforce, I went back to what I know. With my prior experience, I knew the Enrollment Representative position was in my wheelhouse, and at first, I was hired through a temp agency for the position. I started in the office, and through coaching and mentorship from management, I was brought on as an official Cengage employee and released from my contract with the temp agency.
Last April, my position became remote, and I found a new appreciation for my job and an increased work-life balance. The greatest gift this job has given me is a steady income, time in my day to spend with my family, and a sense of purpose and joy for what I do every day!
Can you describe a “day in the life” working for ed2go? How do you start and end your day?
I’m the first point of contact once an individual elects to enroll in one of our ed2go continuing education programs or if they request more information. I walk them through the enrollment and payment process, answer questions, and ensure they are in the correct program. I facilitate this process with extremely qualified leads, as I never cold call! Customer service is a large part of my day, and I talk to students from ages 18–70, which keeps it interesting.
My interactions with potential students are wonderful. Whether they are embarking on a new path or beginning school for the first time, they need coaching, encouragement, and confidence. I end my day with a smile, knowing I have helped others achieve their education goals!
How would you describe the culture?
Fun and lighthearted! But more importantly, our culture has top-to-bottom transparency. We are never left in the dark about what is happening in the company. We are encouraged to set the bar higher by challenging ourselves and colleagues—it is truly inspiring. There are also plenty of internal programs where you can get mental health services for you and your family, which in today’s world is especially important.
How does your experience at ed2go/Cengage differ from other places you’ve worked? What makes Cengage unique?
At my old job, it was a call-center mentality. You clock in, dial the phone for six hours and leave. Now, I still talk to quite a few people every day, but there is no set script, much more freedom, and a teamwork mentality. I am respected, heard, and truly valued. Management goes above and beyond for us, plus the health and education benefits are amazing! They care about my career and want to help me reach my professional goals while balancing my family and personal needs.
Do you have a favorite time management tip? What is the work/life balance like in your role?
Smile and take your day one step at a time. I love working from home, and having my husband and families’ support in my career is a big part of why I succeed. Additionally, I enjoy not commuting every day as it leaves extra time for me to devote to being a mother and a wife. When it comes to requesting necessary time off, I am honest with my managers, and they are always helpful and accommodating when it comes to my requests. I get emotional talking about it because Cengage has done so much for my family and me.
How do you keep yourself centered between meetings with customers throughout the day?
Our team knows how to have fun, and the managers break up the day with collaborative team calls. We even have a “thirsty Friday” meeting where you can bring an adult beverage if you choose!
I also have a silly picture of my kids on my desk to help me smile and a candle that helps me feel warm and cozy. I will go for a walk with my dog and kids to shake up my day-to-day routine and deeply value that flexibility.
What mentorship or career development opportunities have you had at Cengage?
Although I came in as a temp with little experience in the education space, I was consistently mentored, trained, and soon after brought on full-time. I am encouraged to go for promotions and given options to further my education. In my experience, Cengage has been excellent at hiring internally and recognizing the staff for going above and beyond.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the online skills space?
Knowing I’m making a difference in student lives and making a difference at ed2go and Cengage. I also enjoy seeing what is trending in the job market. For example, what courses are people leaning towards and why? I find it fascinating learning about our students’ lives and reasons for furthering their education.