Safelite leadership spotlight: Renee Cacchillo
In honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with Renee Cacchillo, Executive Vice President and Customer Experience Officer here at Safelite.
Since 2011, Renee has held key leadership roles in operations, data analytics, digital marketing, and advertising. She also designed our People Powered, Customer Driven strategy that is at the foundation of our commitment to delivering superior policyholder experiences.
Below, she shares her proudest career moments, tips for aspiring business leaders, and strategies for success.
What have you learned about leadership and the customer experience during your career at Safelite?
The power of the experiences we create for customers comes from our people — whether they work in the contact center, field operations, design, market research, or a back-office function. As leaders, we work to ensure that everyone understands our collective vision and their role in bringing the customer experience to life. When they understand it, they are empowered to be customer experience experts in their area of the business.
What qualities do you think make a successful customer experience leader?
It's essential to understand the industry you serve and how customers interact with your business. Out of the gate, you need a strong focus on learning customer trends and the segments that make up your current and future portfolio to build a necessary knowledge base. Then being curious, proficient with technology, and an activator will help contribute to your ultimate success. In short, start where you can, not where it’s perfect.
What advice would you give to women trying to break into a leadership role?
It's important to start with a strategy and vision so you can bring others along with you. Be a good partner to the overall business even though your number one priority is serving customers. Don’t be afraid to fail — but fail fast and share your learning with others. Be sure to ask for help. When you do, you'll end up with a better product, and your colleagues will see the value of their contributions.
What is one thing you see other business leaders failing to do?
One of the missteps leaders can take is moving too fast. I've done this, and the outcome isn't good. At times, I stop listening and start reacting instead of learning and making changes that are significant for our customers. Communicating what you learn through failure strengthens your vision for where you’re heading. Rely on your partners to help improve the concepts you’re developing.
Are there any assumptions about women in the workplace that you are trying to change?
Sometimes women don't speak up, or when they do, it may be perceived as coming off too forceful. But don’t let that deter you from finding your voice at the table. You can do this just by being yourself and picking a few areas where you believe you can make an impact. Go after those, master them, and then tackle the next few.
How do you mentor other women in the business?
I always strive to be a good role model and provide encouragement for other women to help them find their voice, gain confidence and be prepared — all vital in building a successful career. And I reinforce the value of curiosity and seeking feedback to sharpen skills, gain knowledge, and evolve their expertise. Staying focused on these areas, especially early in their career, helps build a solid foundation for their future.
How did you get where you are today and who/what helped you along the way?
I've been fortunate to work for several great leaders with different leadership styles, and I've become more adaptive as a result. But more than anything, feedback in my career has pushed me to grow. I've learned to embrace it, make changes when needed, and also look inside myself to know why I do what I do and understand what’s important to me.
Describe your proudest career moment.
Strangely enough, I always thought my proudest career moment would be a promotion, a title, or a role, but that's not the case. I would say I’m proudest of having the courage to hire people who knew more than I did in critical business areas. Acknowledging that, as a leader, I didn't have to be the smartest one all the time helped me to make great hiring decisions and build talented teams.
Seeing my team grow, the content improving, surpassing business goals, and understanding our customers better makes me very proud.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
I would have found my voice earlier as an executive. The only thing that held me back was myself and my mind telling me to be conservative or reserved. The work always got done, but I could have strengthened my leadership early on by sharing my input more.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
I keep my curiosity level high and engage with my team daily. I also attend conferences, work with customer experience partners, and learn from others in the service industry to stay engaged — that’s very important to me, given the rapidly changing pace of serving today's customers.
What advice do you give your daughters or other young women as they prepare to enter the workforce?
Believe in yourself and work hard for things that are important to you. Don’t let people tell you what you can and can’t do; only you can set your path.
What woman inspires you, and why?
Hoda Kotb is a woman who gives me a lot of energy. She’s talented, funny, doesn’t take herself too seriously, and has found a balance with a demanding work schedule and her family. Hoda has grown to become a very successful and influential professional in her industry. I think that’s something to be inspired by.