CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

CEO finds her calling

By Lauren Breslin
Special to The Sun

Her success story has a nice "ring" to it -- if you'll excuse the pun.

Erifili Morfidis remembers working the phones as a telemarketer back in high school. One experience in particular stands out, when she applied for work at a call centre in Toronto. "I got fired from that job in 20 minutes," she recalls, chuckling. In the end, though, she showed them who's boss.
Erifili Morfidis was just 23 years old when she beat out 250 other candidates for the position of CEO for Teleperformance Canada.

Today, Morfidis is president and CEO of Teleperformance Canada, the second largest call centre outsourcing company in the world. From the time she was hired on to the position 10 years ago, she has since grown the business into a multi-million dollar enterprise. An unlikely turn of events, to be sure, for a woman who earned a degree in criminology from U of T, and otherwise held a smattering of part-time jobs, including telemarketing, office work and a brief stint as a probation officer.

"I didn't know what I was going to do at first," Morfidis says. "Criminology interested me because it had to do with people and their behaviours."

Little did she know, it was precisely this fascination with people -- and a knack for working well with them -- that would propel her to the corporate success she enjoys today.

Fresh out of school, back in 1995, Morfidis was eager to begin her career. With no formal training or hands-on experience in the field, she nonetheless pursued a newfound interest in business. By a stroke of fate, her husband cut out an ad from the newspaper seeking a CEO for the Canadian subsidiary of the world's largest telecommunications company, SR Teleperformance.

Morfidis showed up to the interview with a five-year business plan in hand. "My strategy going in was to show that I was a professional person, I had knowledge in the call centre industry, and at the same time I was willing to do anything it took to beat my competition."

And it worked. Morfidis, then just 23 years old, beat out 250 other candidates for the position. "I was so thrilled -- although I have to say I was shocked."

Emotions aside, a daunting task stood before Morfidis, who at that time was the first -- and only -- employee of Teleperformance Canada. Ten years later, her efforts have led the company to double-digit growth each year since its inception, and she now oversees 1,800 employees, and brings in more than $50 million in revenues.

Although modest, Morfidis attributes much of her success to building and maintaining good relationships with people. "Through the years, even though we've grown, we still maintain a close relationship with our staff," she says, "because they're the ones who are going to make a difference within the organization. They're the ones who are speaking frontline to our clients' customers. They are the company's future."

Pardon the pun, yet again, but the moral of Morfidis' story "rings" true: she is living proof that anyone with talent, drive and the instinct to seize good opportunities can make anything possible.

"You always have to think that anything is possible," Morfidis says. "And you need to build on your dreams. If your dream is to have a job in business, find an environment you enjoy. Enjoying what you do is important, but contributing to the organization is also important. And it has to be genuine. Every time you contribute, your environment -- or your boss -- gives back to you. I think that's what gets you ahead."

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