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SMCT Empathy Award winner: Vicki Ferguson

26 August 2022

What is your role at SMCT?

I am SMCT’s Senior Accounts Receivable Officer. I work closely with our CX, Administration and Delivery & Solutions teams, as well as our external stakeholders such as Funeral Directors. I assist with account queries, sending out invoices and statements, helping with bank reconciliation, customer transactions and so much more (it would take too long to get into it all!).

You were the recipient of SMCT’s Empathy Award, recognising your ability to put others’ needs first and show compassion. Can you tell us about the importance of empathy in the workplace?

To me, empathy is such an important part of everyday life. In the industry that we work in, having empathy is imperative – we help people who are going through one of the hardest times of their life. Making people feel welcome and included is very important, and simply saying hello to people as you walk past them, whether it be a new member of SMCT or a visitor to one of our sites, can make all the difference. I find that if you say hello to a visitor, they are more open to ask questions if they are lost (which is a common occurrence at our extensive Springvale site!). Showing a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Tell us about a project that you have enjoyed being a part of over the last 12 months.

The main project that I have been working on during the year is working through our price index. It’s a big endeavour that needs to be completed for the beginning of the new financial year, and it takes a lot of hard work and time to complete. Receiving approval from the Department of Human Services to say that they have accepted our proposal always generates a bit of relief and celebration.

Your one wish for the next 12 months is...

On a professional level, my one wish is for our Revolve technology to be implemented without a hitch and have the new finance and customer management systems up and running without any issues (fingers crossed). On a personal level, I really want to just continue to have a happy, healthy life and share that with the people I care about most.

What's something you wish everyone knew about working at SMCT or within the cemeteries industry?

People probably don’t think of this when they think cemeteries, but I just love how interesting the industry is – I find it so amazing how people from different cultures and religions, and just different people in general, have such unique views towards death. It’s vastly different how people tend to deal with it. As a young child I used to hold my breath as I drove past a cemetery, which I find amusing now that I work in one, and it probably represents how most of the world views cemeteries. But they really are incredible, interesting places.

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