Sabrina Spirito, Manager of Technical Operations for the Keystone Region, has been recognized with the first-ever Employee Resource Group Trailblazer Impact Award, which recognizes an ERG leader who inspires positive change and impact. Sabrina started her career journey in the United States Marine Corps as a Data Systems and Communications Officer and obtained the rank of Captain. While on active duty, she earned her Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Systems Management. She then worked for Verizon and CenturyLink before she was recruited by Comcast into the Billing Call Center in Harrisburg, where she helped to lead the company’s customer experience transformation.
In 2016, she moved into her current role where she leads 50 fulfillment techs and their supervisors in the York, PA area. She has been the lead for Keystone’s VetNet ERG chapter for the past two years. When she’s not at work, she spends time with her husband or riding her horses and playing with her cats, dogs and chickens on her family farm.
You’ve had an amazing career path, from military service to the telecommunications world and now to Comcast. Tell us about your journey and how you landed at Comcast.
I had always been interested in telecommunications. It was a good fit for my interests and my skills and strengths, and furthering my education with a Master’s Degree was key to transitioning into corporate roles once I had completed my military career. Working in various roles at Verizon over 16 years gave me the kind of background to be more flexible and versatile, and it got me ready to take the leap of faith into cable when I joined Comcast. It was new technology to me and very challenging, but the way this company operates is so different than the utility mindset that I came from. That difference is really based on the culture. This is a place that cares about its people and wants to see them succeed, and that made it the right fit for me.
What positive changes were led by or influenced by Keystone VetNet?
When I began in the lead role two years ago, I inherited a great foundation. It was clear that my job would be to continue caring for, growing and supporting our Veterans and their supporters, but it also meant taking our ERG’s impact to the next level. The biggest changes I’ve seen are: first, that we’ve grown our membership – we’re at over 500 members and climbing – and second, with the addition of four new ERGs in the Keystone Region, we saw incredible opportunities to partner with other ERGs and expand our influence, our impact and our reach to members and non-members, as well as to our communities. The next big opportunity lies in the area of career development. The ERGs are just beginning to blossom as a strategic partner with our business and our employees to drive workforce development and grow employee engagement in defining their own future.
You are described as a leader who helps people feel valued. How do you do that?
When I was in the Marine Corps, I was astounded by our past leaders. They got their platoons to run – not walk, but run – into harm’s way. If they can do that, the least we can do as leaders is bring an attitude that says “We’re all in this together.“
For me, it’s about getting to know the folks you’re working with or leading, and I believe the best way is through one-on-one conversations. When I’m talking with someone, my primary message is, “How can I help you today?” The answer might be something little, or it might turn out to be something that changes the trajectory of their career path. For example, there’s a tech on my team who had an interest in applying for a position on the region’s Diversity & Inclusion Council. Hopefully my support and encouragement were part of what gave him the confidence to go for it, and now he sits side-by-side with senior leaders as well as his peers and is having a profound impact on our culture, while also having an incredible experience.
ERGs share common goals aligned with the four pillars of Commerce, Career, Culture and Community. Can you describe why being true to all four is important and how your ERG has worked toward that aspiration?
The four pillars help us to stay focused. They don’t let us get too heavy in one area, but keep our efforts balanced and make sure we’re always adapting. When we have projects like Toys for Tots or Boatsies Boxes, we’re building our culture and helping our community. When we support military career fairs, we’re building careers while supporting the commerce of our business by bringing in great talent. But the real impact is found in the daily conversations I have with our Veterans. They are deeply aware of how much they are valued by Comcast!
What gets you to kick off the covers every morning?
That’s easy. I love my job and I love the York team. Every day, we have an opportunity to work together to change both the customer’s and the employee’s perception of Comcast. We do this one customer interaction at a time, and we do it as a team. Working with them makes me happy, and I know if they’re happy, they’re going to walk into the home and make the customer happy, too!