Alan Spotlight

In today’s blog, I interviewed Senior Business Development Manager Alan Urmston. Since 2021, Alan has mainly focused on building demand for products and services, whilst delivering solutions to new and existing clients. In our interview, we find out what motivates him, how he became part of the team and how he collaborates with the US.

How did you find your way to LanguageLine?

My first profession was banking. I'm a qualified banker who spent nearly 30 years in the banking industry, working with corporate organisations around the UK. My whole career has always been client-facing, working with clients, engaging with them, trying to solve their problems, and creating a good outcome for them. However, my real specialism is a professional business. I was working with an organisation to understand their challenges, whether translation, interpreting, or whether, as it was in my former life, a banking or risk management issue. Whatever the role, it has always been about developing business, using sales skills, techniques, and a consultative approach to help that client arrive at the best possible outcome. I took a couple of years to learn and understand what consulting means. I was also looking for a different challenge. One of my relatives mentioned that the company they worked for was looking for people in the translations and interpreting department - specifically for people with my credentials. I had never considered the sector before, but I accepted the challenge and spent two years there, thoroughly enjoying my new career in language services.

What motivates you every day?

The one thing that motivates me to get out of bed in the morning is that every day is different. It could be that there's a new product or a new piece of technology. One of my colleagues on the VRI team recently told me that one of our services had been upgraded to allow one of my clients to have a better outcome. So, it might be a new client I engage with for the first time, the first project they give me, or an update in LanguageLine's services. Many things here motivate me, and every day is different. In addition to everyday being different, the satisfaction I get from work is a big factor. For example, I think the achievement of bringing in new clients, quarter on quarter and seeing these develop. One is an excellent example of collaboration and working with colleagues internally to produce the best outcome for a client. The client was based in the Far East and had quite a unique specification. Understanding the specific nature of the requirements, I initially engaged with LanguageLine colleagues out in the US, knowing they had the technology and experience specific to this opportunity. By leveraging technology used by my US colleagues, we could deliver an outstanding solution for the client. This was so pleasing as we were able to delight the client through global collaboration – and exemplified again the superb culture of an alliance, support and team spirit within our company.

How would you describe the culture at LanguageLine?

The culture is very open, and I mean that I could send an email to our Managing Director, and she'll take the time to call or email. Similarly, it's the same through the whole management team. There's always interest in what's happening and a keenness to help and support. Also, with colleagues, from translations to interpreting to customer services to operations to finance, it's always incredibly open, and people are willing to help. The other comment regarding culture is a strong sense of collaboration. COVID has affected many organisations, and the initial feeling was that in-person meetings were the best way to operate. However, over the last 18 months, during the time I've been at LanguageLine, what's noticeable is that collaboration – the feeling of an alliance is not weaker by using Slack or Teams. So, taking a collaborative approach, despite the impact of COVID, is still a vital component of LanguageLine culture and means that we still have openness and cooperation. And finally, an essential aspect of our culture is that the people are lovely. They're friendly people to work with, which is a fabulous thing to have. It's not always the case at different organisations.