Working across various business lines with key executives, as well as business line leaders, Lorraine Avery recently retired from her positions as senior vice president, strategic director of bank operations, and diversity and inclusion consultant with Associated Banc-Corp in 2017, previously serving in these positions since 1976. During this time, she also served the company as senior vice president and director of contract center operations from 1998 to 2014, in which she was responsible for all aspects of customer service and contact center operations, strategic directions and interface with all business lines. In addition to this tenure, Ms. Avery was on the board of directors of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP) International, a trade organization that represents the profession of customer care across all industries.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Avery studied business administration at the University of Wisconsin and financial management at the Institute of Banking. Additionally, she completed various technical and management training, as well as training in executive leadership in Portage County, Wisconsin, total quality management, and continuous training through the American Bankers Association (ABA) and Financial Edge (FE). A recipient of many certifications, Ms. Avery attained a total quality management designation and a special designation for training customer programs used by the Ritz-Carlton and other high-quality companies.
Involved in her local community, Ms. Avery has been active as a member of the United Way endowment committee since 2013, on the board of directors of Junior Achievement since 2014 and the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Wisconsin since 2017, and president of Junior Achievement since 2016 and the Women’s Fund since 2018. She was previously the invited president of the Board of Governors Task Force from 1997 to 2001, elected to the position by Gov. Tommy Thompson. Ms. Avery has also found success in various roles with the Woodland Girl Scout Council, Portage County Board of Directors, the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, the United Way of Portage County and the Portage County Business Council.
A recipient of several honors and accolades throughout her career, Ms. Avery was notably honored with the Tina Peters Dedicated Service Award in 2015, which is presented to an individual who has shown exemplary passion and compassion to the residents of Portage County, Wisconsin, through the United Way. Ms. Peters presented her with the award and said, “This year’s recipient is a well-respected individual who has a long history with this United Way and throughout the community.” Likewise, Ms. Avery received a Contact Center Program certificate from J.D. Power in 2016 and the President’s Award from the Portage County Business Council in 2017. Previously, she was also inducted into the Worldwide Lifetime Achievement in Finance and Customer Service in 2015. Furthermore, she is listed in the 71st edition of Who’s Who in America.
In an article recently published by her company, Ms. Avery was described by the senior vice president of customer service and contact center operations as the “go-to person for both internal and external customer-relationship issues across all our lines of business,” and someone who never turned away from taking on lesser or different duties. She learned her hard work ethic and service to community after starting work as a pre-teen doing door-to-door fundraising. Long before customer service and loyalty were industry buzzwords, Ms. Avery was a pioneer in diverse positions within the customer service field. Her empathy for others also enables her to work well with her co-workers. Her peers have stated that anyone who has had anything to do with her, personally or professionally, is all the richer from that experience.