Christina Fair: Putting in the Work, Building the Teams Leads to STEM Honor
It’s little surprise that Crain’s Detroit Business has honored Rocket Fiber’s Christina Fair in its Notable Women in STEM 2019 special section. Anyone who has worked with Fair, Vice President of Client Experience and Mousetrap with Rocket Fiber, knows just how hard this industry pro works and how committed she is to client service.
Fair’s peers point to her as a key reason for Rocket Fiber’s success in the fiber internet industry. Rocket Fiber is known for its client service. And no one at the company has been more responsible for this top-notch service.
The Crain’s honor, then, only makes sense. Fair is a leader at Rocket Fiber and has been since the company’s start in 2015.
What’s most interesting about Fair’s selection by Crain’s, though, is that she didn’t start her career with the goal in working with technology. Instead, she focused on mortgage banking and financial services. She thrived in these fields and has spent most of her career helping to build Quicken Loans into the industry giant it is today, working for the company since 2000.
Moving to Rocket Fiber and the world of fiber internet, then, presented its own challenges. As Fair said, she had to learn how fiber Internet worked. And she had to learn this quickly.
“When I first joined the team, I felt a bit overwhelmed with the technology,” Fair said. “I had to dive in to learn about the industry and our equipment.”
Being honored with the STEM award, then, represents a significant achievement for Fair, who proved that she could succeed not just in the mortgage lending space but in the world of technology, too.
“It’s satisfying to see the efforts I put into this for the last five years pay off,” Fair said. “I can share with other women who want to move into this field that it is possible to do this later in life.”
Fair will be featured in the May 27 issue of Crain’s Detroit Business, in its Notable Women in STEM section. This section highlights the careers of women throughout the Detroit area who have built successful careers in technology and who have also made a positive difference in the region.
For more than four years now, Fair has led a team that is responsible for sales, client service, marketing and technology – or just about everything — as Rocket Fiber has steadily grown.
How did Fair make this move and do it so successfully? There’s no secret formula; she just worked hard.
First, she mastered the acronyms and vernacular of the fiber internet business. Then she studied the technology. This meant spending nights and weekends learning what fiber internet was and why it was a superior technology. Fair even studied the very basics of the business, such as learning how to reboot routers.
To make sure she understood the technology and how it affected the lives of customers, Fair spent time working Rocket Fiber’s help desk, taking phone calls from clients. Finding the answers to the questions these clients asked provided one more way for Fair to boost her understanding of fiber internet.
Then it was time to take this knowledge and use it to build Rocket Fiber’s presence in the market. This, of course, has long been Fair’s talent, and she hasn’t disappointed since moving to Rocket Fiber. Armed with a new understanding of the technology behind fiber internet, Fair helped to build successful sales teams, found and mentored leaders in the company and hired the right people to help Rocket Fiber thrive.
“From the very beginning of my time with Rocket Fiber, I knew I had to put in the work,” Fair said. “I wanted to walk into our meetings and feel educated. I didn’t want to feel like a glorified assistant. This is still a very heavily male-dominated space. I wanted to make the people here feel like I deserved my seat at the table.”
Fair’s move to Rocket Fiber is just the latest adventure she’s taken with the Quicken Loans family of companies. She has worked with the company in some capacity for 19 years, starting as an entry-level appraisal analyst before moving into the mortgage banking field. Eventually, Fair became the leader of the process and innovation group for Quicken Loans, a group known as Mouse Trap.
Both mortgage banking and the Internet business have long been industries dominated by men. But Fair says she’s never seen that as an obstacle to her success.
“I have always tried to do things that weren’t something that women should be doing according to society,” Fair said.
This drive led Fair to become the first female director of mortgage banking at Quicken Loans. This made the decision to move to Rocket Fiber a difficult one. Should she stay at Quicken Loans where she had already succeeded, or should she take on a new challenge?
Fair said that she made her decision after meeting the people with whom she’d be working at Rocket Fiber.
“I saw who they were as human beings and I knew I wanted to work with them,” Fair said. “At the same time, I knew that working in this new field would be a great challenge for me. It gave me the opportunity to grow something new from the ground up.”
Fair has no regrets about this move. When Fair joined Quicken Loans in 2000, the company was a small one. During her time there, she saw it steadily grow into the mortgage leader it is today. Fair says that she now has the chance to see this unfold again at Rocket Fiber.
Today, Rocket Fiber employs about 70 team members. The company has grown from serving 200 or so residential clients to several thousand. Thanks to the talented team members here, Rocket Fiber has also grown its business portfolio, providing fiber internet service to such clients as the Detroit Lions, Quicken Loans and the new Shinola Hotel in downtown Detroit.
Rocket Fiber, of course, provides far more than just fiber internet service. The company provides a host of business services designed to help companies of any size.
For instance, Rocket Fiber provides data hosting and cloud services, storage that comes with the highest level of security. Rocket Fiber also provides voice services including Unified Communications & Hosted PBX, PRI and SIP Trunking. Those clients in need of the fastest and most reliable service can also take advantage of Rocket Fiber’s Managed Services, including Managed Wi-Fi, Managed LAN and WAN and Secure VPN.
“There is something special about this team,” Fair said. “If tomorrow they said they wanted to focus on soccer balls, I’d still stick with them. I trust their judgment that much. I always tell people that the team they are working with is the most important part of their job. Surround yourself with people who will make you better.”