Fostering relationships has been key to Amber Hopper’s personal life and career, whether on the court or over the phone.
Hopper built a career that started in athletics and pivoted to telecommunications - an unusual transition that will become clear in a moment. Today, she’s a major accounts coordinator/network account executive with SDN Communications. She joined the team in the fall of 2021 after working for an Iowa telecom provider for 15 years.
She started with sports, however, and that’s where Hopper thought she’d end up. Born and raised in Rapid City, she graduated from the University of South Dakota. She played volleyball all four years of college and ran track for two seasons. Hopper earned a Master of Arts and served one year as a graduate assistant for the USD volleyball team.
She met her husband at USD and they started life in the Sioux City area, where Hopper was a certified ACE personal trainer and certified group fitness instructor.
Personal training allows one to develop a more intrinsic view of their client’s wants and needs as well as their strengths and weaknesses; one of those clients was a CEO of a telecom company.
He shared an opportunity at his company and Hopper made the career change. She did a little bit of everything during her 15 years there — from marketing to commercial sales, carrier sales, wholesale and support. And she had the opportunity to interact with SDN’s team members, too. When Ryan Punt, SDN’s then Vice President of Sales, approached her about joining the company, Hopper decided it was the right time for another change.
She brought her previous experience in working with customers and knowing the industry to her new role. She now works on projects, tracks customers and is the point of contact for some of the company’s largest accounts.
“SDN offers what many carriers don’t — they have an intrinsic value add to their service which is one of the reasons why they are valued as the premier business to business telecommunications provider in the region.” Hopper said. “I continue to work to surpass the expectations that the customers are used to having met.”
In her role, Hopper says she’s able to really “drill in and develop” customer relationships.
“Building rapport with a customer is building trust. And having a customer’s trust is something very valuable,” she says. “SDN doesn’t just deliver UPTIME; they’re also a trusted partner in their customers’ operations.”
The support of other departments, which she says work well together, also has a positive impact. Using data to improve services and having a solid brand also strengthens relationships.
“In an industry that’s constantly morphing, the more knowledge you have about the industry verticals as well as their challenges is important,” she said. “Having a department that is able to digest the information and wrap it up into a solution is a great asset to have.”
First as a peer in the industry and now as an employee, Hopper says her perspective of SDN Communications remains the same.
Hopper and her husband also have two elementary-aged children and live on an acreage near Elk Point, south Dakota.
SDN is a leader in providing direct Internet Access, Ethernet Transport Services, Wavelength, and managed services to businesses and organizations in communities such as Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Worthington, and across a 7-state region.