Our “DocuSign UP Career” blog series places the spotlight on employees who tell us about their first job (how they landed it, why they chose it) and key moments in their career that lead to greater learning or career momentum. At DocuSign, we believe in the next generation of leaders and want to help them get on the right career trajectory. That’s why we started DocuSign UP (University Program).
This week we sat down with Kimisha in Customer Success based in Seattle to learn more about her career.
What do you do at DocuSign?
I’m an adoption consultant at DocuSign. I consult with our customers on implementation of the DocuSign product.
What was your first job after school?
When I was 16, I was a teller at Bank of America.
Why did you choose that job?
I pursued my high school and college education simultaneously and needed a job to cover the costs. And, it was an opportunity to get some solid work experience and my mom was in banking. I worked there for nine years, so I got a feel for corporate life.
What did you learn from that job?
I learned the value of customer service, and how to read a phone call or a room. I learned the value of empathizing with the customer. Also, there were a lot of strong women in leadership positions who inspired and motivated me.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level.
I was in the banking industry for 15 years. I hit my limit, so I applied to and accepted a 100% commission job with a radio show. It tested my ability to manage my own career.
That sounds like a big leap.
I didn’t have a kid at the time, so I thought if I’m going to take a risk, this is the time to do it. I did a lot of cold-calling. There were times I’d fail and wouldn’t have any income, but then — boom, boom, boom – I’d get sale after sale. I realized that even though it wasn’t guaranteed, I could figure it out and survive.
Have you had any important mentors in your life?
I met my first mentor at the radio show. She had faith in me and encouraged me to see what I want and go for it. She also taught me good sales fundamentals around building business through cold calling.
How would you describe your career and the choices you’ve made?
I feel I have two careers. My career at DocuSign is customer-focused. I love seeing the lightbulb go on with our customers, seeing how we truly change how they do business. Here, I’ve also learned that change is inevitable and that you can only grow if you’re open to it and adaptable. I also have my own mixed media business — paintings, mosaics, photography. With this art career, I create diversity and push limits. I teach kids and families, and do some larger commissions for the city of Seattle. These two careers complement each other, and it’s fun that they can intersect and evolve at the same time.
What habits have you developed that allow you to balance the two?
Having a corporate job at 16 allowed me to pay for my school and art supplies. I learned how to balance that early on and made sure I chose a position that supported a work-life balance. What pushes me is knowing that when I go home, I have other projects that are fulfilling to work on and are contributing to the community. On top of that, I try to be hyper-focused at work. But it’s not easy, I’ll tell you that.
What created that drive in you at such a young age?
I had a single mom who had to work two jobs. She had two kids and a lot of health issues, so she was juggling the jobs, taking care of her kids, and going to the hospital all the time. But she was the most optimistic, upbeat, amazing person ever. She was also my best friend. I saw her handle all this, but I also saw her move up in her banking career. Everyone loved working with her. That legacy definitely lives on in me. If you have a passion, go for it because life is short.
Do you feel like what you’re doing now is tapping into your skills and experience?
Yes, because I’m doing more project management, connecting with clients. I’m also looking into possibly becoming a developer, figuring out how my creativity can benefit DocuSign. I’m working with my manager to get some education for that — taking night classes.
What advice would you give a college junior or senior entering the job market?
Enjoy yourself but focus on the big picture. Write down your goals — what you want, what you need, what you want to do. And do your research. Never go into any interview or meeting without understanding who’s involved. Practice so you can be confident.
What advice do you wish you’d been given at the start of your career?
You can have a corporate job while also pursuing a passion. And they can overlap! I’d also say be proactive. If I hadn’t sought out the position I have now, I probably wouldn’t be working here. For my first interview at DocuSign, I’d filled out lists of questions that could be asked and what my responses would be. I put them all on the wall and essentially locked myself in a room so I’d be super-prepared. I went through about ten interviews to get the right job, but I had a gut feeling that I was going to end up here. And don’t take no for answer; figure out ways to combat any negativity.
If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?
I’m definitely looking toward art being a huge part of my career in the next five to ten years.
Interested in working at DocuSign? Check out our open positions.