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 Robin in Digital, Demand and Web Sales, based in San Francisco, to learn more about her career.
What do you do at DocuSign?
I’m responsible for digital marketing, our e-commerce business and website experience, and generating demand for our commercial and enterprise sales teams.
What was your first job after school?
I worked as an analyst at a management consulting firm in Washington, D.C. where I conducted pricing and profitability analyses for a range of companies, including a fast food chain and a paper manufacturer.
How did you get that job and why did you choose it?
A college friend who was a year ahead of me at Dartmouth tipped me off. I was interested in the breadth of exposure I’d have working with different types of businesses, and I knew I’d be working with a talented group of people.
Is it related to the type of work you do today?
The role gave me a strong foundation for assessing and analyzing business problems and growth opportunities, which continues to help me today.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level.
I was recruited to join Odwalla when I was working in brand management at Clorox. It was a pivotal moment, leaving a larger company for a smaller one. At Odwalla, I was in a leadership role, building the core marketing and creative team. I had new responsibilities with less training and structure. This prepared me for future roles at even earlier-stage companies where I’d bring more structure and process to help the company scale.
Did it feel like a risk at the time? And what did you learn from it?
Oh yes. Three weeks after I joined Odwalla, E. coli was found in its apple juice. It was a make-or-break moment for the company, and we had to jump into action. While building our communication strategy and fighting fires across stakeholders, I learned the importance of a strong core value system and leadership team. When employees are all rowing in the same direction, companies can get through a crisis and do the right thing for customers. We worked together and came out on the other side stronger.
Have you had important mentors in your life?
Often, we think our mentors are people who have more experience, but peers can be great mentors, too. They can be objective and provide perspective from shared experiences. I’ve been privileged to work with amazing colleagues throughout my career, and many of these relationships have lasted for years. Several former colleagues and peers continue to be valuable sounding boards for me.
How would you describe your career and the choices you’ve made?
It’s been a relatively steady trajectory. I’ve deliberately joined companies with strong values, great people, and compelling products. DocuSign certainly has those traits, and our rapid growth has provided opportunities to take on new challenges. And I’d underline people as key to my career choices: work is more fun when we’re doing it with awesome people.
What advice would you give to a college junior or senior breaking into the job market?
Join a company with great people and where you believe you can learn.
Any specific tips on how to find a job or organize a job search?
Build and leverage your network. Human connections are very powerful. On campus, use the career center and alumni network. If you’re in a city with alumni groups, tap into them. And when you’re searching for help from people, remember it’s a two-way street. You have a lot to contribute. Show what you can do for them as well.
Have you been a mentor in your career?
I have a master’s degree in women’s studies and at one point I thought about getting a Ph.D. and becoming a professor. While I decided that wasn’t the right career for me, I enjoy teaching and mentoring, and try to make time to help people develop in their careers. Soon after I joined DocuSign, I gathered some women leaders with the goal of supporting and mentoring each other. There weren’t many of us at the time, but we enjoyed our informal gatherings and eventually that group evolved into [email protected], which is now our largest and most active Employee Resources Group.
You have had a very successful career. Aside from professional skills and experience, what has been key to your success?
Knowing what gives me energy and carving out time for that. For example, I’m an avid road biker. And I don’t bike alone. I have a posse. We have ridden together most weekends for a number of years. They’re a core community for me. I also try to bring a sense of adventure into work and my team culture. We laugh a lot. We organize fun – and adventurous – off-sites. Skydiving (!), white water rafting, bubble soccer – anything that gets the adrenaline going, invokes laughter, and helps people let go and get to know each other outside of work and project timeline pressures. Not only are these off-sites fun, but they build a sense of team and help us work better together when we’re back in the office.
If you weren’t in this job, what would you be doing?
If I didn’t have to work? I’d travel even more – exploring new places and cultures, learning from those experiences. A few months ago, I travelled to Morocco with my boyfriend and we had a wonderful time meeting local people and exploring the country. That’s the kind of travel I enjoy most – immersing myself in less familiar cultures and interacting with locals. I love learning and seeing different perspectives.
Think DocuSign might be a fit for you? Check out our job openings: [email protected]