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 Tracy in Customer Success based in Ottawa to learn more about her career.
What do you do at DocuSign?
I’m the Director of Services Communications, responsible for leading internal and external communications for our customer success strategy. We help employees stay engaged and plug into our overall business strategies, and help them make our customers successful.
What was your first job after school?
I was a marketing communications specialist for a small technology company in Canada. At the time, not many companies were thinking of customer satisfaction and experience, but this one was.
Why did you choose that job?
First, I knew several people at the company and was excited to work with them. Second, it was a very small business but they were doing big things with the Canadian government. Even as a recent graduate, I had the opportunity to learn a lot and create something.
How did you get that job?
Classic networking connections. I had worked with the person who would become my boss, and when he had the opportunity to hire someone, he reached out to me.
Is it related to the type of work you do today? And what did you learn from it?
On the surface, it’s definitely connected — understanding customer needs and behavior, understanding what programs will make them successful, and being able to roll out the communications strategy. What’s different is the scope of responsibility, the scale I operate at, and the technological tools we use.
When you were younger, what career did you envision for yourself?
I wanted to do something that involved writing and public persuasion, helping influence how people thought. I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of cool things and apply the core things I am passionate about.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level, or a risk you took that paid off.
Throughout my career, I would see a need in the business and essentially ask for the opportunity to solve it. At one point, my previous employer was going through a significant change of strategy and transformation of the business, especially in terms of how we engaged customers. I went to my VP and said, “Our employee engagement and retention is at risk because we’re interjecting so much change. We also need a more cohesive way of communicating change to our customers, and I can help solve that for you.” I created a new role to address this need, which meant stepping away from leading a large team. It was a gamble but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I built something new that didn’t exist before, which I’m very proud of. We were able to look at employee retention and engagement statistics and quantifiably measure the impact on our customers and business.
How would you describe your career and the choices you’ve made?
In my previous employer, we used the analogy of a career being either a ladder or a lattice, which stuck with me because I’m definitely a lattice! I don’t measure my success based on my title, and focus more on enjoying the people I work with and taking on roles that challenge and stretch me.
At what point did you discover your limitations or what you’re not interested in doing?
A striking piece of advice I once got was, “Outsource everything that’s not your core competency.” Recognize the things that you’re both good at and passionate about; and then look at everything that doesn’t meet that criteria and say, “Is there somebody who can do this better, or is there a better way to get this done?” I’m organized, very much a list person who can break down what needs to get done, which is helpful with large-scale projects. But I shouldn’t be the person managing the project in terms of the actual nitty-gritty deliverables.
Have you faced any setbacks in your career?
For me it was personal circumstances, not a failure from a work perspective. My husband and I adopted three children, who have a number of special needs, and they need a lot of support services. It’s one of the reasons I’ve structured my professional life the way I have, not letting myself be entirely consumed by work. I’ve had to say no to a lot of things I might otherwise have wanted to do, but it goes back to the clarity of purpose. It has absolutely shaped where my path has gone, it’s shaped how I think about my development and advancement, and it absolutely shapes the choices I make. It’s much deeper than a conversation about work/life balance because in reality, there are some weeks where it’s all about work, and there are other times when my family has to take priority. That’s when the focus on the big picture becomes so important.
What advice would you give to a college junior or senior breaking into the job market?
Look for what you can learn in any opportunity. Be open to things you didn’t expect, and to trying something new. Know what kind of work you want to do and the impact you want to have, and don’t define that by a job description. Titles vary so much depending on the size and scale of a company.
Any specific tips on how to actually find a job or organize a job search?
Networking is key, and it’s more than exchanging business cards at a networking event. Think about your existing relationships and the relationships you can build, and how to leverage them in your next opportunity.
If not this job, what would you be doing?
If money were no object and I could do anything, I’d be writing full-time.
Think DocuSign might be a fit for you? Check out our job openings: [email protected]