When I was in law school, one of my favorite professors gave me a sage piece of advice about my career: “Though you can prepare for many things, much of your professional life and career will be governed by serendipity.” Though I have found those words to be resonant throughout my career, I have found that it is serendipity with a dose of directed, values-driven hard work that has really defined my trajectory.
Earlier this month, I received DailyPay’s first internal Vice President promotion – a meaningful step in my career that certainly would not have been possible without organizational support driven by my personal, significant investment in specific tenets driving my leadership and professional progress.
I started my career at DailyPay knowing that I had joined a very special organization. I had made a huge leap through an act of chance – meeting DailyPay’s CEO, Jason Lee, through a Linkedin post. I left my practice as a corporate attorney to begin a much more operationally-focused role as DailyPay’s Chief of Staff. A key reason for my taking this step was Jason’s and DailyPay’s clear commitment to supporting and uplifting merit-based leadership. Throughout my time at the company, I have been encouraged to take risks, drive ownership over countless evolving areas in the organization, and leverage my specific skill set to make a difference. I was bestowed a sense of trust and value for my diverse ways of thinking – enabling me to truly flourish as a professional.
As a woman of color in a traditionally male-dominated space, having the province I have enjoyed and will continue to cultivate certainly would not have been possible without an organization that makes such a strong investment in its people. But there are several key areas I’ve focused on developing as a professional that have enabled me the ability to uplift my work and my career – in fact, many of DailyPay’s key values are ones that I have relied on in my professional life.
First, do your research so that you can act like an owner. Building confidence in your work process and product can be difficult in a professional world that often judges women for speaking out and advocating riskier approaches. But being data-driven, obsessive about proving value for your team and stakeholders, and leveraging your strengths in order to build a path to the strongest outcomes can enable those risky decisions to drive clear and discernible value over time. This approach has enabled me the ability not only to suggest, but to prove out, the value of my perspectives and ideas over time.
Next, always move the line. Challenge yourself to consistently take incremental steps towards better outcomes. Every accomplishment, for me, has been a new opportunity to define what more I can do. Raising the bar time and again, and accepting that I am capable of meeting and exceeding that new bar, has given me the conviction I need to be able to really level up at each stage in my career.
Finally, pull the wagon. Having the humility to always dive in, help out, and get the job done have given me such great perspective on challenges and opportunities I wouldn’t have had exposure to otherwise. Being a constant learner, hungry for information and vigilant to dive in and problem-solve, gave me a crash course in so many areas of our business that I’ve leveraged in order to always redefine excellence in my own practice.
As I reflect on what has brought me to this stage of my career and what lies ahead, I certainly am grateful for the serendipitous chances that have come my way. I am also empowered through my investment in my professional development with a strong sense of confidence, drive, and values-driven work ethic to explore what lies ahead.