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Breaking the Bias – Kasey Dickson writes her own story

As a part of our Women’s History Month celebration, we are elevating the voices of women at Qualtrics who have Broken the Bias by seeking nontraditional career paths. We sat down with Kasey and other women at Qualtrics to hear their stories and we'll be sharing them throughout the month. You can check out the rest of the series here

My career story has become a pattern of me looking for ways to improve organizations and pitching those opportunities. While I was in college I was a server at a locally owned Japanese restaurant in Seattle. They were a growing organization owned by folks who didn't have a restaurant background. I was graduating from college during the 2008 recession and wasn't having a ton of luck finding a career in my "chosen" field, so I began to think outside of the box and pitched my current bosses/restaurant owners on all of the things I could do to create more scalable efficient solutions as they were looking to grow from 3 locations to 15+ and I got the job! I've done this over and over again. Look for opportunities within organizations and speak up about ways you can help to fill those gaps. You'll be shocked at what can come your way.

How did you decide on your career path?

I didn't really decide on it, it kind of chose me. I started in restaurants and loved the industry, but the work-life balance wasn't for me long-term. So I transitioned into restaurant tech, then from implementation to solution engineering, and then from restaurant tech to Qualtrics. Always be open to new opportunities and paths to grow and change.

Tell us about the importance of leadership / mentorship in your career journey.

The quality of my leaders and mentors has improved as my career has progressed. That is probably normal, but the excellent leaders I've had have made an important impact on my career and my life in general.

Take what you can from your leaders but don't take feedback from someone on something that you don't respect about that individual. As an example, if you have a leader or team member that's an excellent motivational speaker, take their advice on speaking and storytelling. If someone has trouble explaining technical concepts in layman's terms, and they're giving you feedback on doing just that, don't feel the need to get too wrapped up in that feedback.

What’s the best career advice you have ever received?

A few key things that stand out that I've learned from leaders that guide the way I operate:

1. "Your emergency does not have to be my emergency". It's one thing to support your team members, but if you have folks who are consistently under prepared, be confident in setting boundaries.

2. "Don't lose in your own fantasies." If you've ever read Crucial Conversations you probably know that someone says something, then you tell yourself a story, then you have an emotional reaction. This happens during conversations, but it can also happen in preparation. Preparation for a sales call, or for a career conversation with your manager, or for a job interview. It's one thing to be prepared, but as you play out scenarios in your mind, don't be the loser. Always play through the scenario until you get to a win.

3. "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Senneca. This one is HUGE. If you become someone who is prepared, you'll quickly become a favorite teammate. Never join a meeting and CERTAINLY never lead a meeting without an agenda. Research your goals/competitors/customers/vendors. Come prepared with questions. Do your homework. Preparation goes a long way.

Kasey Dickson is an alumna of the University of Washington and works as a Senior Solution Engineer. She is an active member of Women's Leadership Development, a Q Group (employee resource group) with the charter of elevating and supporting all women at Qualtrics so they achieve personal & professional wellness and impact.

Women's Leadership Development

Women’s Leadership Development (WLD) aims to empower ALL Women at Qualtrics globally to thrive by: attracting diverse women’s talent; developing & retaining women to all our teams; building a strong network of allies to create opportunities for action; elevating the voice of all Women to create a culture of belonging; partnering with the community to create a more inclusive environment.

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