Aisling, Learning & Enablement Analyst: her story of career mobility
There comes a time in a person’s career when their current job and their long term ambitions no longer complement each other. It often leaves an individual at a crossroads where a desire to stay with a company clashes with a lack of access to jobs that further their career, or where a company’s thought processes about career progression inhibit that person from staying. And while there is perhaps no company that can design an employee experience that prevents the loss of incredibly talented people at every step, creating the space and direction for internal talent growth presents an opportunity for a person to maximize their impact and their growth potential where they are.
However, internal mobility opens a variety of concerns within teams, including talent gaps, diversifying and developing culture, and transition times. Balancing the absolute need to develop the talented people in a team with the inevitable impacts of an internal move means that internal mobility shouldn’t be a casual act. It is an opportunity for the development of a program that keeps employee experience at its heart. Enter Q-Mobility; the custom-designed internal mobility program meant to enable Qualtricians in their efforts to pursue fully-realized career paths. We’ve reached out to some of the Q-Mobility participants to ask them to share about their experience. Introducing Aisling and her story of “Why Qualtrics: Q-Mobility Edition.”
How long have you been with Q?
It’ll be five years in October 2020. I started as a Sales Development Rep - Outbound.
How many roles have you held in total during your time with Q?
Four: Sales Development Rep - Outbound, Sales Development Rep - Inbound, RFP / Bid Manager, and Learning & Enablement Analyst.
Can you tell us the story of what inspired your most significant career move at Q?
My story of what inspired my most significant career move at Qualtrics is more about the "who" than the "what". I was lucky enough to work with two outstanding managers during my time in Sales Development which paved the way for me to be successful in Qualtrics. My journey through the last 5 years may resonate with anyone who joined a company straight from college and wasn't exactly sure what they wanted to do but knew that they loved the company they worked for.
I started in Qualtrics in Oct 2015 in a Sales Development role and worked for three months on that team before a new manager started, Ian Bell. We had our first one-to-one in January 2016 and I had a strong gut feeling that I didn't want to progress onto the sales team. I remember thinking it might have been a bad move to be so honest in our first meeting but I wanted to be transparent and took a risk. I knew that I loved the company culture and could add value to the SD role and beyond. Ian accepted this and talked me through the importance of mastering my core role on the SDR team which would enable me to access future career paths at Q.
I felt completely supported in my goal from Day 1 with Ian and it was never an issue. It also meant that we could discuss it openly and honestly. He coached me and helped me through the ups and downs of SDR life and I will always be grateful for his guidance.
His initial support paved the way for me to be successful in Qualtrics and that support was matched by my next manager on the Inbound team, Alice McGinley. By being honest with Ian, it meant I joined Alice's team with all cards on the table, and Alice played an instrumental part in helping me progress from the sales development team.
My key learning was that if you can master and excel at your current role, it helps build your personal brand as your manager and team can rely on you. This helped massively when I have moved teams in Qualtrics. It is now with great pride that I am the Enablement Business partner for the SDR org!
Can you list the top 3 skills that helped you succeed in making the change to your new role
- Using my initiative and taking ownership of projects
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Positive mindset and self-belief (not sure if this is considered a skill!)
Tell us about the biggest surprise and/or learning curve in your new role so far
I have been on the Enablement team for over two years now and the biggest learning of moving from a metrics-based team to a sales-support team is the importance of stakeholder management! This should be a course taught in colleges - a large part of my role is interacting with people at all levels of the org and there are many nuances to be aware of when communicating up. One of our team's main objectives is delivering impactful enablement to sales leaders and this requires careful consideration and strategic communication to ensure that we make the best use of time for our sales pros.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give around career development at Qualtrics?
- Be honest about what you want and where you'd like to see your career go
- Don't feel pressured to say you want to do the next role of your current job (i.e SDR into Account Executive) if it isn't genuine
- Be brave and transparent with your manager - amazing things can happen
- Master your current role as this builds trust, be reliable, and keep your word - this is the foundation of a great personal brand and can enhance your mobility
- Build your Qualtrics network and have champions who are rooting for you
- You are responsible for your career so make sure that you do the research/groundwork on your desired next move and that you can answer the key questions of why you want to join the team and the value you can add -make it easy for a manager to want to hire you!
- Take on projects outside of your core role to demonstrate transferable skills (Q-Groups are a great way to demonstrate your leadership and communication skills)
|Aisling is an alumnus of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the Trinity College, Dublin, and started her career at Clarks.|
January 11, 2021