Kelly, one of the leaders of our Customer Loyalty Team and a member of the London office, sat down with us to talk about being nominated by her peers as an Avenger, one of the top servant-leaders across the entire company.
How did you feel about being nominated as a Top 5 Avenger?
I was actually shaking. When I realized I was in the top five and when I got up there on stage, I was stunned. It was already such an honor to be in the top 24 of nominees, and I remember everybody in London cheering me on when that was first announced. To be in the top ten was amazing, and to be in the top five, I was just floored. To have my cousins there as well! It was such an amazing moment. Afterwards, everybody was coming up and talking to me, asking about me – it was strange to have that attention suddenly. I just don’t feel like I’ve done anything out of the ordinary, it’s just me trying to do the best I can. And to be recognized for that, and by my peers, it was astonishing.
When you think about how much you’ve grown at Next Jump, who comes to mind? Who has helped you the most?
I applied to become a mentee in Project Padawan, and I was assigned Anuj. Sometimes, the mentor don’t really know the mentee and vice versa, but we were friends to start with, so to be in that formal coaching environment, it just meant that we could get to where we needed to be sooner. It became a much more collaborative exchange of ideas.
During his time here, he was very passionate about culture and empowering people to reach their full potential, so as a leader he was really inspiring. He only ever wanted the best for the team and everybody around him. He wanted everyone to reach their full potential and he wanted to provide the environment for them to get there.
And that really resonates with me, because that’s what I want, too. In their personal life, at work as well – I want to make sure somebody is looked after, they know what they’re doing, they’re being supported. He really helped me formulate this mindset to approach things.
Was there a moment during the course of that mentorship that really opened your eyes to something new?
In our very first mentor session – it must have been a month or so after Anuj had come back from MV21 – and he was sharing how they had uncovered what their weaknesses were and how they identified what they want to work on. I was just talking and as I was saying what I was thinking, Anuj said: “Do you know what’s linking everything that you’re saying? You care too much about other people.” In that, what he meant was that I was thinking too much for other people – I’ve always been very scared to ask other people for help because I know they have a lot on their plates, I don’t want to disturb them, even though sometimes I need help, I’ll just keep quiet and try and figure it out myself. I’ve learned that, in the long run, that doesn’t help anybody.
I remember talking about frustrations with my dad. My dad has really high expectations. He’s so hard to please, and I always go out of my way to please him. Anuj pointed out that again, I was thinking so hard about other people and wasn’t focused enough on myself, and how to develop myself. I’m not going to be able to help anybody grow or develop or inspire until I’m able to develop myself first. It’s an interesting way to look at things, because I’m very quick to share what I have with others – there have to be times when I’m a bit more selfish or not overthinking things.
What’s something the London office (and Next Jump) might not know about you?
There’s a really weird perception of me being the mother hen, apparently. There was a time after Coronitas one week, and we decided to assign spirit animals to people. Mine was a hen, because I’m a mother hen. I remember, last year, we went ice skating for Christmas, and I turned to Henry and said: “Have you remembered to take your gloves?”
But yeah, everybody sees me as quite a maternal figure, somebody who is patient but what they don’t realize is – I remember when Jim Loehr at the Avengers ceremony was talking about the fact that when you’re under stress, you resort to your real self. So when you’re on, when you’re thinking about it, you present your best self. One thing I’m loathe to admit is that when I’m home, I’m very impatient and really grumpy with my husband. At the workplace, I manage to rein it in but I know that that’s something I really need to work on at home. And it’s such a shame, because it’s my husband and he really puts up with so much! I don’t like being like that, but I guess when you’re at home, you drop your guard. So that’s definitely something that I’m working on.