Many companies talk about internal mobility. Others are built on it. Some organizations may use phrases like “internal mobility” and “supporting your professional development” to reel you in, but management isn’t necessarily concerned with any of that. However, global experience management leader Qualtrics’ approach is a little different. At Qualtrics, it’s possible to make significant moves within the organization.
Michaela Seferian-Jenkins’ career journey at Qualtrics is an example of how a company can support you while you’re learning and advancing in your career. Seferian-Jenkins is a global program manager in the engineering department. Her team bridges the gap between products and customers by helping incorporate the customer voice into new features at Qualtrics.
“Mostly, I work with product teams, engineering and customer success managers to ensure customer feedback is being incorporated into our new developments. I also help lead our internal feedback process called ‘q-dogfood.’ This allows for our internal teams to give feedback on new features and helps us incorporate our own use cases into our products,” she says.
Seferian-Jenkins started at the company as a research analyst I in August 2019. “The majority of my role was focused on supporting research projects for clients, such as segmentations, brand studies and other ad-hoc research. I was mostly assisting senior analysts but eventually was able to lead my first projects with our clients on survey programming and review.”
In June 2020, she was promoted to a research analyst II position, where she was able to lead research projects, take on more responsibility with client-facing work and refine her project management skills. With the expansion of the role, she realized the part of her job she enjoyed most was conversations with customers and project management.
Seferian-Jenkins talked to AfroTech about strategically tapping into what she wanted to focus on at work.
AfroTech: Were you able to transition into different roles because you created a roadmap for pursuing them? Or did opportunities just happen to open up?
Seferian-Jenkins: At first, I didn’t have a roadmap that led me to my current position. In my previous roles, I paid attention to the things I enjoyed and the things I didn’t as it pertained to my day-to-day work. I wanted a position that encompassed the pieces of work I loved and gave me opportunities to learn and grow. With this in mind, it made it easier to identify and understand what I needed in my next position. I was also transparent with my ‘cheerleaders’ and mentors on other teams that I was looking for a different opportunity [within] the company. I found my global program manager position through a connection with one of our employee resource groups. So in some ways, opportunities for new roles happened by chance, but I was also actively sharing with others on my journey to a new career path.
AfroTech: Why did you decide to move around within the company rather than pursue job opportunities outside of Qualtrics?
Seferian-Jenkins: I wanted to stay at Qualtrics because my peers are some of the best people to work with. Across many teams, I’ve run into individuals who are incredibly intelligent and encouraging of others. Also, many senior leaders I’ve come into contact with have been incredibly genuine in their efforts to make Qualtrics a better place to work.
AfroTech: How have you been able to grow professionally and personally during your time at Qualtrics?
Seferian-Jenkins: Professionally, finding advocates and mentors in and outside of Qualtrics has led me to find my focus and joy in the workplace. Actively being a part of your own career development will get you much further than waiting on others to facilitate those conversations for you. Finding people at Qualtrics, as well as people outside of Qualtrics, who could be my mentors has helped me overcome roadblocks, learn new skills or ways of working and build more confidence in myself. I’ve been able to develop a stronger sense of self, personally and professionally, through my experiences at Qualtrics. I’ve also had to put in a lot of hours to level up my skills and better understand the industry. I hope this doesn’t have to be the reality for everyone, but it helped me better understand more of the lingo and some skills I needed to refine to be my most efficient self at work.
AfroTech: What advice would you give to college students and early career professionals about pursuing career advancement in tech?
Seferian-Jenkins: Don’t get caught up in titles and what seems like the best industry to work in. My biggest advice would be to find a job where you like the day-to-day. And that means living by experience. You can read lots of articles on different jobs from different people, but you won’t truly know what brings you the most fulfillment until you try it yourself.
Learn more about growing your career at Qualtrics.
This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Qualtrics.