Ten years after joining set-top box provider Pace as a customer service ‘temp’, Kimberly Dinville holds a senior leadership position within the technology company’s Stateside outfit.
As the everywoman World Series pulls up in Phoenix, Arizona, discover how Kimberly developed into a leader and why she’s drawn to helping others as they progress through their own careers.
IN THE BEGINNING
I grew up in a small town in Middle America, surrounded by family. I was a creative child and enjoyed drama and music, and was encouraged in these pursuits.
But there was a culture that fostered traditional ideas about how girls and boys should play and the education and career paths they’d follow, which I found myself rebelling against, never accepting that there should be limits placed on me because of my gender. In some ways it made me more intellectually competitive – any negative comments simply spurred me on to surpass the expectations of anyone making an assumption about me.
MY CAREER PATH
After my schooling I took a temporary job in a Pace call centre while I looked for something more permanent. My tasks there were focused on traditional customer service and technical support. But I had a business degree and wanted more, and through my application to my work, I came to the attention of the leadership team who liked my work ethic and offered me my first promotion.
Ten years down the line I am Director of Strategic Planning, responsible for managing strategic business plans and financial forecasts. In the intervening years I held numerous management roles which made me responsible for staffing and workforce, training new employees and managing call flows to our sites.
Life is too short to be spent unhappy, whether it’s in a job you hate, with a person that makes you miserable, or with the voice in your head that chastises you. At the end of your life, the only person that you really have to make happy is you.
AN AVERAGE DAY
I’m in the office by 7am local time – travelling early keeps my commute down to 30 minutes and means I share more working hours with my clients and co-workers in earlier time zones. Thankfully, I’m a morning person and the hours I spend alone at my desk before the rest of the office arrives are among my most productive and focused of the day.
Although I have no direct reports in my current position, I spend a lot of time speaking with my peers and people at various layers of the organisation. I maintain a mentoring relationship with many people, and spend much of my time listening to issues and offering solutions or different perspectives.
While my role is very data driven (forecasting and finance tend to be very number-centric), my personality is much more attuned to nurturing and caring. While this can be at odds with my official responsibilities, I feel this ultimately leads me to be better at my job: I never forget that the decisions I make affect the work lives of nearly one thousand individuals.
MY BIGGEST LESSONS
By nature I am an introvert, which makes me ill-suited to conflict. I’ve learned that while I love helping others advance their careers, I am much more suited to doing this through mentoring and outside influence rather than through direct supervision.
When I am in our call centres, I need to maintain a more extroverted persona, so it is imperative that I give myself time to recharge after long weeks at the office. My biggest challenge, and the biggest lesson that I’ve learned, is that it is ok to admit that you are approaching over-stress.
When I was younger, I was conditioned to view this as a weakness, particularly around members of the opposite sex. However, I’ve come to realise that everyone hits a point where they need assistance, and you must take care of your own mental state in order to excel in your role.
I often advise younger women to speak up when something is bothering them, although sometimes walking away for a few minutes to let emotions cool down is advisable too.
My biggest piece of advice to anyone is to not spend endless amounts of time worrying about what everyone else thinks. Life is too short to be spent unhappy, whether it’s in a job you hate, with a person that makes you miserable, or with the voice in your head that chastises you.
At the end of your life, the only person that you really have to make happy is you.
Negative comments simply spurred me on to surpass the expectations.
During my studies at the University of Iowa, I volunteered with the Women’s Resource & Action Centre. I was part of a group that provided free onsite childcare for the little ones of mothers attending support groups. I also gave my time to the (Iowa Women Initiating Social Change) organisation; acting as a webmaster for the team's webpage and kick-starting a project to revitalise their onsite library, including cataloguing the collection and working with leadership to generate ideas for bringing more attention to this underutilised resource.
In the future, I’d love to get more involved with non-profits aimed at helping women in challenging situations. This continues to be an area that I am passionate about, and I would love to be able to blend my skills and knowledge with my desire to help others.
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