Since the age of 16, I’ve been an amusement ride supervisor and trainer, retailer coupon fraud detector, the main point of contact for emerging CPG brands, and, most recently, an account manager for several of Kard’s enterprise-level merchants.
Now, that may seem like an odd smattering of roles, but when I take a minute to reflect, I realize there’s a theme: adaptability.
See, to keep folks safe, to be a good teacher, to fight the bad guys, to anticipate client needs — you must be a jack or jill of all trades. You need to learn how to understand the ins and outs of an environment fast. And once you know how everything ticks and ties, you need the experience to whip out one of your many skills and the confidence to tackle obstacles head-on.
This is the magic of account management and what I do every day at Kard. No two days are alike, and it’s extremely rewarding (no pun intended!) knowing that my work is ultimately helping folks save and keep extra cash in their pockets. But, as I’ve already previewed, I’ve had a winding road to Kard. Here’s how I got to where I am today.
From Six Flags to coupon clearing house
When I was a teenager, I spent my summers working at Six Flags. I never thought I’d stay long — being a rides supervisor was more of a fun perk than a career. But that’s where I developed some of my best skills, everything from customer service to working under pressure, to multi-tasking, to working on a team. Fun fact: I met my husband Rick while working at Six Flags, and we now have a daughter, Charlotte.
After Six Flags, I wanted to take my skills in a new direction — this time in operations at NCH, a coupon clearing house. While promotions seem relatively straightforward, let me tell you, they’re not (just watch Queenpins).
There’s so much going on behind the scenes: tracking misredemptions, updating and maintaining the retailer database, creating processes to verify retailers, and training new associates. While this variety was exciting at first, it soon became rote, so I moved to the account management side of the business.
There, I learned I loved working with large CPG manufacturers, guiding them through audit, settlement, and analysis of traditional paper and digital coupons. There were so many opportunities to put the skills I’d developed to good use and so many opportunities to build more expertise as I helped manage even bigger CPG clients year over year.
But a year and a half into a new role at a cashback platform, I realized I wasn’t adding to my repertoire of skills. I was hungry for a completely new challenge. When my favorite coworker left to join a tech company called Kard, I knew I had to make a move, too.
Transitioning to tech
Curious about where she went, I perused the Kard website. I was immediately intrigued by the company’s approach to modern rewards and the future of loyalty, and resonated deeply with all the values on their career page.
Although I hadn’t worked at a true startup like Kard before, I knew I was a fast learner. I could adapt. So I took a chance and applied.
I felt prepared going into the interview, but what I didn’t expect was for the entire team to be so welcoming. Every person I talked to gave me their full attention and was so transparent about where I could help fill the gaps in Kard’s merchant strategy that I knew that’s where I had to start the next chapter of my career.
Today, the people at Kard continue to impress me — not just because of their talent but because of their willingness to explore new ideas. I remember being shocked that I had one-on-ones with Kard’s founder and CEO, Ben Mackinnon, and Kard’s COO, Katie Harper, in my 30-day onboarding plan and could set my own agenda.
I’d never had that level of access to senior leadership before, let alone had the chance to share my thoughts so freely. It’s an incredible feeling to have senior leadership see you, hear you, and take action on some of your ideas, and I’ve seen it firsthand.
Expanding my toolset at Kard
When I first got to Kard, it became clear to me that we needed a more in-depth reporting mechanism for our merchant clients. On my calls with merchants, I could tell they were hungry for campaign metrics we weren’t yet providing. And I knew from experience that if we couldn’t show them exactly what and how much value Kard was driving for their business, they weren’t going to stick around.
So I leaned on my analytics skills, digging into the data and figuring out how to structure it better. I even wrote macros to get it into a workable form. We still have some work to do, but as a result of this collaboration, our team now generates five times the weekly reports we did this time last year.
Concurrently, I have been working with our product leadership to provide feedback on our reporting — there’s nothing like working with mechanics on roller coaster technical difficulties to prepare you for working with product and engineering in the world of tech. Recently, we learned about some really exciting merchant features on the 2024 roadmap that I’m excited to collaborate with them on.
It’s this blend of openness to new ideas, willingness to help, and a drive for innovation that’s made Kard one of the most unique places I’ve worked — and that’s saying something! If you think working at Kard could be your next dream job, check out our list of open roles and give me a shout if you decide to apply.
Bonus round: Rituals and obsessions
A Kard ritual I enjoy
A company’s culture is about so much more than its company-wide gatherings. But I have to say that Kard’s offsites really stand out. A few times a year, our team comes together in person to collaborate and get to know each other better. Unlike other corporate events where people tend to socialize within their departments, everyone is engaging with one another — and not because they’re forced to.
During every dinner, meeting break, or social activity, my teammates show an active interest in their peers’ backstories, hobbies, and goals. I learn so much from and about my colleagues on every trip, and to me, that’s special and rare.
What I’m obsessed with
Most people are shocked at how much I’m into sports. I grew up playing basketball and running cross country and track, and I recently coached fifth and sixth-grade girls basketball. Watching basketball and football with my family is a treasured pastime, and I find ways to keep my competitive streak alive — I’ve been known to place a wager or two now and then.
In fact, I may or may not have won our latest Kard Fantasy Football League. As a Chicagoan, I’m partial to the Cubs and other windy city sports teams, but I don’t have favorites. I root for whichever teams make me money ;)