I’ve been running an exclusive, invitation-only, 1:1 coaching program to accelerate people’s careers since I started Kadima.
It’s called the Kadima Career Acceleration Program, or kCAP for short.
Not everyone is accepted –– while I welcome those of all backgrounds, the program is demanding, and only a rather driven type of person succeeds in it.
One person who absolutely fits that description is Maya Hicks.
Today, I’m honored to share her success story with you.
When Maya and I crossed paths in 2021, she was itching to take the next step in her career, but she felt stuck.
Maya was a Global Programs and Marketing Coordinator who wanted to take those skills to a bigger stage.
As Maya put it, “I desperately wanted a new challenge in my career. I wanted a higher role, and I wanted an increase in compensation.”
By the end of her time in kCAP, she accepted a job offer with a new company that doubled her compensation –– a $71,000 jump to be exact.
Below, I want to share more about how that happened.
“I went through six months of rigorous interviews with no plan”, Maya continues, “and I received zero offers.”
Maya’s situation was one that many of my coaching clients have in common.
She was bright, skilled, and fully capable of getting more out of her career, but as she put it, she “had no structure.”
She needed a true plan and systematic approach for accelerating her career.
After a mutual contact introduced us, Maya became curious about giving coaching a try.
“Being able to speak to a real person was huge”, Maya told us. “Alan had so much success in his own long career. He’s done the hiring, the firing. I knew he had the knowledge to guide me through the interview process.”
It made sense that Maya wanted help with interviewing, since this was the persistent stumbling block in her job search up to that point.
Here’s how Maya put it when I asked her to look back on the state of her job search before coaching:
“I wanted to change the way I was going about interviewing. My interviewing skills were TERRIBLE. I wanted someone to give me guidance on the best way to interview, prepping for these conversations, revamping my resume. I just needed the tools and a real person and someone who’d advocate for me with my background and my culture, because there’s not many people who advocate for us. I know Alan does. He pushes for us so hard.”
Maya and I kept in touch through the end of 2021, with an eye towards possibly working together on accelerating her career.
Then, early in 2022, Kadima announced a partnership with Blacks In Technology, a global platform for Black women and men in tech.
Maya attended a joint session that I hosted with BIT and successfully applied for one of three scholarships they awarded for folks to get 1:1 coaching with me.
She officially began as a Kadima coaching client in April and we hit the ground running.
Up to that point, Maya “had never really networked with anyone.” She admitted that she was not using LinkedIn to its full advantage. She wasn’t reaching out to people. She was just scrolling through the timeline every day.
When she joined kCAP, one of the first things I held her accountable for was connecting with at least 30 people every single week in her field.
“I started connecting and setting up meetings. I didn’t know that was a thing! That you could set up meetings with people just to talk and learn and build a brand new relationship”, Maya shared.
In parallel with these networking efforts, Maya and I worked closely to identify target roles that she wanted, and target companies that she wanted to work at.
It was a little uncomfortable at first (since she was new to this style of networking) but week after week, Maya started to really see the lay of the land in her field.
With each conversation, her desire for a new challenge crystallized into a sharp and clear target:
“I started asking people how they got into their role at their company, what they liked, what they didn’t like, what advice they had. I wasn’t asking anyone for a job at this point. I truly just wanted to learn about them and their role and the day-to-day so I could understand if this was something I even wanted to do.”
Eventually, Maya’s networking and learning led to an interview with a cybersecurity company called Forcepoint that needed a Program Manager.
After a crisp and no-nonsense interview process, she accepted a role there for $71,000 more than she was making before.
“There were so many green flags from this company”, Maya exclaimed.
- She wanted a Program Manager role, and the job she accepted was Campaign & Program Manager.
- She would be doing some of the same things she did in her prior role, so she knew she could succeed there.
- She would also be taking on some new responsibilities and truly growing in her chosen field (not just doing the same old stuff week after week.)
- “The interview process was amazing” –– 1 week, 1 recruiter interview, 1 hiring manager interview, 1 interview with a senior team member, and an offer the next day.
- Forcepoint, while not a super well known company, was still in tech (cybersecurity) which was important to Maya.
- “They were able to negotiate with me. At my last company, they did not negotiate (no counters, just shut me down). At Forcepoint, I accepted, negotiated, and they increased the compensation $5K more from their initial offer which already blew my previous compensation away.”
- Great benefits including unlimited PTO (“I knew my work / life balance would be top of mind and taken care of, so I can focus on my family.”)
- “Great communication between the hiring manager and the senior team member I interviewed with. I felt like I could really be a part of this team, and like they saw the potential in me.”
- The hiring manager (who would be Maya’s boss) told her that his leadership style was “hands off, laid back, just get your work done” which was exactly what she was looking for.
- “The $71,000 increase in total compensation doubled what I was making at my last company.”
Like all of my clients, this success was Maya’s. She set the goals, she did the work, and she reaped the rewards.
What kCAP provided was the structure, support, and accountability to focus her efforts on the moves that actually mattered for her job search.
As Maya put it, “I didn’t know there were people that actually DO this –– who guide you through your career, who give advice and structure like Alan does. Coaching with him was unbelievable!”