How I Found My Voice at a Place Where Talent Can Shine — From a Technical Consulting Manager

Sponsored by Alkami Technology

Karen Lao

Photo courtesy of Alkami.

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Fairygodboss
April 17, 2024 at 12:31AM UTC

“Find your authentic self at work and turn that into something you can offer,” is Karen Lao’s number one piece of advice for advancing your career. 

“Being authentic requires less energy than being a version of yourself that you think would fit into a corporate goal,” says the Manager of Technical Consulting team for Alkami’s Professional Services Organization. “Once you identify what you bring to the table, own it and build that brand. It’s a great way to make yourself more memorable and help you stand out from the competition.”

This is one of many helpful pieces of advice that Lao has to share — and she considers providing this guidance to other women a top priority of her’s. “As a lead and now manager, I coach other women in a way to instill confidence, encourage them to speak their minds and help bring positive attention to them in public forums,” shares Lao. “Visibility is important in a company, especially in today’s remote world.”

As such, Lao makes sure to consciously incorporate time in her daily schedule to help others and support the next generation of leaders. In this article, she’s sharing some of that same advice with you — as well as how she has been empowered in her own career journey at Alkami.

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice that you’ve received? 

Slow down. When I was young in my career, I did everything quickly because I wanted to learn and do as much as possible. My output was great, but it also led to backtracking to fix any mistakes. I’ve learned to slow down and even apply this to my communication style. If you are more methodical and thoughtful about what you do and say, the outcome can be more impactful.

What’s one thing you think early career job seekers should know about your company? What about those who are in a more advanced career stage? 

What I love most about Alkami is the impact you can make as an individual. Alkami is open to innovative ideas and helps cultivate an environment where talent can shine. If you want to get your feet wet in any part of the company, there are opportunities to learn from so many other talented people. 

For those in a more advanced career stage, it’s helpful to know that Alkami promotes sharing knowledge and transparent communication. Our best work is done when cross-functional teams come together to collaborate, so I encourage those in advanced positions to foster and partake in those opportunities.

How is this kind of support reflective of the overall culture at your company? 

Alkami has 6 culture compounds that we live by:

  1. Courageous-Innovation

  2. Caring-Collaboration

  3. Optimistic-Perseverance

  4. Trusted-Accountability

  5. Real-Fun

  6. Transparent-Communication


As you can see, the top-down support encourages us to live our culture daily. I love that even as we work, communicate and foster relationships, everyone shows up as their authentic selves. It makes the environment much more relaxed and fun compared to other companies where I’ve worked.



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