Before Katy Skloss came to Fairygodboss as its first VP of Sales, she was a star player in a very different arena: finance. She’d ultimately wanted to switch industries, but says that, for a little while at least, it felt like a “pipe dream.” Today, however, as she works alongside HR executives across industries to help them attract female talent and support gender diversity, she can say with certainty that the reward of “just going for” your true passion far outweighs any risk.
Skloss shared with us some of her top career highlights, as well as her No. 1 piece of advice (which is seriously relevant to anyone else contemplating a major career change).
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I joined FGB in June of 2017, so about half a year. My previous career was in finance, most recently as an institutional research salesperson on the sell-side of the business, and before that as a trader on the buy-side.
What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
Like many others, I’m sure, the first thing I do is check my inbox and our internal communication tool, Slack, to see if I missed anything overnight (I go to sleep early!).
The last thing I do is send out any timely emails that cannot wait until the AM and check my calendar for the day ahead, as I typically have many meetings and I like to be mentally prepared.
What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?
The mission of Fairygodboss, hands down, gives me more joy than I thought could be possible in a job. When I present our platform to HR executives who are looking to recruit more women, I am often told how incredible it is that we’ve created this community of female jobseekers. Fairygodboss is aiming for the sky.
What’s something you think most people don’t know about your company that you think they should?
The passion that goes behind each piece of what makes us unique in the diversity space. From our editors and programmers to our customer success team and the leadership of our organization, each and every one of us is dedicated to the success of Fairygodboss — for our partners and users alike.
What’s something you’re especially good at at work?
I’m a strong listener, which I think can be an underrated skill. I take the time to listen to the HR executives I speak to and our staff to make sure sales is delivering on every front.
What about outside of work?
I believe myself to be a thoughtful and honest individual. I am very fortunate to have so many close friendships in my life, and I believe I can attribute this in part to being genuine.
What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
Switching industries. It always seemed like a pipe dream before I made the move, but now, in hindsight, I can say to anyone reading this: if you are wanting to do something else but think it’s not possible, don’t listen to that internal dialogue. It’s fear-based, and your skills CAN be translated outside of your industry. Just go for it!
What do you love most about your job or your company?
There are several things I love about being part of the Fairygodboss team, but the two major ones that come to mind are the mission, as I’ve mentioned before, and the work flexibility — getting done what I need to when I need to. I suspect this will become more valuable to me in the years ahead.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
Clearly I follow gender equality issues in the news from several different sources. My husband and I are also expecting a baby boy in early May (our first!), and I just finished reading “Bringing up Bebe,” which I loved. I have a lot of ideas about the kind of mother I’ll be (comical, I’m sure, as I have no idea what to expect yet!). For my walk to work in the AM (I’m a NYC resident) I listen to Hidden Brain & TED Radio Hour.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
Be assertive and go for what you want even if the requirements don’t 100% match your skills. I can say as a hiring manager that one of the most important qualities I look for in an individual is their passion for our organization. Being sharp helps, too.
Who is/was the most influential person in your life and why?
I have to shout-out my mom and dad who always supported every effort I ever made in any endeavor. They truly believed and still believe I can do anything! My husband is the rock in my life and his faith in me provides me motivation to be better every day (I love a growth mindset).
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
The most memorable also happens to be the worst: sticking with something in the promise there will be a financial payoff. I don’t believe in this mentality — time is our most valuable resource. Go for what you want now, as generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
My best boss is my current one, and she exhibits two qualities I really like: she leads by example and makes it clear that she trusts my judgement implicitly. This allows me the freedom to give my best work. It’s empowering, which is what Fairygodboss is all about.