‘Take the Job You Know the Least About’ — The Benefits of Adaptability and Exploration

Sponsored by Wipro

Photo courtesy of Wipro.

Photo courtesy of Wipro.

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April 13, 2024 at 4:45AM UTC

Are you considering joining a new industry or pivoting to a different career? If so, Kris Roberts, the Vice President and Global Account Executive for Wipro, would encourage you to take that leap! “Take the job you know the least about,” advises Roberts. “Trust me, you will grow and learn more than you can imagine!”

In fact, Roberts has grown her own career by following this advice. She tells us that her own professional journey began “on the front lines of retail” at a department store where she unloaded trucks and counted the daily cash deposit. She later graduated from college as a math teacher before working at Target Corporation. Here, Roberts was able to try out a variety of roles, ranging from an entry-level merchandise analyst to leadership positions including Chief Merchant and Chief Business Architect.

Then, after she left the company, Roberts said yes to independent consulting work across many different industries — growing and expanding her knowledge base. For example, “I joined Microsoft as managing Director and Global Black Belt for Business Applications responsible for the Retail and Consumer Goods industries in the Americas.” she tells us. 

Today, Roberts manages the relationship for the largest retail account at Wipro and describes herself as an “accidental technologist”. Looking back at her unique career journey, Roberts shares that she’s managed so many successful career pivots by using her “perpetual curiosity and a desire to learn.”

This strategy of going confidently into the unknown has truly benefited Roberts. By “working for a wide variety of companies in a wide variety of roles over the years, I have added a diverse set of skills to my personal tool kit,” she says. “Everything from replenishment to merchandising, strategy to supply chain, sales to operations, and business to technology. The journey, while not specifically planned, has afforded me many opportunities over the years.”

To learn more about Roberts’ strategies for career pivots, current work, and finding a company that supports her curiosity — read on! And, as she states, always remember to “enjoy your career journey!”

How have you made your career pivots, and how were you supported in this process?

I started my career as a teacher, became a retail merchant, led technology teams, sold business applications, and now sell services. Looking back, I guess you could say I have made a lot of pivots in my career. I was fortunate to learn the value of those pivots early in my professional tenure.

For instance, about three years into my career, I was selected to join the strategy group at Target as a junior member of the team. This afforded me the opportunity to learn many new skills and work with a wide variety of people. I also established a reputation as the “untraditional merchant” because I was willing to step off the traditional career path and take on new experiences. As time progressed, I made sure my leaders, mentors, and sponsors knew that I was always open to other untraditional experiences. With their support and advocacy (and by working inside a company that truly embraced a growth mindset), I was able to make multiple pivots into adjacent areas of work — and I’ve continued to embrace that exact same approach at every company I work at.

Looking back on your career, what would you say has been your most valuable career mistake?

My biggest mistake was focusing on what I thought others wanted me to be versus understanding how to bring the best of me to every situation.  

Can you tell us a bit about your current role at Wipro? How long have you been in this role, and what is your day-to-day like? 

I am proud to work for Wipro, which is a leading technology services company, as a Global Account Executive in the retail sector. I have been in the role for just over a year and am responsible for the customer relationships and growth of the account. There is no typical day as the business evolved rapidly in the retail sector. That said, I spend most of my time with the customer and my large extended team making sure that we are solving their most challenging problems and helping them achieve their ambitions.  

What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your current work? 

The pace of change can be both exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Retailers must move quickly to adjust to changing consumer needs, and what is innovation today becomes table stakes tomorrow. When this is coupled with external factors like competition and the economy, you need to move fast to help the customer stay relevant over time.  

Finally, what is your favorite thing about working at Wipro? 

Hands down, the people are the best thing about working at Wipro.  They inspire me, they teach me, and they make me better.  

Fairygodboss is proud to partner with Wipro. Wipro was recently featured in the Dow Jones Sustainability index for the 13th consecutive year and in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year. Here from previous leaders here and Find a job there today!

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