New York – September Member of the Month, Kydee Williams, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, CBS Corporation and Chair of the CBS Women’s Networking Group
By She Runs It
Current job title and company
Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, CBS Corporation and Chair of the CBS Women’s Networking Group
How many years have you been a member of She Runs It?
Describe your career journey.
When I graduated from Penn State University, I was set on going to law school. It wasn’t necessarily my dream, more like my family’s dream for me. I reluctantly studied for the LSAT, applied to two law schools and rejected by both. That was my way of showing my family they were pushing me to do something I didn’t want to do. I kept my rejection letters on my wall as motivation to always follow my dreams, not the dreams others carved out for me. Simultaneously, my first job out of college was at a financial technology company. It wasn’t supposed to be a job I stayed at for long, but I was new to the real world and was having a hard time adjusting. This was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. I worked on Wall Street; I worked for a major CEO as his assistant and I was a novice. My life during this time was like Anne Hathaway in the “Devils Wears Prada.” What I appreciate most about the opportunity is that my superiors allowed me to make mistakes (sometimes), they allowed me to find my way, and they allowed me to grow as a professional. The company worked like an established start up and I was able to work in every department, from human resources, to marketing to legal. However, after 4.5 years, I knew it was time to start taking my career seriously and to be quite honest my career was going nowhere at that job, I was not even remotely interested in the FinTech space. Throughout my 4-years of working at this job, I pursued all of my passions on the side, which included writing, traveling and producing a talk show. These passions are what ultimately led me into knowing the industry I wanted to build my career in…Media. Media is an extremely competitive field to get into, but I was determined. I gave myself a deadline and the week before the deadline I signed my offer letter for CBS. Switching industries meant starting from scratch and that was pretty hard, but it was worth it. The moral of the story is, follow your passions because it may lead you into your purpose.
Which three words would you use to describe your personality?
Quirky, Compassionate, Idealistic.
What encouraged you to become a member of the YE Committee, and what has your experience been like?
Community. When I joined She Runs It, I was specifically looking for support while navigating my career. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth or the professional contacts that other people get from family and friends. When I graduated college I was literally on my own (professionally), so it’s been trial and error ever since. Just to be surrounded by likeminded young women who are also navigating the corporate trenches is important to me. We can learn together, as we strive to the top. I’ll never forget my first YE meeting at the She Runs It office. After we covered all of the logistics, we spent 30-minutes discussing an article about female bosses. It was a safe space. We shared our stories, we encouraged one another and we were able to be vulnerable about our experiences. It was after that conversation, with women that I didn’t know but felt so comfortable around, that I knew I found a special tribe.
What advice would you give to new or prospective members of the organization?
Commit whole-heartedly and take on a leadership position in a committee of your choice. It’s a great way to meet new people and broaden your network, while giving back to such an amazing organization.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young woman entering the industry in her first job, what would it be?
Follow your passions. Figure out what brings you uninhibited joy and try to pursue that as a career. Never do a job for the money and never stay at a job that doesn’t appreciate or value you.
Name a woman who inspires you and why.
Mara Brock Akil. She’s a television writer and show runner. I can honestly say, she’s a part of the reason why I work in media today. She was on a panel at a film festival that I attended in 2015, talking about her career journey and my soul lit up. I saw myself in her. I made the decision, at that very moment to change careers. A year later, I was working at CBS.I want to meet and work with her one-day. Her personal authenticity and commitment to telling the stories of women of color in an unapologetic and multifaceted way is just breathtaking. She’s my inspiration.