We often speak with women who tell us that life took an unexpected turn and is now much different than they imagined. Today, we are speaking with Kelly McDermott, whose career has had some unexpected twists and turns. Through it all, she sees God’s hand at work, directing her and leading her to her sweet spot. Enjoy Kelly’s wisdom!
4word: Can you share your career path with us?
Kelly: I started my career with Bristol Myers Squibb in Portland, Oregon. Then, I handled the Excedrin Capsule withdrawal and moved to New York City, where I worked on brand management and merchandising. I moved to Dallas as a supervisor and became the National Recruiting Manager, National Training Manager, and then the Direct Operations Manager. At that point, the only option to keep going forward involved moving back to New York, but I am not a city girl, so I quit and went to work for Async.
At Async, I sold voicemail business-to-business which I loved, but the company was sold, and I ended up running the Southwest Region for Sprint focusing on telemedia. Then, I left to start my own call center and conference calling business and sold it to IPG. Afterwards, I went to work for EDS as the Global Relationship Practice Manager and ultimately became the Head Coach for Global Sales. In 2004, with two other EDS executives, we formed AdviSoar, a small consultancy focused on helping people sell multimillion dollar deals with our Developing Executive Relationships program. We also offer executive coaching for high potential executives to help them achieve their goals.
4word: Is this what you had pictured yourself doing when you were in college? How has that vision changed?
Kelly: I never dreamed of being a “sales girl.” I wanted to work and make contributions, to meet someone and be married. Looking back, I have learned that God was in every move. At each juncture, the skills and relationships I had developed were put to use in my next role. Because I have a diverse industry background, I can move fluidly among different executives and can easily identify patterns and opportunities and see how to embrace the best practices in many functional disciplines.
4word: When you look back at the path you have taken, how do you see God’s hand at work in your career?
Kelly: He was protecting me, providing for me, and guiding me to use the skills, talents and abilities He generously shared with me. I believe I am a steward of time, abilities, resources, and relationships, and I delight in being able to serve people through my work. My work is my calling, and I relish the opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
4word: Was it always easy to trust that God’s plan, combined with your solid work ethic, would lead you to where you needed to be?
Kelly: I trust God, and He has been amazingly generous to me. Trusting Him is definitely not easy. I am trusting Him now for the desires of my heart, and it is a walk of faith and obedience. I understand that the Lord wastes nothing, and I am a willing vessel to be used for His purposes. We need to be renewed daily in our walk with God, and He is ever present. I have committed myself to study what the Bible says about work and have committed to work according to His principles, commands, and character.
4word: What advice do you have for women who are trying to plan the future of their careers?
Kelly: God is a God of order. He created the earth in six specific days in a purposeful manner. He said to count the cost and make plans, however the plans should be submitted ultimately to God’s plan and His will for our life. We can know His will and flourish if we take the time to know His ways. As joint heirs of Christ, we get to co-labor in the Kingdom. We are salt and light in the world, and as we work with excellence, we can build a reputation that glorifies God. God wants us to have life and have it more abundantly.
I think that when you make a plan, it should be a complete plan and include relationship(s), vocation, health, education, recreation, and service. We are to grow in the fruit of the Spirit and be more Christ-like. The more fruit we have, the more attractive we are. And the more attractive we are, the more influence we have to illuminate a path for non-believers and to encourage and edify fellow believers. Every once in a while we should do a personal fruit inspection and solicit the feedback of others to help us grow as mature believers. Am I able to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? The more I radiate the fruit of the spirit, the more Christ-like I am becoming, which is God’s ultimate plan for my life.
As Kelly said, God created the earth in a certain amount of days with a certain plan in mind. His will for your life might seem chaotic at times, but take comfort in the fact that His hand is still guiding your every step and trust that He is ultimately leading you to His perfect plan for you.
How do you see God at work in your life and career? Are you willing to follow where God calls you?
An admired and respected business executive, Kelly McDermott has a 20 year accomplished record in building new lines of business and significantly improving corporate margins. She has been responsible for leading high impact teams at some of the world’s leading firms such as Bristol-Myers Squibb, Western International Media, Sprint and EDS.
Kelly is an astute strategist with remarkable insight and clarity about what it takes to be successful. She has lead strategy development initiatives in several companies and has a demonstrated track record in the successful development and implementation of key business strategies in a variety of industries. She is a highly engaging speaker and facilitator that helps individuals link learning and new ideas with real world application. Her business acumen and ability to synthesize practical experience with a fresh outlook make for a rewarding and challenging exchange.