According to Kim Williams, it takes real grit to be in the design field. She serves as the group manager for the UX core team at Indeed, where she leads a interdisciplinary team of designers, technologists, writers, and researchers working across the globe. We talked a lot about design leadership -- what it takes to not only build and lead a team, but also how to enable them to do their best work and make sure they have what they need to succeed. From there, Kim shared her journey as a designer, starting from her humble roots growing up in Jamaica to leading design efforts at Ogilvy & Mather, eBay, and now her time at Indeed. It's important as a designer of color in this field that we own our narrative, and Kim's definitely someone who is doing that! Get inspired from listening to her story today!
According to Kim Williams, it takes real grit to be in the design field. She serves as the group manager for the UX core team at Indeed, where she leads a interdisciplinary team of designers, technologists, writers, and researchers working across the globe.
We talked a lot about design leadership -- what it takes to not only build and lead a team, but also how to enable them to do their best work and make sure they have what they need to succeed. From there, Kim shared her journey as a designer, starting from her humble roots growing up in Jamaica to leading design efforts at Ogilvy & Mather, eBay, and now her time at Indeed. It's important as a designer of color in this field that we own our narrative, and Kim's definitely someone who is doing that! Get inspired from listening to her story today!
It's survey time!
Take our annual audience survey at revisionpath.com/survey, and help shape the future of Revision Path! Survey ends on June 1 at midnight ET! Thanks for your feedback!
Revision Path is a Glitch Media Network podcast, and is produced by Deanna Testa and edited by Keisha “TK” Dutes.
Like this episode? Then subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
Subscribe and leave us a 5-star rating and a review! Thanks so much to all of you who have already rated and reviewed us!
Revision Path is brought to you by Glitch, the friendly community where everyone can discover and create the best stuff on the web.
You can also follow Revision Path on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Come chat with us! And thanks for listening!
Powered by Simplecast. Sign up today for a 14-day free trial!
Maurice: Alright, so tell us who you are and what you do?
Kim Williams: Hi, my name is Kim Williams. I am a Senior Design Director working at Indeed and I focus on bringing together end to end experiences. So I focus on our core capabilities such as brand systems, design systems, design engineering, strategy and inclusion, content and really it's focused on how do we work horizontally across all of our business areas to offer a unified product experience.
Maurice: Now Indeed, of course for people that are listening, it's a job site. It's a place where people can post jobs, find jobs, they can post their resumes, etc. It's interesting, 'cause those types of sites, I really don't think of design when I hear about them. And even, I guess because of the way that they have to present information, it tends to be pretty sparse. So I'm curious to kind of know, aside from what you just mentioned, what is a regular day like for you with your job at Indeed? The work that you do I'm sure of course, filters out into the end result. But what is a general day like for you at Indeed?
Kim Williams: Yeah, that's a really great question. Because my team is so extraordinary, I have such an incredible leadership team, so many talented folks that I'm learning from every day. It's such an honor to serve them, that my day to day is honestly just looking to them in terms of making sure they have what they need to be successful. That I'm removing any blockers from their way. So my day to day looks like having syncs with those leadership team members and making sure that I'm supporting their initiatives. And at the highest level just keeping a consistent and cohesion vision for the work that we're doing. And so, a lot of meetings, a lot of alignment between my leadership team.
Kim Williams: I spend a lot of time with our CEO. So, you know, Chris [Himes 00:02:21], who's our CEO, our [SOP] of Marketing. I see a lot of the work that I do as being this master connector. I'm bringing amazing talent together. I'm connecting bridge building and leveraging relationships to help us to find what is unique about the way that we serve. Our focus is on how do we help job seekers find jobs. And to your point, as you look across the landscape finding work is actually really, really hard. And websites, generally it's all about information. And that's 100% right. We want to make sure that our products simply work and work well and are effective and are removing the friction points around what it takes to get a job.
Kim Williams: And what my team is laser focused on is making sure that no one sees the seams of our organization in the product. Which is so easy to do. To ship your [org] chart, is what the expression is. Where you can ... As you're clicking around you can tell that it's not unified. And so, that's our ambition. Is for each of our individual teams to really come together as one body and be an end to end holistic experience. And so, doing that coordinating at that level, at that scale for hundreds of products that are happening concurrently and leveraging a design system to bring people together.
Kim Williams: So, there's a lot of what I do that again, is all around like bringing everyone together, making sure that we're all aligned. That we also have a clear vision for where we want a product to go in the next three years, five years, ten years. Working with our senior executive team and really understanding, articulating and translating their vision as well. So that's in a nutshell. I think most of what I do.
Maurice: How many people to you oversee?
Kim Williams: My team in particular, we're a little around 100.
Kim Williams: Yeah, just a little over 100 people.
Maurice: Now with such a large team ... I'm sure that's made up of designers, of course. Technologists, I'm sure. There's writers, etc. Are they mostly in the office with you? Or this is a distributed team?
Kim Williams: This is a distributed team, so we are actually headquartered in Austin. Where we have about four different offices in that specific city. We have offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo, Singapore and Vancouver. And so, it has meant for us, how do you kind of tap into and celebrate the individual cultures that come with unique functions within the organization? As well as celebrating what naturally happens culturally at each different location. And sometimes even within each location, different floors and different teams operate slightly different.
Kim Williams: And so, how do you celebrate those differences. As well as punctuate the commonalities to make sure that we have rituals, meetings, off sites, things that keep us inspired and connected as a global body, as a global unit. And so, I think about that a lot too. Culture, the culture piece of it. The other point that you brought out was all of the varying roles. So I think about that as well too. What are the expertise in the special areas that we bring to the table that are adding to the toolbox.
Kim Williams: That Indeed has free UX and one of those is for example, Brand Systems, so we have a Creative Director named Dave [Wynn 00:07:00], who's extraordinary. I mean, he's just a beast. He's a master story teller. And so has basically built a whole function around world class story telling. And visuals and Brand narratives, so we can think about how does our brand show up, how do we help? And then we have for Design Engineering, which is really, really extraordinary what's been built here at Indeed that I think is pretty unique within our industry is that design engineering is about 40% of our overall UX Team. And that's pretty extraordinary.
Kim Williams: It means we have design technologists that are helping to build out more future for our solutions that we can test and de risk. So that we can increase our chances of shipping some more progressive ideas and thoughts. We also have UX Developers that are owning the quality of UI Code and actually working hand in hand with engineering teams. And so that capability, that functionality is really extraordinary. And that's led by Eddy [Lou 00:08:23], who's just brilliant and humble.
Kim Williams: And let's see, other team members that are unique. Wayne Robbins just came over leading Strategy and Inclusions. So again, thinking about that product vision, and from an inclusion standpoint, how are we thinking about accessibility. What does it mean for making sure everyone has access to the tools necessary to finding a job. Thinking about those in different layers and that's a new team that's just started up. And so, from UX platform perspective as well owning, just all of the code and componentization of our design system.
Kim Williams: So, not only thinking about the distribution of the culture and what that looks like globally, also thinking about the functions. Because even Design Engineering, they're unique in the sense that they, unto themselves have their own kind of culture and vibe. They have created their own mascot. It's like a Unicorn symbol. And then, as they're embedded in different business units, business areas, they are partnered up with those teams. And are also really deeply connected with those teams.
Kim Williams: So it's interesting to see that model as well. Where you have culture that's embedded and then culture that's horizontal. So it's really interesting to think about culture with all of these nuances and how do you keep a healthy happy thriving team that works and operates together, really well.
Maurice: As you mentioned inclusion, but then also as you listed the diversity in the types of positions and the people, how do you sort of keep that in mind when building teams?
Kim Williams: It's so important and I love talking about this. And also living it, I think it takes a great deal of effort. I think it speaks volumes that my team is one of the most diverse teams within Indeed. Because I go out of my way to bring on folks that are completely different. And when I think about diversity, it's not just within the context of demographics. I do have a lot of women ... There are a lot of women in leadership within my organization. A lot of people of color.
Kim Williams: But beyond demographics, there's also diversity. Different walks of life. Different perspectives that are so important. Different age groups. So to be in tech and to have some older folks. I hate to put it that way, but I mean, usually you go to Tech companies and there are just so many young people. And no one's thinking about visual impairment needs or audio challenges. So there's just ... Diversity comes in all different spectrums.
Kim Williams: And I think in order to build diverse teams, you have to be so intentional. And think about how folks fit together. So in addition to hiring for the talent and the specialization and skills that complement and will up level the team that you're building, you also have to consider personality. So for me, it's really important. I'm a servant leader type and it's important to me that I bring on folks that are humble, as well.
Kim Williams: So it's really important to me and I think that, that is what makes my team such an all star team. Everybody's brilliant, but everyone's also incredibly humble. And so that balance of ability and skill with raw emotional intelligence. And even if you don't have the emotional intelligence piece of it, that you have the humility that if someone gives you feedback, you're open to that feedback. And, I hire folks that are more brilliant than I am, in their respective areas. I will never know as much as Eddy knows about Design Engineering.
Kim Williams: For example, so what happens with a dynamic of hiring people that are so capable, I trust them implicitly to do their work. And it becomes a really great environment where I'm learning as much as I'm offering to. It's a give and a take between the team and so there's mutual respect in that kind of environment. So I think we respect each other because we know that we all are experts in our respective area. And I trust my team and I keep saying, "It's an honor to serve them."
Kim Williams: And so I think that that has been a huge part of why we've been able to come together and be so different. It's funny, I have at the top of our weekly meetings ... We have our personality profiles. And mine is like a campaigner, I think. And I'm the only one like me in my leadership team. And it makes perfect sense to me. I'm the one that brings everybody together. And I see that as my role.
Maurice: Now there's a word that you said, before we were recording. You mentioned that you're at a very sort of transformative stage right now. And of course, as I did my research, I looked at Indeed. I saw that there's an actual website for the design in Indeed called, Indeed.Design. Which also says that this is a transformative moment. Can you talk a little bit about what that is? About what is so transformative that's happening at Indeed right now?
Kim Williams: I think for us, it has been the investment in UX. When I joined, two years ago, just to see the tremendous investment that has been placed in this area. And how the company is placing a focus on being thoughtful about who we are, as a company. And how we want to show up in the world for job seekers and employers. So much of the work that we do is about making sure that everyone has access. And not just for the 1% but rather for the 99%. And really thinking through the people that really need work and really need jobs and when you talk directly to folks that are looking for work ... You know, in our usability studies and our labs when we meet with folks, it's very clear that search and searching for a job is not a linear process.
Kim Williams: It's incredibly difficult. It's incredibly hard. And how do we show up in the moments that are difficult? How do we show up in the moments that are celebratory? So I think that there's this really unique opportunity for us to build products that are even more attune. Even more in tune with what folks need. Right when they need it. To make sure that they're able to get work and find that next step. And finding that next step is simple, is fast. It doesn't take too long. It's comprehensive. They're able to see everything that is out there for them.
Kim Williams: How do I find out what's possible? And then more importantly, relevant. So I think the transformative moment is, how do we help folks quickly find what they need in a personal way. So that's ... And we've always put our job seekers first. It's in the fabric of the company. We help people get jobs, that's our mission. It's literally everywhere. It's on the walls, on T-shirts, on ... It's a purpose driven company and we take it very seriously and that passion and fire for the mission is always been there and always been focused on the user. But what you've seen is, or what we've seen in the last few years with the investment in UX, now we have user research labs and we have PM and engineering and product teams and business teams meeting with users in a more regular cadence and an attunement is happening where we're ...
Kim Williams: ... and an attunement is happening where we're being more locked in step with our users' needs and being more responsive to them, and I think in that way allowing our product to be more human and be more personal.
Maurice: Nice. I like that you have given so much thought to all of this, I mean intentional, because, you know, I'll talk to companies and I'll talk to dozens of companies through doing interviews here, and I think this is the first time I've really heard such deep, thoughtful, impactful type of I guess just ideas behind the design of your product. I wish more companies had a... You know, took the lead on that, because it certainly I think is reflected in the end product, so it's good that you are really taking those things into consideration.
Maurice: When you look back at your career... I mean you're a design director right now. We'll go back to your early career, because I'm curious to... Kind of what the starting points were to get you to where you are now.
Maurice: But when you look back to all this to where you are now, what do you wish you would have known when you first got started?
Kim Williams: It all began... But actually I was born in Jamaica and I came to this country when I was only seven years old with my family, and I remember what it was like, you know, like it was yesterday, coming in and having a heavy accent and being just different in every way, you know.
Kim Williams: Not understanding, not picking up on colloquialisms, or just really feeling like an outsider, and also... Yeah, just seeing what my parents had to go through, you know. In their country, in their home country, they had masters degrees. They were degreed, and coming to America, those degrees weren't recognized, so with a family of three both of my parents went back to school, Howard University, in the '80s, to get masters degrees again for the second time to prove themselves, and during that period taking jobs that were lesser titles and lesser stations than what they had in Jamaica.
Kim Williams: Just seeing that struggle, you know, seeing that hard work, and again so that like tied them to my passion work too. I think I was... I fit the bill of that stereotype of always having 10 jobs myself, like I always had like all of these different odd jobs along the way in my journey.
Kim Williams: Just back to the point of being different, being other... Never being Jamaican enough for the Jamaican crew in high school, later on never being American enough, just always being different and getting to the point of embracing that difference, celebrating that difference, owning it and always being in the place of understanding that there's always another perspective, that there's not one right way or wrong way. There's multiple ways, and just really, really embracing that.
Kim Williams: Then fast forward into my career, starting out and cutting my piece in advertising and PR as a woman and a woman of color, and then fast forward to tech, being in the Silicon Valley and what it means to lead in this context, in this space. Again just always knowing that a part of my role is also like being different and being in a position that is about giving others that are different access and people that have needs have access.
Kim Williams: But then I think back to the question of like what is it that I wish that I knew going into this, is I wish that I had known or had embraced my otherness as my superpower, because that's what it is, that I can see from all of these different vantage points. I can connect dots that otherwise might not have been connected because I come from the place of embracing difference.
Kim Williams: Also I wish I had known that other was my superpower from the standpoint of when you're different, when you are the change agent, when you are the catalyst, the burden of proof is always on you to really bring others along, to help impart wisdom, to be that light. I don't know how else to explain it.
Kim Williams: But that experience of otherness has taught me that the burden of proof is on us to find ways to effectively communicate really gnarly things, sometimes really hard things, sometimes really difficult things, but that there is nothing too complex that we can't discuss, that we can't find a resolution around, that I can't help you understand in some way and that I think that... Yeah, that's what I wish I had known from the beginning, that otherness was my superpower from a place of ultimate empathy and also from a place of being a catalyst, and that's what it takes to bring large companies, large teams, large global moving movements together. It takes owning who are as a catalyst.
Maurice: Now let's go back to kind of your early days. I know you mentioned you grew up in Jamaica and then you moved here to the States. Was creativity kind of always a big part of your childhood growing up?
Kim Williams: It was. It was. I think... It was. I had creative siblings. My brother is an artist. You know, he teaches... He teaches graduate art history and art programs. So early on I saw him sketching, I saw him painting. I was like emersed in his creative world, and so... And to this day Chris is an incredible source for me.
Kim Williams: He's always... He has this thing called Smoke School, where every Friday he assigns homework, and the homework is so great, because you always learn about new... Whether it's new periods of art or new artists, just the dialog is always stratospheric. I learned about like Maya Lin through him and I learned about wabi-sabi as like a philosophy.
Kim Williams: So I was fortunate enough to have siblings that were really, really creative, my brother being the first, my sister being a photographer, and then also seeing the previous generation... My uncle sang and was an architect. So yeah, having some of that experience was helpful, and also it was hard, because I grew in a West Indian household and, you know, if you're not a doctor or a lawyer it's not praised or celebrated, so it was difficult to own it and say this is what I'm doing and it'll work out I'm sure.
Maurice: Yeah. Now you attended Andrews University. When you gradated from there, what were kind of those first few jobs in your career like?
Kim Williams: Yeah, the beginnings were really interesting. So I... Let's see, my first... And Anderson University was a small denominational college in southern Michigan. What I did love about it and still am so grateful for is because of the small student/teacher ratio I had real relationships with my teachers.
Kim Williams: So Mark Cook is an incredible creative leader and we still chat till this day. You know, we still send each other notes every now and then. And I had my teachers' cellphone numbers and am still connected to them, and not a lot of people can say that. So I'm grateful to have had that experience.
Kim Williams: Early days, my first gig, I'll never forget, was for a catalog, basically a massive 900-page catalog for RV parts and accessories.
Maurice: For RV parts?
Kim Williams: And accessories.
Maurice: Oh, and accessories? 900 pages, it has to be.
Kim Williams: Yeah. Yeah. Accessories. Right. And so the thing about this was they hired me as a print production artist, and they're like, "Kim, we don't need you to design anything. We just need you to get everything ready for press." And of course I redesigned the whole catalog.
Maurice: All 900 pages?
Kim Williams: Yeah. Like I created these templates. I just like completely changed everything, and they're like, "Kim, we just need you to be a print production designer." But once I redesigned everything I had increased the revenue of this catalog because my layout allowed for a feature ad as you were transitioning from one chapter to the next. That increased the profitability of the catalog.
Kim Williams: So it was like my very first taste of good design is good business, and from there I was hooked, as I go this is cool, that even in a print piece I could change the business. It was really awesome.
Maurice: Now you've worked with a lot of big tech companies, of course Indeed. Before Indeed you worked at eBay for a while, and you've also spent time working in agencies, most notably at Ogilvy & Mather as an associate creative director. How were those experiences different? How is it different from agency life to... I don't want to say startup life, but like you're doing [inaudible] in a tech company. How are those experiences different?
Kim Williams: Agency life is really great to get your... To introduce you to the work field from the standpoint of just like the sheer volume and the speed at which you have to perform, and perform at a high level. It's A, super competitive, and B, you just have to be on point all the time.
Kim Williams: I think it's good worth ethic. I think it's good, but then the challenge there is you're always context switching, so... And you end up working on something, kind of loving it, getting invested, and then you kind of have to give your baby away. You kind of like toss it over the fence. You don't know what happens. You don't know how it gets implemented. You're not a part of its shipping. You're not a part of it.
Kim Williams: So that's what I notice, like agency life you don't really get a chance to go deep to solve the real challenges, and then when your in-house like the variety of the work looks different. Agency life, the variety is you're switching between different clients. In-house it's... You're... The scope and scale of the work is varying day-to-day, and so it's a different kind of variety. You're solving different problems.
Kim Williams: But I love the fact that I get to go deep and be in the trenches and... You know, I get a deeper sense of fulfillment. Also with the agency life you can't choose your clients. With my career I have been intentional with the brands that I serve, because they're brands that I believe in, that I care about, that I'm invested in, and that makes a really big difference in quality of life.
Maurice: Now you recently got back from Munich as part of the Design Exchange Program with Envision. I saw a couple of pictures from that. Actually, I think one of the people who you were on the trip with, Benjamin Earle Evans... We profiled him this year in 28 Day of the Web. I was like oh, he looks familiar, and I was trying to place where, and then I realized I saw you two in a picture, like a group photo together.
Kim Williams: He was amazing. I love Benjamin.
Maurice: What was the Design Exchange Program like? Was that your first time in Munich?
Kim Williams: That was my first time, and that was the pilot of this program, so we were some guinea pigs for Envision. But let me tell you how much I love Envision for programs like this.
Kim Williams: I mean what they have done for the design community is extraordinary, and this program is... I've never experienced anything like it. Essentially you take a group of product designers... We happened to be in the Bay Area, I think one from Atlanta.
Kim Williams: We met for the very first time in Munich, and while we were in Munich we got a chance to meet other designers, get immersed in their design community, immersed in their world, share notes, really commiserate with each other, and then also just have experiences.
Kim Williams: Like sometimes you get... As a design leader, like I get so caught up sometimes in the day-to-day and serving my team, it was really, really humbling to have a whole team of people that had curated these events and these moments for us that we could experience and be creative in another country.
Kim Williams: The best part... This... I mean there are many best parts because like we started out as strangers, and I don't know how this happened, but at the end of the week we were family. We were crying like babies separating when it was time to go. I'm not even kidding. Like there were so many tissue boxes everywhere, we were just bawling. Like Benjamin is a brother to me. Like we still have brunch, we still talk all the time and text. Like it's really extraordinary.
Kim Williams: But one of the big moments of that trip, the highlight for me, was this point where we went to this painting studio. The painting studio was called Layer Cake, and the way that it worked, there were all these different canvases out like on this table and we were making a painting together.
Kim Williams: That sounds really easy and fun, but honestly when you have like highly capable creative people making something together, it's actually... The first five to eight minutes we were so excited, we were like, "Oh, my God, this is amazing." It was like we were so busy with our [inaudible] tickets and like our day-to-day type designs that we hadn't painted like this in like a long time, so all of our template crazy energy came out in like the first eight minutes. I'm like, "Oh, my God."
Kim Williams: Then it progresses and we're like you start putting some marks down and you start getting into your rhythm and you start falling in love with some of the things that you put down, and you're like wait a minute, somebody else just marked on top of something that I've put down, and in a little while you're having your ego conversation, and what does it need to really be-
Kim Williams: Having your ego conversation, and what does it need to really be free and fluid with other people because the whole thing is that it's not about one layer, it's about all of these layers coming together and everybody's putting down layer.
Kim Williams: And so, the sheer discomfort as the evening progressed, 'cause this is like, basically like five hours of painting. But I think we were pretty spent with him the first hour, and the other hours were like practically grueling to see how people were trying to control themselves. Like, when do I lean in, when do I lean back? As leader, how do I contribute? And how do I ... I remember moments where there was so much color, and I'd be like, “Okay, let's get some white out here.” Then somebody would come with a bucket of white, and id be like, “whoa, that's way too much white!”
Kim Williams: But really, really what it was about was letting go. Just really, really, really letting go and that's easier said than done and to let go with other capable, creative was just a really transformative experience for me. As a leader, it taught me about the edges of that. I was picking up on how stressed out everybody was getting and how do I make everybody still feel cool about this.
Kim Williams: But walking away, we all felt like it didn't come together and it wasn't good but when they surprised us with the paintings at the end of the week and we saw them, they were extraordinary paintings and it was really good work. But that's because we really, really did let go. We introduced new techniques. We were moving so fast that the paint didn't have time to dry and we were bringing out a blow dryer and the blow dryer introduced a new technique that they themselves hadn't used so it was extraordinary.
Kim Williams: I feel like I'm droning on about this experience but it was life-changing. It was really, really game changing for me to experience another city with other designers to create with them and to have all of these brilliant designers, there's nothing like it.
Maurice: What are you most excited about at the moment? Doesn't have to be work related. It could be anything.
Kim Williams: What am I most excited about? My daughter is out of her diapers.
Kim Williams: Let's see now, let's see. What am I most excited about? I mean, that is something to celebrate. Have a toddler that's really autonomous with the potty and it's really helpful. Let's see. What am I most excited about?
Kim Williams: I think just looking at the year ahead, I'm just super stoked. Again, always humbled about the team that I get to work with every day. I think they could be anywhere in the world and they choose to show up to join me in an important mission and I'm really grateful and I'm really excited about the year ahead. I'm super pumped about the work that we'll be doing to continue to simplify our experience to make it faster for folks to quickly find what they're looking for and to really tailor our experience to our users. I'm most excited about continuing to do the work with such an extraordinary team.
Maurice: Are you satisfied creatively?
Kim Williams: That's such a good question. That's so good. Well, it's such a good one because I love how John Maeda talks about this. But there's a point in your career, and I've done this too, where you go from making, being a maker to being a talker. And it's funny because when you do make that shift amongst the talkers that you're with they think of you as a maker but you know you're a talker. And in the context of your team, they're like, “you're definitely a talker not a maker.”
Kim Williams: So it's really interesting. It's really interesting. I still do design not as often as I used to and so what it has meant is that I'm designing spreadsheets; I'm designing culture; I'm designing how people come together; I'm designing the words that we use that we align around.
Kim Williams: So design looks different for me but how I stay inspired and grounded, that is the piece, like, “who am I creatively outside of work?” Is what's important then important because I think that I'm creatively solving problems day to day and that's how I'm expressing my creativity as a leader. But because I'm not making as much tangibly at work it has meant that I've found ways to make things outside of work such as this chalkboard wall that i have at my house that I've been working on for ages and every now and then I just add a little bit more to it and immersing myself in the greater art culture so museums and studio visits connecting with other artists and feeding my creativity that way and learning new things that way.
Kim Williams: And then also, even with my teams so, we have off-sites, for example the clay shop, to work with our hands or the team will do watercolor at design lunch. So painting or sketching, just other ways to embrace creativity especially as a leader, I think it's so important to be full ourselves to that we always have something to give.
Kim Williams: I'm the type of person that even if my well is dry, I will find something to give my team. You never want to burn out and so it's so important to make sure that we are so inspired ourself.
Maurice: Now, Kim, you have so many deep thought around design. I'm curious to know where do you see design going in the future
Kim Williams: I'm gonna take it from the lens of future of the role of design and how we think about what we do. And I think the future of the role of designers is one being more resilient and having more grit. And what I mean but that specifically is not being precious about one solution. But really being precious about the problems. Falling in love with the problems and not being precious about the solutions.
Kim Williams: I think, historically, ...I hate to say it, back in my time of communications it was all about the idea or the solution and I think to really be future forward we have to be resilient and fall in love with the problems and not the solutions and I think also the future of design is really inclusive.
Kim Williams: So I think we have to think from all of these different vantage points. I think we have to think about the fact that data is never neutral. It's always how it's being interpreted and who gets excluded in the ones and the zeros. I think being much more thoughtful and being much more responsible for the choices we make as designers in this industry. I think that that has to be the future. Both the resilience-y piece and our responsibility with the choices that we make.
Maurice: Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Where do you wanna work or what kind of work do you wanna be doing? What's next for you?
Kim Williams: I mean, I guess I've just been having so much fun and so heads down with loving this existing problem of how do you help people find work knowing that getting a job is really, really hard. But this is a gnarly problem that I'm really excited about...that I've been so focused on this that I have not considered what other problems I might be interested in solving.
Kim Williams: Maybe healthcare. That's also a really gnarly problem. But I would say for right now work matters a lot to me. I've said that to a lot of folks that before I joined Indeed and even to this day, I've always been that person within my community where folks will say, “hey, can you check out my resume for me?” And I've literally designed over 30 plus resumes, probably 40 plus resumes, and folks come to me for career advice. I think about how people in Jamaica are thinking about...how my family members are thinking about work. I think about our global footprint about work. I think work is one of these things that it's so tied to our identity for some people. It's tied to pride, “can I provide for my family?”
Kim Williams: It's such a cornerstone of human experience; I think that even stone ages, like hunting gathering, even roles and what we do; I think that I can see myself in this space for a while.
Maurice: So for people that are listening to this, and maybe they're just in-house designers, they wanna be where you are. They wanna follow your trajectory to get there. What would you recommend to someone that wants to do that, that has that advice?
Kim Williams: I would say always be hungry and learn from your team members. That's the posture that I always took, the posture of always learning. Also, whenever anything is ever assigned to you, your manager gives you work, it doesn't matter what level you're at, always meet the need first that they have asked you for explicitly and add value. So I would think about that.
Kim Williams: And then, I was a power user of Indeed before, I joined Indeed. And that's because I used it in a really funny way for others. But I literally would search for the next title up. And I would read the job descriptions because whatever level I was at, I wanted to be performing at the next level. And I wanted to know what opportunities were out there for the next level. And so I always had my eye on that next level and performing at that next level currently. You know what I mean?
Kim Williams: And so i always had that ambition and that work ethic in that sense but ore than anything, I would say be really, really humble and be the kind of person you would want to work with and be the kind of person that brings people together and it doesn't mean that you have to be an extrovert. I don't eve consider myself a proper extrovert. I shut down in the evenings and in the weekends because I'm so expansive at work.
Kim Williams: So you don't have to be an introvert or an extrovert to succeed. I think I've just been really fortunate enough to have really, really great mentors and sponsors in my career that saw me and put me in positions and situations that I didn't know I was ready for and that I didn't know I belonged in.
Kim Williams: And they did that because I was always providing value to them. And so I would say, it doesn't matter where you are right now, what level you're at, whoever you are directly reporting into right now, what is it that they need? How are you, not just delivering and meeting what they need, but exceeding the expectations but adding value, adding your point of view.
Kim Williams: And then the last thing I would say is, don't be afraid to find your voice. I think it's only recently that I found my voice. I think I've always had it. But a comfort level with my voice. A comfort level with my point of view. And feeling that as I'm sharing it someone else will find value in me sharing it because it is human experience.
Kim Williams: But it did take me a while to be comfortable with sharing my voice and sharing my point of view and having confidence in that.
Maurice: Gotcha, gotcha. So just to kinda wrap things up here. Where can our audience find out more about you and about your work online?
Kim Williams: Yeah so I am on Twitter. So I'm at Kim W-M-S with an underscore. That being said, I don't tweet that often but I am there. And yeah, I guess that's the primary location for you to find me also on LinkedIn. Those are kind of my two social platforms.
Maurice: All right. Awesome. Well, Kim Williams, I wanna thank you so much for coming on the show. My goodness, this conversation was really deep and dense. I really like, though, that we took a real deep dive into these things. Especially talking about teams and how design impacts business and everything. I can really, really tell that this is something that means a lot to you, not just as an employer, like it's a personal thing for you. I really feel that and hopefully people will get inspired by that. They'll learn more about Indeed, they'll learn more about you. And they'll just take it from there, I guess.
Maurice: So thank you so much for coming on the show. I really do appreciate it.
Kim Williams: Thanks for having me.