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#ItStartswithConversation: On Priorities, Empathy, Growth, and Hard Work

Posted in: Highspot News



A talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which ideas are exchanged.

In an often chaotic world, meaningful conversations connect us to each other. After all, conversations are our primary vessels to pass along knowledge, laying a foundation of wisdom and experiences for the future generation.

In celebration of Black History Month, we are spotlighting four Highspot employees who are sharing conversations that have changed their lives — and words they hope will inspire others.

“Match your actions with your priorities.”

Kyle Wimbish, Senior Account Manager, HighspotWhen making significant life decisions I often seek out one of my mentors — a man I consider to be like an older brother. One conversation, in particular, has become my personal North Star.

I called my mentor with a problem — I was considering a great job offer, but it required a lot of traveling, which meant more time away from my wife and kids. After explaining my conundrum, he simply asked, “If you took an honest inventory of what’s most meaningful to you in life, does this decision bring you closer or further from those things?” This question gave me all the clarity I needed — the job wasn’t for me.

I didn’t want to spend the majority of my week away on business because it meant missing the opportunity to be present with my family. It’s really easy to get hung up on the vanity of a thing; however, you can’t live an authentic life if your priorities aren’t in alignment. You have to match your actions with your priorities.

–Kyle Wimbish, Senior Account Manager

“Empathy has a way of building relationships and driving progress.”

Kayla Holland, Account Development Representative, HighspotI played soccer for most of my life, and during games or practices, you could always hear my head coach reminding us that the order was “team first, soccer second.” As my teammates and I got older, this mantra became more important than ever.

During the latter years of my soccer career, a teammate’s mother lost the battle with cancer. Because of the strong foundation my head coach had worked so hard to build, this young woman had a community she was able to turn to for support. It was then that I saw just how powerful empathy can be, and why my coach fought so hard to instil it in each of us.

Even though my soccer days are over, I try to carry this lesson with me, especially in the workplace. I have found that if you practice empathy, even when it’s hard, those around you are inspired to do the same. Empathy has a way of building relationships and driving progress.

–Kayla Holland, Account Development Representative

“It’s all about falling in love with the process of growth.”

Esrom Debesai, Engineering Quality Assurance Intern, HighspotBefore I began my career in QA and engineering, I worked in banking. I fell into the career by chance and stayed because I didn’t have a reason to leave. That was until my older brother sat me down one day and asked what my long-term career goals were. He knew I wasn’t passionate about my current job and urged me to grow mentally, not only physically.

Shortly after, I quit my job and went back to school to pursue a computer science degree. The decision wasn’t easy — I was leaving a stable job to take a leap of faith I was hoping would pay off one day — but I knew it was time for a new challenge and the growth that would come along with it.

Since that conversation, I’ve challenged myself to think of my actions as a game of chess and not checkers. Meaning, is this choice going to bring instant gratification, or will it bring me closer to my long-term goals and aspirations? If it’s the latter, I go for it. To me, it’s all about falling in love with the process of growth.

–Esrom Debesai, Quality Assurance Intern, Engineering

“You have to put in the work and be your own champion.”

Christian Behrens, Account Development Representative, HighspotWhile playing basketball at UC Berkeley, I tore my ACL for the second time. After months of rehabilitation, I was ready to get back on the court, but I was still on the bench. That’s when I reached out to my trusted academic advisor and asked for advice on how to get my coach to see I was ready to resume playing.

His advice was to come up with a plan to prove to my head coach that I was ready to contribute the hard work I put into my recovery and put it into action. Shortly after our conversation that’s exactly what I did, and I found myself in a one-on-one meeting with my coach.

That year I went from getting a couple of minutes per game to playing significant minutes and contributing to a win against the number-one team in the nation. I’m very grateful for the experience of meeting with my advisor and coach because it taught me the value of working hard to create your own destiny. You have to put in the work and be your own champion because opportunities don’t always come twice.

–Christian Behrens, Account Development Representative

It Starts with Conversation

Conversations aren’t just ways for us to communicate with others. They fundamentally have the power to change our lives and even the world. Through meaningful conversations, we’re able to use the advice and experience of others to see new perspectives and opportunities that alter the course of our story.

What conversations have impacted your life? Share your story with us on social media using the hashtag #ItStartsWithConversation — and be sure to check back for more stories from our Highspot team.