Why I joined Asana: Kalina Bryant, Head of Customer Advocacy
February 22nd, 2021
Kalina Bryant is the Head of Customer Advocacy, based out of our San Francisco office. The most valuable part of her job is bringing customers together, understanding their needs, and building joint partnerships to amplify customer voices. Get to know Kalina and why she joined #teamasana.
What attracted you to join Asana?
I was drawn to Asana because of the unique and refreshing culture. People here value being real and co-creating together. Throughout my interview process, people made time for me, enjoyed listening to my ideas, and shared my vision of what customer advocacy meant. Each phone made me more eager to engage, learn, and dream of what I could build if I got the job.
What was your journey to becoming Head of Customer Advocacy?
I started my career in sales. It was fun, stressful, and rewarding all at the same time. I loved meeting new people and connecting with them, but sales wasn’t fulfilling my creative side. I wanted to design, build things from scratch, create experiences, and market these experiences in a unique way. This need for creative impact brought me to the world of advocacy and customer marketing. Here, I could combine sales and marketing to be strategic while also providing a VIP customer experience. I realized I loved helping the right people connect at the right time to secure bigger deals. I later started outlining advocacy strategies for C-level executives and light-house accounts, which ultimately led me to Asana. Asana completely aligned with my vision and I now have the opportunity to focus on the entire advocacy journey and design strategies for executive advocacy programs.
I now work closely with our Sales, Customer Success, and Marketing teams to make magic happen. I get to challenge layouts, propose new programs, and teach people how to put our customers first.
“Creativity and strategy is key in the advocacy world. With a strong culture and leaders who give me a creative playground, I feel unstoppable.”
How are you supported in your career goals at Asana?
Having a creative playground at a company is a dream come true for me. I can sketch my ideas and execute on my vision, I’m challenged, and I’m given constructive feedback. I have the opportunity to work alongside Asana’s Head of Global Sales, and as a leader running our advocacy program, having this partnership is both rare and fulfilling. Not only does he provide amazing insight, but also challenges me in my growth and potential toward what I can achieve.
In addition to Asana, I am the founder of UnapologeTECH by Kalina Mari, a platform that focuses on creating an inclusive space for women leaders of color and serves as a coaching service for women. When I began considering my opportunity with Asana, I was very honest about my side business. I knew if I was to take a new role, the company I joined would need to be okay with my passions outside of the office. I was so happy I was able to convey what was important to me and still be able to pursue those passions while working at Asana.
Ultimately, I created the UnapologeTECH platform to illuminate the voices of women of color and their allies. This safe space allows women to share their impactful stories and inspire women from around the globe. The platform also helps allies that seek to use their access and privilege to support women of color in business.
Asana was thrilled to promote UnapologeTECH on International Podcast Day, which changed my thought process for the better. Asana uplifts and amplifies my voice in so many ways, and above all I get to show up as myself. I used to worry about my image early in my career—but now I’m empowered. I wear my hair in an afro, braids, straight hair—you name it. I speak up and express my opinion, and to be honest, I do my job well because I can be my authentic self. I have a community, I have mentors, I have leaders whom I respect, and I have space to create and make an impact.
What is the Revenue Team like at Asana?
I truly feel like I get to work with some of the smartest people in the Bay Area. The Revenue Team is eager to learn and make an impact. In customer success, everyone wants to help and make sure you are successful. I don’t see any egos at Asana—instead I see a team of individuals who want to see their customers satisfied. I see a team who is eager to learn new techniques. We are constantly elevating each other.
What does Asana’s mission mean to you?
Asana’s mission of enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly resonates with me because, as Head of Customer Advocacy, I’m constantly thinking about what will make my customer thrive and how I can ensure my customer is set up for success. I am passionate about creating unique experiences for my customers, and Asana’s mission goes hand in hand in designing awesome advocacy programs.
What is your involvement with the Asana ERGs?
Culture is huge to me and being able to bring my whole self to work is important. I’m an African American woman, a leader in tech, a business woman, a podcaster, and a life coach. I wear multiple hats (and multiple hairstyles), and I want to bring all of that with me to work. That’s why I was so excited when Asana recently launched Blacsana, an ERG dedicated to our Asana employees of African descent. I’m thrilled to have recently accepted a position as a co-leader for this ERG. It’s exciting because I have the opportunity to create magic with other members and provide a space for people in the community to connect, learn, be real, and embrace our culture.
What’s your mantra and where did you first develop it?
Being successful and respected has always been important to me, and as a result, I’ve really focused on achieving my goals. Over the years, I realized that I was so concerned with reaching new heights that I didn’t take time to appreciate my accomplishments.
“I constantly remind myself to wake up, be authentic, write down your goals, put them into action, and make time to celebrate. Life is a balance and all things should be done in moderation.”
Also be sure to make time to give back and help others. As you learn and acquire knowledge, be sure to pass it on.
If you could give a new Asana one piece of advice, what would it be?
When you begin your journey at Asana, take time to understand your new path before you dive in. I wish I knew the vision I outlined in my interview process would not be built overnight. Over time I’ve learned that, in order to build things right, you have to be patient.
When you start a new company, you have to look at things in stages. You have to accept that even though the role is exciting, you first have to learn how to navigate a new company. Take time to understand the new tools, processes, and teams you’ll be working with. Once you learn that, you can begin building. And don’t forget to ask for help and lean on your new team for support!
Work with Kalina—join our team!
Check out opportunities to join the Customer Success team. We have open roles in San Francisco, Sydney, London, Dublin, and New York!