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Design that reads "Kin+ Linda Dao Ohr", with a headshot of Linda

Meet Linda Dao Ohr, balancing a new job, surgeries and life

  • 29 December 2021
  • Inside Kin + Carta

Our name is intentional. “Kin” refers to family and “Carta” refers to maps. When together, we’re Kin + Carta — a group of connected makers, builders and creators, who come together everyday to help our clients build experiences and plot a clear path forward in today’s digital world. Carta is what we do, Kin is who we are.

Kin+ is a series that uncovers the experiences, stories and lives of the people who make our collective “Kin” exceptional.

At Kin + Carta, we believe strongly in work-life balance. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to the personal story of Linda Dao Ohr, who leads Kin + Carta’s global Sales Enablement function, which she defines as “whatever it takes to help sales reps be more efficient, productive and successful.” 

Just before she joined our Kin in early 2021, Linda had made one of the hardest decisions of her life: to schedule a preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy. Unsure what her new colleagues would say, Linda was terrified to share the news during her first week.

But, as Linda shares here, her experience over the last year has been life-changing. It’s a privilege to share her personal story with you. We think you’ll be inspired by her resilience, her insights from a challenging health experience and her steadfast commitment to doing well for those around her.

Design that reads "Kin+ Linda Dao Ohr", with a headshot of Linda

I’m a big believer that women have superpowers and can do so much. The moment I realized this was back when my daughter was a newborn (she’s four years old now).

I had just come back to work and was worried that I would have “Mommy Brain”. I was worried that I wouldn't be as sharp. I could hardly carry all of the pumping supplies that I needed at the office, and I also had to put time in my busy schedule to pump. Without a doubt, it was the most daunting moment of my career. 

But then it hit me one day: I am a mother to a four-month-old. I just returned to work full-time, and I am making time to pump to feed my daughter. I just started at a company where a role was created for me. I am building out a Sales Enablement Program at a high-growth tech organization. And I am nailing it. 

It was at that moment that I knew I was capable of anything.

Linda in a conference
Linda speaking at a Chicago tech conference

I didn’t intend to go into Sales. As an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, I studied journalism, and my first job out of college was at E!: Entertainment Television. Unfortunately, it was growing a bit too quickly, and 250 people got laid off — me included. In my subsequent job search, I came across a Sales role. I didn’t think Sales was for me, but I took the job anyway. 

When I realized how competitive Sales is, I became intrigued by it as an actual career path because I’m extremely competitive. As much as I’d love to say I was motivated by money, in all honesty, I was more focused on being the top person and beating everyone on the team. I was all ego, and that’s probably what made me so successful early-on in my sales career.

That competitive edge continued to come out as I learned and grew within the discipline. I advanced into Sales Management and Coaching, then Sales Training, and finally, I started up several Sales Enablement programs at high-growth companies.

Linda smiling next to former Chicago mayor
Linda with former Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel

After being recruited for a role in Chicago, I fell in love with the digital tech community that exists within the city. It’s in this community where I first learned about Kin + Carta, and I found myself admiring the firm’s growth and grit from afar. 

That’s why, in early 2021, I wanted to learn more when an opportunity arose to join Kin + Carta. With every conversation, I fell more and more in love with the team. When an offer came, I was excited to accept my role at Kin + Carta. 

At the same time, I was also really nervous because I had two major surgeries scheduled that would overlap with my first six months at the firm. 

There’s a significant history of cancer in my family. After surviving four bouts of cancer, my mom lost her life due to the toll chemo and radiation took on her organs. I, unfortunately, also carry the BRCA 1 gene. Losing my mom was heart-breaking, and it was at that moment that I decided to prioritize my health and chose the preventative route. I was willing to go to great lengths to make sure that I lived a long life for my four year old daughter, and that meant opting to do a double mastectomy / reconstruction and a full hysterectomy — both to take place six months apart in 2021.

After accepting the job offer at Kin + Carta, I was nervous about sharing this news with my People Leader and my team. It is always nerve-wracking to think that anything in your personal life will be an inconvenience to your employer or your team, and I was terrified that Kin + Carta would think that they had made a mistake, and that they’d take back the offer.

Yet when I let them know about my scheduled surgeries, I experienced immediate relief and immense gratitude. The response of my colleagues was simple, direct, and came with absolutely no hesitation.

Linda, thank you for sharing this with us. You come first. I want you to always, always remember that — you come first.

Gregg Wheeler - My People Leader and Kin + Carta's Chief Growth Officer

Ever since then, it's been that simple. I’ve received the support, understanding, space, and time that has allowed me to take care of myself and my family. My colleagues and the firm’s response, without a doubt, positively impacted my recovery and healing.

It’s important to emphasize that this experience has not been the norm and has profoundly changed me. I used to be a workaholic who identified myself through my work. In many ways, I worked as if I was saving lives. It was really hard for me to take time off, use my PTO, and go on vacation. I was afraid that if I took the time to recharge or took any time off, my work and the company would suffer.

This experience has taught me that we, particularly women, tend to forget about taking care of ourselves. In a sense, I was forced to take care of myself, and I’m so glad that Kin + Carta forced me to take time off. By doing so, my colleagues allowed me to truly recharge,  recover, and heal completely before I came back.

I now understand there is a reason we are given time off and great health insurance that we should take full advantage of. We only live one life, and we take it for granted all too often. I think it’s also important to realize that if you're not healthy, you’re a detriment to yourself and your success.

Please do all the things that are necessary to take care of yourself. That includes preventative visits and procedures, as well as taking care of your mental health. I can't stress that enough, and I'm not ashamed to say that I see a therapist twice a week. 

I see a therapist because it is a place where I can go in and lay down everything that is worrying me, everything that's stressing me out, any challenges that I have. I can lay it all out, and I can work through it. When that hour mark hits, I can leave it there and come back completely focused and ready to take charge of the world.

Picture of Linda standing next to another individual
Linda with a friend at a networking event

This experience has also given me a chance to step back and fully understand the importance of the people around you. Over this year, I’ve come to realize that we as humans, we carry a lot. Often, we carry a lot just by ourselves to not be a burden. We don’t want to come across as an inconvenience, so we end up keeping many things to ourselves. Because we don’t communicate and we don’t share, we don’t know what’s going on with one another. That makes life hard when you’re dealing with something. 

I now believe we need to talk more, we need to share more, and we need to support one another. There are so many of us that can relate to one another and help carry the weight of hard things.

That’s probably the biggest reason why I’m sharing my story publicly. I want everyone, especially women, to know that we, at Kin + Carta, are here to support you in any way that you need us. Do you want to brainstorm? We're here. Do you want to talk about how stressful it is to be a new parent and figure out a way to balance work and home because you feel worn out? We’re here. I want everyone to know we’re all here to push you to take care of yourself and to ask for help when you need it.

I can’t say it enough. Kin + Carta truly allowed me to be a human — to be a woman, a mom, a partner, an employer, and an employee. The firm has also empowered me to be a better leader who will strive to lead by example and encourage the people I work with and mentor to take care of themselves.  

My surgeries are now over. I am coming back stronger because of and for the people of Kin + Carta who have so fully supported me. I will always be theirs and the firm’s biggest advocate. 

Screenshot of Linda with a mentee during a video call
Linda with Madeline, one of her mentees

After returning to work, I was excited to put my all into everything. One thing that I’m especially excited to focus on now is mentorship. I, unfortunately, built my career with mentors that were all men. It’s not to say there weren’t women around — there were. But I think now we’re in a place where we need to better support the younger generation. My generation learned so many things, and sometimes it was the hard way. It doesn’t have to be that way going forward.

I believe in always having a student mentality: You teach two new things and learn two new things every day. I want to be able to do that for everyone around me. I want the people to feel comfortable enough to say, “Hey,  Linda, I don't know if you know this, but here are two things that I want to teach you. And then there are two things that I want to learn from you.” 

I highly encourage finding someone you can learn from and who you can teach. Also, find someone who will push you outside of your comfort zone and challenge you to be the boss you are. 

You are, without a doubt, a boss, and I want you to continue believing it. Every one of us is unique, and we have our superpowers. But sometimes, you need people on the outside to encourage you to be the boss you are — to help you find your passion, to help you find the extra strength you need during a difficult conversation. Sometimes you just need that support when you’re feeling a little down. I promise you, if you can just find the courage to ask for help, people will show up in extraordinary ways.

Are you eager to be inspired by Linda every day at work and to join a workplace that puts you first?

Apply now