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Meet Jackie Kalb, kindness and mentorship counts

Design that reads "Kin+ Jackie Kalb" with a headshot of Jackie

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.

There’s something inspiring about meeting someone who’s invested in being mentored. You can tell that they’ve been intentionally crafting who they are and who they are striving to become. This, to us, is Jackie Kalb, Senior Client Engagement Principal at Kin + Carta. Jackie dreamed of a career and leaned on the expertise of mentors since she was 14. Now, she’s driven to succeed for her teams, Kin + Carta, and all those her sold product touches.

We’re honored to introduce you to Jackie, whose life and work experiences have consistently been filled with confidence, drive, mentorship and kindness.

Design that reads "Kin+ Jackie Kalb" with a headshot of Jackie

I was a 14-year-old growing up in Connecticut when I first became obsessed with magazines – specifically, Teen People. I applied to be a trend spotter and landed the opportunity in New York City. At the time, my dad worked in the financial district and would drop me off at the office. 

Looking back on it now, it's impressive that my parents let me go into the city at that age. I remember getting out of the subway one time and calling my dad to tell him I had been above ground for 20 minutes. He said, "you're either in Brooklyn or Queens, so you'll want to take the subway going the other way." My parents knew if they didn't help support the things I loved, I would go out and do them anyways.

I was fortunate that this trend spotter opportunity turned into an internship after my freshman year of college. It was in these roles where I built relationships with three great female mentors at such a young age. To this day, I'm incredibly close with my manager from Teen People. She's the first to get excited for me when I tell her I'm traveling somewhere new, or that I've got a job opportunity. That relationship is something I've always taken to heart, and while I wasn’t aware of it at the time, her mentorship propelled in me a desire to be a woman in power.

I knew what I wanted to do when I was 14: work for a magazine. So when I went to college, I owned that I wasn't going to sit around and wait-and-see how the four years went. I had a goal and I was going to achieve it. However, by the time I graduated, the magazine industry had completely changed which made roles extremely difficult to find. This led my career path to take a different trajectory than I imagined, but a lot of what I’ve learned along the way is that if you don't take chances, you're not going to get opportunities. I’ve reminded myself of this, ever since then, and continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

A lot of what I’ve learned along the way is that if you don't take chances, you're not going to get opportunities.

I grew up with my dad traveling, so I’d often hear about his trips to places like Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan and London. This embedded in me a thirst for travel, and to quench this, I completed a college immersion program in Madrid, and that was my first taste of what was outside my four walls. I also attended graduate school at St. Andrews in Scotland to study creative writing. I always knew that even though I’d travel a lot in life, New York would be my home — the city drew me in because it’s a melting pot of cultures. This, itself, continues to embolden me to see more and more of the world.

After graduating from St. Andrews, I knew I loved studying abroad and that I wanted to be in sales. I saw a travel role available that was pure sales, going to universities and being boots on the ground. My perfect role! I told the Scotland-born VP, "I might not have the sales experience, but wouldn't it be a travesty if you didn't hire someone who graduated from St. Andrews?" Next, I interviewed with the President, and he still jokes to this day that he knew I would be one of their top sellers within five minutes of the meeting because I came in with confidence. My attitude was, "yeah, I've never really sold before, but give me a shot." That was a meaningful change for me – two amazing mentors took a chance on me, and I was there selling for almost four years.

I always think about my career formation as twofold. One, it's having male leaders who want to empower women and two, having the support of impressive women who take charge, don't take no for an answer and really do things differently.

Two photos collaged together of Jackie with her colleagues at networking events
Two photos of Jackie with some of her former colleagues and mentors

Since then, I’ve created my career in sales and I’ve come to realize that it’s a balance of having a thick skin and being human. There are moments with extreme highs and the lowest of lows, yet I’ve learned how important it is to stay down-to-earth. Things always work out if you have an excellent product and a talented team. You don't have to be one type of seller to be successful — you can still have a big heart. And I recognized early in my sales career how important your internal teams are. They’re the ones driving your sales. So the more your team knows about what you're doing, and the more kindness you give them, the more excited people will be to work with you. 

At the end of the day, we all want to hit our numbers and we want the company to do well, but for me, it's always been about my team’s success.

So the more your team knows about what you're doing, and the more kindness you give them, the more excited people will be to work with you.

A few years ago when working at a former company, I was researching the right types of partners we should channel and happened upon Kin + Carta's website. I read about the emphasis on IDEA and was attracted by the steps taken to become a certified B Corp. I’d spoken with a mentor six years prior about wanting to grow into a client engagement role. And sure enough, I saw a role at Kin + Carta for client engagement. It was then that everything aligned for me — I felt a powerful urge to throw my hat in the ring.

The values were what drew me in from the start. I watched a Kin + Carta video that I ended up using in my final interview presentation with the firm. I loved how within it there were just so many different walks of life and experiences of people that all came together as Kin.

I often reflect on that final interview, and honestly it all makes sense that I’ve landed here. I had practiced running through the video so many times, but of course when presenting, no one could hear anything. Without one second to spare, John Wanek, Kin + Carta’s Senior Vice President of Sales, turned on the video for me, and said, “Jackie, I’ve got it. Let's all listen from here.” I still laugh about it because I could easily have blown the interview, yet he stepped in and completely changed the course of it for me. Even before I began working here, John had my back. That's the humanity behind this company, the people behind the job.

A collage of two photos of Jackie with Kin + Carta employees around NYC
A few photos of Jackie with members of our US East Territory Kin

One of the unique things about our company is that we take vacations and personal time to heart. When people say disconnect when you're away, they're not just saying it. They mean it, and there are people here to back you up. It comes down to caring about employees.

Ironically, this came to life for me when I earned my recent promotion. I was out of the office and completely disconnected from Slack and email. John, now my People Leader, messaged me while I was out about wanting to chat, and I didn’t get the message until I was back in the office. We laughed about me finally putting boundaries in place, shutting down and totally missing a message about my promotion. 

I came back from my time off with more celebratory Slack messages than I could count. That feeling of being able to disconnect is so important. However, what I personally hold onto is that anytime I go away, I recognize exactly what it is I’m coming back to.

Jackie pictured with a group of Kin + Carta employees at a museum
Jackie and some of our US East Territory Kin at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC

After being here for just over a year, the kindness of our team is something that truly sticks out to me. Not only do I have the opportunity to learn a ton from brilliant people and drive success for the company, but I also just feel genuinely cared for. It's important to be grateful for the people, not just the process.

There's also this notion in the world that you must be with a company for five to ten years to move up, but I've found it has to be the right role and you need to have the right opportunities within it. I’ve found that Kin + Carta is unique in that leaders help you see line of sight to where you can go next. There's no hesitation from People Leaders to say that if you want to throw your hat in for something, the world is your oyster.

Ultimately, it's not about the emails you have to send or your next project. It's about the people you're surrounding yourself with.

Eager to join one of Jackie’s teams?

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