Meet Cara Christiansen, lover of cats and trees. Cara graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a major in Computer Science. She enjoys playing her trumpet, walking on ledges, and eating ice cream. Cara was a part of Kipsu's first Rotation Program and actually created a new role at Kipsu, Product Analyst, for her placement after the program! Read more about her experience in the rotation program and time at Kipsu so far.
Why did you choose to be a part of the first Kipsu Entrepreneurial Leadership Rotation Program?
I graduated with a degree in Computer Science, but wasn't quite sure if development was the route I wanted to go into right after college. I also had a couple internship experiences in the corporate sector, and to be frank, those did not leave me excited to start working. Instead, I wanted to join a company that encouraged intellectual curiosity, embraced a vibrant, humble environment, and didn't corner its team members into a silo-ed role. Kipsu offered exactly that, as well as a truly driven and selfless team to join the adventure alongside.
What is something surprising you learned about Kipsu?
Apparently there was a bear or moose on the wall of one of the first offices, which seems like a unique choice of decor. (Someone should fact check that though...). It has also been a joy learning the versatility of the word "Kipsu". Kippy, Kipping on, Kipsuvian, Kipsuper, Kispu, Kicksu, Kipsugram, Kipathon, Kiptastic, Kip Kip hooray!...the list goes on...and that is arguably an impressive list for what began as just an available five-letter domain.
In this program, you have been exposed to several roles without having prior experience in them, how has that experience been?
Eye-opening. Definitely eye-opening. In the four months of a rotation, you dive really deep into the team, the role, and the purpose of both in the larger picture of Kipsu. Repeat that three times, and a) you are bound to learn a ton, b) you realize roles that seem out of reach are definitely with your capability, and c) you foster a great appreciation for the unique and pivotal role every person and team has in the company. I'd be lying if I said I felt comfortable and confident the majority of the time; however, I think that discomfort and unsureness forced me to step beside what I thought I knew and embrace what I could grow into. Lack of experience was quickly overcome by the strong learning environment and a team-wide "go beyond together" mindset.
What has been the most challenging and rewarding part of the Rotation Program?
At the risk of sounding cliche, I think the most challenging and rewarding parts of the program are one in the same -- ambiguity. When you join a team for a finite amount of time before rotating, your role tends to be ambiguous. At first you're learning (well actually you are always learning), then contributing, and suddenly you're moving on. Understanding your purpose can be challenging at times. However, this ambiguity also fosters a unique opportunity to contribute in uncharted ways. There aren't cookie cutter expectations, rather we are encouraged to be curious and take ownership of whatever role we are in. Gaps are opportunities and ambiguity is license to try. The encouragement to boldly contribute in a flexible environment despite being new to the working field has been a very rewarding experience.
What advice would give to the next Rotation Analysts?
Be bold. As you move through the three rotations, it's tempting to feel temporary or as if you have an overwhelming amount of ground to catch up on. Instead, leverage your naivety as an opportunity to contribute your perspective with fresh eyes. Trust what you know and boldly apply it. But also trust that you will never go a day without learning something new...so buckle up!
Where did you end up being placed, and how are you feeling about moving into that role in a few short weeks?
I have been placed as a Product Analyst (my second rotation) and I am quite excited! This position offers an opportunity to build out and further support the Engineering team and development cycle through business analysis and quality assurance. It also has the potential to be a unique hybrid between strategy/design and development/execution of the product, which really excites my curious and broad interests!