In the latest installment of Premise’s Women’s ERG series, Premise’s very own CCO and Executive Co-Sponsor for the Premise Women’s ERG, Kim Bruce, shared her experiences and thoughts on what makes the ERG so essential for employees to feel empowered. Kim’s goal was to share personal experiences from her sales career, as well as to provide ideas and concrete suggestions to help navigate the workplace and career trajectories.
Premise: Please describe your leadership style and how you lead others?
Bruce: Well, it definitely evolved over my career. I have a participative type of leadership style.
I like to make sure people feel like they have a voice during their journey on my team and throughout their career in sales. I want to be able to take things off team members’ plates when possible so they can focus more of their energy on other aspects of their job.
Who inspired you to be a leader?
My mom was my number one inspiration. She was a single mom, and she always made sure we had a house to live in, in a nice community. My brother and I were pushed at a young age to be leaders since, as a single mom, my mom didn’t always have time to take us to soccer practice or other activities so we had to fend for ourselves sometimes. My brother had his paper route, and I collected money from people along the route. He refused to pay me half and only gave me 25% of the profits. I tried to quit and my mom said, ‘We don’t quit jobs.’ My mom even required me to give my brother two weeks notice! She also mentioned that I should have negotiated pay prior to agreeing to the job. Quitting is not a good leadership skill and my mom really emphasized that.”
When you began your career, what was the best piece of advice you got?
“Find a job you get to do, not that you’ve got to do. If you have passion, the sky’s the limit as to what you can accomplish. Surround yourself with smarter people.”
I don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; I want to find people that elevate me. I like to give credit where credit is due. Titles don’t matter if you work hard and excel. That is what will be remembered, not your title at the company.
What excites you about having a Women’s ERG at Premise?
The Women’s ERG at Premise provides a platform to collaborate with women in the workforce. It’s nice to have a group where other women also are aspirational in their careers and can not feel guilty for having a life outside their jobs.
What are some previous ERG experiences you’ve had?
In previous roles, I’ve had women leaders come to speak to the group. I’ve done a book club on a quarterly basis with themed books. It’s important to remember that a mentor doesn’t have to come from within your own company.
What resources would you recommend to the Premise team?
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Particularly the Soul Cycle and Southwest Airlines episodes. The “How I Built This” podcast is great as well and I’d highly recommend it.
What do you love about sales?
I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the creative problem-solving aspect of sales. I started a business with my brother. I flipped Sex Wax surf wax in my hometown after visiting my dad in LA and going out and finding supply from different retailers there. I’ve always enjoyed finding innovative ways to sell.
How do you stay positive when you get a ‘no’? What advice do you have for overcoming frustration when a deal doesn’t go through?
I always have to look at what I learned through the process. I don’t get too bogged down on that one ‘no’ and circle back with that person and see if it can turn into a ‘yes.’
What’s the best way to reach out to people outside of the company?
Always ask questions to people and genuinely invest in the relationship. Show interest in what they’re doing and eventually they also become interested in what you’re doing.
We’re grateful for the advice and experience Kim shared with the team. Young women starting out their careers, according to Kim’s philosophy, need to surround themselves with other smart people passionate about the same things they are. As a leader with sales experience ranging from tech to surf wax, Kim never lets a ‘no’ bring her down. She believes the best way to win prospects over is to genuinely invest in the relationship. Kim holds the same belief when it comes to her employees. The success of her team is just as important to Kim as her own success.
We look forward to continuing this series!