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A Passion for Corporate Social Impact Programs: Heather shares the story of Medallia.org

A Passion for Corporate Social Impact Programs: Heather shares the story of Medallia.org

In our latest installment of the Medallia Life Employee Spotlight, we had the privilege of sitting down with Medallia’s Global Head of Corporate Social Impact, Heather Jin. She joined Medallia more than four years ago as part of the Professional Services team, but her passion for corporate social impact programs drove her to founding Medallia.org, our social impact organization. Heather shares the story of her life growing up as an immigrant in the U.S. and how it shaped her desire to help the underrepresented members of society find their voice through nonprofits and social enterprises. 

At Medallia, we believe in “Hiring the Whole Person.” Heather is not only the Global Head of Corporate Social Impact, but also a proud woman of color, immigrant, and social advocate.

Let’s start off easy, what’s something someone may not know about you?

This is my fun fact always! I am ethnically Korean, nationally Chinese (before I became an American citizen), and was born in Japan. But I’m only fluent in English now.

What attracted you to Medallia in the first place?

As an immigrant, I grew up very shy and afraid to speak up — because I was made fun of for my broken English, and witnessed my immigrant parents often ignored or talked over. I have personal experiences where I have felt that I or my loved ones did not have an avenue to share our voices. That is why I am so passionate about Medallia’s mission — in experience management and human-centered design. We get to wake up every day to make sure that employees, customers, citizens, patients, beneficiaries have a voice in creating more inclusive organizations and communities. I am extremely grateful to be witness to the stories of our mission-driven customers and partners who serve and give a voice to the most vulnerable.

What do you like most about your job?

Truly this is my dream job! I pinch myself everyday that I get to work in a role that aligns well with my values — to build empathetic communities, give back as a way of paying it forward, and create simplicity so it’s accessible for everyone. In my job I am energized, challenged, and fulfilled — being able to think about complex questions like ‘What are the critical issues in our communities where our customers and employees work and how do we put our best resources to help do our part?’ And it helps to be surrounded by the smartest, kindest, driven coworkers to answer those questions!

Why did you want to get into this and corporate social impact programs?

As a daughter of working-class parents and growing up in New Orleans (a city that will likely be underwater in 50 years due to climate change), I have always gotten so much energy by being involved in my community — from volunteering to being on nonprofit boards. So when I first joined Medallia in Professional Services, implementing our product and consulting with our enterprise customers — I couldn’t help but think how incredible our product could be for nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations as our public sector and healthcare verticals were in their infancy. In addition, I was inspired by the countless Medallians who were also giving back in their own communities and wanted to create easy ways to amplify their work. That’s why I co-founded Medallia.org, initially as a grassroots, volunteer-led movement. I am so grateful that Medallia has given me the opportunity to grow it to be much greater now into a formalized, strategic arm of the company.

You mentioned you transitioned teams while at Medallia. I can imagine this is becoming increasingly common as businesses react to COVID-19. Any tips for others trying to make a smooth transition in their career?

There are a few things I would share with people transitioning in their career now: 

  1. Let Go of Expectations: If you’re actively seeking a switch in career paths you don’t always know where you will end up, so let go of your expectations and let your passion drive you toward your destination. People are drawn to folks who are passionate about what they do, so let that be your driving factor. 
  2. Show Momentum Quickly: When you’re taking on new projects in order to show growth quickly, look for metrics that you will be able to share with stakeholders. They will vary based on your role, but if you can help paint a picture of the impact you’re driving, people will be more inclined to support you on your journey. 
  3. Management Wants you to Succeed: I think it’s common for people to avoid sharing their aspirations with senior management because they don’t want to add more to their plate. One thing I learned is if you can get their buy-in, the sky’s the limit. I wish I had the knowledge to reach out to executives earlier in my pursuit of creating Medallia.org. Executives at the end of the day want you to succeed, because if you’re successful then that’s a success for the company. 

Any tips for someone considering a career in corporate social impact?

The beautiful part about corporate social impact is how interdisciplinary it is — every employee and every department has a role in doing their part. So I encourage people thinking about this field — focus on what your superpower is, and find a company that values and needs your superpower. If you are passionate about finance, then you may consider going into grantmaking. If your superpower is human resources, then it may be building volunteering programming. If it’s marketing and press relations, then it may be storytelling for the causes the company partners with. If it is product strategy, then it may be product innovation for social impact organizations. I truly believe that the intersection between your passion and the company’s values is the sweet spot to make the most impact internally at the company and externally for the community.

What has been one of your favorite Medallia.org corporate social impact programs to lead? 

That’s such a tough question — I’ve loved being a part of all of them! One of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that we have been able to donate more than $700,000 worth of our best-in-class products to mission-driven organizations since Medallia.org’s formalization.

One way we’ve recently accomplished this is by offering our products to all Employee Resource Group partner nonprofits. This was driven by our employees’ passion for their nonprofit partners and their desire to support them in multifaceted ways to scale their missions. We’ve already been able to share this to several organizations, including Black Girl Ventures. I can’t think of better uses of our products than helping provide more access to capital for Black and Brown female founders.

Medallia is growing, and dedicated to “hiring the whole person,” join the #MedalliaLife by heading to our careers page and applying today! 

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