Kalina Bryant is the current Global Head of Customer Advocacy at work management platform Asana, making her the first African-American woman to join the company’s revenue executive leadership team. According to Forbes, she brought in $9 million in annual revenue for Asana in just six months of joining the company.
Bryant started her career in sales but she didn’t find sales fulfilling her creative side. She wanted to design, build things from scratch, create experiences, and market these experiences in a unique way. The need to make use of her creative side brought her to the world of advocacy and customer marketing.
“Here, I could combine sales and marketing to be strategic while also providing a VIP customer experience. I realized I loved helping the right people connect at the right time to secure bigger deals,” she said, according to asana blog.
Bryant started outlining advocacy strategies for C-level executives and light-house accounts, which ultimately led her to Asana. “Asana completely aligned with my vision and I now have the opportunity to focus on the entire advocacy journey and design strategies for executive advocacy programs,” she said.
According to Bryant, she was drawn to Asana because of the company’s unique and refreshing culture. She said people at the company value being real and co-creating together.
Before moving to Asana, Bryant founded UnapologeTECH, as a side hustle. UnapologeTECH is a platform that focuses on creating an inclusive space for women leaders of color and serves as a coaching service for women.
She still oversees her passion project UnapologeTECH while working at Asana. Explaining how she got into the tech space and the founding of UnapologeTECH, she said that it all started with a babysitting gig.
“The father of the child I was babysitting for was going on a date and knew I had a good head on my shoulders. He told me his girlfriend was a badass in the sales tech world. He asked if I planned to work after college or go straight to grad school. I told him I wanted to get some work experience under my belt. He smiled and said I’ll chat with her during dinner. When they returned she gave me her business card and asked for me to give her a call,” she said.
And right after graduation, Bryant called and was interviewed. She then started her career as a sales development rep (SDR) and worked her way up the organization where she was. Here, Bryant mastered the art of networking and building relationships.
She would later launch UnapologeTECH and move on to Asana, becoming the head of Global Head of Customer Advocacy. But this was not without challenges. Being Black and a woman in the tech world, Bryant said she had multiple people try to manipulate her.
“Ironically, the majority of them were white women (who were my bosses at the time),” she said.
In one of the companies, she built extraordinary programs in a short time including a spectacular customer advisory board. “Yet, I experienced a Vice President taking my work and making it her own, being lied to, receiving small pay increases even though I knew I was worth more. So in 2018, I quit that job,” she said.
Bryant left with no plan B, but she knew her worth. “I took all of my work with me as well. And, for the first time in my life, I feared nothing and no one.”