Is there more than one way to make the Director of Operations (DOO) certification fit into your career goals?
Today we are spotlighting DOO student Khara Malcom. Her story is very inspiring, and she shows how she has taken the certificate and used it to her greatest benefit. Her story also highlights how diverse the certification can be.
Khara Malcom is a Certified Director of Operations for a women-owned boutique-style real estate team in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is also a small business strategist who is passionate about helping her clients build successful businesses that reflect their values and have a positive impact. Khara ditched her career in teaching and educational administration in favor of finding her own way toward time and financial freedom. Realizing that she could leverage her Masters in Ed. Leadership, she quickly obtained both the OBM and DOO certifications. As the founder of Evolving Business Solutions, Khara applies her curated system of strategy, values, leadership, and big-picture thinking to help small businesses gain clarity, know what steps to take, and have the confidence to move forward with excitement and alignment. She specializes in people operations and loves team culture, training, development, and engagement. Previously leading teams of 80, Khara strongly believes in putting people first. When she’s not empowering team members, tracking metrics, establishing foundational systems for her real estate team, or empowering small business owners, you can find this recovering over-achiever volunteering for all of her kids’ activities and racing from volleyball to baseball, karate to girl scouts. When life does manage to slow down, you’ll find Khara with the sun on her face – exploring new trails, kayaking, or building knockoff Pottery Barn furniture in her garage workshop.
- Was a special education teacher for several years
- Was introduced to a coaching framework to work with parents to help them advocate for their children
- A mentor encouraged her to look into leadership, so she got her masters and was an administrator in a large early childhood education program
- She left education because the politics got to be too much, and the 60+ hours she was putting in were draining
- She decided to stay at home with her children, and started to build a business online
- She began doing a variety of virtual assistant work and a client pointed out that she was meant to be more than a VA
- She went through an OBM certification, and found several of her cohort members went straight into the DOO program, so she decided to sit back and watch to see if it was the move for her
How did you realize you had operational skills?
- She has always been very detailed, organized and strategic
- Would not have called herself an operator until she started reading about the certification and realized that she was one
- Would not have called herself a project manager, yet was good at planning ahead in her life and her former work as a teacher
- Loves team culture and training
“Coming into the DOO community… I really felt like I was seen.” – Khara Malcom
Do you remember what gap you were looking for after completing the OBM program?
- When she wrapped up the OBM certification she was working with a few retainer clients and was really deep in implementation
- Enjoyed the high level strategic partnership but did not feel completely confident in that space
- She had a lot of questions coming out of the OBM program and felt overwhelmed
- She felt she had to be everything to everyone, and often in the OBM space they expect a unicorn and she felt like she was continually coming up short
- Struggling with scope creep is what brought her to the certification
“I can hang in implementation, but those are not the things that bring me joy. I really preferred the high level strategic partnership.” – Khara Malcom
“When you become a specialist there is something very empowering about that… because you give yourself a container to sit in.” – Natalie Gingrich
What has your journey looked like since going through the DOO certification?
- She was building her own business as she came into the certification
- As she was working within the program she was encouraged to pick a focus
- She wanted to focus on more project based work and fell into the HR space
- She was working with a client in a retainer who brought her in to be a tech trainer
- She realized they needed a lot more, so she pitched a DOO position and wrote her own job description
- She quickly realized her values did not align with that company
- She randomly found a posting at a real estate company but the posting had already closed; she reached out anyway
- She met them for coffee and it was a great values fit. Even though it was an “employee” position, they had an open mind about what it meant to be an employee
“A lot of people in business will hire and then feel their job is done, and then people are left hanging… then business owners are quick to point fingers at that new hire when they didn’t really set them up for success.” – Khara Malcom
“The certification taught me how to vet potential clients, so I could tell very quickly that this would be a very different experience for me.” – Khara Malcom
What kind of role were they looking for?
- They were looking for a DOO in their job description, and she felt confident in that
- She was a team of one, and they needed her to hire their team
- She came into the role knowing she would need to do implementation more on the front end, but she can see where they are headed and will have more of a strategic partnership role as they grow
- She does about 30 hours per week, so she can pick up other projects if needed as long as there is no conflict of interest
What content have you used from the DOO certification?
- Strategic Mapping Model™ has changed their business (and her own business)
- The HR content will be used down the road as needed
Parting words of wisdom:
- Trust your instincts and keep an open mind
- The accountability advisors in the DOO certification are amazing, and it was so helpful to process through things with them
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