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Working smarter than yesterday

Margaret Kaz is a Georgia Tech alum, working as an Enterprise Account Manager at Yext in New York City. She is our #WCW because she loves to explore wherever she finds herself and takes the time to appreciate everything along the way.

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

I grew up in Coweta County, Georgia, a lovely place, and I am so thankful to have been raised in such a hard-working community. I was a wild child. A friend of the family once jokingly said she never thought I would live to be 12. I had to learn to channel that energy into something productive, so I got really into academics and extracurricular activities like fishing, student government and sports. My father always asked me questions like: "Why do you think that is?" and "How could this be better?" I think those questions are what made me a student of everything I choose to be involved in. I want to learn as much as I can about something so I perform better and dedicate myself in the most strategic way.

2. What motivates you?

I know the woman I want to be. She is proud, strong, and generous with her time and attention. Knowing who I want to be in a decade helps me wake up every day with purpose.

3. Who is a hero of yours?

My mother is the most elegant, gentle, beautiful creature, but she’s also a total badass. She busted her butt in the 70's and 80's and climbed the ranks to become a pilot for Continental Airlines. She was a world-class skydiver, and now she water skis at a competitive level. Her oil paintings are featured in Lake Martin Living. She does all this while looking like a brunette Princess Diana — and she is so humble that she’ll probably be mad at me when she reads this. I know that, while she does all these cool things and has her own ambitions, she really loves my sister, my father, and me. She is all around the most interesting and fantastic person I have ever met, and she’s my mom. I won the lottery.

4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?

I have always been ambitious. I knew I wanted to go to Georgia Tech because it places such an emphasis on putting academia into practice through internships and co-ops. I wanted to go into the tech industry because I love the people, products, and culture — we are all nerds at heart. I completed two internships and a three-semester co-op before graduating from GT with an offer from a really cool software start-up in North Carolina. Now I work for Yext, a location data company in New York City, and I could not be happier.

5. What's your future plan? Your goals?

Tomorrow I want to work harder and smarter than I did today, and I want to make someone else's day a little better. Next year I want to send my parents on a trip for their 30th wedding anniversary. In the next 15 years, I want a C-Suite, acceptance to business school, and a book deal. Someday, I would love to start my own non-profit academic summer camp, local scholarships in the names of my third grade teacher and my sister, and a charity bass tournament. I have big dreams, obviously, but I don't think any of this is out of reach.

6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be yourself and never apologize for it, but don't be a jerk.

7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

Mental health awareness. Especially in 2017, when everything moves 100 miles per hour and you can never really get away completely to reset your mind, body and soul. You should take your mental health as seriously as you would high blood pressure. It's something you have to be aware of and make strides to stay on top of. There is no shame in that.

8. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?

During the summer of 2015, I ended an internship early and took my 90-year-old, MIT-graduate grandmother on a road trip to Nova Scotia, Canada. Us two crazy gals spent almost two weeks at the most beautiful farm, and we had a blast. We ate a LOT of ice cream and fresh lobster, read library books, and watched reruns of Downton Abbey and Doc Martin. I am so proud of that trip. You can never buy back time with people you love so make time today.

9. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about?

I adopted a small rescue dog named FiFi. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. Honestly, she helps me in my career because I want to be the person my dog thinks I am. Adopt, don't shop.

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