Alumni Spotlight - Kaila Grafeman
October 24, 2018 - Leslie Venzuela
Kaila Grafeman is a native New Mexican who earned two degrees from the Anderson School of Management, a BBA in 2011 and an MBA in 2013. Notably, Kaila was the first Anderson student to graduate from the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media program. After graduation, she went to work for Goldman Sachs as a Digital Strategist in Utah and New York. She now resides in San Francisco helping grow the Digital Enterprise Transformation practice at Ernst & Young.
What three words best describe you?
Optimistic. Diligent. Compassionate.
I like to think of myself as an optimistic person, which is great for identifying opportunities in difficult situations and positively influencing others. I like to stay diligent so that I can keep myself and those around me focused on achieving our goals. Lastly, I'm compassionate and care about helping others, and I prioritize mentoring and volunteering at work and within my community.
My guiding philosophy:
My guiding philosophy is whatever you do, do it well.
I believe you should be selective on what you spend your time on, but once you commit, go full force! People will see your hard work and passion and will want to help you succeed.
The best professional advice I ever received:
I've received a lot of professional advice during my career, but one I've been focused on lately is a metaphor for prioritization and creating life balance:
"Life is like juggling… you're always going to drop balls so you need to identify which balls are made of rubber and will bounce back and which balls are made of glass and will shatter if dropped."
My favorite Anderson Memories:
I have so many wonderful memories at Anderson! A lot of which comes from when I was president of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional fraternity for students studying business and economics. Our chapter was focused on connecting students with business resources, exploring educational opportunities, finding financial assistance, and contributing in the community.
Specifically, I remember a volunteer day at Dragon Farm, an agricultural project focused on teaching sustainable farming to the students at South Valley Academy. We worked with the students to plant andharvest food that would provide fresh produce for the school's lunch program and be sold at local markets to raise money for the school.
What tools learned during your Anderson experience have most prepared you for professional success?During undergrad, I learned how to manage a project and foster a collaborative and innovative team
while working with students from the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media program and Anderson Professor Nick Flor on a virtual world research initiative.
During my MBA, I learned design thinking methodologies and programming skills while working with Josh Saiz and Eugene Rooney to redesign the Anderson School of Management website and launch digital signage on campus.
Dr. Flor, Josh and Eugene helped grow my skillsets and open the door to my career as a Digital Strategy professional.
What community service activity makes you proud?
I am proud of the time I spent working with Kate Williams, and Anderson Career Services as an ambassador. It allowed me to give back to the Anderson community while attending graduate school.
My advice for the next generation of business leaders:
Be patient. I was guilty myself of wanting to climb the ladder too quickly but there is true value in being patient and learning the knowledge and skillsets necessary to make your career successful in the long term.
My Childhood Hero:
My older sister, Tori Grafeman. Tori has always been my hero and best friend. She brings positivity and kindness everywhere she goes and that is something I aspire to do every day.