She Stepped Outside the Silo and Into Her Own Potential

How Vorto’s culture of ownership and team of intelligent, curious people empowered Kelsey Schoenfeld to advance her career from an introverted staff accountant to an empathetic manager.

Written by Kathy Kantorski
Published on Apr. 21, 2023
She Stepped Outside the Silo and Into Her Own Potential
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What happens when you take a dedicated worker out of their silo and allow them to see the big picture? 

Ask Kelsey Schoenfeld. 

After graduating with a degree in business economics and working in the insurance industry for four years, she joined Vorto, provider of an AI-driven autonomous supply chain platform, in 2021 as a staff accountant. Contrary to her prior experience, she found in Vorto a culture that empowers team members to understand the business and industry holistically — not just the parts pertaining to their position. 

“In prior roles, I had always been restricted to one area of accounting and was never offered the opportunity to ‘step outside the box’ and explore new areas,” Schoenfeld said. “At Vorto, employees are encouraged to understand how the company operates. Here, problem-solving and growth are key traits in all roles. This cultural component is unique because it allows employees to forge their own paths forward, which ultimately increases employee satisfaction — something I can attest to personally — and professional development.”

And forge her own path she has. Despite finding the startup environment challenging, she “went all in,” and was promoted to senior accountant by early 2022. Then, she was promoted again to accounting manager in late 2022. 

“I now manage a team of three — soon to be four — and can confidently say that I have never been more fulfilled in my professional career than I am today,” she said.

Built In sat down with Schoenfeld to learn more about how Vorto’s culture has enabled her career to rise to new heights.

 

What Vorto Does

With its AI-driven autonomous supply chain platform, Vorto is facilitating a digital transformation in business-to-business supply chains. Its technology automates data preparation, analysis and decision-making with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and better utilizing the time of approximately 3.5 million truck drivers. In just one year, Vorto saved users more than $480 million and eliminated 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions by reducing inefficiencies. 

 

Since joining Vorto, what is one major impact you’ve felt?

When I joined the company, I never knew what it felt like to be valued as a member of something greater than myself. 

Vorto has proven to me just how beneficial collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving is to the success of both the company and the individual. I will always carry this ideology with me as I move forward — while also making sure to adopt the new lessons I learn along the way.

 

What professional development resources have helped you the most? 

Here at Vorto, I have direct access to some of the most intelligent, savvy individuals I have ever met in my professional career. Every interaction I have, formal or informal, offers me insight into new or different perspectives. I find myself leveraging those perspectives when presented with a new challenge, and I see this as critical as it relates to career development. 

I have also cultivated a variety of skills that have led me to success both personally and professionally. For example, I currently manage a team of people, which presents its own unique set of challenges and, in turn, continues to promote my interpersonal skills and emotional IQ. As someone who historically has leaned toward introversion, this has been extremely rewarding; I am challenged every day, and that is what drives me forward.

 

As a newer manager, what insights have you gained so far?

In my experience as a manager — and in my experience being managed myself — I have learned that managers play a key role in the success of their direct reports. 

To be a successful manager, it’s important to identify what makes a direct report “tick.” Having a manager that is willing and able to cater workloads toward a direct report’s strengths — and, perhaps, perceived weaknesses — is critical to success in current and future roles. Once a manager understands their direct report’s goals, they can begin to delegate tasks that offer exposure into those areas of interest, leading to success down the line. 

 

What makes you ‘tick?’

My primary goal is continuous learning; in my professional career, this means being afforded the opportunity to grow my knowledge base and experience as broadly and comprehensively as possible. At Vorto, I’m encouraged to continuously improve both processes that relate to my specific role and my understanding of the company and industry in which we work at large. This is a key component to Vorto’s culture that has assisted in my professional development and enabled me to advance to where I am today.

 

“At Vorto, I’m encouraged to continuously improve both processes that relate to my role and my understanding of the company and industry at large.”

 

What are you excited to accomplish next?

As someone who’s relatively new to management, I’m extremely excited to build a team that embodies Vorto’s “win or die” culture. I believe that the collaborative and resilient environment Vorto fosters is essential to the success of the company and, by extension, its employees. 

I’m also excited for the unknowns of the future – I view every unique challenge as an opportunity to grow. 

 

Related ReadingFrom ‘Win or Die’ to ‘Havin’ a Ball’: How One Indelible Earworm is Reshaping Vorto’s Company Culture

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Vorto and Shutterstock.

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