Kassi Boyd is ProctorU’s first-ever continuous improvement manager and has been with the company since 2012. Read her unique view on the evolution of online proctoring and of online education:
Where are you from and what did you want to be when you grew up?
California is my home, and I’ve grown up in a few different cities within the state. I moved around quite a bit as a kid and as a young adult. To name a few places: Tracy, Livermore, Oakdale, Alameda, Hayward, Napa, Modesto and Folsom!
My first ambitious goal as a kid was to become a fashion designer. I was fortunate enough to have developed in a creative environment, and when I was thirteen I would work on designing clothes in my grandmother’s art studio. This changed as I got older, but most of the aspirations I’ve held onto throughout my life have been stemmed in creativity.
You’ve held numerous positions at ProctorU. Tell us about your experience in different roles and how they prepared you for your current role?
In 2012, I started off as a part-time proctor and was really interested in the student advocate role. I spent some time in the marketing department as the first-ever marketing research agent and helped develop executive summaries that are still used today.
I moved back into operations, splitting my time between being a senior proctor and a student advocate, and quickly moved into an assistant manager role within operations.
After a short time managing the Folsom location, I was promoted to advocate and phones manager, which transitioned into the client experience manager after taking over the assessment services department. I spent nearly five years in the support world building up the team and implementing new tools and processes to better the experience for users.
In 2018, I was assigned as an interim manager for our intervention specialists (IS). I applied my systems knowledge to the IS team and developed some pretty cool processes that are still used today. I was also able to help quantify our preventative metrics, which has been a great help when speaking to organizational value.
Once I completed my work in IS, I was given the opportunity to work as the first-ever continuous improvement manager for ProctorU.
Each of my roles within ProctorU have played a critical part in my success today. Throughout the years, I’ve completely transformed in all aspects of my persona. The most valuable skills I picked up are related to communication, problem solving, and critical thinking.
What do you do for the company now? Take us through a typical day.
The great thing about my position is that every day is different. Some people enjoy doing the same types of tasks every day, but versatility is where I thrive as an individual.
My work is generally project-based and follows the standard project management workflow with my assigned tasks. Each day, I look to understand where we are in the “map,” and connect myself (and the people around me) to where we are trying to go.
If there is a need for help in one space or another, I make time to fulfill that need as we develop the project and push forward. I also work to ensure the solutions we develop meet the needs of the business and can be successfully managed after I vacate the department.
I am essentially a ProctorU “shape-shifter.”
If you had to pick one accomplishment during your time as continuous improvement manager, which do you feel has had the most impact on the company?
I’ve been in this role slightly under a year. I’d like to think I’ve made a significant impact with everything I’ve done, but I’d say the biggest impact is the work I’ve done for our support team. I didn’t do it alone, but we were able to revise every outdated process within our level 2 support and fill their time with work that can better the service we provide.
What do you love about your team?
I consider my team to be every member of this organization.
I service anything that needs improvement and, here at ProctorU, we believe there is always room for improvement. Even if we think we are at our best, we ALWAYS have room to improve; as individuals and as a collective company. I love how accepting our staff is of this concept, and everyone’s intent is in the right space.
I am fortunate enough to work closely with our executive team, and learn from the brightest minds I’ve encountered in my life. I love and cherish that opportunity.
What is your absolute favorite thing about working at ProctorU?
The opportunity here is abundant, and it works with my life. I couldn’t be more thankful to have a place to show up to and truly make a difference. The pressure is always on, but mostly because I expect myself to exceed everyone’s expectations. I have the chance to find global success in my own way.
The staff within ProctorU is also incredibly supportive. Everyone wants to see the company succeed. Our hearts are in it, and we have a vision for success. We all truly care about each other, our clients, and our longevity as industry leaders.
What do you feel is the most important thing that ProctorU does as a company?
Ten years ago, the opportunity to learn online was starting to surface with the expansion of the internet. ProctorU was a pillar in successful online testing growth.
In the early days, we figured out how to innovate and be incredibly malleable with rapid expansion. Once we accomplished this, we relentlessly learned through the technology changes of our decade, adapted to cheating progression, and continuously questioned the standard.
Today, ProctorU makes testing online safe. ProctorU, in my opinion, has a residual impact on the intellectual health of our communities around the world. Without ProctorU, anyone and everyone would find a way to answer the questions without thinking through the answers. That type of breach is serious, especially for high-impact markets like healthcare.
You’ve been here for quite a while, so you’ve seen online proctoring (and higher education as a whole) evolve. What do you feel is the most significant change?
Aside from the general enhancements to technology during my tenure here over the last seven years, I am most impressed with the evolution of cheating. I won’t get too detailed, but the types of problems we’ve had to combat are truly shocking. There is so much creativity and intelligence behind cheating attempts, but we’ve been right there learning and adapting.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone trying to build their career?
Absolutely nothing worthwhile comes easily. If it’s challenging you, you’re in the right place and you’re not meant to give up on that.
Find yourself a mentor and, when you’re feeling like giving up, go to them with open honesty. You’ll need to be careful about the way you frame this conversation, but 99.9% of the time that person will provide you the direction and relief you’re looking for.
No one can accomplish the impossible alone, so find yourself a squad and build trust.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
I enjoy spending my days with my husband and daughter. We take her to gymnastics, and get outside when the weather is nice. Sometimes we sit around and do nothing. I couldn’t ask for anything more! I am truly blessed.
Does pineapple belong on pizza?
My husband is Hawaiian and would be really sad if I said no. So, for his sake, yes.