Meet the Pathfinders: Kris Samuel

  • By: OnBoard Meetings
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Every Passageways Employee is a Pathfinder

By definition, a Pathfinder is “one that discovers a way; especially one that explores untraversed regions to mark out a new route.” At Passageways, every employee is called a Pathfinder.

About Kris Samuel

Kris is a member of the Passageways product design team, focusing on OnBoard. She joined Passageways in October 2018 after working at DTN as a Marketing Communications Designer and Spensa Technologies a Graphic Designer. A Texas-native-turned-Hoosier, her skillset includes Advertising, Marketing Design, Logo Design, User Experience, and Branding & Identity. Kris earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from Bob Jones University in 2015. 

1. In your own words, what do you do?
As part of the design team, my job is to make things prettier and easy to use. I do product design and also work with various departments such as Marketing and HR. If anyone needs anything visual, they come to my team and me.

2. What is a typical workday like?
No two days are alike; however, day-to-day, there’s a lot of overlap. I’ll come in and boil a pot of tea (my daily ritual), join the OnBoard team scrum, get up to speed, check-in to see how the developers are doing, and see if anyone has roadblocks where I can jump in and help as needed. After that, it’s really about what’s on my plate: cranking out a design, brainstorming meetings, getting new marketing requests, and so on.

3. What is your fondest memory of working at Passageways?
It’s really hard to boil it down to one because the people are amazing! We’ve had after-work hangouts, we’ve gone karaoking, and we’ve got a Dungeons and Dragons group. I have even gone skydiving with some of the girls in the office!

Pathfinders who work together go skydiving together. From L to R: Anjali Kavthekar (QA), Kris Samuel (Design), Alyssa Stetson (Design).
Pathfinders who work together go skydiving together. From L to R: Anjali Kavthekar (QA), Kris Samuel (Design), Alyssa Stetson (Design).


But right around March/April, I was going through some heavy stuff in my life. There were a few weeks where Pathfinders would go with me to a coffee shop and listen. What a great gift! I had only been here about six months and that was the point where I thought to myself: “I work with some really remarkable people.” 

4. What is the craziest or silliest thing to ever happen at work or a work event?
It’s more about the day to day working in our Dev loft with all the banter and conversation. People just say some hilarious stuff! Every day, I’ll hear side conversations and I’ll just crack up. I actually have a running list of quotes for when I need a dopamine boost!

5. Complete this sentence: “Passageways is ______ because ______.”
Passageways is rad because the people rock.

6. Complete this sentence: “Passageways customers are ______ because ______.”
Passageways customers are innovative because they come up with interesting solutions.

7. What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
There are two things:

  1. Creativity is mysterious and we are wizards. 
  2. We work fast and good things don’t take time.

Design is a form of creativity. Creativity, at its core, is about making associations between different things when the association isn’t obvious. The work we do requires a long time before the answer bubbles up in our mind. We’re really problem solvers like the devs we share a room with. Sometimes the simplest problems can take a long time to figure out.

8. What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
It depends on the time of the year. During spring and summer, I’m outside hiking, running, and hanging out with friends. During winter, I prefer to be inside reading and curled up with my cat Obi-Wan. All year long, you can find me in the gym. It’s not unheard of for me to be in the gym twice a day.

9. With thanks to James Lipton and “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” what’s your favorite word?
This year, it’s tenacity. I really admire people who stay focused on what they want and go after it. 

10. Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
A giant shirtless poster of Jake Gyllenhaal from Prince of Persia. It drove my mom nuts! 

11. What was your first job?
I was a guard at a Baroque art museum. The university I attended has one of the largest collections of Baroque paintings in the western hemisphere. I almost became an art historian because I loved it so much.

12. If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?
Understanding people. I really love understanding what makes people tick, what drives them, their greatest fears and greatest hopes. I want to understand people better with the goal of helping people hurt less.

13. What piece of art – book, movie, music, artwork, etc. – inspired you the most and why?
A book by John Maxwell called Thinking for a Change. The book is all about how you think and how you become more aware of your thoughts.

14. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Treat yourself like you would treat a dear friend. We’re often our biggest critics. We know our failures and shortcomings better than anyone else, but we wouldn’t be friends with someone who pointed ours out to us like we often do to ourselves. Ideally, we’re friends with people who push us to be better. The world is a hard enough place as it is, so we should hold ourselves accountable and be our biggest cheerleaders.

15. If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
Why are we here? Is there an actual purpose to the universe? I don’t know if I’ll ever know, but I’ll settle for 42 for now.

Now, for the $10 million bonus question: if a donor came to you today with $10 million to use with no conditions or restrictions, what would your first priority be?

The very first thing I’d do is call up my Dad and ask how to invest it. He is very financially savvy. I’d invest in mental health and reproductive justice.

"The world is a hard enough place as it is, so we should hold ourselves accountable and be our biggest cheerleaders." - Kris Samuel
“The world is a hard enough place as it is, so we should hold ourselves accountable and be our biggest cheerleaders.” – Kris Samuel

About The Author

OnBoard Meetings
OnBoard Meetings
At OnBoard, we believe board meetings should be informed, effective, and uncomplicated. That’s why we give boards and leadership teams an elegant solution that simplifies governance. With customers in higher education, nonprofit, health care systems, government, and corporate enterprise business, OnBoard is the leading board management provider.