Apr 16, 2024

Meet Ken: Job Coach Profile

You have probably heard the adage: “Money can’t buy happiness.” But is it actually true? 

For Ken, an operational supervisor at Deseret Industries, money seemed like the answer to a good life. 

“I graduated from BYU,” Ken recalls. “I was the typical guy chasing after the money for the family, but I felt very empty inside. It was not me; I needed to listen to myself. I wanted to contribute something good.” 

Ken shared the thought with his bishop, who recommended that he volunteer at Deseret Industries. Although Ken had no interest in pursuing employment at DI, he decided to follow the suggestion and began volunteering for two hours every Saturday. After more than six months, Ken’s outlook had dramatically changed. 

“I came to find out that DI is a place where we can really impact an individual who needs help,” Ken says. “I was really touched by that.” 

Following this experience, Ken pursued a full-time staff job at DI and ultimately obtained a position as an operational supervisor. Operational supervisors function as job coaches and focus on the store’s needs as well as associates’ professional development through the DI job training program. 

thrift store supervisor smiles as he talks with a thrift store worker who is putting clothes on the retail floor

“I was very interested in the operations side, but I was not ready for how to mentor and develop people,” Ken says. “I had to learn it—and I sincerely wanted to learn it because that was my weak area.” 

To improve his skills, Ken has read books and watched countless YouTube videos. 

“I really want to take part in what I do,” Ken says. “I spend 40 hours a week at work, so I want to make it something meaningful for me and also for other people.” 

When asked about his strengths, Ken highlights his sincerity, planning, and self-evaluation. But Ken’s contributions go far beyond these skills. For example, Ken is learning Spanish so that he can better help the employees on his team. Spanish will be his third language—the other two being Japanese and English. However, Ken says he is also practicing a fourth. 

“I am learning the language of love,” Ken says. “Everybody is different, so I need to be able to learn to connect with people.” 

Ken’s background has allowed him to better understand individuals from all walks of life. He came to the United States nearly 20 years ago after joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in Japan. Now, he is grateful for the opportunities he has through his position at DI. 

“One area I really like about this job is that they challenge me,” Ken says. “I have stressful moments, but it’s exciting to ask, ‘What can I do better? How can I improve?’” 

To learn more about how the work of job coaches like Ken aligns with the mission of DI, visit our About Us page.