Nick Romito, CEO at VTS
Hiring Jena was one of the best strategic decisions I made in the aftermath of our company’s merger. After merging with our top competitor, it became clear that there were significant differences in our approach to culture and company values— Jena was instrumental in rebuilding trust and ensuring cohesion across all levels of our newly merged organization. Over the course of her long-term engagement with us, Jena provided strategic guidance in building out our organizational and people development, as well as worked individually to coach our entire leadership team. Additionally, Jena pioneered our Diversity and Inclusion strategy including an unconscious bias training for the entire organization. As a result of Jena’s work, our employees are more connected and unified in our post-merger identity and more deeply engaged and motivated in their respective positions. Jena’s work is top notch and I highly recommend her if you are in need of moving a company’s culture forward.
Tim Harvey, Executive Chairman at VTS
Jena’s long career on Wall Street combined with her interpersonal insight and skills rooted in Psychology yield an experience that is focused both on organizational challenges as well as the unique individual obstacles of each employee. Through our company’s work with her I have personally witnessed a re-invigoration of both our managers and individual contributors energy and commitment levels, combined with an increased sense of ownership. This has all reinforced our high performance culture. With her help, we were able to move past the larger cultural struggles we faced post-merger and have successfully integrated two distinct cultures into one. I highly recommend Jena for any organization focusing on change management.
Patrick Kehoe, SVP of Customer Success & Services at VTS
It is no question that Jena had a profound impact on moving our company’s culture forward post our merger. Not only have I been impressed by her strategic consulting and coaching work, but also her speaking abilities. Jena gave multiple company-wide talks focusing on employee engagement and well-being in the workplace. The material she presented was highly relevant to any organization, but especially startups. Jena is a dynamic speaker and very credible and grounded in her expertise of what she is presenting whether it be work psychology, diversity and inclusion, motivation and retaining top talent, or advocacy in the workplace.
Niall Smart, SVP of Engineering & Co-Founder at VTS
Jena and her team have raised the organizational awareness and competency level of D&I related concerns across VTS from the executive team to individual level. Over the last several months Jena has driven a program of activities in support of this goal spanning discovery, management training, 1:1 coaching, a speaker series, formation of a D&I working group, and formulation of a structured annual plan. As a result of her work, there is now an organizational-wide awareness of D&I related topics, directed energy towards making further improvements, and people across all levels have greater comfort engaging with and speaking about D&I issue. This shows up through greater participation in our D&I working group, adoption and execution of a broad spectrum of D&I initiatives under the umbrella of our 2018 strategic plan, and more broadly through an emerging cultural norm of being more intentional and deliberate in how we operate.
Michelle McComb, Chief Financial Officer at VTS
With her unique background in banking as well as psychology, we were easily able to hit the ground running with Jena— she instantly understood the complexities of our corporate environment in a way many academics may not have. Both myself and other senior leaders consider Jena to be an invaluable partner to our C-Suite and executive team — helping us to be aware our blind spots on a company-wide level. Her strategic mindset saved us time, money, and stress when refining our corporate culture. Jena enabled us to operate more effectively and efficiently individually and as a collective leadership team— so much so that we are continuing to work with her past our original contract. Working with her individually, Jena helped me find insight into how manage relationships with those who operative differently from my own style, and taught me strategies to advocate for myself. Jena is wonderful to work with and I have both appreciated and relied upon her guidance and support during our time working together.
Andrew Rains, SVP of Sales at VTS
Jena has been instrumental in my personal leadership development. Specifically, Jena worked with me to understand how to optimize my team’s efforts by tailoring incentives to each employee and investing in their professional growth. She served as the perfect balance of an outside, unbiased consultant and an insider with an understanding of our company and stakeholders, enabling me to make wise and strategic team and company-wide decisions with her guidance. I was particularly grateful that Jena worked with our entire leadership team simultaneously, allowing us to both evolve as individual leaders as well as unify as a trusting team after merging from two competing firms. With a clear understanding of our personal and organizational differences, we were able move forward with trust and compromise for the betterment of the organization. I highly recommend Jena for word with any C-Suite team, her work truly helped us greatly.
Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, CEOs at Shine
Jena was a critical part of our pilot with a new coaching product at Shine: making well-being more accessible using messaging. Thanks to her extensive industry experience in psychology, Jena was able to advise us on best practices in dealing with some of the tougher wellness challenges our clients face. Overall Jena is an incredible asset who understands the nuances of the millennial culture from a healthcare, academic, and business perspective.
Stephanie Carlon, EA to the CEO at VTS
Jena has been such an unbelievable asset to my growth as an individual and to our company as a whole. I see the impact that she has made to our team every single day, and throughout our organization, too. I don’t know where we would be without the value that Jena has added to our company. Through my own personal work with Jena, I find my mindset about how I manage my workload has fundamentally changed. She has helped me adjust my approach to my work and to managing my anxieties. This has made me much more effective in my position. I have learned how to take a step back and really examine where ownership lies in issues that I previously had taken on as my own—which has improved my motivation at work and taken unnecessary stress away.
Sinye Tang, Former Senior Director of Business Operations at VTS
Jena’s particular expertise in working with female leaders was critical to the effectiveness of my own work with her as well as that of other leaders within our organization. Her integrated approach to working with our company—through leadership coaching in conjunction with management training, company-wide lunch-and-learns, and involvement in our diversity and inclusion initiatives—has been pivotal to establishing an intentional culture at our company and to helping employees come together after a significant M&A event. We engaged Jena for eight months, seeking a holistic scope of work, and she quickly gained the trust of our executives and employees. In fact, employees often cited their interactions with her as highlights in our employee NPS surveys. The value of her work as a third-party expert cannot be overstated. I would recommend Jena without hesitation as an exceptional partner to any HR/personnel team. Personally working with Jena was transformative for me. Jena helped me create space where I could analyze my strengths, weaknesses, values, and approach towards work interactions objectively. She was instrumental in developing my ability to confidently articulate and own my story of past achievements as well as to create a clear vision of what I am looking for in the future. I found her direct, structured, and empathetic approach effective and approachable, as did many of the other leaders in our high-growth tech environment. Jena has strengthened my effectiveness as a leader—I now have a better awareness of my own values and sensitivities when managing up or down, and clarity and confidence in how I market myself.
Danielle Macan, Senior Manager, Customer Operations, VTS
My company hired Jena to do leadership coaching for our entire leadership team over six months. I was part of that group, as a first time manager. After working with Jena I can say I am a much more confident leader and I can stand behind my decisions. Jena helped me see the “bigger picture” when dealing with difficult situations, be it at work or even in my personal life. I used to approach situations with a lot of unknowns with anxiety, but now I feel like I can take a step back and ask the right questions to benefit myself and all others involved.
Lily Engle, Senior Director, Deployment at VTS
Our sessions gave me additional perspectives on how to tackle things that are important to me on my teams - trust, communication, and motivation. Since Jena was working with everyone in leadership within the Customer Success team, I saw across the entire team changes in the way we communicated and worked through conflicts. There were a number of difficult decisions that had to be made in Q1, which were worked through more smoothly due to improved communication across the board. Also, at the time of our team offsite, Jena helped me structure team exercises to help increase trust and cohesion. This ended up being one of the most successful parts of the offsite and got the team thinking about how we work in a much more macro way, vs. focusing on each micro issue or concern independently. The session sparked motivations on the team as a whole, which was exactly the goal. One of the largest impacts on a personal note after working with Jena is self-advocacy. One coaching goal of mine is to speak up for myself and recognize that my input is important in conversations. Since starting to work with Jena, I’ve consistently participated in meetings and initiated conversations with executives that I would have held back from in the past. It’s given me confidence to speak up and be heard more regularly at work. Outside of the office, the individual sessions and presentations made by Jena to our company have given me tools to have better conversations with friends and family when there’s a conflict. It’s helped me untangle issues and de-escalate fights without things spiralling.
James Leonzio, Head of Production, SaaS startup
Teal Willingham, GM, NYU Future Labs
Jena’s talk on Mental Health in the Workplace is so incredibly relevant and needed especially for employees in highly competitive work environments. In the past, I have been pretty skeptical of anything along these lines in the workplace because it often comes across as being touchy/feely and hard to put into practice, but everything from the specific tools to managing stress, anxious and depressive symptoms came across as being practical and necessary.
We run a series of early-stage tech incubators across NYC as a partnership between the City of New York and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, and have graduated companies like Clarifai, Bounce Exchange, CB Insights, Geometric Intelligence, Vettery, and over 90 others. We sought out Jena Booher specifically when we discovered many of our company founders had poor or no systems in place to support the needs of a successful and diverse work force.Jena is extremely undervalued for what she brought to our organisation, and to the early and growing tech companies in our portfolio. Clearly a high-powered achiever throughout her career, she advised our companies on the cultural elements and policies that are critical to strong organisations, guiding us through human psychology, corporate case studies, and anecdotal evidence, all backed up with a ton of data—which we loved. She was also extremely accessible and made herself available for follow-up support after her time with us, in addition to providing long-term resources to keep us all on track. We will not hesitate to bring Jena back for future cohorts!
Sarah Schwarzbeck, Former Head of Product at Plated
I invited Jena to run her workshop for our BAWS group (all female talent) at our NY office. Jena’s expertise in what keeps women happily working and engaged, combined with her academic and clinical background made her presentation incredibly unique and compelling. Her delivery was moving for many and incredibly informative as our rapidly scaling company considers policy change and flexibility for new parents. Attendees of the workshop walked away with specific tips on how to advance their careers while having a family and maintaining self-care. We can’t wait to have her back!
Jess Tsai, Senior Director of Enterprise Account Management at VTS
My company hired Jena for a long-term engagement to coach the senior leaders of the firm on how to become better managers. Her deep knowledge of the company enabled me to cut to the core issues I was facing as a manager much quicker. She also has years of experience in the corporate world and personal understanding of the common issues leaders face. One of her most valuable contributions was helping me become more aware of my anxiety triggers and teaching me how to transform anxious thoughts into more productive ones. This has greatly enabled me to be a better leader and positively impacted my life outside the office.
Jamie Masterson, Senior Product Manager at VTS
Through working with Jena, I’ve been better able to advocate for both myself and my team. Specifically, I’ve learned to express challenges I’m experiencing to upper management in a way that makes me feel empowered rather than feel like I’m complaining. This has greatly improved my life at work because I’m confident expressing what I need from my managers in a productive and constructive way. I’ve also felt happier at work despite so much change going on all the time. My sessions with have helped me to separate my emotions from the changes and to objectively analyze how to adjust to each change.
Jessica Kurz, Senior Director of Account Management at VTS
I loved working with Jena and am so incredibly grateful that my company provided her as a resource for our team. When I was experiencing issues or conflicts, Jena was the perfect person to go to. She helped me face issues head on, rather than letting them linger or escalate, and provided me with the tools to develop sustainable solutions for recurring problems. Working with Jena has made me a better manager and employee. I’ve learned how important boundaries are and how to best establish them. By defining them, I’ve been able to become more productive, I’ve avoided getting pulled into conflicts that don’t require my attention, and I’m better able to articulate what I see as being the best use of time and resources for the company. Jena was also a sounding board for any personal concerns I was having. By giving myself the time and space to work through these issues, I could maintain focus on my job while in the office and avoid letting personal issues be a distraction from my work.
Mark Hoffman, Director of Sales at VTS
Through working with Jena, I learned how to be consciously aware of my blind spots as a leader. This had huge impact for me: with Jena’s guidance I have significantly improved my communication and collaboration with senior leadership as well as across my own teams. Jena was able to uncover the main triggers that cause stress for me both professionally and personally — and more importantly, she coached me how to best manage that stress. I am a stronger leader as a result.
Macrina Sheridan, Senior Manager, Deployments at VTS
Jena’s leadership coaching has been personally so valuable for me in so many ways. It’s helped me self-reflect to identify what I was doing to stand in my own way of success. In addition, it’s helped me learn to balance my work and personal life without feeling guilty or overburdened.