MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Cultural integration is incredibly challenging especially when you combine two cultures with very two different and sometimes competing value systems. Jena helps you mitigate common organizational risks and offers you a strategic approach to manage change for your business, people and culture.
"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."
— Nick Romito, CEO at VTS
Did you experience a sexual harassment incident at your firm and don’t know how to handle it? Or perhaps it was a racial or misogynistic slur from someone in your leadership? Unfortunately these events are not rare, but what is rare is successfully moving past them. Scandals break down trust in an incredibly toxic way and can wipe out your business. Learn how you can rebuild trust and cohesion and bounce back after a damaging event.
Everyone has them but not every employee has gone through them. Startups are ill equipped at handling layoffs because of lack of experience. Transparency, communication, and consistency are critical at reducing cultural damage and unnecessary anxiety that ensues during times of letting people go.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Looking around and see the need for a more diverse and inclusive workplace at your organization but don’t know where to start? Jena builds strategic plans coupled with the latest research on D&I trends to help move your organization forward. She then partners with Executive Teams and Diversity Councils on executing the plan in a thoughtful and organized approach.
"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."
— Niall Smart, SVP of Engineering & Co-Founder at VTS
GENERAL CULTURAL CHANGE
Cultural change implies the people of the organization change their assumptions and goals and then behave accordingly. This is easier said than done. While some companies know the kind of culture that will take them from Point A to Point B, few know how to effectively execute where trust is maintained in the organization. Joint optimization of the outcomes for the organization as a whole as well as the individual employees is critical. Jena helps guide executive teams through sweeping organizational change where risk is minimized and cohesion is maintained.
"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.
— Sinye Tang, Former Senior Director of Business Operations at VTS
Need a third party to help evaluate the impact of large company decisions on culture? Or have a C-suite that needs greater alignment and better processes for decision making? Modeling starts at the top.
"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."
— Michelle McComb, Chief Financial Officer at VTS
At times having a third party is necessary to increase communication and collaboration within a team. This can be as a result of any number of factors: young and inexperienced managers, inability to communicate up, below, and across effectively, or low emotional intelligence. Jena helps teams work through conflicts in order to make better decisions, while maximizing the well-being of each individual.
"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 spiraling."
— Lily Engle, Senior Director, Deployment at VTS
Ping pong tables, beer on tap, and unlimited junk food do not keep top performers around. Investing in their mental health and well-being does.
Learn how to offer coaching on-site as an office perk by reading Jessica’s testimonial:
"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."
— Jessica Kurz, Senior Director of Account Management at VTS
Keynotes and Workshops
Want to inspire, motivate, and engage your employees in a holistic way that directly impacts their well-being at work? Jena's popular talks can be found here.
Curious how others have found her talks?
"We brought Jena in to do her Mental Health at Work talk for all our employees. Everyone LOVED the presentation. Jena's energy, candor and openness with the team was engaging from the start...
By the end, we were on the edge of our seats, wanting to fully immerse ourselves in the subject matter. Jena has a wealth of knowledge and a true knack for breaking down complex information into easy-to-understand language. Her talk will have a great impact on both our professional and personal lives for many years to come - she has changed our outlook and taught us how to approach difficult situations at work, through both our actions and reactions.
Jena has a genuine interest in helping others and is incredibly generous with her time. We can't wait to have her back!"
-- Ladies of ITHQ