"I learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That's when you grow." Today, we're speaking with Jennifer Korsun.
As iVenture's director of people operations, she leads the HR department and serves on the executive board.
Welcome to iVenture's Visibility series. We're speaking with the diverse voices of our industry.
We'll discuss experiences and share wisdom from the people who shape IT in unexpected ways. Our goal is to provide a platform for industry change. Join us as we learn.
You're iVenture's director of people operations. How would you describe that position?
In a nutshell, I’m responsible for the full employee experience, for every employee. From initial interviews to regular career path meetings to promotions.
I create strategies to push our employee learning, development and satisfaction forward.
"I’m responsible for the full employee experience, for every employee."
How did you end up in the IT industry?
I've always had an interest in IT, but an HR college class hooked me. After graduating with a business degree, I began working as a manager for Target. That led to managing HR for several store before moving up to the district office.
When I moved to Florida, I worked in an HR capacity for schools. After realizing it wasn’t the right fit for me, I came across iVenture.
What drew you to iVenture?
When I joined, iVenture was a smaller company. This was different from my corporate and government experiences. I also had the opportunity to build an HR presence at the company. The change of pace and new challenge was too good to pass up.
"I had the opportunity to build an HR presence at the company."
iVenture is a much bigger company now, with a developed HR department. It seems like your work is done. What makes you stay?
The people. There’s mutual respect, support and trust. Egos are checked at the door. It’s the type of environment where everyone can make an impact. It’s a special thing.
My responsibilities are never finished. As we grow, there are always new challenges. But they’re good challenges. I'm a part of helping the company take positive steps forward.
It's no secret that the IT industry is predominantly male. Why is it so skewed and how can we improve the balance?
I think the disparity starts at a young age. It’s the old notion of girls get Barbies, boys get Legos. Those experiences stay with people through school and into the workplace.
But I do think the culture is changing. It's more common to see girls playing with so-called "boy" toys now. And even STEM classes are offered in many school curricula.
For me, I stand my ground. I learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sometimes that means having tough conversations. But, if I don’t agree with something, I speak up. Don't back down from the challenge.
But we can't expect change to come from people alone. The system needs to change. Companies need to change. It's about representation.
"I stand my ground. I learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable."
What’s missing when women aren’t hired?
A whole world goes missing. We bring unique ideas and different perspectives to the workplace. Innovation suffers when there's hive mind. Bringing in different people helps our team and helps the company.
"I do think the culture is changing. Companies need to change too."
For women looking to be where you are, do you have wisdom to share?
Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable. That’s when you grow. Try a lot of different things, especially when you’re young. Even if it’s something you’re unsure about, get uncomfortable and try it. You’ll discover things you never realized.
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