As part of our blog series exploring all things women in tech, we’ll spotlight women inside and outside of the Braintree offices. We start the profiles off with one of our very own, Jen Busenbark. Jen speaks about mentors, her own experience with sexism in the workplace and has a short but sweet message for young women everywhere.
Yo Jen! Tell us about your mentors.
Well for starters my mom. She was a great example for me growing up. She is strong, independent and taught me to stand up for what was right and that I need to take care of myself and there is real power in that. At the start of my professional career I had several. Susan Kowalski, Terri Hollar and Rose Anton immediately come to mind. Later in my career Patty Carlin. Terri and Susan were tremendously helpful when I started my career as a Business Analyst and helped me grow into that position. Rose was instrumental in helping me grow as a leader. She was the lead of a team I was on for 3 years and a lot of the lessons she taught me carry through to how I work now. I worked with Patty towards the end of my career there and she let me have a lot of space to grow and figure things out on my own.
These women, even though I do not currently work with them, are still role models for me today. On an ongoing basis I would have to say I look to my friends and coworkers. I have always surrounded myself with strong women who excel not only at their careers but also motherhood and life in general.
What’s an example of one of the biggest things your professional mentors taught you?
The simplest and most important is the Golden Rule, which should be applied to all aspects of your life. “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” Care about the people you work with. Not just about the work they do but about them as people. Also in a management role no job is beneath you. If you need to take out the trash to help things move along then you take out the trash. These principles align really well with Braintree’s culture.
How do you describe the way you manage your team?
My role at Braintree is less “management” than my roles at Thoughtworks. I actually do not like that term (management) at all. It has all sorts of bad connotations. We try to keep things here flat but if I had to explain it I would say I care about my team beyond their professional contributions and I like building personal relationships with people. In the end we are all in this together and we all have the same goal. We want to do something awesome and deliver great products. So I will do whatever it takes to help pave the way so that can happen. I think my team members see that and because I am willing to go to bat for them they are willing to do the same for me.
What brought you to Braintree?
The people. I was also intrigued by the idea of a small company and having the opportunity to work on something that I had ownership in. You don’t get that being a consultant. I also like the challenge of learning new domains. And I wanted to be a part of something that was going to grow and all the stuff that comes along with that.
Do you think Braintree is a good place to work as woman?
Absolutely. I was the only woman on our products team for 2+ years. I have always felt like I have a place at the table when it came to decisions about our products and more importantly our culture. We are encouraged to explore things we are passionate about and do whatever we think it will take to make Braintree the best place to work.
Did you have experience with sexism in any previous roles?
I’ve always proven myself through my work, despite any challenges that got in my way. I do recall one incident. I was on my first consulting project with Rose and Susan who I have mentioned above. I was working as a BA, I think I was 23 at the time and had to coordinate testing with the clients QA team. One of the members was an older gentleman that just couldn’t accept the fact that I could possibly know anything about anything let alone testing. I brought to light in front of his coworker, a woman that he wasn’t doing what he said he was doing and he was holding things up. He didn’t like that so he yelled at me telling me I was causing all the problems and confusion. Luckily the she went right back at him and told him he was indeed the problem. Even though it was comforting that she had my back it rocked me. No one has every yelled at me like that.
How did you deal with that?
I found Rose and we went into a room and I cried and cried and really what I was crying about was not that he yelled at me but how I felt and reacted. I was mad at myself for being so upset. We were in there for about two hours until any signs of being upset were gone. She was willing to stay in there with me all day if she had to. There was no way he was going to see me upset. Later I found out that she went to the client lead of project and said if anything like that ever happened again we would end the engagement. Needless to say I never had a problem again.
What advice would you give to young women?