Throughout the years since the Covid-119 fundamentally undermined our reality forever, along with a changed society, industry, and turbulent economy, progress has adapted and grown.
This is why this is the month of women’s history, we are taking some time to learn from and appreciate the women who are moving towards future improvement by looking at their invaluable insights and experiences. We asked nine women heads of different departments across Betterment to talk about their work, leadership and advice for the next generation.
What advice do you have for women who are starting their careers?
Sarah Levy, CEO: Find something you are passionate about. You will spend many hours of your life at work and love what you do is good.
Katherine Cornas, VP of Products: Early in my career, I remember a conversation with my father, who worked at General Motors all his career, how I always felt like I was “doing wrong” because I didn’t come up with a solution to the same problem. My colleagues did. “You know what, Kate?” He said. “You think differently than other people. It’s not a sign that you’re incompetent. It’s a sign that you’re a highly valued employee because you’re able to see things that no one else sees.”
Suzanne Justice, Head of Talent Development: Let yourself be weak: Weakness is not a sign of weakness and it can be your greatest strength. Weaknesses can create a culture of trust and respect. Admitting our mistakes, asking for help, and acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers is a manifestation of all weaknesses.
Pat Advani, Senior Director, B4B Marketing: Don’t underestimate the value of the skills that come easily to you; Something that you may not have “rocket science” is probably something that others fight with. Master your skills!
Kim Rosenblam, CMO: Try things; It’s hard to know what you would like (or hate) without hands-on experience. Take the time to find the intersection of “what you like” and “what you’re good at”. Once you know that magic combo it will be easy to create a career path where you will be happy and successful!
Veronica Mendoza, Senior Director of Growth Marketing: Don’t be too strict on yourself! You can try to be good without beating yourself up for not being perfect.
Can you tell us more about our self-care, and how you can accomplish this as a leader?
Kate Smith, Senior Director of People Strategy and Operations: This is a difficult one. As a working mother of three young children, I find that I am constantly focused on caring for others, and it has only recently been that I have realized the need to make time for myself. Once a week my husband and I bring the girls to bed, and then I’m going to play a game of my choice for an hour, helping me emotionally and physically!
Johanna Richardson, Product Head: Don’t lie: finding last year’s balance is a relentless struggle. Juggling work, normal parenting, and distance schooling have all severely blurred the lines between all aspects of my life where I live. My daughter has crashed many e-meetings, but I try to remind myself that she sees her mother working nearby. That said, it’s important to run for some time every day for yourself or just watch some Netflix. Also, I really improved my skincare game.
Veronica Mendoza, Senior Director of Growth Marketing: When it comes to self-care, I’m not too routine or ritualistic, but I believe in body choice. Whether it’s a long walk, a night of uninterrupted TV watching, or just a consistently lunch break for a working day, I try to hear what my mind or body is telling me আগে before it starts screaming.
Sarah Levy, CEO: It is important to stop after hours. For me, spending time with family and friends, walking in the park with my husband and dog and reading books keep me happy.
Kim Rosenblam, CMO: This is private. I try and exercise 5x a week. Even if it is for a short time. And I keep a notebook in my hand when I exercise because endorphins make sense! I only accept volunteer or extracurricular projects if I have the time.
Katherine Cornas, VP of Products: Too much routine is often a source of burnout for me, so when I start to feel like I’m doing the same thing, day after day, I’ll do something different, even if it’s uncomfortable at first. Changing my schedule helps even my little brain to get my brain out of its groove and I see that I am able to see problems and opportunities in new and insightful ways later.
What is your leadership style?
Lucy Babbage, Human SVP: I focus on building personal relationships and doing what I can to help my colleagues know the personal goals in career and life and to support those goals in terms of company needs. I like to bring something silly and smile to the table, so I hope my team thinks I’m funny!
Suzanne Justice, Head of Talent Development: I am the first leader of the people. I lead with care and empathy. I ask my team open-ended questions and make room for their input and ideas and make myself available to support and guide the process. I am a true believer that people grow when they are given autonomy, respect and trust to contribute to their full potential.
Kate Smith, Senior Director of People Strategy and Operations: Players / Coaches. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and learn the details, but I can take that step again to be able to take a more strategic approach. I want my team to feel empowered and accountable, but I have come to support them at every step of the way.
Kim Rosenblam, CMO: Over the years I have learned my strengths and weaknesses. When I’m at my best, I support people to do their best – to maximize their talents and potential.
Veronica Mendoza, Senior Director of Growth Marketing: I think I have a helpful, advisory leadership style. Over time, I’ve also learned that not everyone responds to a single style in the same way, so I believe it’s most important to adapt. Recognizing people individually makes it easier to find sweet spots in different styles, which strengthens relationships and often results in better business results.
Johanna Richardson, Product Head: I try to lead with empathy and clarity. I want to make sure everyone on my team has a place to shine and autonomy and that they feel supported in their careers.
Are you by far the most proud of your work at Betterment?
Sarah Levy, CEO: It was quite early in the journey for me. I’m really enjoying the team, the industry, and the wonderful things that differentiate Betterment: performance, ease of use, transparency, and personalization.
Suzanne Justice, Head of Talent Development: Talent development work from the ground up in the last four years. Creating a core skills training curriculum, leadership development track, one-on-one coaching program and various other tools / resources that support staff growth and development.
Pat Advani, Senior Director, B4B Marketing: Publish lots of B4B content that has helped drive traffic to our site and help educate our employer clients.
Kate Smith, Senior Director of People Strategy and Operations: I am proud of the direct impact that my work has had on our people and culture. Much of what we do is behind the scenes, but to see how that work has contributed to our team members improving their careers as a great place to grow and develop, while creating and supporting an amazing product for our customers – it’s very rewarding to say the least!
Kim Rosenblam, CMO: It’s been a quick first month! I am learning a lot, and I feel very welcome. I appreciate that everyone here is helpful and a teacher. I encourage you to learn more about our existing and potential customers, to create a passionate and resonant brand and to market incredible products that meet an important need. Our mission is quite inspiring!
Lucy Babbage, Human SVP: I am proud to be part of an ever evolving team that has made Betterment a special place to work over the years and I have finally covered our new kitchen construction!
Johanna Richardson, Product Head: I’m really proud of the team we created. Truly a stellar crew.
Is there anything else in your mind that our readers should know?
Katherine Cornas, VP of Products: I grew up in a strangely-identified and a conservative, religious Midwest suburb. I was not fit. My experience, sometimes heartbreaking, helps to instill in me a determination that I often have during my career, especially when I face difficult problems and ambiguities. I believe I am a good leader for this – and I am proud of it.
Kate Smith, Senior Director of People Strategy and Operations: I am a proud mother for three young daughters, and I am very grateful to work in a place like Betterment where I feel very supported as I try to fight work and family priorities.
Sarah Levy, CEO: I like to lead a business with a positive mission – enabling customers to make the most of their money so they can live better!
If you are interested in joining our team, check out the Betterment Careers page! We are always looking for passionate candidates to join our company.