Jenn Klyse runs a successful technology consulting practice from Chicago, and she’s the latest Woman Who Wows.
I met Jenn while working together on the planning committee of LMA Tech Midwest. We didn’t exactly hit it off at first because we are polar opposites – some of Jenn’s greatest strengths is that she is very analytical and project management oriented, two areas where I am not an expert. Jenn and I realized that although our approach to projects is very different, we both can work well as a team and learn from and strengthen each other. Today we support and lean on each other, and I’m so lucky to count her as a friend and colleague.
Why did you choose your profession? •
I kind of fell into my profession; my initial plan after college was law school. I wanted to go to UVA, so I moved to the DC area to work in law firms for a few years and establish state residency. That established me in the legal industry and I liked the intrigue of Washington, so when I realized that being a lawyer wasn’t going to be anything like what I had seen on LA Law, I stuck around.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love solving problems and figuring stuff out. I like figuring out how to break stuff and how to find the places something (a computer, software, another system) can be improved.
Do you have a mentor?
I’m not sure I’d call her a mentor in a formal sense, but Katherine Krents was instrumental at the start of my career. She was the administrator at (what was then) Preston Gates in Washington, DC. While I debated next steps after nixing law school, she offered me what was probably the best assessment of my strengths and weaknesses I’ve received, and gently nudged me into technology. One of her key appraisals of me is below in the “what is the best advice you’ve ever received” question.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace? What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
I combined these questions, since my younger self was a woman who wanted to succeed in the workplace.
Listen to yourself and trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to change cities, change jobs or change anything if you find yourself in a rut. Don’t stay somewhere because it is comfortable. Don’t worry if a job decision you make doesn’t work, because at least you’ll have learned more about what you don’t want to do. Keep trying until you find something that feels like you. And, practice being patient.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
“Patience is not one of your virtues.”
How do you achieve work/life balance?
Ha! I don’t. I have three kids, so my life is pretty generally unbalanced. I just try to be sure to be in varied states of unbalanced-ness.