In this installment of Women Who Wow, which will be running all year long, learn more about Jennifer Dezso, the vice president at Acritas US. In her role, Jen handles business development plans and training, client feedback and satisfaction assessments, branding and awareness studies, product concept testing, market sizing analysis, setting performance metrics and benchmarks, identifying new market opportunities. She also presents and leads training on creating opportunities from market trends, developing action plans to grow client relationships, and developing business in the professional services world.
Learn more about her.
Any advice to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
Be a problem solver. While this is true for anyone in the workplace, I think women, especially ones starting in their careers, need reminding of this more frequently. Lots of people are great problem finders: “here’s a challenge to getting this project done on time,” “this process doesn’t work because…,” or “our sales are going down because…”
It’s important to be able to find problems, but it’s crucial to be able to the solve them. The unintended message of presenting a problem without a solution means you are now giving someone else the job of finding a solution. Always have at least one recommendation in hand when you begin talking about problems—even if you know in your heart it’s not the best solution or know you’ll need someone else’s input to get to the right solution. Having one recommendation in hand shows you’ve given the problem some thought and are invested in finding an answer.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
This advice is not about being nice or polite. This is about having full confidence in what you’re doing.
Back in the day I was in theater and auditioning for a show. During a dance audition, I missed some of the steps. Afterwards the choreographer came up to me and said, “You need to turn off your asshole light. You messed up. Who cares? I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but because you knew and I saw it on your face it was if a light came on over your head that said, ‘right here…here’s the asshole that messed up.’ It makes me have less confidence in you and your ability to recover.” I still cringe over this advice because she was so right!
Having confidence in what you’re doing (whether it’s with clients or internally…or during a dance audition) is critical—especially when you make a mistake. No one is out there making mistakes intentionally, but they happen. How you recover and learn to avoid those same mistakes in the future is infinitely a more important attribute.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes! Everyone should. When I first started in my “now I’m an adult” job, my immediate boss became my mentor. She was not afraid to give me the direct feedback I needed to be successful—which is not easy. She had all the hard talks with me about what needs to change. I’m a Type-A perfectionist, so those talks were REALLY hard for me, but I did my best to listen and learn. That’s another piece of advice. Do your best to listen when people are giving you feedback. It’s easy to get defensive, but people are trying to help you improve (so they can give you more work to do!).
Now that I’ve been in my career for almost 20 years (oof), my mentors are a lot of different people I can turn to when I need to navigate sticky situations or just need to vent my frustrations so I can get focused and not mired down in negativity. Mentors are my own form of mental health at this point.