Work and Money
How This Woman Successfully Switched Jobs During the Pandemic
When the pandemic hit last year, most everyone was impacted on a personal level, but businesses suffered unexpected hits, too. In order to remain afloat, many companies had to adjust their strategies and consider new ways to best reach consumers. When Jennifer Artley began working for Verizon Business in March of 2021, she had to think on her feet and quickly evaluate how to best shape her role to fit the new “normal.” COVID-19 was just beginning to run rampant in America when Artley decided to leave her previous job and begin working as senior vice president for business development and strategic initiatives for Verizon.
Before coming to Verizon, Artley worked in several marketing and communications-based roles. She made the decision to move to Verizon last year, deciding that her vision and drive to innovate aligned with Verizon’s. Still, switching jobs was not an easy decision and she had some reservations.
“Before I made the decision, I did a lot of soul searching,” she says. “I had long discussions with my family, my closest friends, and trusted peers. Did it make sense to take a leap of faith during a time when the only certainty was uncertainty? I did my research and laid out the pros and cons of different scenarios, and once I felt that I had left no stone unturned, I felt confident in my analysis.”
Based in Denver, Artley leaned on her experience using technology and science to build business strategies and provide customer service improvements — from the top down. In order to keep pace with new developments, stay competitive, and meet consumer needs, Artley tells CircleAround that at Verizon, she utilizes “deep technical expertise, industry knowledge, and specialized skills to solve complex business challenges in an extremely innovative manner.”
Artley is currently focusing on how businesses can scale 5G technology to continue successful growth, tapping into Verizon’s network capabilities to uncover new market opportunities. “I’ve always been someone who wants to not only have a front-row seat to something special, but I want to be a part of it,” Artley tells CircleAround.
On making the decision to take a new job in the middle of a pandemic, Artley hopes her story will encourage others who are also thinking about taking a leap in their careers. “I don’t know if you’re ever ready [to switch jobs], “but if you trust your gut — and in my case, analyze, analyze, analyze — you can make the decision that makes the most sense for you and those in your life it impacts most,” she says.
For Artley, the transition ended up paying off. “It was clear from Day One that I was going to be leading a team of amazing people. Smart, innovative, forward-thinking, and kindhearted individuals who welcomed me with open arms. So from a leadership perspective, I am very fortunate.”
To make the job switch successful, Artley says she employed these six tactics.
Creating Trust Through Transparency
“Creating a culture of transparency is so important for me,” Artley says. “Heading into this job where I am working with new colleagues and we don’t know each other, it’s super important to me that we are 100 percent transparent with each other.”
Artley found that being candid when she didn’t understand something was more helpful than trying to figure it out herself. Similarly, she challenged opinions and ideas, modeling positive behaviors for her team.
“Holding myself accountable for delivering on my words and commitments is so important to me,” Artley emphasizes. “It’s a key component of a culture of trust and respect. If I don’t lead by example, how can I expect others to be accountable?”
“We face huge opportunities, but we’re all under enormous pressure and stress,” Artley explains. “If we aren’t being authentic, then we shouldn’t expect our teams to give us their all.”
“I believe that it starts with me, and it always has to be real,” she says. She knows the strongest leaders allow themselves to be who they are and lead that way. In turn, it helps strengthen the bond between other team members and even customers.
Building a Collaborative Environment
Internally, Artley took her previous experiences and used her “new kid on the block” status to continue building a more collaborative environment. The added challenge was how to create this in a virtual office environment, which was new for everyone at the company.
To do this, she limited the number of meetings on the calendar and made virtual meetings more meaningful with clear agendas and call-to-action items. She was also sure to collaborate with different teams to foster innovative thinking.
“It’s easy to fall into silos when working alone at home, or even when working at a large corporation in general,” she states. “Encouraging a culture of reaching across the aisles for new perspectives is invaluable.”
Valuing Wellness in the Workplace
Because COVID-19 brought on new stressors and challenges, Artley encourages teams to get in some form of physical activity and find moments for mindfulness and relaxation.
“If we need a break, we shouldn’t feel any shame in taking one,” she tells CircleAround.
Stepping Up as a Mentor for Women
“I absolutely feel a responsibility to mentor other females, especially these days, when you see the immense negative impact of women in the workforce during the pandemic,” she explains. “According to the 2020 Women in the Workplace study, co-authored by McKinsey and LeanIn.org, ‘Due to challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, as many as 2 million women are considering taking a leave of absence or leaving the workforce altogether.’”
“I have two daughters of my own who are just starting to map out their futures,” Artley adds. “We all have a responsibility to instill knowledge and lessons learned, empower, and support the current and next generation of female leaders.”
The Bottom Line
Transitioning to a new job is always exciting and challenging, but Artley has proven that it can be a positive experience even during the hardest of times. She is a role model for women wanting to take chances. In terms of advice for other women looking to break into the technology industry, she says, “Focus on the unique characteristics that make you great. Be your own strongest advocate and not your own worst critic! Lean on your network and take on any challenge that’s thrown your way with confidence. You’re amazing and strong — embrace that!”