Welcome to the last episode in our "Burnout Series" where you'll meet Jennifer Chase, Executive Vice President and CMO of SAS. I asked Jennifer to take us through her unique and very intentional career journey - and she did that and more offering her Three C's Principle and her Rule of 10. If you are wondering how to level up while staying grounded, this podcast was recorded with you in mind.
Join me as I have a delightful and down-to-earth conversation with one of the Triangle's most respected executives.
Welcome to the Reinvention Road Trip, a coffee shop-style podcast that is helping thousands of women dream bigger and level up in business and life. I'm Jes Averhart. Join me as we learn from the baddest women in the game who share their powerful reinvention stories, each one dropping unique gems and takeaways just for you.
Listen, it's time to get inspired, dream louder, and own the keys that will unlock the next best version of you. We are back in the fourth quarter. If it's a football game, we're headed to the end zone with our series on burnout. This is exciting because we have had a really good run of great conversations around what is happening in the landscape of the workplace right now with brands that have.
So revered, highly respected, and yet still have the same challenges and vulnerabilities because these incredibly respected companies are made up of people, right? People who are working really hard. And so as we think about burnout, we're having a conversation that is. And vulnerable and true. And I can't think of another way to wrap this up than to talk to you as I think about what is this moment means for people?
I think you'll have a really interesting take. And then also, I just got a chance to meet you several weeks ago and just you're so delightful and like down to earth. Normal as an executive, just a regular person. Who's doing incredible things. And so with that, I would love to introduce our audience to Jennifer Chase.
Who's the executive vice president and chief marketing officer at SAS. And she does the data-driven marketing strategy for this global brand awareness, demand generation, and customer engagement, which I don't really know what all of that means. You know what that means because you do this so well, but you're responsible for the brand strategy of SAS, right?
Like you. No, who they are. Is that true? Absolutely. So I lead our marketing team.
how lucky am I to get to do that? I think that's great. And thank you again for being with us. It's a real honor to have you here and I'm looking forward to this conversation. Likewise, it's my pleasure. And the bar is high. You have had some really. Thoughtful and inspiring guests lately. So I've learned a lot.
So thank you for the podcast. Oh, you're welcome. You are welcome. So we're glad to have you join in the series and wrap it up for us. Every time we do this, we like to start with just a, get to know you like who's Jennifer Chase. Really? We get that. You're the chief marketing officer and you're running.
Brand the marketing team, as you said, you run the marketing. Team's great. But who are you? Tell us a little bit about your career journey. So our audience plugin and relate to the process, certainly above it all. I'm a mom, I'm a wife, I'm a friend, a, a daughter. So I, but my personal life. So much to me, which I know is true for all.
I hope I know all of our listeners, I'm originally from upstate New York, my husband and I moved down here 23 years ago. Not long after we graduated from college and just saw an opportunity down here. Throughout my career, I went to school with a major in communications, and journalism, minor in marketing. So I'm actually doing what I went to school for, which makes my parents proud.
I moved down here. I started my career in agencies. I worked for advertising agencies, and PR firms, which was a great way for me. As opposed to a lot of different industries and a lot of different businesses. So I took that experience, came down here to Raleigh, and worked for some more agencies. And at that point, I'm going to date myself a little bit here.
It's the late nineties we're coming in. Uh, technology is really starting to look different in our society at that point. And I fell in love with technology. I fell in love with the power of technology to really change the world. If you feel that way and you live here in Raleigh, what a great mix at the time.
And so that's where I started to learn more about. And so I set my sights on getting my foot in the door at SAS. I thought, you know what they're doing with data and analytics, the world is going to need data and analytics. Um, society needs it. Business needs it. I had a very intentional goal at that point of what skills can I garner so that I'm more attractive.
And so I was extremely driven to get into SAS, reached out to who ultimately ended up hiring me, asked her to go to lunch with me. She's the head of communications. I still get to work with her, which is amazing. Pamela meek. She runs our communications team and she's phenomenal, but I. Define my path. I knew what I wanted to get.
And then I did what it took to get there. I've been at now for 23 years, which makes me feel old. When I think about being at a company for 23 years, my father was, yeah, I was at his company for 35 years. I, I didn't, I thought I was a generation ago, but here's me. I love working there. And the beauty of me being at SAS for that long is I've actually had four different careers.
So what I love about SAS is they've encouraged me to take different roles, gain different experiences. So I started off in communications. Leading at the time, our analyst relations program, being involved in analyst relations, then moved over to take on a program management role. So moving my sets a little bit differently.
And then one of the bigger changes I made is when I went into the R and D organization in a program management capacity. So I went from talking to. The company then understands how we make products, like what goes into the process. And this just gave me a bigger, broader view of the value chain of SAS.
How do we build products? How do we understand customer needs? How do we anticipate where the market is going? Which made me, I think, understand and appreciate when I moved back into a marketing role and was really close to sales, how do I then take that knowledge and apply it to be stronger in my future roles?
Okay, so I'm over here. I always take notes as my guests are talking a lot of times it's for me, because you'll say something that resonates very personally for me, and I just don't want to forget it. And sometimes it's just cause I want to tie a thing together and what's pulling forward for me is just this idea of curiosity and intentionality that this was the fuel for your career.
Potentially. I don't wanna put words in your mouth, but be intentional about where you wanted to work. And where you want it to be within that company. I want to continue to move forward and move my career forward. And then that curiosity of you had four careers. So you moved around, learned the product, and learn the organization from the inside out to better prepare you for this role.
It seems very simple formula. I don't know how many people I'm mad. I don't know, but I don't know that people necessarily harness that in the ways that they can for their dreams. Absolutely. I agree. And if, I think back to times when maybe I didn't show up in a way I wanted, or I let myself or others down around me, it's when I wasn't being curious.
Or if I wasn't being intentional with how I'm moving through the day. That's so good. That speaks to me. So let's talk about twists and turns along the way. And I can tell you its stories right. Of my own professional journey and everyone can, but oftentimes, we shy away from our twists and turns because we are too busy being who we are in the moment, the chief.
That's what we're doing today, but that's not what it was always about. Can you share any of those stories with our listeners? Yeah, certainly one of them is what I just alluded to when I went from the communications side of the business, over into the R and D side. And I thought to myself and I was being tapped for this role.
I had a leader who I'd engaged with and we really, he's definitely a mentor for me, said to me, I think he'd be great in this role. And I thought know. Technical role. I'm not technical by SAS R and D standards. I might be technical by marketing standards. Do I belong there? And he was very clear to say, I want you in that role because you are different.
I need somebody with a business mindset. So because you are different, you are going to be successful. And what I learned from that experience was growth. Doesn't. Go up directionally up a ladder. I could've stayed in the role I was in and gone from an individual contributor to a manager. And I'm sure that would have been very fulfilling for me, but, by going sideways, I think I actually made that ladder go up higher in the future.
And so really understanding that and taking advice, asking for advice for people to say, Hey, is this, what would you do if you had a, uh, opportunity in front of you like this? So it definitely got me out of my country. Oh, the comfort zone. We talk a lot about this on this podcast, the comfort zone, and being on the Comfort Cliff.
Any other, um, examples of that? Like maybe more recent examples of a twist, a turn, or just this moment? You just say unique divergent, professionally that mattered to you and may be changed everything or at least maybe your perspective on something. Yeah. Yeah. I think the one I'd give is more recently when I was tapped to take on the leadership of the marketing organization here at SAS.
And that was in December 2019 is when some of those conversations happened and I've been fortunate that I've taken on more and more responsibility and really in a short period of time, relatively at SAS. And so when. Having that discussion with my future leader at the time, my initial reaction, when he tapped me on the shoulder to take the role was, oh, I'm not ready.
I don't have all the skills. I need to do this job. And for a moment I saw my daughter who was then probably five years old. I saw her face in my eyes. I'm like, what am I doing? This is a classic I know better. And so. I gathered myself and I said, yeah, let's talk about the type of leader that you are looking for in this role.
Let's make sure there's a match here because the previous people who've been in this role were phenomenal. They were extremely technical. That's not what I brought to the table. So I was going to bring something different if that's not what the company was looking for. That's. But let's be really clear about this is who I am.
I, these are the skills I possess today. Here's my potential. Here's what I think I could do and what I might need to get there. And then this is the type of leader I am. And so when it came down to is look, I, I believe I'm uniquely qualified to lead the organization at this moment. I think I can, uh, inspire and engage the marketing organization.
I think. to the next level. And it was, that was a really such a huge moment in my career. And then taking over the marketing organization for a blissful six weeks, I felt like I knew what I like. I've got a plan we can make this happen. And then obviously the pandemic hit everything we knew about what we do, everything we knew about how we work with.
Do our jobs changed. So navigating that of course has been just equal parts, the exciting and new world a hundred percent. Yeah. What I love again, I'm just the great summarizer, right? But this, this resonates with me, this idea. First of all, you said it, women do this all the time. We had an opportunity and you said, I'm not ready.
I don't have all the skills that I need. It's exactly what we do because we think we have to get to at least be at 95%, we gotta be right. Almost perfect to put our hat in the ring and a good friend and mentor said to me, and, and it was on a panel. So frankly she said, Several hundred people because I felt like she was talking right to me, but she said don't self eliminate.
One of the key things she would teach her kids. This is Lori Jones Gibbs. By the way, you may know the thing, the one lesson she taught, both of her kids was don't self-eliminate, because you'll never know when you take yourself out. And that is the key for you as you saw the previous leader. And you said why don't do what they, that's not, that's not me.
Let's for those that are listening, don't take yourself out. Don't take yourself out. Exactly. Put everything you got you. Your best foot forward, your skillset, your lived experience, your voice, all of that matters at that moment. And let someone else tell you this isn't the right time or it isn't a right fit, but you should never do anything.
If we had jointly agreed that, Hey, this I am. In fact, not the right person for this role. I think we both could have walked away. Very fulfilled with that conversation, but it was, I needed the confidence to be able to say, this is what I bring, which also allowed me to sell myself a little bit. Um, oh, and then here you go into the pandemic and they have you in the leadership role.
I have no idea, but I suspect that boy, the right timing for that to have you fresh leadership, fresh eyes, taking that team through a very unique time. There's no precedent for it. So. Well done. They were lucky to have you, was that I'm sure it was tough, but because it was tough. I think one of the things I wasn't prepared for is the volume of decisions that needed to be made in that role.
Not only was it leading the marketing team, but then I was also, I had my other foot in as being a member of the executive leadership team of the company. And we were addressing all of the continuity of making sure our employees were safe and, and that. A society with what we were dealing with the pandemic.
So I didn't fully appreciate that. I would have really led my team and then the role I would play in leading the organization. And again, the volume of decisions. I couldn't believe how many decisions I would need to make in a day. And I really had to get better at ours. Information to make a decision, or is this a decision I should be making?
And I need to empower the fabulous team that's around me to make some of those decisions. And am I clear with all right, that's a decision I want to be involved in, or that's a decision I need to be informed on. I'm still trying to get better at that, but that decision-making at volume and knowing that some of them are small decisions, but some of them really signal.
Really knowing the difference between those sometimes at the moment in the heat of the moment. That's not always obvious. Yeah. Interesting. Well, this actually is a great Elliot for me onto this next question about burnout. And I want to take like the big, like the zoom and ask you to speak on behalf of your folks.
Like how's the workforce doing? How are your teams doing? How, what do you see out there as it relates to burnout? I'm now convinced that it's real, it's pervasive. Everyone's talking about it. Is there by chance an exemption at SAS where your folks are just like singing and tiptoeing through the daisies these days.
No, there's no exemption. And let's be honest. The world is so heavy right now on really every dimension. And it's hard. I see burnout in my, and we see it with our employees. I see it in my team. I see it with my leaders and I see it in myself and I think. Uh, we've just got that, that awareness is so important and then doing something about it.
But at the same time at SAS, w we're a 45-year-old company, we've been around for a long time. So it's unusual in the technology space. We're also going through significant changes. Last year, we announced our intent for IPO. And so we plan to enter the public markets in the future. We are transforming, you know, how we build, delivery service or our products.
So there's so much change happening. So then it just creates stress. And what I've focused on for myself as well as for my team is what's constant. Then for us, what's constant at SAS is our culture. We've always been a culture that puts our employees first to our CEO and founder, who is in the office every day.
Right now, Dr. Goodnight. He's always said our greatest assets drive out the gates every day. So we're, we are a knowledge-based company. And so really making sure that we're putting employees first is going to really, that's the tide that raises all the boats across our business. And he also says to treat employees like they make a difference and they will.
And so we've always had this people-first culture, but we have to adapt to. The stress and the conditions of the time. So a couple of things we're doing, we're prioritizing mental health, making sure we're talking about it at work. We're educating ourselves. We're providing services for employees earlier in May.
We had our first ever recharged day company shut down on a Friday, Friday, May 6th. And it was just to disconnect so that you could recharge. It was really very well received. And I did it myself. I led by example, I did not send an email. Didn't even check emails during the day. Really quite liberating. And I want to point out the whole company shut down on that day.
Exactly. In that different, from a vacation. I joke about this with my husband. I'm like I'm in pre-vacation stress mode where it is, what are all the things that I have to get done from vacation. And then literally that the day you're coming back from vacation, or you're still like in route, traveling back, you're having this notion of art.
This is my inbox and all of the things I need to catch up on. And so look, I love to vacation, so I'm, I will, I will take pre and post-vacation. Any day in order to, to get, get some vacation experiences, but it is so very different than a shutdown. Yes. So just because you take a vacation date, the rest of the team is still working.
You still get stuff, but on that day it was quiet. Oh gosh. The idea of quiet is so good. So you said, I love that you snuck in there, the team that sasses and exempt, you said I'm not exempt, right? That you experienced burnout. Um, sure. I can imagine you like laid the case out actually for the last couple of years, being at a different pace, a rhythm is much faster, right?
The expectations were greater. The volume of decisions was more. So it's going to lead to making sure that you take care of yourself. It could potentially show up as compassion, fatigue, and exhaustion. So I'd love to hear from you. What, how does it show up for you, and then what do you do to help prevent it.
Or get in the way disrupted. Yeah. I recognize when it shows up for me, sometimes it shows up on a, I'll tell you, this is a timely way. It shows up on a Friday afternoon where instead of me thinking about all right, these are the things I'm going to do on the weekend. I think these are all the things that didn't get done and what a way to cap off a whole week.
Right. So when I see that happening, like, all right, that, that is that, that weekend anxiety not different than the vacation. Pre-stressed right. I've got to, I've got to think differently. That's one way. Yeah. I see some burnout begin to manifest itself. I also see it when I'm not, I can tell when I'm not providing the clarity of direction that my team needs for them.
So I'm not able to articulate the path forward or rather than trying to solve a specific problem. I'm not focusing on what are the problems we need to solve. So I see it when I'm just not leading it in the way that I need to, which I will say for me, I've really been very intentional. Having truth-tellers around me.
So, people who are not afraid to give me feedback, do it with kindness, but they're honest. And so I've got a couple of truth-tellers who say, you know, you've been better in a meeting, right. You've facilitated a better marketing leadership team. Let's talk about some things we can do next time. Um, and I'm so grateful.
So what do I do for me? Uh, a couple of things that are my tools in my toolkit. One is around perspective and making sure I've got the right perspective on what's happening. And I talked earlier about some decisions are big and some decisions being small. Yeah. The same is true with some of the stress that you're facing.
And so something I always talk to my children about with what they're facing the role is what's the rule of tens like what's you're facing today. How is that gonna? For you in 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months. It just helps you see the world a little bit differently and it helps you, I think, process the situation that you're in a little bit differently.
So I think about the rule of tens pretty regularly. I journal, I have a sound Kiki, but this is a journal that is. It's not a lot of effort, so don't be overwhelmed. Like you don't have to feel like you have to write novels. Cause I can't do that. That, intimidates me. It's a line of day journal. If some days I'm writing, here's something awesome we did with the family or here's something that happened at work, but it's a ten-year journal.
So you can go back and look at, and sometimes you see progress and sometimes you see, oh, I was talking about how I wasn't exercising regularly five years ago and I had. I'm not on that one. Me, so it's humbling at the same time, but even just the closing the day with what's a little something I can remember.
And that's where I'm intentional about is there's some gratitude I have for today. What can I beat you there? I know there's something to be grateful for in my day. So that's extremely helpful for me. And then I think all of us need to make sure we know where we find for me. It's my work, where I get my energy is spending time with my husband and, and being with my kids.
And we've recently as a, fairly recently as a family started golfing. So it's a very humbling experience to, to, but we, it is a family, forced family, fun time, no phones, which is as much for me as it is for the teenagers, but we'll go out and play nine holes together. So yeah, I think finding your energy, whatever that is for you, find it and tap it.
I had a little bigger laughing, forced family fun family, fun time that started during COVID was golf was a very COVID friendly activity. We did that in Frisbee golf is where we joke about our force or forced family fun tides. Great. Yeah. I'm also, I have golf. I always do have golf clubs and I have. Yeah, I don't have a golf game, but I have all of the things that make it look like I site, I love that we need to go out
all day long till you make it. That's it. I really appreciate the tips that you gave. They were a little unexpected if I'm, to be honest. So I really appreciate is breaking the norm of self-care, which I think is great and important. I've also said, I think in my podcast if I didn't, I meant to. Use it as self-defense like it can't be this defensive maneuver that we pull self-care off the shelf and I'm on the end of my rope.
Let me pull some self-care off the shelf and get myself back on track. Cause that's just not true. It's not how that works. You're depleted. And I, and so what I was waiting for, I thought you were going to give me kind of the ways in which you do the self-care, but this is self-care, but it's almost like mental health, self.
Yeah. It's perspective, which I was surprised you led off with. I love the rule of tens, which we'll have to talk more about offline because that sounds fascinating. And I can't wait to use that with my son journaling a lion a day. I think it's great, it's easy. It's practical and knowing where you find your energy, good stuff, really good stuff.
And it's a good thought exercise because when you're burnout, oftentimes you're too tired to see. Anything that has to do with the betterment or the fulfillment of yourself. You just want to sleep or you want to eat, or you want to shop. That's how we soothe these moments versus getting to the heart of a matter and reframing our perspective.
And oftentimes when you do it yourself and see yourself in the bigger picture of the world, what's happening in the world, what's happening in your community. What's happening in your family. You do quickly find grants. A hundred percent of that. I shared it with you. I had my experience with COVID like so many recently, and the timing was such that it happened around my son's high school graduation.
And so I could not attend his high school graduation, which broke my heart. And I had a pity party. I cried and I had a good hour where I let it all out. And then I said, oh my God, I'm here. I'm going to get through this. This is a cold for me. I, that is not the case for millions and millions of people, and I'm going to still get to experience it and celebrate with him.
There's so much, so many other things happening in the world. How lucky am I that I get to celebrate my son? And so you have perspective, it's so important. So. That's really good. Thank you for that. But I still needed that hour when you first told me that story. I was like, what? You missed your son's graduation because of COVID.
I was like, oh, that darn COVID. And then you think about it and you're like, but what can you do? You can't control those moments like you did exactly what you were supposed to do. Just stay home and make sure that no one was at risk. It doesn't make it easier, but the perspective shift is important. All right.
That's good. We ran through these burnout questions, which is great. Now I'd love for you to channel sort of our high achieving our high performing women that dial into this who are listening because they saw that you were, we were interviewing you today. Oftentimes our listeners will enter these conversations and jump into this podcast because of a title and a company.
And, oh my gosh. So why don't you tell our listeners, what advice were you given or then part as we close out our podcast? Yeah. Yeah. So to sum it up to say what I give advice constantly, and I call it the three CS for women. The first is. Connections and confidence. So competence, you've got to, you're going to earn a seat with your knowledge.
So you do have to gain some skills. So figure out what those skills are that you need that is going to differentiate you so that you can be the most valuable asset to your organization. Right? And so this is about having those skills. So get those competencies. The second is around connecting. It's really to make sure you're building your network.
Um, find that personal board of directors for you, those group of mentors, those people that will help you. I didn't get to this place without having help and assistance all along the way. So build that and don't be afraid to ask. And one of the things, that I've found all along the way is don't ask, don't get so ask for some help and it could be something as I'm faced with this.
What would you know, what's your perspective or what would you do in this situation? I think earlier on that was. My approach was the mentors and people were very willing to give their guidance and advice. And today I'm willing to give back and do the same because I have received so many assists that I owe some assists.
And I think of it that way. I love that you're sticking with the sports analogies, with the assists, and we could do this all well, done sports too. So you can do that. Figure skater. Yeah, I wasn't going to bring that in, but again, it was a great sort of transition. I know. I'll tell you one of the things I learned from skating and I say this regularly skating is what taught me how to learn to fall and fail.
So my coach growing up would always say, if you are not failing, you're not trying hard enough and you're not learning. And so I've definitely that lesson has stuck with me throughout my entire life, to this day, like a fall, not a failure, it's a chance to get. And figure out what you did wrong and, and literally, literally, and yes, I could not count the number of times I have fallen on the ice as many times as I fell, I got back up and that's my sports lesson.
Okay. We're on our third C - confidence. We need to operate with confidence. You got to the place that you're at for a reason. And it's your competence that you already have. But it's also your potential. And I think women, we have to remember that we have so much potential and there are going to be times, and I hate to admit it for myself today.
Imposter syndrome will kick in. I recognize her now. And when she does, I'm able to tamper down, channel it, but operate with confidence. You're here for a reason, you add value, you have a perspective that needs to be heard, uh, competence, connection, and competence to three seats. Those are just like the golden rule right there.
That's a formula really for a life well-lived. You can apply that to, your whole life. Not just your professional life, it'll make it more fulfilling. So maybe it needs to be the three CS and one F for falling, for falling three cities and getting back up. That's right. I need to work on the formula.
Okay. Well, after today, Your new thing will be the three-season. And I know we can, we can pay this out on the golf course and really hone this. Like I'm taking you up on this. As soon as we're done here, we'll set something up. This was great. I enjoyed this. I love the, I love just the simplicity of our conversation.
And yet the profound sort of like depth of thought thoughtfulness. There's so much here to think about and to ask ourselves. And I hope that our list. We'll take the time to do that. So when we're done here, go back and think about your three CS. Are you maximizing that? Have you filled the bank of your competencies?
What else could you do? How else can you fill those coffers? What tools can you put in their connection? Are you networking? Are you not looking at that as taboo, but seeing network and connections as the same, it's a relationship-building, learning about people and understanding what you can give them as much as they can give you.
And then the confidence really drawing from within and reminding yourself as you so eloquently said, you didn't get here by. You have real lived experience and evidence that you have done it before and you can do it again. Thank you so much, Jennifer. Oh, thank you for having me enjoyed our time together.
Thank you. Thank you. All right. That's it. We wrapped up our burnout series. I hope it was. Just, I hope it was helpful and informative, but also fun and playful and ways that you can breathe a little bit easier knowing that you're not alone. This is a hard time everywhere, but having the right perspective and understanding to rest and not quit are going to be so key here.
As we move into unknown territory, everything is unknown every day is unknown, but it's how you approach it. It's how you navigate it and how you take care of yourself through those moments that are gonna be. So, we'll see you on the other side. Thank you so much for joining us on burnout and we will see you in the next couple of weeks with our next.
Thanks friends for riding along on today's Reinvention Road Trip. If you like, what you heard, tell a friend and leave us a review. I know seems like a little thing, but it is so important to see if we're on the right track. You can find the show firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to join the re-invention road trip by signing up for our newsletter, where I share behind the scene details and nuggets that you won't hear on the show.
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