Meet some of WalkMe’s leading women
Join me for a fascinating career conversation with some of WalkMe’s leaders as we celebrate Women’s History Month. We sat down with Hagit Ynon, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chelsea Pyrzenski, Chief People Officer (CPO), and KJ Kusch, Global Field Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to hear about their early ambitions, role models, and more.
Let’s get to the questions!
Q: Let’s start at the very beginning: as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
KJ: [When I was a kid, I aspired to be a] dolphin trainer.
Hagit: [I wanted to be a] volleyball player. I was pretty good [at the sport] and played on a professional team.
Chelsea: I wanted to be a child psychologist. I always knew that my passion and purpose was to help people. After my practicum and working with distressed children, I knew that emotionally I wouldn’t be able to separate work and my home life. So, I decided to pivot my professional journey to helping people in their careers and designing a workforce culture that doesn’t tolerate toxic behavior.
Q: Why did you choose a career in your respective fields?
KJ [Technology]: A career in technology is one that constantly evolves, which I knew would push me toward my personal goal of always learning and growing. I enjoy nothing more than learning the trends that technology is taking in order to work more efficiently and see progress and success. I evolved in my IT career by seeing the big picture mapped out for those technical needs.
Hagit [Finance]: I chose a career in finance because I was always good with numbers. I have a good memory for numbers much more than in other areas.
Chelsea [HR]: I knew early on that I wanted to drive positive social change. I wanted to be in the seat that enables and fosters a workforce culture that focuses on the whole person. The landscape shifts also were exciting for me – I witnessed the field of HR transform from Personnel to People teams, and now people leaders across multiple industries have a strategic seat at the table. They have spanned across human capital management and have moved out of the tactical and administrative field. I knew I wanted to ride the wave of reimagining the way businesses optimize how they execute their people-centric strategies, resulting in operational ROI.
Q: Who were your early role models?
KJ: My first mentor was the CIO for Hughes Aircraft, J Woods. He helped me navigate the field of IT for 25+ years. I also looked up to Shigeru Miyamoto, because video games were super cool back in the day. Lastly, I closely followed Tim Berners-Lee, a CERN scientist and inventor of the World Wide Web (aka Internet) and a complete game changer for me professionally.
Hagit: Wow… I had many! I loved reading books so I “met” many of them through reading their stories. One of my role models was my mom – a strong, smart, and loving mom, who taught us that you should always believe in yourself and that the sky’s the limit.
Chelsea: This is silly, but the truth is – my role model was Mr. Rogers. He educated and mentored children on the importance of kindness, community, and friendship. This is also ingrained in how I raise my children – of course, I want them to be smart, popular, funny, etc… But, if they end up being anything, I hope it is kind!
Q: How did you wind up in the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) space?
KJ: I like enterprise platforms, but I was interested in looking for more impactful and more agile changes for customers. When you’re the underlying technology, a go-live can take years to implement. I was a customer of WalkMe first and realized how much impact this technology can have for customers. Then, I made the switch.
Hagit: I decided to join WalkMe because I was excited about WalkMe’s vision of changing how humans interact with technology. It was WalkMe itself that led me to the DAP space.
Chelsea: I was sold on WalkMe and digital adoption after speaking with Dan [WalkMe Co-Founder and CEO Dan Adika]. He had this burning passion for DAP and optimism about building out a new category. I was excited about WalkMe’s journey ahead and it was exactly the challenge that I was born to take on – drive real business outcomes while elevating the employee experience.
Q: What advice do you have for girls who wish to pursue a career in your field?
- There is so much to learn in the field of technology, so if you enjoy new and different things, this field is full of opportunities for women. Learn relevant tech skills, gain experience, and be open to opportunity.
- Ask yourself what success looks like and build a network to help you get there. Include mentors, change agents, and life coaches who help you identify why you are unique and what is a priority, while helping you build confidence.
- Don’t assume you’ll be treated differently.
Hagit [Finance]: I would say, be true to yourself. Don’t be what you are supposed to be; be what you want to be. I was one of 3 girls who studied Physics and Math in a class of 35 boys. My professor tried to convince us to leave his class as he didn’t believe that girls could be successful at Physics and Math. I decided to show him that the opposite is true and convince my female friends to stick with it and prove him wrong. We all graduated successfully and when I finished my university studies, I went back and met him for an open and direct discussion.
Chelsea [HR]: Be a data junky – learn how to make dashboards, understand the evolution of HR + DEI, become a change management expert, and learn how to quickly understand different company value propositions. The best HR professionals really understand the business and how to tell a talent strategy and story through data. Of course, you also have to have a passion for people.
Thank you to these incredible women for sharing some of their wisdom with us!
If you haven’t yet seen WalkMe’s spotlight featuring 5 incredible DAP leaders and what they love about being a woman in this industry, watch the video here.