How Esri’s Janett Baresel Built an International Career From IC to Manager, and 4 Tips to Do the Same
When Janett Baresel did her team’s performance reviews as their manager for the first time, she wasn’t sure she’d be good at it.
And she told them so.
“I talked to them and said, ‘Look, I’m probably more nervous than you are.’ It was the first time I had to sit in front of them, and tell them what they do really well but also provide them with constructive feedback. It’s incredibly hard,” she says. “I think being open from the beginning helped.”
That’s part of going from an individual contributor role to a management role: expanding your skill set as you go, having to pick up new skills and figure out on the fly how to hone them.
Janett has done that throughout her career, first switching roles, then industries, and eventually countries, too, going from her native Germany to Australia to Switzerland. She now lives in Zurich and works as a Team Lead for geographic information system (GIS) tech company Esri.
We sat down with Janett to hear more about how she followed her passion to different roles, why she ended up at Esri, and how she’s embraced her latest transition into management—as well as what advice she has for other would-be managers considering making the same change.
Work that makes a difference
Janett has an older brother, and years of watching and joining him play computer games convinced her that she wanted to study in that field when she got to university. Exposure to a computer science course in high school—taught by a woman, to boot—only confirmed Janett’s commitment.
“I was good at math and tech. It's logical, I’m following certain syntax, certain rules,” she says. “But I also have a visual heart. I need a visual interface to understand a problem.”
Her unique interests and skills led Janett to choose computer graphics as her major. After graduating, she was faced with a choice: did she want to work in game development, movie animation, or GIS?
The first two weren’t particularly appealing to her. “If you work for movies, or the game industry, it doesn’t feel like you’re helping people solve a problem. It’s more entertainment,” she says. “I wanted to combine my 3D computer graphics interest with something that really helps people.”
While GIS was on the horizon, so was a move abroad. Janett had met her boyfriend while studying abroad in Australia, and she took a job in web development that came with a visa to return Down Under.
But after a few years, she and her partner were ready to move back to their native Europe and Janett started looking for her dream role: something in GIS that had a social impact angle.
When she found Esri, based in California but with offices around the globe, , she recognized the name. During her computer graphics studies Esri had popped up a couple of times.
Janett quickly learned how broad the field of GIS is, from complex forest mapping to visualizing data of bird migration across the globe, or planning out redevelopment projects for the city of Zurich. She applied—and was hired. Her family moved to Zurich, and she’s been with Esri ever since.
“Finding a company that does 3D applications and actually solves real problems with it in this world was a perfect combination,” says Janett. “It’s a very sustainable business, and a lot of people are passionate about climate change. This aligns very much with my values.”
Not a straight path
Janett started at Esri as a software engineer, and stayed in that role for about three years. Then she was promoted to a senior developer two months before going out on maternity leave.
“That was a great sign. They could have waited, right? They could've said, ‘Now she’s gone for half a year.’ For me, it showed me they liked what I was doing and wanted to reward me for it.”
As that team grew, Janett was asked to step into a team lead role, and it just made sense. She knew the people, she knew the work, and she found herself surprisingly passionate about coordinating projects and making things possible for her team.
She was able to step into management and feel confident, says Janett, because it was never billed as an all-or-nothing move.
“I talked to my colleagues, who were trying to motivate me to become team lead. They’d say, ‘It’s not black and white. It’s not, “Oh, you’re a manager, now you’re not allowed to develop or design anymore.” You do that, and it gives you a lot of decision power. You can design your own role as a lead and balance leadership and development work.,’” remembers Janett. “‘You’re not getting put into a box.’”
And it’s not just Janett who got that treatment, she says. She’s found the Esri leadership team in Zurich to be really thoughtful about what their employees want to do, and creative in finding the right opportunities for them to explore that.
“Our director [in Zurich] is awesome,” she says. “He’ll say, ‘You know, you’re valuable to us. What do you need? And can we find a place here that fits that?’”
Now, as a team lead, Janett is also the owner of her team’s product, which is a browser-based tool for visualizing 3D map data. She walks the balance between keeping her product simple and usable to really anyone, while also adding in complex functionality. Along the way, she works on developing her team and solving their problems—and giving them praise and constructive feedback in performance reviews.
4 tips for transitioning into management
Janett is upfront about the fact that she hasn’t formally studied management and that she’s learning on the job, along with the support she receives from Esri as a company that values ongoing learning and education for its employees. That being said, she’s gotten some pretty important lessons out of the last few years of firsthand experience, including:
- Communication is the most important part. And that rarely means telling other people what to do, says Janett. “It’s more support than it is being a teacher,” she says.
- Recognize your own flaws. This came up when going through performance reviews and coaching for her team, says Janett. “Nowadays, I find myself very aware of what I do well and what I don’t do so well. You recognize yourself making mistakes or see things where you want to improve. That’s better than thinking, ‘Now I’m a team lead, I have all this experience, I know what I’m doing, I’m perfect.’”
- Trust your team to figure it out. “I am a very organized and structured person, but sometimes I want to control too much. I’ll jump ahead and ask, ‘Oh, have you done that?’ when there really is no need. I have really, really great colleagues and I’m learning to trust them. People grow much more if you don’t hover over them but let them explore.”
- Management doesn’t have to be the final step. Janett is excited about exploring management for now, but she’s clear with herself and her team that it’s not the end of the road for anyone in tech. “You can do software architecture if that’s what you love. Not everyone’s good at leading, and not everyone’s good at architecture. You can also do both, if that’s what you want. It’s really about your abilities and where you are in the team.”
Specifically, the Zurich office is looking for a front-end developer and a designer with 3D experience. Check out these job descriptions for more details.
💎Want to implement change in your team or organization? Watch the video to the end to do it successfully.
📼 To implement change you need to follow certain steps. Play this video to get three top tips on how to do it the best possible way. You'll hear from Kyle Lisboa, Support Operations Manager at Esri, who shares her experience with you!
📼Why implement change? Tip #1: Identify the reason. Think about the business reason for the change. If you understand why change is needed, it helps you explain it to others. Avoid making change for change's sake and implement solutions that solve problems.
📼Plan to implement change! Tip #2: Develop a plan. Create a detailed plan to help implement the change. If you create steps and timelines, this will guide the process. It also helps others understand how you are progressing towards the implementation and what the next steps are.
To Implement Change You Need Others - Tip #3: Seek Feedback
Gather feedback from those affected before, during, and after any changes are implemented. Allowing others to provide their feedback helps to create an inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels part of the solution.
📨 Are you interested in joining Esri? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Kyle Lisboa
Kyle is an experienced Strategic Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. She’s skilled in Arcgis Products, Databases, Management, Geography, and Cartography. If you are interested in a career at Esri, you can connect with her on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Esri
At Esri, they build cutting-edge geographic information system (GIS) technology that customers use to solve the world’s most complex challenges: slowing climate change, stamping out disease, designing a better city, fighting crime, and much more. Their ArcGIS software is helping communities around the globe respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by monitoring the surge, managing testing sites, aiding essential workers in finding childcare, mapping food and essentials, and keeping residents informed and safe.
Nearly 80% of workers want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, per a CNBC survey.
But how do prospective employees — and, for that matter, current ones — know whether an organization takes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) seriously?
Metrics can help.
What are DEI metrics?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging metrics are measurements of how a company is doing against its stated DEIB goals. They help track progress, light up problems, synthesize momentum over time, prioritize investment, and allow a company and its employees to have accountability over DEIB intentions.
How can DEI metrics help my overall DEI strategy?
Creating a DEIB strategy is the first step in making your workplace more equitable. But having DEI metrics is a vital second step in ensuring that progress happens.
DEI metrics help a company actualize their strategy, live out their values, meet employee expectations, and make the workplace more fair for all employees.
10 examples of DEI metrics
1. Hiring: the diversity of your candidate pipeline.
How diverse is your applicant pool? Have your candidates self-identify and track what representation looks like in your candidate system.
2. Representation: the demographics of your current employees.
Many companies put pressure on their new hires to make up for gaps in their existing employee population — so make sure you’re benchmarking against data on what your current workforce is made up of.
3. Representation: the demographics of your leadership team.
People need to see that there is a path for success for people who look like them at your organization. What does the makeup of your board look like? Your directors? Your managers? And what does the promotion pipeline look like into those roles?
4. Representation: the demographics of your suppliers.
The money that you spend can significantly impact communities around you — so you should be measuring whether you’re doing that in a way that challenges bias and champions equitable treatment.
5. HR systems: pay equity.
Do all employees, regardless of gender or race, make the same amount of money if they’re doing the same job? If not, what’s your gender / race pay gap and how quickly are you closing it?
6. Employee experience: HR issues.
It’s important to track wins when it comes to DEIB, but it’s also vital to track times when your organization falls short. How many HR / People issues related to DEIB, including allegations of unfair treatment or bias, has your organization dealt with in the past year? What was the result of them? How quickly did issues get resolved? These metrics are key to know.
7. Employee experience: satisfaction with DEI progress.
When you send out employee satisfaction surveys, make sure you include questions on how employees perceive your current progress on DEI goals. They’re the ones most impacted by your strategy — and their opinion matters.
8. Employee engagement: participation in communication platforms.
How often do employees participate in Slack? What about by-channel participation? Looking at data on who talks to who and when can help highlight issues with inclusion or culture. Some companies are using AI-enabled text analysis tools to look for signs of frustration or for problematic language.
9. Employee participation: ERG membership.
Employee resource groups can be hugely helpful in creating community around different identities, interests, and demographics. They can also provide guidance on how to actualize your organization’s DEIB goals. (Which is part of the reason you should pay ERG leaders for their efforts, but that’s a topic for a different blog.)
10. Brand reputation: customer perception.
We’ve talked about key groups for whom DEIB metrics matter — prospective employees, current employees, leadership — but they matter to your customers, too. Whether you add a DEIB component to your existing NPS process, conduct 1:1 customer interviews, or get feedback some other way, it’s important to see whether your customer base is seeing progress on your DEIB goals, too.
Have you ever been so exhausted that you quit your job?
You may have been experiencing burnout.
Burnout is characterized by overwhelming exhaustion, detachment from your work, and a sense of ineffectiveness.
And while anyone can experience burnout, if you have ADHD, you may be more susceptible to it.
Before you get to the point where quitting feels like your only option, there are steps you can take to set healthy boundaries and start feeling more like yourself again. Read on to learn how you can recognize burnout in yourself, and what to do if you’re experiencing it!
How Does ADHD Burnout Feel?
There are some clear signs that you’re burning out, but ADHD can make the descent to burnout harder to detect. These warning signs include:
- Lack of motivation - not wanting to do the things you need to do or the things you love.
- Exhaustion - feeling overly tired both mentally and physically.
- Irritability and mental fatigue - feeling short-tempered, mean, or like you snap easily.
- Physical discomfort - body aches, low energy levels, and general pain.
- Negative outlook - the tendency to find something wrong with nearly everything.
- Emotional dysregulation - feeling weepy, sad, or unable to smile or connect with others.
Generally, burnout starts with taking on too much. Exhaustion creeps in, and you feel like every day is working against you because you are constantly overwhelmed. You may start to feel like the entire world is spinning out of control, or like no matter what you do you can’t keep up (or catch up).
If this resonates with you, you might be on the road to ADHD burnout.
Why People with ADHD Can Be More Susceptible to Burnout
So why does ADHD make some folks more susceptible to burnout? There are a few common ADHD traits that often result in behaviors correlated with burnout (taking on too much, working too long, etc.):
- Hyperfocus - ADHD is not exclusively about attention deficits. In fact, hyperfocus is the opposite – a deep, intense concentration to the point of being oblivious to your surroundings. Per WebMD, hyperfocus is a state of highly-focused attention that lasts for an extended period of time. You concentrate on something so hard that you lose track of everything else going on around you. When hyperfocus sets in at work, it can be hard to unplug or be aware of the people and environment around you.
- Time Tracking - Losing track of time is one thing, but if you find yourself losing track of hours without realizing it, that could be related to burnout. People with ADHD perceive time not as a sequence of events the way others usually do, but as a diffuse collection of events viscerally connected to the people, activities, and emotions that fill them.
- Difficulty Prioritizing - Do you take on too much and then struggle to prioritize it? When someone asks for help, does everything often go to the wayside so you can jump in? Or maybe the daunting anticipation of the tasks ahead prevents you from starting. Per ADDitude, ADHD impacts your temporal processing abilities, which can affect executive functioning.
Combating ADHD Burnout
If you think you may be suffering from ADHD burnout, there are a few ways to take back control. Here are three tips for combating ADHD burnout:
Reserve Your Yeses - Pump the brakes when you recognize the early signs of ADHD burnout. Start reserving your yeses right away. Say no, and practice not apologizing. It is okay to say, "I have a lot on my plate right now and cannot take that on. Thanks for thinking of me." Saying no is nothing to apologize for, and it should be celebrated! You are working to protect your energy above all else.
Practice Over-Estimating - If you think you could knock something out in a day, give yourself a week. Overestimate on time and allow yourself the grace to have a little more time than usual to complete projects. Slowing down when starting a new job or role will help you produce high-quality work and prevent ADHD burnout.
Drop the Mask - Be honest with your employer and friends. Let them know that although you seem to keep up internally, you struggle. Identifying ADHD burnout from the outside can be extremely difficult. Your honesty and transparency will position you to determine if your environment is supportive and inclusive.
How to Support Colleagues Dealing with ADHD Burnout
The experiences above may not resonate with you personally, but perhaps you’ve noticed other people you work with describe or experience them.
If you’re a manager, there are several ways you can support colleagues with ADHD (as well as neurodivergent employees more generally) to help prevent burnout. Ask for clarity on when they have felt the most supported at work. Discovery questions like, “how did you feel at that time?” or “how was the pace of that project?” can help you to understand their actual capacity.Download this free guide if you’re looking for more ways to support your neurodivergent coworkers. Work with your DEIB and HR team to develop new neurodivergent inclusivity standards to help you stay ahead of the ADHD burnout cycle.
💎Worried about bias in the workplace? Watch the video to the end to find out how to reduce it!
📼Avoiding bias in the workplace requires a lot of effort. Play this video to get three top tips that will help you. You'll hear from Ben Lopez, Talent Acquisition Manager for EMEA at Workiva, who shares advice on how to create a more fair, equitable environment where everyone feels welcome and has a seat at the table.
📼Acknowledging bias in the workplace is the starting point. Tip #1: Recognize Bias. Take the time to recognize your own bias. Both conscious and unconscious. And look out for bias within teams and among peers. Work together to understand how you can all avoid each of those biases that you may encounter.
📼Avoid sneaky bias in the workplace! Tip #2: Rely on a structured process. Whether it's about interviewing, promotions, or performance reviews, relying on a consistent, fair, and objective process will help guard against bias. Document the process to keep both you and your peers accountable. And when it comes to interviewing, work with your peers and other participants to define clear questions and objectives to cover with each candidate.
Reduce Bias In The Workplace By Knowing Different People - Tip #3: Widen Your Network
Don't always engage with the same people. Widen your internal network, and interact with different teams, and different departments. Get to know those with different life experiences, different academic backgrounds, and different work experiences. Understanding those who are different from us allows us to be more empathetic and create an environment where we all feel a sense of belonging.
📨 Are you interested in joining Workiva? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ben Lopez
With a robust background in recruitment, Ben is an agile and well-networked talent acquisition leader. He’s been recruiting high-caliber talent around the globe for 15 years, spanning SaaS software, professional services, oil & gas, and healthcare across four continents. If you are interested in a career at Workiva, you can connect with Ben Lopez on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Workiva
Workiva was founded to transform the way people manage and report business data with various collaborators, data sources, documents, and spreadsheets. Today, people all over the world use their platform to seamlessly orchestrate data among their systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance. At Workiva, they are innovative in everything they do—from how they build their software, to how they serve their customers, to how they treat their employees.