The Transformation Series: Jen Kuchyak
by Jen Kuchyak, Vice President, Talent Management and Advisory
After working in Human Resources and on People Teams for 23 years, it’s safe to say I’ve dug into every job that exists within HR – from my first job answering phones in a personnel department, up to my current role now. I can’t say this was my exact vision as a student, I studied counseling and I assumed I’d be a counselor, being on a People Team is probably as close as you can get within the workplace. In all honesty, what I really wanted to be was a photographer growing up. But my parents wanted me to have a fall back plan, so I said whatever class I got an A in my first semester of college, would be my major. And that was psychology. And I went with it. I ended up really enjoying it and had some internships that confirmed helping people was the career path I wanted to take. So here I am, 23 years later.
The tech space has always worked well for me, I love supporting CTOs and growing their teams. But I sort of fell into the industry. My most pivotal career experience happened eight years ago when I moved to LA. I joined a company that took my career in a completely different direction. When I started, the company had approximately 500 people, which was a huge culture shock coming from a tech company with 30 thousand employees. I went from being one in a million, to being the second HR business partner they had. I had to wear a thousand hats on a given day, where most processes were being implemented for the first time ever – no pressure at all. Building the business and establishing a foundation for the company was so much more rewarding than being a part of a company that already had everything figured out. I was there for six and a half years, and it was so cool to watch it go from small and scrappy to 2200 employees when I left.
I was onto the next adventure: my husband had gotten his dream job in Nevada, we were closing on a house there, packing up and setting out. And then the pandemic hit. Needless to say things got crazy, and it all fell through. At the end of April we found ourselves jobless and trying to figure out what was next. I was put in touch with VideoAmp’s Chief People Officer, Marisa Peters, by an old colleague. At the time there wasn’t a full time role, so I accepted an offer from another company. It was a great gig, but still had VideoAmp in the back of my head. Sure enough, I got a call in February of 2021. I tend to be a very loyal employee, but knew in my gut that after just nine months, I needed to make the jump to VideoAmp – I loved the mission of the company, how they were disrupting the advertising industry and, most importantly, their people-first approach.
I have a philosophy, “just say yes”. I try to just say yes to new projects, opportunities – even things that seem sort of boring at the onset, because it can always lead to an opportunity to learn and grow. I’ve been so fortunate to have such amazing tenures at companies that have kept allowing me to say yes to more and more projects and opportunities.
I came into VideoAmp overseeing Talent Acquisition, but I’m also a HR business partner for our tech and product organizations, supporting our Chief Technology Officer, Tony Fagan, and Chief Product Officer, Cameron Meierhoefer. When I started, our Talent Acquisition team had one full-time employee and two contractors, now it’s an eight person team going full steam ahead. As our recruiting efforts have exploded, my job has shifted and I’m going deeper on the organization and support of our tech and product teams. This type of work has always been my passion and I feel like I’m going back to my roots.
As my role evolves, I’m looking forward to seeing the team I’ve built for Talent Acquisition continue to flourish while I focus on other priorities – including the ones at home! I’ve been a mom for 5 years and it shifted how I think about work and what’s most important. I’m so happy to see that I feel fully supported in how I prioritize my responsibilities and time at VideoAmp. While it isn’t a 9-5 job, I feel I’m able to work hard while also having the space to make time for my two little ones.
I’m really proud of what I’ve done since I’ve been at VideAmp. I was given the autonomy to build a team the way I thought I should and be the true subject matter expert – the framework for the team, how fast we should hire, all of it. We’ve hired 176 people since April. In some ways, I had to rewire my thinking of “it has to be perfect before executing,” and now I know it’s ok to be a work in progress, and most importantly, make progress. The ability to iterate is more important than I ever realized. There’s so much more ahead of us and I can’t wait to continue building teams that will help revolutionize the way media is valued, bought and sold.