Thinking Beyond the Ask: How a Tech Leader Built Her Successful Career

Lily Cleary May 22, 2024

I asked Jenni Palocsik, VP, Enablement Operations at Verint, to answer a few questions about her career journey. She has decades of experience driving improvements to customer experience, operations, enablement and reporting through her leadership across a variety of cross-functional initiatives.

From content and product marketing to go-to-market operations, research and strategy, she is known for delivering outcomes that drive strategic and commercial success.

What do you think we can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Look around you: I strongly believe it starts with awareness. If we aren’t paying attention to the women who work in our circles, it’s impractical to expect that others are doing so.

Reach out and get to know the women you interact with at work on different meetings and programs. Understand where they are and how they got “here.” What are their objectives and challenges? Are there ways you can work together to improve outcomes and overcome obstacles?

Don’t make choices for them—or limit their choices “with good intentions.” For example, if taking a lead role—or speaking at a conference—or participating in a key initiative means the individual(s) will need to work unexpected hours or travel, don’t eliminate women from selection because they have children or families or are caring for an elderly parent. You wouldn’t do so for a man.

Respect their ability to speak for themselves and make their own arrangements.

Think differently. Progress isn’t always up the next expected step for the same job or in the same group or even at the same company. Sometimes it’s an opportunity in another area which provides visibility and growth potential and opens doors to work with others who have influence. Recommend other women and support their growth.

Speak up. Politely but firmly push back and call attention when you see gender bias, outdated stereotypes and incorrect assumptions. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Lead by example. Be a successful woman in technology. Make your own way. Show what can be done, and inspire others to do even more when you do.

What has been the most significant barrier in your career?

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the most significant barrier in my career has been my diverse interests and experiences—and the breadth of my capabilities. My journey to where I am today has been a series of opportunities leading from one to the next, but not in an obvious path from my degree to first job to next job and job after that in the same field.

What do I mean by that? I haven’t embraced and pursued a singular identity in a particular area of expertise (such as product management or demand-gen marketing or professional services), which would naturally lend itself to advancing to the next level or role in the same area.

As a result, I’m not always immediately identified as the ideal candidate for new initiative A or an opening for B, even if my skills and experience are well suited to being an amazing [one of those].

I’ve learned new things at each organization as I developed or honed my skills—from grassroots public relations and awareness efforts and building a website from scratch at a non-profit—to overhauling a bank website and launching online banking and online trading for the first time—to product marketing and payments—to thought leadership and positioning, product strategy operations and program management—to operational strategy, sales enablement planning and delivery, and always focusing on cross-functional collaboration and communication.

Not fitting into “a box” is at times a double-edged sword, but I wouldn’t change it, regardless of the extra challenges it presents.

I’m not willing for my future to be limited by my formal education / training, or my path to my specific role. As a result, I’m open to all sorts of possibilities, especially those I’ve never considered before, and excited about how I can continue to grow and share every step of the way.

What could companies do to encourage more women to pursue tech-related careers?

Sponsor Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) programs for female students in elementary, middle and high school grades.

Encourage individual participation in local mentoring opportunities for women, from students through professionals.

Organize annual or more frequent “bring your daughter to work” opportunities for your employees to share what they do in tech with their children.

(Basic first step) Hire more women into tech roles [than you do today].

Highlight successful women in tech careers at your company as part of your social media presence, as part of recruiting efforts.

Be aware of the demographics of interviewers of candidates (don’t just have men interview female candidates for tech roles).

Add women to executive leadership and board roles overall—and not just in “traditional” areas such as marketing and HR.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Think beyond the ask. Anticipate (or learn) what the overall objective is that the ask will support, and what might be needed as the next ask, and the next. Offer additional assistance and suggestions in a way that aligns with the requestor’s approach and responsibilities.

And don’t go down the path of building out a comprehensive approach to a program that someone else is leading without getting their buy-in for you to do so in advance.

Similarly, if asked to do something, understand expectations on timing and deliverables to avoid holding up progress by perfecting all the details before sharing any updates or drafts for feedback.

Proactively learn about more than is required for your current daily responsibilities. Be curious. There is always a new perspective or skill or area of knowledge that can help you improve your understanding. Many online resources offer free training (podcasts, webinars, videos, etc.) and white papers that you can consume on your schedule, at your convenience. These don’t need to be (shouldn’t be limited to) courses your company requires you to complete.

Reach out and introduce yourself to local and remote technology leaders through online discussions, virtual or in-person conferences, via email, LinkedIn, and through mutual connections.  Many are very willing to spend some time sharing their experience with you or offer their help…but you have to ask.

Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Sitting back and waiting is not only passive, but also shows lack of initiative. Explore what could be next with direct and open discussions with your manager and others in leadership positions. Develop a plan—or more than one possible plan—on how to get to a desired outcome and steadily pursue it.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Poise under pressure. I’m known for calmly helping get work done with short deadlines and under stress, connecting the dots and bringing together subject matter experts from across the organization to align efforts and get us to the finish line. There’s no value in drama or becoming overwhelmed or identifying why something can’t be accomplished.

And if I can add a second one, I’d say a close follower is my track record of helping others be [more] successful. Achieving the desired outcome is more important than my ego, although I do appreciate recognition.


Jenni Palocsik, VP, Enablement Operations, Verint, drives improvements to customer experience, operations, enablement and reporting through her leadership across a variety of cross-functional initiatives. From content and product marketing to go-to-market operations, research and strategy, she is known for delivering outcomes that drive strategic and commercial success.

Her experience before joining Verint ranges from education, awareness and marketing at a non-profit organization—to developing online applications, website ownership and more in eBusiness roles at large banks—to product marketing, campaign planning and delivery in online banking and payments—and customer service and support.

She’s a strategic board member at Tech Alpharetta, working to advance the collective efforts of technology companies in the local area, is a board member of the newly formed Women’s Forum of Tech Alpharetta (501 (c)(3) application pending), and a volunteer mentor for its STEAM mentoring program at Innovation Academy, a high school in North Fulton County, Georgia.

Jenni actively participates in discussions and provides thought leadership on LinkedIn. She enjoys public speaking including live in-person and virtual events, podcasts, webinars and more.



Twitter: @jpalocsik