Meet Our CEO: Jennifer Farris
By Shelley Osborne
As Farside continues to grow, we thought it might be time to introduce you to our incredible team. Today, we’re profiling our CEO and co-founder, Jennifer Farris.
Jenn’s career as an HR leader began in a fitting place: politics. After studying for a Masters in International and European Politics and working in various branches of government, Jenn found herself as a recruiter at Google. That’s where it all clicked. Her background in politics blends beautifully with her talent for HR. Moving beyond recruiting, Jenn easily stepped into larger, more strategic HR roles. She has been an HR leader at some of the valley’s most prestigious and reputable startups, facilitating massive growth. Her colleagues credit her as “the change maker with the human touch” and the inside joke in the office is that we’re voting Farris 2016!
Here at Farside, Jenn is our fearless captain. She’s the definition of a multitasker, fusing creativity with serious business savvy. And not only does she run her own company, she’s also Mom to gorgeous Evie.
Learn more about Jenn in our Q & A:
Why are you so passionate about changing the face of HR?
I truly believe that when HR is involved at the highest level of the business, the company will see higher revenue, higher employee retention and overall greater success. HR is a revenue generator and not a cost center. But — that’s only when they are given the proper tools and considered partners within the organization, The hiring, managing and developing of talent is the largest resource the company has, and becomes more efficient when HR is integrally involved. The sooner companies find that balance and see that value, the faster they will be able to build a sustainable and vibrant culture.
What is so different about Farside from all the other tools?
To start, Farside is built by tenured HR professionals who have been a part of fast growing start-ups. This is a tool that isn’t designed by engineers or a product manager who saw one piece of the problem, this is a tool that has a combined 100+years of expertise in the start-up HR space. We’ve leveraged all this expertise into one solution. Its integrated tool structure is an obvious improvement on the current way HR tools are so segregated. Farside, ultimately, is a strategic tool to help guide and teach founders, managers and HR, the best practices to think about as you grow a business. Often, small companies only invest in recruiting and ignore the HR side until it is pounding on the door. The earlier a business sorts out their HR needs, the faster they start to succeed.
Biggest pain point?
In my mind, HR tools are generally counterintuitive, poorly designed and ineffective. For example, in order to accomplish what has been generally considered a proper performance cycle, a company will most likely need: a system to process the reviews, a system to survey the process and feedback quality, a system or program around educating managers on the expectations and process, compensation frameworks, and a recommendation platform for compensation changes. No single tool provides features for all of these needs. And I’ve only touched on performance cycles! That’s not good enough, and that’s what Farside solves.
A shout out to my dad who used to say, “You can be famous or infamous, just don’t be boring.”
Characteristics of your best manager?
My best managers always let me run autonomously until I needed help. Then they would coach me back on the right path. Trial by fire is my preferred method to learn, and I thrived under those that trusted and supported me.
What I’ve learned (about work):
People respond to authentic behavior. If you stand up in front of a crowd and people don’t see an authentic you, it is known immediately. Be yourself, without giving up yourself. This means demonstrating strength and humility at the same time.
Who gave you your big break?
I don’t know if I have had a “big break”, but the person who got me the opportunity to change my career trajectory was a recruiter at Google at the time. She had just finished the Google training program to become a recruiter and she knew my career path was changing. She connected me to the hiring manager and the rest is history.
Favorite place to visit?
Las Vegas. It is such an easy flight to get there and the moment I touch down I feel transported to a different world. I can relax immediately. I don’t gamble much myself, but there is so much entertainment that it always turns into a fun weekend.
If you could live anywhere in the world?
I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for two years and I would go back for any number of reasons.
Amazing wine, clam chowder in a bread bowl, Las Vegas.
I started a “Save the Worms” campaign in Kindergarten. We definitely changed the world!