The Events Calendar’s Head of Product & Design on helping others, the importance of women in tech, and being motivated by intricate problems.
Originally from eastern Virginia, Susan Jantzen grew up going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for summer vacations. “My family enjoyed spending time at the beach, boating, and fishing. My grandparents had a passion for travel,” she says, “and I was always excited when I could tag along on their adventures.” Jantzen has always been a Carolina girl at heart, and ultimately moved there for work and college.
With over two decades of experience in the tech field, Jantzen found her calling while working with AT&T Wireless in the Operations Department of a large customer service call center. “Our team was responsible for productivity, forecasting, scheduling, monitoring, and reporting,” she says. “I gravitated toward being a liaison between the business folks I worked with and IT, and looked for ways to streamline processes and improve data management.” Eventually, her role evolved into a Systems Analyst, and in parallel, Jantzen focused her college courses around database design, programming, and business management.
While at AT&T, Jantzen was honored with a Circle of Excellence peer recognition award, which included an onsite celebration in Maui, Hawaii. It was a serendipitous trip—Jantzen and her then-fiancé decided to extend their stay and get married.
After a few years, Jantzen transitioned to web application development and grew her product management, project management, and leadership skills.
At Liquid Web, Jantzen is the Head of Product & Design with The Events Calendar, the leader of calendar solutions in the WordPress ecosystem with over 800,000 active installs. “I lead a team of some of the most creative problem solvers I’ve ever worked with. They are dedicated to making life easier for people who manage events,” she says.
Jantzen has had the opportunity to work on numerous projects, products, and website launches, from startups to enterprise telecommunication, healthcare, real estate, banking, and higher education. “My proudest moments are always a combination of team accomplishments and camaraderie in seeing a project through from concept to launch,” she says. “The value it brings to the businesses we’re working with, as well as their customers, is extremely rewarding.”
Working in tech has given Jantzen an appreciation for the ingenuity it takes to keep up with the ever-shifting landscape of the field. “One of my favorite things about technology is that it’s always evolving and improving,” says Jantzen. “Of course, this also brings new complexities and challenges. Existing code, systems, processes, and marketing approaches become outdated quickly as customers’ needs and expectations change.” Though it is sometimes a challenge to experience continuous change across products and services, Jantzen enjoys helping teams navigate these challenges, embrace flexible ways of working, and deliver customer-forward solutions.
Intricate problems requiring thought, iteration, and collaboration are great motivators for Jantzen, who truly enjoys helping others. She looks forward to hopping on calls with colleagues to strategize solutions or just being there to listen. “Put people first, and the rest will typically fall into place,” she says. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with family, cooking and trying new recipes, and being outdoors—whether a brief walk, gardening, or a day at the beach.
Throughout her career, Jantzen has found support in her family. “My mom always pushed me to do my best and to be independent,” she says. “And my husband supported me going back to school and finishing my degree. He has always supported my career and helped me balance and live well on a daily basis. He makes sure I take time out to recharge.”
Jantzen feels there is still much work to remove barriers that discourage women from pursuing studies and careers in STEM fields. “Technology will continue to create jobs in AI, data analytics, robotics, and engineering,” she says. “There is so much opportunity to shape systems and data that will have an increasing impact on our daily lives, ranging from unbiased recommendation systems to sustainable energy and biological data. These are major challenges humanity faces that require diverse input and thinking to drive business decisions. Having more women in tech is important for their own opportunities, as well as society as a whole.”
She encourages women interested in tech to seek out inspiring role models and mentors who can provide support and guidance. “Never sell yourself short,” Jantzen says. “You bring immense value. Be vocal, advocate for yourself, and ask questions. The vision and perspective women provide is key to creating and implementing solutions for the future of humanity.”
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