Jane Ryan, FarWell
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Jane Ryan, vice president – client solutions, FarWell.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
The biggest challenge has been my recent move from IT senior leadership into a business development/sales role. Everything is different. I confer with clients, reach out to new prospects, and interact constantly with my FarWell advisor colleagues.
The most rewarding aspect is when we uncover a client’s business problem or issue, and we can identify the right solution to help them address the problem. It’s super satisfying!
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I’ve admired many leaders I’ve worked with, but I haven’t worked with the leader I admire most: Richard Branson. His philosophy is “Put employees first, customers second, and the shareholders third because they see the wonders engaged employees can make in an organization.” In other words, he says if you take care of your employees, they take care of the rest. I see this same philosophy at work here at FarWell.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
One experience stands out from all the rest. When I worked at Whirlpool Corp., we completed a global ServiceNow implementation. The project team included two main outsource partners for infrastructure and application development. We had failed audits related to IT change management and software asset management before the implementation. I was asked to determine how to move to a platform capable of bringing all areas of IT together. The Whirlpool team was global, so we and our outsource partners needed to use common processes globally.
We got to work. We implemented Incident, Change, Problem, Portal, Knowledge, eight languages, and two integrations in four months. We brought all regions and vendors together, aligned on common processes and implemented everything. We didn’t hear a single negative peep on our go-live weekend. Overall, it was a highly successful endeavor.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Look at every job opportunity as a way to learn something new. Every opportunity, even lateral ones, can help round out and broaden your experience.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
I’ve moved several times for employment opportunities. We’ve lived near St. Louis, near Minneapolis, in St. Joseph, Michigan, and north of Milwaukee. Now we’re back home in the Madison area.
Dane County is originally home for us. We’re close to family and friends, and we can enjoy the beauty of southwest Wisconsin. I enjoy bike riding and walking on the fine trails we have. I also love boating with family on our beautiful lakes.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
It’s not much of a secret, but I speak Spanish fluently. I spent a year in Llay-Llay, Chile, as a high school exchange student. The city is about an hour north of Santiago. Then I attended the UW–Madison to study Spanish education. I’ve had international teams in many of my past roles, so it’s been fun to use my Spanish for work.
What are your guilty pleasures?
I love ’90s country music. Don’t ask me why, but I do. Several bands from that period harmonized well and I just enjoy the music. One band, BlackHawk, is an all-time favorite. I’ve had the chance to see them a number of times over the years. I’m usually standing right in front of the stage, where I sing all the words to all the songs!
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