WHO SHE IS
Jenni Snyder, MySQL Database Administrator (DBA), Yelp
WHERE SHE IS
San Francisco Bay Area
Co-founding Yelp’s employee resource group for mothers, “Yelp Moms,” after returning from maternity leave.
M-F 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Sometimes a little after bedtime, working from home every other Monday.
Zelda, 18 months
Coffee, comics, and sometimes video games
RECENT SMART READ
Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
GO-TO WEEKNIGHT DINNER
I steam veggies and brown tofu or tempeh in a pan first, lightly season it for my daughter, and then make it a bit more savory/spicy for my husband and I. We all eat it over brown rice. However, my daughter would eat hummus every night if we let her!
iPhone/Facetime: We call and say goodnight to someone every night now before bedtime books. It keeps her in touch with some of our family friends, and my parents and in-laws love it.
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP
Baby wipes to wipe everything: Faces, hands, high chair, the floor, and fingerprints on the wall…
BETTER WAY TO SAY WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Life balance! There’s a balance to what we do outside of work, too.
1. Tell us about your working mom journey. How did you get here?
My dad worked for Atari when I was young, and the game consoles and computers he brought home fascinated me. I graduated college with degrees in Computer Science and Sociology, and stumbled across database administration quite by accident. I love it, and have been working with databases (first Oracle, and now MySQL) for over 12 years now. After landing a job at one of my favorite social networking sites at the time, I learned how much more meaningful your work is when you love and use the product, and care about your users. At Yelp, I’m inspired by my colleagues and co-founded Yelp Moms a few months after returning from maternity leave.
2. You are responsible for the health and success of Yelp’s database servers. Just writing that makes me nervous (!) but you mentioned that your team operates in a “no hero” culture, which makes managing this responsibility possible. Can you explain?
Well, it’s never just one person, it’s a team that makes a plan succeed or fail! We practice a culture of DevOps at Yelp, which emphasizes collaboration, cooperation, sharing, and tools to enable everyone to share responsibilities. Even when I was the only DBA here, I tried to share as much information as possible. When a single person holds all the knowledge and responsibility, it means that they’re always on call, and never truly get to take a break.
3. You have a baby and negotiated the ability to work from home one day a week. What was key to your success in this ask of your manager?
Knowing what I wanted to ask for in advance, and working at a company that has invested in tools to make working from home a seamless experience. My parents watch my daughter on Mondays, and it was a lot for them to drive the 70 miles through Bay Area traffic every week. I came up with a plan, proposed it to my manager on a trial basis, and then made it permanent shortly thereafter. Yelp has great VPN, collaboration, and video conferencing tools, which really let me work with my colleagues as if I were in the office, and I have a backup MiFi USB Modem (which I have only forgotten once) that ensures I’m always connected.
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4. You also co-founded the Yelp Moms group. Tell us about why you started this group and what you do to support each other.
I was the first woman in Yelp Engineering to have a baby, and for a long time was the only woman using the Mother’s Room near my floor. Even though everyone in my organization was incredibly supportive, I just didn’t have any colleagues who could relate to my experience as a Mom recently returning from maternity leave. It’s difficult to navigate returning to work and catching up while sleep deprived, using the mother’s room, and having to deal with new issues like child care, baby’s first cold, doctor’s appointments. After about a month back, I was still feeling really isolated, and reached out to our HR Business Partner. She had some great ideas, first introducing me to a few other moms at Yelp, and then suggesting that we form Yelp Moms. We now have a chapter of Yelp Moms or Yelp Parents in nearly every office, and our programs include welcoming back every new mom from maternity leave, mailing lists, and the occasional gathering.
5. What do you love to do with your baby when you’re not working?
Any form of playing! We play around, read books, and have recently gotten bike seats so that both my husband and I can put Zelda on our bikes for bike rides.
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