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Power of Change honoree: Jen Yaross on leaning into the uncomfortable moments

Written on Dec 15, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

Sometimes you must take a chance on yourself, said one CPA, and be willing to make mistakes to grow in the long run.  

“You have to lean into new and uncomfortable situations,” said Jen Yaross, vice president and CFO of corporate development and strategy at Nationwide. “I'm a firm believer that growth comes from discomfort. And you must give yourself grace along the way, especially in uncomfortable situations. I would always recommend leaning into those new opportunities.”  

Yaross was named a Power of Change honoree at the Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference in July. The award salutes individuals who are advocates for women’s initiatives in the workplace and business community, serve as mentors or role models, make a significant impact on their communities or break barriers for other women.  

She understands taking a chance, as she transitioned from public accounting to corporate after previously thinking she would spend her entire career in public. But when a colleague mentioned an opportunity at Nationwide, Yaross decided to take the leap.   

“I’ve been given tremendous opportunities to grow and reach into different spaces and do things that were outside of my lane, like starting up new education or recruiting programs and things that didn't tightly fit within the job description,” she said.  

Yaross said she also believes in the value of supporting organizations outside of those you work in. She’s been on the board of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio for six years and says her involvement has allowed her to see “...the example of ways that we can bring our time, talent and treasure to the table to create a ripple effect for women across our community.”  

The experience of mentorship makes a lasting impact and offers growth opportunities, Yaross said, both as a mentee and mentor.  

“The moments that stick out for me the most are the teams that I've led or the individuals that I've mentored,” she said. “When you can go back and see they've been able to take that next step forward and reach some of their goals and you offered an experience that allowed them to stretch … that’s what's been meaningful to me.”  

Peers are excellent resources for growth, Yaross said, as they offer a different perspective than a traditional mentor might. Forming strong relationships with them offers a chance to learn from opportunities and challenges, and peers can give a unique perspective because they likely are at a similar place in their careers.    

For those interested in a specific type of career path, Yaross said it’s helpful to talk with others in that field to get a better understanding of what’s needed. Don’t wait for others to approach you, reach out and make connections yourself.   

“You might have a unique set of skills that someone really needs,” she said. “And you’re able to drive some of those crucial conversations and show individuals you are curious about the role.” 

Click here to see the complete list of Power of Change honorees. Learn more about the Women, Wealth & Wellness Conference. 

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