meet Jennifer Stanley, one of TBG’s newest principals
Jennifer Stanley, recently promoted to Principal, leads People Operations, where she and her team focus on making work, work for designers. Whether it’s supporting career growth or nurturing the interconnected potential of people – Jennifer is a co-creator of the human experience at TBG.
We’ve enjoyed getting to know Jennifer over the past two years and are happy to share a little more in the spirit of celebrating her recent success.
Journey to Landscape Architecture
In some ways, Jennifer stumbled upon landscape architecture, and in others, she’s been drawn to it throughout the course of her career. Even as a Business major at Texas A&M, Jennifer did whatever she could to forge connections between the worlds of business and design. She interned with a design firm, studied in the College of Architecture, and even met her husband (who’s an architect) while at A&M.
After graduating, Jennifer joined Corgan, an international design firm based in Dallas, where she stayed for 16 years. While at Corgan, her primary focus was Human Resources; meanwhile, she had the good fortune of working closely with every area of the business – accounting, marketing, technology, operations, you name it. She even spent time leading a team of designers in the visualization studio.
Ready for a new challenge in 2017, Jennifer decided to make a move. That’s when she was introduced to TBG and the profession of landscape architecture. Fast forward two years, she couldn’t be happier, saying “The people at TBG are artists, community builders, stewards of the environment, and genuinely amazing to work with.”
Self-Reflection & Defining Success
When asked what she was like at the age of 10, Jennifer recalled having already lived in nine different places by that time. “As I look back, I think being exposed to so many people and experiences at a young age instilled in me a sense of curiosity, an open mind, and an appreciation for difference.”
In a moment of reflection, she realized, “I now have a daughter who is 10 (and a son who is 8.) It’s a funny thing to reflect on your own childhood while experiencing someone else’s as a parent. You see things in a way you never did before.”
We also talked about the concept of success. To Jennifer, success is measured by the degree to which a person is able to help others. She goes on to say, “Leaders often talk about reaching a point in their career when they are no longer concerned about extrinsic markers. Instead, they are driven by a desire to share what they’ve learned and to lift others up – whether it be in the workplace, the profession, the community, or beyond. I am now starting to understand this isn’t a magical switch that flips. I’m pretty sure you don’t wake up one day and say, ‘finally, I’m successful!’ It’s a journey – and I get the sense that there’s no definitive endpoint.”
As Jennifer’s own career evolves, she finds herself seated at new tables and presented with new opportunities to leave things better than she found them. “As these moments increase in number and become more impactful – this is success happening in real-time.”
Someone Jennifer looks up to is Pat Wadors – formerly the Chief Human Resources Officer at LinkedIn (and self-proclaimed introvert.) For years, Jennifer (also an introvert) was given the impression that introverts were second string and certainly not cut out for leadership. It was through Pat’s story that Jennifer realized introversion isn’t a weakness; in fact, it can be a strength. She’s since found her own leadership style and voice – “albeit not the loudest in the room,” she says with a wink.
Other Things to Know About Jennifer
Q: What’s your favorite vacation you’ve taken?
A: “Anyone who knows me will be able to predict this answer – Joshua Tree, California in the high desert of the Mojave. It’s wonderfully isolated and eccentric. The natural beauty is majestic and unconventional, almost otherworldly. It’s an ideal place to get lost and to find yourself along the way.
We visited JT this summer as a family, and I enjoyed sharing the high desert with our children. A few years back, I drove solo from Las Vegas to Joshua Tree. What started as a means of getting from Point A to Point B, turned into a vulnerable, liberating trek across the desert.”
Q: Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster?
A: “Tiny elephant. Good things come in small packages.”
Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to hit a deadline?
A: “Most people probably don’t associate late nights with HR, but I’ve pulled my fair share of 70 hour weeks and back-to-back all-nighters. I value hard work, and I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. Over the past year, I’ve focused on dialing back and re-prioritizing to strike a healthier balance between work and life.”
Q: Next up on your travel agenda?
A: “Big Bend and the Rio Grande, by way of canoe.”
Q: Favorite movie line?
A: “Hello Gorgeous” from Funny Girl. I’m a sucker for musicals, even better if it’s a classic, and I love Barbra Streisand. She says so much with those two little words. She’s confident and at the same time self-conscious. She has finally arrived in her career but brings with her the weight of what she’s endured along the way. She stands for anyone who’s ever been overlooked for being different. She challenges conventional ideas about beauty and femininity. She breaks the mold and is a force to be reckoned with.
Q: A road trip you’d like to take?
A: “This is more of a path than a road, but I’ve always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. One day.”
Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
A: “I would say Joshua Tree, but the desert can be a little unforgiving and I might eventually get lonely. Our family of four recently enjoyed living in a campervan for a week, and we once considered living aboard a boat, but both of those sound like never-ending maintenance. So, I’m going with an A-Frame cabin somewhere with a view.”