At Planview, we create a culture where every employee can thrive — not just for Pride Month but throughout the year. Our teams build together in an inclusive environment that welcomes all perspectives and points of view. This month, we’re highlighting Yessenia Zavala, a team-focused leader and active member of our Pride Employee Resource Group.
Explain your role as a Sr. Manager, Sales Development and a few of your responsibilities.
I’m responsible for leading the sales development team in North America that supports the enterprise sales organization. My team’s job is to generate qualified sales opportunities for the sales team.
Tell us about your career journey to date.
I started my sales career as an inside sales rep at an IT management software company, then moved to another software company. That path led me to Planview, where my career had a kick start.
I started Planview in December 2019 as Sr. Sales Development Rep before being promoted to Team Lead. From there, I had my first manager role leading the North American Mid-Market Sales Development Team before I was promoted to my current role.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as you’ve moved up in your career?
Focus on what you want to achieve, trust yourself, and work hard. Networking is super critical. It’s not who you know; it’s who knows you. I’ve learned to make the most out of every step in my process and leave an impact.
Are there any experiences in your life that you feel contributed to your professional success?
I come from an immigrant family. From an early age, I was taught the meaning of hard work, perseverance, and grit. My parents sacrificed for me and my siblings. The sacrifice they made is the reason I’m here. It’s them that I ultimately owe my success and the reason I keep going.
What type of meetings do you prepare for? Who do you typically collaborate with?
I primarily have internal meetings with my team or cross-functional leaders. With 14 people on my team, my weeks are full of 1:1 meetings and team calls.
What makes your team so effective?
We have clear priorities that come down from sales leadership. We also make sure we have clear communication and teamwork. Our team helps each other. It’s great to see the collaboration that happens from peer to peer. I am also there to provide the support they need.
Tell us about working from home – what are your tips for success?
I try to have a good schedule to know when I’m supposed to be at my desk working. When I’m not at my desk, my mind isn’t at work. That discipline allows me to show up as my best self to work.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
My life outside of work is important to me. I make sure my days are scheduled to be the most effective for work and that I have enough scheduled time away from work to reset. When you can’t fully turn off your mind from work, you’re not as effective in either aspect of your life. I like to compartmentalize the two.
What motivates you while working?
It’s easy to be motivated when you love what you do. The success of my team and the business is what motivates me. We celebrate small wins when we achieve something that gets us closer to the big goal. I’m motivated by seeing the progression and development of my team as individuals.
How is Planview different from other companies you’ve worked for?
Planview has the growth opportunities I was working for. I came in with a growth mentality. Along the way, Planview’s people have given me a huge amount of support. Everyone is so helpful and truly interested in your success. My promotions weren’t given to me; I earned them. I kept asking for it and had the support I needed to help me get to my next position and role.
Now that I’ve been in a management position, Planview offers a mentorship program called Ceresa to further develop managers and leaders, which really stands out.
Planview has a set of 5 “Core Values.” Is there one that really speaks to your experience?
“Building Together” is one my team lives and breathes every day. We can’t do our job and be successful on our own. We rely on so many other teams to give us the resources to succeed. We win and lose as a team and have each other’s back.
How does being part of an Employee Resource Group (ERG) impact your experience at Planview?
The Pride ERG has enhanced my sense of belonging and community and provided me opportunities to connect with like-minded people with similar backgrounds and life experiences. It fosters a supportive and inclusive work environment.
What does it mean to cultivate a workplace where LGBTQ people can thrive?
Creating a safe and supportive environment is crucial for LGBTQ employees like myself. That sense of belonging involves fostering a culture of respect with zero tolerance for any kind of harassment or bullying. It means giving allies a place to participate to support us and create a more inclusive workplace.
What is something you’d hope people learn this Pride Month?
Pride Month is full of celebrations, but I want people to know it’s not just about celebrating the community; it’s an opportunity to learn and support equality in general. Take the time to educate yourself about the struggles faced by the community and the progress that still needs to be made around the world.
We recently had a speaker through the Pride ERG who spoke about the pride community in India, and it’s very different from where the US is. It helped open my eyes so I could see the privileges I have. I honor the struggles and celebrate the achievements of everyone who works for equality.
For fun, how do you unwind when you are off the clock?
My biggest hobby is working out. I love being outdoors, doing something active, or hanging out at the pool. I love trying new restaurants around Austin, revisiting old favorites, and spending time with friends and family.
Interested in joining an inclusive team? Check out Planview’s current job openings here.