Editor’s note: Triangle entrepreneur and thought leader Jes Averhart, CEO of Jes & Co and host of the “Reinvention Road Trip,” is a regular WRAL TechWire contributor who explores topics pertaining to reinvention, especially prompted by the onset of the global pandemic. Her columns appear weekly.  


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – In my final podcast episode on burnout, I sat down with Jennifer Chase, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at SAS.  Our conversation was delightful, practical and down-to-earth…a rare and welcomed combination.  Below are a few nuggets from our time in the studio.

Jes: Let’s jump right in. Who’s Jennifer Chase?

Jennifer: I’m a mom, wife, friend and daughter. I’m originally from upstate New York. I majored in communications and journalism with a minor in marketing. So I’m doing what I went to school for, which makes my parents proud.

Jes Averhart, left, with Jennifer Chase. (Photo processed with Lensa with Magic Correction)

I started my career in advertising agencies and PR firms and eventually fell in love with the power of technology to change the world.  So, I set my sights on getting my foot in the door at SAS and have been there for 23 years.

  • Let’s talk about burnout. How are your teams doing?

Jennifer: The world is heavy right now and it’s hard. We see burnout in our employees. I see it in my team. I see it with my leaders and I see it in myself.

SAS is a 45-year-old company. We’ve been around for a long time which is unusual in the technology space. Last year, we announced our intent to IPO and enter the public market. Because there’s so much change happening it can create stress. So I try to focus on what remains constant. And what’s constant at SAS is our culture. Dr. [Jim] Goodnight [co-founder and CEO] always says our greatest assets drive out the gates every day. He also says to treat employees like they make a difference and they will.

While we’ve always had this people-first culture, we’ve had to adapt to the stress and the conditions of the time. A couple of ways we do that is by prioritizing mental health, talking about it at work and educating ourselves. We also had our first-ever recharge day on Friday, May 6th when the whole company shut down to disconnect.

  • Burnout can show up as compassion fatigue and exhaustion – how does it show up for you?

Jennifer:  It shows up on a Friday afternoon. Instead of thinking about the things I’m going to do on the weekend, I’m thinking about all the things that didn’t get done that week.

I also see [burnout] when I’m not providing the clarity or direction that my team needs…when I’m not able to articulate the path forward. And as a leader, I’ve been very intentional about having truth-tellers around me. People who are not afraid to give me feedback. They do it with kindness, but they’re honest.

  • Share a couple of things you do to stave off burnout.


I make sure I have the right perspective on what’s happening. Something I talk to my children about is the ‘Rule of Tens.’

Whatever you’re facing today, how will it show for you in 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months? This simple exercise can help you see the world a little bit differently.

I journal. A line a day.

  • What advice would you like to impart as we close?

Jennifer: I give this advice to women constantly. I call it the Three C’s – Competence, Connections and Confidence.

  • Competence. Figure out the skills you need. What will differentiate you so that you can be the most valuable asset to your organization? Get those competencies.
  • Connection. It’s really important to build your network. Establish your personal board of directors – that group of mentors that will help you. I didn’t get to this place without having help and assistance all along the way.
  • Confidence. Operate with confidence. When impostor syndrome kicks in, I recognize ‘her’ now. I’m able to tamp her down, channel [the moment] and operate with confidence. Remember, you’re here for a reason, you add value and you have a perspective that needs to be heard.

Tune in to the full episode where Jennifer talks about her comfort cliff, impostor syndrome and a key lesson she learned ‘on the ice.’

More from Jes Averhart:

Leadership lessons from golf: The game is a beast but … test your limits, focus and drive to success

People, passion, playing: 3 things I learned from Girls on the Run International