Employee Spotlight: Tea with Tania Schneider

Feb 20, 2020
Gretha Loubser
Product Marketing Manager

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When your company grows as quickly as ours has over the past few years, it’s invaluable to have someone on staff who is a wizard at organization, efficiency, problem solving, and brightening up the room with a cheerful smile and witty joke. People Operations Manager Tania Valle Schneider plays a critical role in maintaining the Kenna Security ecosystem, and you can find her doing a variety of things on a daily basis from onboarding to training to helping our business run as smoothly as it can. 

So, what does it take to be a people operations guru like Tania? We thought we’d let Tania give you the inside scoop herself. Check it out! 

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco – Mexico. I moved permanently to the U.S. a little over ten years ago and I still have relatives on my dad’s side in Guadalajara; my mom’s family and my immediate family are all here in the U.S. 

Q: How did you come into this field of work?

A: I didn’t set off to join this line of work, but life led me down an adventurous path to where I am now. I actually graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and System Engineering, and when I moved to California, the economic crisis had hit and jobs were scarce. Long story short: I explored a couple of other roles but eventually I landed an opportunity to join Kenna Security through a series of unusual events. At my former job, I went skiing with my back-then boyfriend over the holidays. What was supposed to be a fun ski trip took quite a turn when I ended up in ER with a couple of fractured vertebrae and a body brace. One month after my accident (and still with a body brace), I met Karim for an interview and he gave me the opportunity to join Kenna Security as his executive assistant and operations manager. Over time, my role evolved and I had the opportunity to jump fully into human resources, which is where I am now.

Q: What keeps you motivated to get out of bed and come into work every morning? 

A: I’d say there are two things that keep me motivated: our people and my career. I truly love working with everyone at Kenna, and I am always excited to come into the office and spend time with people. I’m really lucky to have the Kenna team we have! 

I also really enjoy what I do. It’s such a fun, engaging, and challenging job. Every day is different—there’s usually a general outline of what needs to be done on a daily basis, but always a bit different. I love the data and analytics behind HR, the policies, structure, best practices, and processes. At the same time, I love the facetime and connecting with the team, understanding and helping our company adjust to the different scenarios that life brings to us.

Q: Why is Kenna Security the best place you’ve ever worked? 

A: Well I’d like to rephrase that and say, I love working at Kenna because I genuinely believe in what we do, our purpose as a company and our contributors. There are things that come from this and that I really admire about Kenna such us our culture, flexibility, and trust. These last three are a double-edged sword in a way, because you have to balance freedom with responsibility. I can see that here at Kenna, employees really hold themselves accountable to a high standard of work. There’s sort of an unspoken expectation here that we will do your work and even go above and beyond, which is really motivating. The fact that my manager puts her trust in me makes me work harder because I don’t want to disappoint her. I love this kind of environment because it challenges me and it inevitably leads me down avenues where I get to learn new things. 

But let’s not forget about our people! We all have different personalities here and that’s refreshing and challenging at the same time. You get to learn and borrow inspiration from different traits, perspectives, and ways of working, and at the same time to adapt to those styles and perspectives. At the end of the day, everyone is incredibly smart, humble, open, and approachable, which I think makes Kenna special.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents? 

A: That’s a great question. I’m not sure this is necessarily a talent nor a secret. I would say it’s more of passion and outlet and an amazing addition to my days.

I am a Group Fitness Instructor at Equinox. I teach barre, pilates, precision running, and basically any group fitness format in the main studio. 

Teaching is a completely different beast from anything else. You have to be aware of different things that you don’t think about when you’re a member. It’s like learning a new language—you have to be able to multitask, keep the beat, queue and mock the movements, keep an eye on the clock, keep count in your head, etc. There was definitely a learning curve and it’s a fun challenge. 

It wasn’t long before I had an “Aha!’ moment where I realized what an incredible opportunity this really was. I was allowed to talk for one hour straight with no interruptions! (Kidding.) I realized that I was able to contribute in some way to at least one person in the room, whether it was making them smile with a silly joke, pushing them to do something new and fun, or just helping them get out of their head for a few minutes and challenging them. Once I realized the impact I could make, I really was inspired and addicted to these gratifying moments. It’s been eight years now and that moment never gets old, never gets dull. Come join me sometime! 

Q: What are 5 must-have songs on your road trip playlist? 

A: This is a tough one. I’m actually so terrible with music, which is funny because my husband is incredibly into music—heaven knows how he puts up with me! But I can share what my most played songs are: 

  • January – Tiny Deaths
  • Hand Me Down Your Love – Hot Chip
  • Awoo – Sofi Tukker

Q: What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? 

A: Moving to California. It was the most anxious and exciting moment in my life. My family had already started to transition to California in stages—my sister was already here in the city and my parents and my brother were in LA. I was just so excited for the opportunity to find new adventures here. There was so much anticipation just waiting to see what the future held for me. 

Q: What is your go-to karaoke song?

A: Anything in Spanish. I won’t make any promises that the singing will be any good, though.

Q: If you had a warning label, what would it say? 

A: Danger: High Energy.

Fragile: Parts may break easily. 

Q: If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?

A: Talking. Dancing. Making up new words. Guessing stuff. 

Rapid-fire round:

Q: Coffee or tea?

A: Coffee in the morning. Decaf tea during the day.

Q: Spicy or mild?

A: Spicy all the way!

Q: New York or London?

A: London

Q: Reading or writing? 

A: Reading

Q: Superman or Batman?

A: The Hulk!

Looking to join an organization filled with passionate problem-solvers on a mission to help organizations protect their most sensitive data? Check out our open positions now.

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