Career Spotlight: Twilio's Christine Zwerling
June 07, 2022
For this career spotlight, I caught up with Christine Zwerling, Director of Global Stock Plan Administration at Twilio.
We talked about her career in equity compensation, including her role in Twilio's DEI initiatives and the NASPP’s DEI Task Force. Our full conversation is captured in an episode of the Equity Expert Podcast: Growing Your Equity Compensation Career: A Conversation with Christine Zwerling. Here are a few highlights.
Christine's origin story
Nobody goes to college saying, "I'm going to be a stock plan administrator." Yet, once they arrive, many that land in the field of equity compensation find it hard to ever leave. Along those lines, most stock compensation professionals love to share their origin stories - the tale of how they landed in this industry.
Christine's origin story is so down to earth and relatable. She describes herself as the assistant to the CFO's executive admin. From time to time the CFO would give her projects, and then one day asked her if she wanted to learn stock compensation. From there an entire career path took shape.
Career lessons learned from moving to Canada...and back!
Some might think a move outside the country may delay or defer career growth. Christine proves otherwise, sharing her experience of moving to Canada (and then back to the US) long before remote work was the norm. In fact, it was so not the norm when she moved, that she had to step outside the box to plan her next career move.
Leveraging relationships she'd built over the years, and a mantra of "network, network, network," she ended up transitioning to consulting. When her family decided to move back to the states, she seamlessly transitioned back into in-house stock plan administration.
Why mistakes are normal and what to do about them.
So much attention in administering a stock plan is oriented towards not making mistakes. Christine describes the fear that sits in the mind of many stock plan administrators. After all, some stock plan mistakes can be expensive to correct.
She also describes the feelings of freedom and confidence that she's experienced in acknowledging her own mistakes. Her advice: just own up to it, don't point fingers or try to cover it up. Step forward and describe what happened, and what's being done to fix it. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes.
Productivity hacks for any stock plan administrator
Christine uses her calendar for everything. And I mean, EVERYTHING. If there's something she needs to do a day, week, or month from now - it's on her calendar. In addition, she sets up scheduled emails to remind her to do things. The scheduled email part was a game-changer for me. Automation is such a key in keeping all these to-do items on the list and on track.
Bonus tip from Christine: Having a dedicated stock administration calendar can separate stock admin tasks from other personal and work tasks, making it easier to keep tabs on those specific to-dos.
Furthering diversity, equity and inclusion in our organizations and the field of equity compensation
You won't want to miss this part of the podcast episode. Christine eloquently describes her personal experiences, including what led her to become involved in DEI efforts at Twilio and the NASPP's DEI Task Force.
In addition, she shares some straightforward examples of how she advances DEI in her organization - and these are things that all stock plan professionals can learn from. Things like understanding micro-aggressions and their negative impact. Or, how to extend support and growth opportunities to employees from underrepresented populations.
In one example, she describes her open position at Twilio, explaining that while she has some incredible external candidates, she also feels compelled to reach out internally to those from underrepresented populations to see if anyone is interested in the opportunity to learn more about equity compensation.
If you're asking yourself how you can advance DEI efforts or make a difference, these are ways that anyone can start.
Listen to the podcast
Check out my full interview with Christine on the Equity Expert podcast.
The NASPP's DEI Initiative
Sponsored by Bank of America
Through our DEI Initiative, the NASPP leads in creating a diverse and inclusive environment in the field of equity compensation. We aspire to better reflect the diverse workforces we serve and foster fresh ideas and perspectives that are inclusive and representative of all.