While admitting that nothing in school prepared her for her job today, Software Engineer Deena Tenzer’s passion for problem-solving and women’s equality has certainly equipped her to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated field — and help educate others along the way. In honor of our International Women’s Day celebrations, we chatted with Deena to learn how she’s helping Snapsheet and aspiring female coders break new ground in the technology space.
What inspired you to be a software engineer?

It was kind of luck. I’ve always really liked math and problem-solving, and in college, I was a math major. While there, my brother said I had to try a computer science class, which was known to be a class a lot of people fail. But it was easy for me. And I loved it! During my junior year, I added computer science as a major, too.

What do you like most about being a software engineer?

I love the constant problem-solving. It’s never boring, and there’s always room to grow, always more to learn. Nothing I learned in school prepared me for my job today. It’s a constant learning process. And I also love that every single person in the industry has a different perspective on and experience with coding. There are so many different paths you can take.  

How did you land in insurtech?

It was not my intention—but it’s definitely an industry that needs technology help. I honestly came to Snapsheet because I loved the people that interviewed me and the culture, with everyone coming from different backgrounds. 

What do you do as Software Engineer for the Snapsheet Payments platform?

I work on a team that implements new features for our payments platform which enables digital claim payments. And digital is fast becoming the standard payment option as customers expect fast, easy and safe payment options. This can be especially critical when someone gets into an accident or experiences a catastrophe and needs payment disbursed quickly versus waiting days or even weeks for a paper check. I also get to work on features that improve automation and transparency throughout the claim payment process so that everyone involved – from claim handlers to customers to vendors and treasury – is kept in the loop and claim payments can be processed and delivered with speed and accuracy.

What does your average day look like?

I may have one or two meetings with my team, do some feature planning, and maybe one-on-ones with my manager. I may also do some work for SWAG (Snapsheet Women’s Advisory Group) or other groups, like the Infrastructure Group in Technology, which focuses on improving our infrastructure as a team. 

Otherwise, I’m just coding. Basically, that involves going through the code and adding functionality and proper locations, making sure nothing breaks in the process. For example, right now we’re working on adding a new feature to financials. When you submit a payment, there are a lot of stages it must go through. So if a client is initiating a payment, but the adjuster doesn’t have permission, they need a manager to approve it. The system needs to understand what those permissions are and send the manager a notification saying this is now pending. At Snapsheet, we’re adding a feature that automates this and adds two approvals instead of just one.

What impact do you think your role will have on Snapsheet’s products?

I’ve always been curious about new technology. And I feel I bring a new perspective to the team. I’m always trying to incorporate new things, and my team encourages me to do so. I hope we can continue to be on the forefront of claim payments — we’re offering something a lot of our competitors don’t.

What excites you about working at Snapsheet?

I love my co-workers. The Tech team has an awesome culture where everyone is really friendly and genuine. And it’s never boring. Especially being in insurtech, the pipeline is never-ending. There’s always more to solve, more to improve on, and Snapsheet is at the forefront of claims management technology.  

What do you do as a member of the Snapsheet Women’s Advocacy Group (SWAG)?

As a board member, I help to lead a group of women and men who are passionate about promoting women in the corporate space and raising awareness about women’s equality. We’re open to everyone — our male members bring a different perspective as allies — and we meet every week to talk about monthly events, speaker series and our quarterly newsletter. We plan fun events, like kickboxing or having a nutritionist come and speak, and a career-path series, such as the best way for women to negotiate salary.

What do you do as a member of the Women Influence Chicago’s Junior Board?

I was nominated for this role by Snapsheet, which is a member of the Illinois Technology Association (ITA), and I have been part of this organization for a year and a half. As a member, I’ve gained leadership experience and networking opportunities I wouldn’t normally get from my day-to-day role. 

What other things do you like to do in your off-work hours?

I volunteer for a local Girls Who Code group, which is part of a global non-profit dedicated to educating girls from elementary school to high school about technology, so that they are not afraid of it and embrace it. I launched an immersive full-day summer camp program last year, at which girls learned how to code. It was a really diverse group of girls from 19 specific struggling communities in Chicago. It was really rewarding. 

I also like to swim, bike and figure skate — I was a competitive skater at the University of Wisconsin. 

Deena (bottom row, far left) with Girls Who Code students
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It encourages me to reflect on what I’ve been doing to raise awareness about women’s equality. It’s a good time to have conversations with friends, family and co-workers, however I can make a difference. And it’s important to just celebrate women’s achievements in general. 

What’s something you plan to do in 2021 that you couldn’t in 2020?

Our tech team has always been remote, so I’m hoping to move to a new city with better weather, so I can be outside more and hike and ski … and just be outdoors! 

Snapsheet is hiring! Visit our Careers page to learn more.

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