As a paralegal for some of New York and Chicago’s biggest law firms, Pollyanna Benassi didn’t see much of a career track when the only viable path was a funnel through law school. So when Thomas Elnick, co-founder and co-CEO of Tegus, reached out via LinkedIn, she jumped at the opportunity to be one of the first 15 employees at the market intelligence company.
Five years later, the company has ballooned to more than 650 employees, and as director of compliance operations, Benassi now oversees more than 30 team members. “Tegus has given me the exact opportunities I was hoping for with my career,” she said.
Making the leap from the prestigious legal arena to the ground floor of a tech company was a drastic move, but the altered calculus of Benassi’s career path has elevated her from a paralegal among many to a role actively shaping Tegus operations.
Since creating a compliance program and its team, Benassi has begun directing processes and collaborating with the executive team on company initiatives and goals. “I would have never had any of these opportunities at a law firm,” she said.
Despite the accelerated pace of her impact at Tegus, Benassi still gleans much growth and development from the company’s people-centered infrastructure, where strong mentorship networks and transparent leadership make upward mobility — and the chance to make a difference — accessible to everyone.
“Tegus continues to challenge me and push me to think outside the box,” Benassi explained. “There is no one-size-fits-all program here and that is okay.”
Aside from being an accomplished leader at Tegus, Benassi is also a new mother. Among all the stress of raising a child, she had harbored fears and anxieties that her full-time job might encroach upon her familial obligations.
But Tegus’ commitment to its people — much like the way it gave her the tools needed to succeed back in its early days — never went away. “From the day I told my manager, Jason, I was pregnant, it has been nothing but support and excitement for me and my journey,” she recalled. “Tegus has made it seamless to be a working mom and continue progressing in my career.”
To see how Tegus actively empowers career growth for its employees, Built In sat down with Benassi for a closer look at her growth into an invaluable team leader.
Powered By Tegus
Tegus, a market intelligence company, prides itself in powering financial organizations with its database platform. Its role as an authority figure in the fintech space enables investors and other companies to make insight-based decisions with a more streamlined and modern approach.
What makes your company a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?
A benefit with working in compliance is our exposure to a breadth of different topics from the smartest experts in their respective industries. An associate could start their day reading a transcript on semiconductors and end the day learning about the process for egg retrieval with in vitro fertilization. Each transcript is unique and our team gets to read a 15 to 20 page conversation discussing the nuances of a company or multiple companies within an industry.
“An associate could start their day reading a transcript on semiconductors and end the day learning about the process for egg retrieval with in vitro fertilization.”
What professional development tools and resources have you utilized?
One of my top priorities is management. I think it is extremely important to have a team that values and respects you in order for them to want to work hard. Because of this, I have read a range of applicable books and articles that discuss management case studies and what has been found to be most helpful. I was also able to meet with other managers inside and outside Tegus to hear what they value as managers, and more importantly, what their experience has taught them.
How are managers involved in the career development of direct reports?
I was lucky enough to have Michael Elnick, one of the founders and co-CEOs, as my manager for my first year at Tegus. When I first started, I had a relatively narrow set of responsibilities but by the second month they quickly evolved to include building out and running our compliance operations.
Mike recognized my capabilities and pushed me to grow beyond my initial comfort zone. He gave me the opportunity to work with cross functional partners and really expand my knowledge of the compliance function at Tegus. I’ve been able to count on him and my manager, Jason, to believe in me since day one.
I have made sure to carry forward this same mindset. Recently we recognized that there was a gap on our team with data analytics. A couple of the associates took the situation into their own hands and consequently, I have helped support them to become full-time data employees.
“I think it is extremely important to have a team that values and respects you in order for them to want to work hard.”
What are you excited to accomplish next?
The company is in a continual state of improvement and growth. We recently reflected on how we could drive the best possible compliance results for our customers. What makes it even more exciting is that we will be returning to the office three days a week starting in January. Although it will be an adjustment for most after almost three years of remote work, I think the benefits greatly outweigh any hesitations. We will finally be able to look to our right and left and see our colleagues, ask them questions, run to grab lunch together and have meetings face to face.