Meet This Week’s Featured interview with Jennifer Pope Co-Founder of Work Shield, the first and only third-party misconduct management solution to fully handle misconduct reporting, investigations, and timely resolutions for employers.

This is her story:

Tell us about your business: 

Built to ensure employees’ voices are heard, while also giving employers peace of mind, I co-founded Work Shield with my husband Jared and our business partner Travis Foster based on a shared goal: to foster positive and open workplace cultures comprised of integrity and trust. To this day, that mission remains at the heart of everything we do. Balancing the human touch and HR technology, Work Shield equips employers with the tools to mitigate misconduct and prevent future occurrences while ensuring employees feel safe, secure and heard. No matter the size of an organization or the industry, employers everywhere can benefit from taking a strategic approach to misconduct management, making our target market all workplaces across America.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?: 

Becoming a female business owner was life-changing for me, and my “why” to keep going is I know that it will change others’ lives, too. As a co-founder at Work Shield, I know that I have the passion, experience and expertise to drive change – which is all I could’ve ever asked for. After witnessing the broken system in the workplace and the rise of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, we established Work Shield to put an end to these issues.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

Throughout my career, the guiding influence of mentors has been indispensable, shaping both my professional path and my approach to leadership. Reflecting on this journey, one figure stands out for his profound impact: a senior partner from my previous law firm. His willingness to invest time and trust in me was a pivotal turning point, offering not just guidance but real, hands-on opportunities to grow. He introduced me to key clients and entrusted me with significant responsibilities, actions that spoke volumes in a profession where such opportunities are often guarded.

This partner wasn’t just a seasoned legal expert; he was a cornerstone of the firm, carrying with him a wealth of history and insight from a distinguished career. What made his mentorship particularly meaningful was his ability to see beyond the conventional biases of age and gender. As a young female in a traditionally male-dominant profession, his approach was a testament to the broader need for inclusivity and support across gender lines in professional settings, a principle that deeply resonates with me.

A piece of advice he shared, which has since become a cornerstone of my philosophy, is the importance of celebrating success in the moment. This belief is alive at Work Shield, in fact it’s one of our values, where we make it a point to recognize our successes, big or small.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

My greatest professional accomplishment is the cultivation of our remarkable team. I believe that the true measure of an organization’s success lies not in its products or services, but in its people. As a leader, the expectation is not just for your team to show up; it’s essential for you to be available for them, fostering an environment where they are willing and even excited to contribute.

Building a culture where team members are enthusiastic about coming to work is paramount. We spend a significant portion of our lives at work, making it imperative to create an atmosphere that is not just safe but a positive place to be. To me, the sound of laughter echoing through the halls is more than just a sign of joy; it’s a testament to a culture where team members feel valued, connected, and engaged.

This accomplishment is also intertwined with our vision at Work Shield to foster positive and open workplace cultures comprised of integrity and trust. By prioritizing our team’s well-being and professional fulfillment, we not only enhance our internal dynamics but also set a standard for the kind of workplace culture we aim to promote nationwide. The laughter, the energy, and the sense of unity among our team members are not by-products of our efforts; they are behind our every success.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Early in my career I was introduced to a principle that shaped my professional ethos: “straight talk.” This principle emphasized the importance of direct, transparent communication, a practice that fosters clarity, efficiency, and trust within any organization. “Straight talk” is about cutting through ambiguity and being candid in our interactions, ensuring that messages are not only conveyed but understood in their truest sense.

In all of our business relationships, clear communication is the bedrock of success and trust. It eliminates the guesswork and assumptions that can often lead to misunderstandings or conflict. This concept resonates strongly with Brené Brown’s assertion that “clear is kind.” By being straightforward in our communication, we are showing respect for the team member’s time and intelligence, and we are fostering an environment where trust can flourish.

However, the absence of “straight talk” can lead to a number of issues. Ambiguity can breed uncertainty and doubt, which in turn can erode the foundation of trust that teams and relationships are built upon. Without clear communication, the path to success becomes muddled, making it difficult for teams to align on objectives and for team members to understand their roles and contributions fully.

In practice, “straight talk” requires courage and a commitment to transparency. It’s about having difficult conversations with kindness and respect, but without diluting the message. This approach not only accelerates problem-solving and decision-making but also deepens relationships by establishing a culture of honesty and mutual respect. I think workplaces would be more respectful and transparent if people embraced “straight talk” in their communications with each other.

What is your relationship with social media?

My relationship with social media is multifaceted, particularly when viewed through the lens of both personal use and its role in business. Personally, I tend to use social media more as a tool for information gathering rather than for social engagement. From a business standpoint, the value of social media is undeniable. Platforms like LinkedIn have become essential platforms for networking, amplifying our message, and sharing the milestones of Work Shield. The ability to connect with a vast network of professionals, thought leaders, and potential clients has transformed the way we do business, enabling us to reach audiences we might not have accessed otherwise.

However, the power of social media comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in the workplace. As much as it is a tool for connection, it can also be a breeding ground for online harassment. The anonymity and distance provided by digital platforms can sometimes embolden behavior that wouldn’t be acceptable in a physical workplace. This reality necessitates a vigilant approach from employers to monitor social media interactions involving their employees and their brand. It’s crucial to establish clear guidelines and policies that safeguard employees from online harassment while ensuring that the freedom of expression and connection that social media offers is not suppressed.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

At Work Shield, we believe in educating people and organizations on not only the prevalence of workplace misconduct, but how damaging and costly it can be for an organization. By sharing these insights and raising awareness about a solution like Work Shield, we can provide a platform for employees to be heard and give employers the power to protect their workplace culture. In addition, we love showcasing our organization and the team behind, and sharing the moments that truly matter to us, like out-of-the-office lunches or mid-week celebrations for birthdays and work anniversaries. We’ve found that the most effective marketing initiative is being true to our mission and true to ourselves, creating a great workplace environment and emphasizing how important it is to do the same at your organization. Through helping our clients foster safer, harassment-free workplaces, we’ve built a great reputation and our business is also promoted by word of mouth.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

In the journey from Work Shield’s inception as a startup to its evolution into a recognized organization within the DFW area, one pivotal learning stands out: the importance of decisiveness in leadership. In our early days, the metaphor of “building a plane while flying it” was a daily reality. My co-founders, Jared, Travis, and I, all having legal backgrounds, were initially inclined towards thorough analysis and deliberation before making business decisions. This approach, while conscientious, taught us a valuable lesson about the opportunity cost of indecision in a rapidly growing company.

The startup phase demanded that we adapt quickly, wearing multiple hats and making swift decisions to keep the momentum. We learned, sometimes the hard way, that every moment spent in prolonged deliberation was a moment not spent moving forward. This isn’t to say that careful consideration isn’t crucial, on the contrary, we still emphasize the importance of weighing our options. However, we’ve honed our ability to be more decisive and resolute, understanding that the pace and scale of growth require a balance between thoughtful planning and decisive action.

Additionally, we’ve learned to discern when decisions should be made at the executive level and when it’s beneficial to involve broader team collaboration. This distinction is vital in maintaining both the agility of decision-making and the inclusivity of a collaborative culture, ensuring that our team feels valued and heard.

How has your routine changed since covid?

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted to me the importance of maintaining connections. The isolation experienced by many during this time brought to light how quickly we can become impacted by loneliness, emphasizing the need for meaningful interactions in our lives.

As a response, my family and I prioritized staying in touch with friends and family, a practice that has since become a sustained part of my routine. This effort to actively foster connections has transcended the pandemic, evolving into a commitment to ensure that the busyness of life does not overshadow the value of these relationships. It’s a reminder of the joy that comes from emotional bonds and shared experiences and reinforces the importance of community and support in both personal and professional lives.

What productivity tools do you use?

In navigating the demands of daily tasks and strategic planning, I lean on a blend of traditional and digital productivity tools. I might be giving away my age here, but I continue to gravitate toward the “old school” simplicity of a written checklist and the tangible satisfaction of crossing off completed items. For me, the act of writing down tasks with pen and paper not only helps in organizing my thoughts, but also serves as a physical manifestation of my day’s objectives, making them more concrete and actionable.

As much as I still use pen and paper, I do integrate automatic reminders and calendar blocking into my routine, utilizing digital platforms to ensure that no meeting or deadline slips through the cracks. This combination of digital alerts and physical lists works well for me currently, but I am always open to new productivity tools!

Are there any other resources/tools that have helped you run your business?

One tool that has been instrumental in documenting and centralizing our operational processes is the platform Trainual. This platform has become the cornerstone of our internal knowledge management, allowing us to consolidate our policies, company information, and processes into a centralized, accessible hub. The challenge of maintaining the integrity of our operations while growing quickly necessitated a solution that could not only house our policies and processes but also facilitate efficient onboarding and training for new team members.

By leveraging Trainual, we’ve been able to ensure that the collective knowledge base we’ve built over the years is seamlessly transferred to new hires, enabling them to quickly become contributing members of our team. It’s a platform that not only supports our current needs but also scales with us, accommodating the continuous addition of talent and the evolution of our processes. In essence, Trainual has been more than just a tool; it’s been a catalyst for maintaining our culture of excellence and efficiency in the face of rapid growth.

Do you have any new projects coming up?

At Work Shield, we’re navigating an exhilarating phase of expansion and innovation, underscored by a recent $6 million investment from Ballast Point Ventures. This significant financial endorsement is not just a milestone but a catalyst for comprehensive growth across our operations. It’s enabling us to scale up, enhance our technological capabilities, and most importantly, enrich our team with individuals who are deeply aligned with our mission of fostering safer workplace environments.

The infusion of new talent, doubling our team size in recent months, brings with it the imperative to maintain and strengthen our company values of commitment, collaboration, respect, innovation and success. Recognizing the critical role of culture in our expansion, I spearheaded the creation of a Culture Committee. This committee, comprised of diverse team members who exemplify our core values, is instrumental in integrating these principles into our daily operations and growth strategies. Their initiatives are not just about bringing us together as a team but ensuring that every new member is imbued with the essence of what makes Work Shield unique.

This period of growth also marks the launch of several first-time initiatives across our teams, reflecting a year of dynamic development and collaboration. These initiatives are aimed at not just advancing our service offerings but also reinforcing our commitment to a workplace culture that prioritizes safety, respect, and integrity.

How do you prepare for the next day?

Preparing for the next day is about striking a balance between both my professional responsibilities and personal life. At Work Shield, work-life balance is important to us. This principle influences not only how we operate as a company but also how I personally wind down and gear up for the day ahead.

My evening routine is as much about connecting with my family as it is about setting up my checklist for the next day. I make it a point to disconnect from work emails and calls at a certain time each evening to ensure that the time spent with my family is intentional and meaningful. This dedicated family time is essential for recharging and unwinding from what is usually a full day.

After family time, I briefly review my schedule for the following day, making sure that I’m prepared for key meetings and deadlines. This also involves setting clear priorities, ensuring that I can hit the ground running without feeling overwhelmed. However, it’s the conscious decision to put work aside and focus on personal well-being and family that truly makes me ready for the next day.  Success to me will always be about being able to balance both my personal and professional responsibilities.

What is the number one meeting you never miss (and why)?

Out of all the meetings on my calendar, the one I never skip is our monthly all-team meeting. It’s a big deal for us. We hold it at the end of each month, and it’s more than just a meeting; it’s a chance for the whole team to come together, have lunch, and catch up. We talk about what we’ve achieved, share company news, and set our sights on what’s ahead. It’s a key time for everyone to feel connected and in the loop.

One of the highlights of this meeting is when we announce the “Above + Beyond” award. This is something the whole team votes on, picking a team member who really stood out that month by going the extra mile and showing what Work Shield is all about. For me, being there is important because it’s when we all get to see how each of us contributes to our goals and supports each other. It’s about making sure we’re all moving forward together and keeping our culture strong.

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Running a company is a 24/7 commitment, and switching off isn’t always easy for me. My mind is constantly buzzing with new ideas and strategies, which I genuinely enjoy. But I’ve learned that for me to truly relax and recharge, I need activities that engage me in a different way, specifically, ones that involve using my hands.

Cooking, whether it’s a weeknight meal or meal prepping lunches, is my go-to activity for unwinding. It requires my full attention to the task at hand and pulls me out of my head and into the moment, offering a much-needed break from the mental load of running a business.

Spending quality time with my family also plays a significant part in how I relax. Building LEGO sets with my son or working on puzzles with my daughter allows me to step away from work and immerse myself in their world. Weekends, however, are a different kind of fun. With active teenage kids, I often find myself on the sidelines of a volleyball court or at a track stadium, cheering them on. It’s a different kind of buzz from work, one that’s filled with pride and joy for them.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

My primary business goal for the next year is to revamp our performance review process, integrating 360 feedback and a new goal-setting framework. This initiative is not just about enhancing the efficiency of our reviews; it’s about fostering an environment where all team members, especially women, feel supported and empowered to grow and develop their skills.

By making feedback more fluid and less daunting, we aim to break down any barriers to open communication and ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, has equal access to constructive, timely, and actionable feedback. This approach aligns with our recent implementation of a team training and development policy, which is designed to offer every team member the opportunity to advance and upskill.

In this way, we’re not just streamlining a process; we’re actively contributing to a culture where women at Work Shield feel valued, supported, and equipped with the tools they need to succeed and lead. It’s about creating a framework where the unique talents and perspectives of our female team members are recognized and nurtured, paving the way for greater diversity and representation at all levels of our organization.

You want to write a book on ______________________ 

If I were to write a book, I’d focus on bridging the gap between the business world and the personal development of young women, from teens upward. The book would distill key business and leadership concepts into lessons that are not only understandable but also relatable to younger audiences. My goal would be to empower young women by introducing them to ideas and practices that are traditionally encountered later in life, thereby giving them a head start in cultivating a successful mindset.

Among the concepts I’d cover are:

  • Self-Advocacy: Teaching young women the importance of speaking up for themselves, recognizing their value, and confidently expressing their needs and goals.
  • Resilience: Sharing strategies for bouncing back from setbacks, fostering a growth mindset, and viewing challenges as opportunities for growth.
  • Effective Communication: Highlighting the power of clear, assertive communication (straight talk!) and the art of negotiation, both in personal interactions and in the wider world.
  • Leadership: Introducing the principles of empathetic leadership, the importance of vision and values, and how to inspire others.
  • Financial Literacy: Providing basic financial knowledge and the importance of
  • financial independence, including saving, investing, and budgeting.
  • Networking and Mentoring: Emphasizing the value of building a supportive network and seeking out mentors, as well as being a mentor to others.

The idea for this book would not just be about professional success. It would also explore personal empowerment, encouraging young women to lead lives marked by passion, purpose, and impact. By bringing these concepts to life through examples of women who have gone before them as well as relatable advice, the book would aim to inspire a new generation of young women to dream big, set ambitious goals, and achieve their full potential. And I would dedicate this book to my own daughter!

What is the number one book you recommend to our readers? And why?

This is a hard question, but if I were to recommend one book it would be Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead.” Brown’s exploration of leadership through the lens of vulnerability and empathy speaks volumes to the kind of leadership style we strive to embody at Work Shield. Her insights on courage, vulnerability, and building a culture of trust mirror the values we promote among our team.

“Dare to Lead” challenges the traditional notions of leadership, advocating for a style that embraces vulnerability as a strength rather than a weakness. This approach has been important in how we try to lead our team, encouraging open communication, and fostering an environment where every team member feels valued. Brown’s emphasis on ‘rumbling with vulnerability’ and leading with empathy has not only influenced my leadership style, but has also shaped our culture, making it a relevant and empowering read for any woman in business looking to make a meaningful impact in her field.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

In both my professional role at Work Shield and as a mother of two independent teenagers, I’m constantly reminded of the importance of being both a teacher and a student. This principle highlights that regardless of our roles or experiences, there’s always new knowledge to gain and insights to share.

At Work Shield, with a team where 55% are women, this culture of learning and sharing is central to our values. We’re a close-knit team, committed to our shared goals, and this dynamic of mutual teaching and learning is key to our environment. It encourages us all to push beyond our limits and help each other grow.

This emphasis on mutual learning and teaching is particularly relevant considering the strong presence of women. We’re in a unique position to empower each other, sharing knowledge and experiences that drive innovation and progress. This approach not only helps us grow as individuals but also strengthens our team as a whole. By nurturing a space where every woman has the opportunity to teach and learn, we’re not only advancing personal growth, we’re enhancing our collective journey.

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?

Readers can check Work Shield out on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, as well as read up on our recent blogs sharing insights on workplace harassment, workplace culture, HR technology and more.

      • LinkedIn:
      • Instagram:
      • Facebook:
      • Work Shield Website:

By continuing to use the WE Magazine for women website, you will be agreeing to Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and use of cookies while using this website.