“Get Inspired” with Yvonne Wassenaar, CEO of Puppet

By: Lori Stout


We’re off to a powerful start with our 2022 Women in Tech: Get Inspired series. 

Our first guest speaker of the year, Yvonne Wassenaar, is no stranger to adversity. She categorizes her life in three chapters: Survival, Accomplishment, and Impact. We are grateful to have spent an hour with Yvonne hearing how she overcame seemingly impossible events and circumstances to learn who she is as a mother, a leader, and a person of action. 

“Despite our deepest beliefs, we are capable of so much more than we understand if we open ourselves up to opportunity and trust our own instinct.” — Yvonne Wassenaar

As the CEO of IT automation leader Puppet, Yvonne is committed to finding new ways to use technology to drive a safer, more innovative planet. She also seeks to educate and empower others to do great work with great purpose. As our Women in Tech committee spoke with Yvonne and her team in preparation for her session in our “Get Inspired” series, it was evident that she lives that passion and commitment every day. Yvonne is described by her team as “one of the most inspirational and authentic women they have ever known.” We couldn’t agree more.

Here’s just a small part of what Yvonne shared with our audience in her session on leadership and overcoming adversity.

Fear Doesn’t Have to Be the Enemy

For Yvonne, a series of shocking and life-changing events in her childhood led her to realize that she is naturally a fear-driven person. But instead of letting that fear control her, Yvonne channeled it into a dogged determination to not only survive, but thrive. As she states it, “The best way to grow is to understand who you are, how you are wired, and what you’re trying to achieve. Once you understand what drives you, it’s much easier to surround yourself with a community that supports you and helps you understand your fears to put them in their rightful place.” For Yvonne, a big part of her journey has been surrounding herself with other people who saw in her what she couldn’t see in herself while she found her true confidence and identity.

Trust Yourself

Too often, we look to others for permission to “let” us make decisions about managing our own lives–both personally and professionally. It’s human nature to focus on what we can’t do, rather than what we can. Yvonne shared that she had a history of asking herself, “What if I fail?” when faced with new challenges. Instead of giving in to the persistence of that negative voice, she has since learned to flip that mistrust of herself on its head and ask “But what if I succeed?” By making it a conscious practice to redirect our negative thoughts and self-talk, we can learn to trust ourselves and take confident ownership of our lives.

Change Requires Action from Everyone

As a leader, Yvonne believes that, “At the end of the day, change happens with one person, one action at a time. If we all take action, that’s when we start to see real movement.” With that thought in mind, Yvonne made it a priority to diversify the board at Puppet to ensure representation for her teams as well as the clients they serve. She also serves on the board for a variety of organizations that expose her to new perspectives and lessons in leadership. “Start with authentic curiosity,” she says. “Don’t assume that you know someone’s story. Ask them about their challenges and their journey. It will open your eyes to a much richer world.”

Our deepest thanks to Yvonne for sharing her time and her journey with us. If you would like to learn more about our PAR + Punchh, visit us @punchh careers

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