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Life at First American | The Faces of Finance

The Faces of Finance: Jess Poniatoski

Go behind the scenes to learn about the people and the culture that set First American apart.

Jess Poniatoski’s professional portrait

First American colleagues bring unique backgrounds, cultural traditions, and work experiences to their roles. Having these diverse perspectives is the reason First American has been recognized as a Fortune “Best Workplace in New York” and “Best Workplace for Millennials” for more than five years.


In this series, The Faces of Finance, we get to know First American colleagues by asking them about the career paths, skillsets, and motivations that drive their success.


Read on to hear from Jess Poniatoski, SaaS Engineer on our IT Team, who joined First American in 2021.

What did you do prior to working at First American?

I spent 12 years in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. I made Lieutenant Commander before leaving the Navy and returning to my hometown of Fairport, NY.

How did you hear about First American?

During the pandemic, I began taking online classes and decided to pursue a career in IT. While job searching, I found a Systems Analyst IT position at First American on LinkedIn. I did some research and found many wonderful accolades and awards the company had won. After applying and talking to the hiring team, I knew I wanted to be a part of this great company.

Which three things were most important to get to where you are today?

First is the love and support of my family. When I told them I wanted to serve my country and pursue a commission in the Navy, they supported me through all the ups and downs and encouraged me throughout my entire career. I couldn’t have done it without them.

The second is my time in the service. It was an incredible experience with a lot of highs and a few lows, but it shaped me into the person and leader I am today. I saw the world and gained immense perspective on so many things – especially for being grateful for where I live, what I have in life, where I work, and the wonderful family I have.

Lastly, the welcoming environment of my team here at First American. Since day one, the IT Team has been incredibly supportive and made me feel like I belonged.

"I saw the world and gained immense perspective on so many things – especially for being grateful for where I live, what I have in life, where I work, and the wonderful family I have."

-– Jess Poniatoski

What is your mission in your role?

Automation! I want to help automate as many mundane, repeatable processes as possible to free up time for colleagues to do more important work. I also want to help colleagues have the best experience using the apps in our tech stack.

What does a typical workday look like?

I spend a lot of my time in our apps, like Okta, Box, Zoom, and DocuSign, learning and working on improvements and automations. I meet with colleagues and work on projects that again involve automations and improvements. Lately I’ve been spending time on application implementations and various vendor renewals. I’m also involved in other First American activities, including the Culture Team and IT Team events.

What motivates you?

Working with such amazing colleagues. The IT Team is truly the best.

What do you wish you knew three years ago?

Nothing—no regrets! I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. Plus, “three-years-ago- me” did the right thing and found her way to First American. Life is good!

What would you tell a prospective colleague about working at FAEF?

That First American is a special place with a wonderful culture. We work hard and achieve excellence, but we also know how to have fun and balance in our lives. We hire the best colleagues with strong values and a dedicated work ethic. I think one of my favorite things is that we celebrate each other’s victories and successes.

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Interested in joining First American?

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