FSQ Faces/Behind the Tech: Yasmin Colon-Buffa, Total Rewards Manager

Yasmin Colon

Get to know Yasmin Colon-Buffa, Foursquare’s Total Rewards Manager. She most likely has the answer to any HR-related question and, when she’s not working, you can catch her going for miles (and miles) on her bike.

Read our Q&A with Yasmin Colon-Buffa below to learn more about his career and vision for growing our enterprise offerings.

Can you tell us a little about your role and responsibilities at Foursquare?

I’m currently the Total Rewards Manager working out of the HR team and started back in April of 2021. My job responsibilities predominantly surround payroll, 401k benefits – generally all things HR-related. So if anyone from Foursquare comes with questions, I’m here to help answer them!

How did you end up at Foursquare? What does your career journey look like?

I was actually a kindergarten and first grade teacher. After a few years of doing that, I started to feel like teaching wasn’t my calling. I fell into it because, at the time when I was in high school, it was the profession where boomers were retiring and teachers were needed. People were telling me that I’d have such a great personality for teaching and that I was very patient. So I think I went off of that but when I started it, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt like I wanted to try something different, but didn’t know what that was. Then one day I took a summer job as an admin assistant and the finance team’s payroll person went on maternity leave suddenly. They asked if I could step in until she came back and I agreed.

Long story short, they trained me and the person never returned. It ended up being my job and I fell into payroll. After a few years of doing that role, I still wanted to do more, so I got my CPP (Certified Protection Professional) certification.

I started to work closer with the HR team and get involved with open enrollment and things of that nature. However, a big pivotal point in my career was when I worked with KIND. They had promoted me from Payroll Manager to Senior HR Operations Manager and that’s where things started to evolve from there. So now I have a background in payroll, finance, and HR. It’s kind of a nice umbrella to bring here to Foursquare where I can work with both HR and finance to help them wherever they need.

Since starting at Foursquare, how has your career grown or changed?

I really enjoy working at Foursquare for a number of reasons. For starters, I feel it’s the first company I’ve worked at where the employees actually have a voice. Their opinions and suggestions are actually taken into consideration, whereas in other companies, there’s a lot of red tape and your idea may never really get through.

I also enjoy the openness of my team and how we’ve implemented so many positive changes. We’re always looking to move forward and just provide the best employee experience possible.

What sets Foursquare apart as an employer?

The benefits hands down. Also the team morale and how we always try to do things together. They always try to make everyone feel accepted and have somewhere or someone to go to within the company. I think that sets us apart. They actually care about the employees and their quality of life, which I think is really big these days. I feel like Foursquare has so much more to offer outside of the job aspect, and especially now too with hybrid and remote working. I made such a good move in coming here.

Why is diversity, inclusion and equity (DE&I) important to you, and how do you think Foursquare’s culture embodies these values?

It’s important to me because a diverse culture in the workplace is integral to bringing in different ideas and personalities. It’s also about comfort – it helps some people see diversity firsthand and have everyone feel included. I feel our workforce does a great job of doing that right now, especially with Fourmation (our ERG that strives to create a safe community for people of color at Foursquare, advocate for equitable hiring practices, and cultivate diverse leadership).

We also sponsor many events throughout the year that celebrate our differences and the other organizations that they’ve put together. There’s really a place for everyone here at Foursquare and I love that.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

To be honest, I really don’t have a quote that I go by. I’m a person who just always looks to improve myself. There’s always an opportunity to keep growing.

However, I think it’s important to know your boundaries. A big thing in my career was that I always used to say yes to everything. My boss needed to tell me it was okay to say no and that was something I had to learn.

When employees join Foursquare, they’re always asked to share a fun fact. What would your fun fact be?

Outside of Foursquare, I’m a huge bike rider and do about 20 miles every week. Now that the weather’s nice, that’s what I’ll be up to!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m generally a really competitive person and try to workout 5-6 days a week. I am currently training for a triathlon in the fall. Other than that, just spending time with family. I’m at a phase in my life right now where my life belongs to my kids, but when I have time to myself, I’m usually playing sports, going to vineyards, and having little weekend getaways with my husband.

What local hidden gem would you recommend to people?

There’s so many! However, there’s this place called Sunset Pub and Grill in New Jersey. My husband and I went and I love it. It’s situated on an airplane tarmac so you can watch the planes which is really cool. You can also eat outside and they have bands playing.

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