Nathen Brickner

he/him/his

Director of Support Enablement at Sezzle

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Minneapolis, MN — Having an impact and making a difference, and bringing joy and happiness to others is what fuels Sezzle’s Director of Support Enablement Nathen Brickner’s enthusiasm for all he does. One might be surprised to learn that he is a self-described introvert: “I’m not outgoing at all, which is strange with my passion for people and leading.” With a quiet wit, he is fine in social settings or around close friends, so you’d likely never notice. “I’m always analyzing a situation, in my head about words I want to say and, when you least expect it, I will sneak in with a zinger that throws everyone off. It could be anything from a joke, or a new perspective no one has been considering.” 

After years working in restaurant management, a high passion for hospitality, customer satisfaction and service became ingrained in him. This has extended to all facets of his life, from hosting close friends for dinner or gatherings at home, to the work he does every day with Sezzle as he leads their support team, and to a desire to connect with and help the LGBTQ+ community.

“I’m constantly inspired by both the icons and legends of the Queer community and those that paved the path for the younger generation, along with people stepping up daily to be an example – a role model – and a lifeline for those around them. There is always that person that a young, uncomfortable, confused gay kid looks up to. That person gives them strength, an identity, courage, and most importantly, pride. I can think of a handful of people in my life that were that person for me. When I live out and proud, I get to be that person to someone else and often may not even know it. I live every day with that in mind.” 

Speaking to Nathen, it becomes clear that he shares the very same qualities of the icons and legends that inspire him. His own journey to a place of personal pride and celebration was a rocky path from which he ultimately gained keen insights along the way. In his early twenties, he went to the University of Minnesota for chemical engineering, later switching to studies to become a pastor at North Central University and ultimately pivoting to restaurant management. Torn between the life that he believed society expected of him and that of being his authentic self, Nathen found himself at a crossroads.

I was confused, depressed, in the closet, and trying to fit the mold that society and “family values” set upon me. The moment I decided to embrace who I was as a gay man and live my truth changed everything. A fire was lit in my career, I met a fantastic group of friends, and the dark fog and depression I was living with was lifted. I knew I wanted to lead and help people. I continue to make decisions today to embrace that desire and the fulfillment that I get from it.”

Can you tell us about your role as Director of Support Enablement?

My team is kinda like the support for the support agents that are working hard every day ensuring an excellent experience for all our shoppers and merchants. I oversee the teams responsible for training and documentation, quality assurance, and technical support for the support department. 

We help provide tools, advocate for support agent’s needs among other departments at the company, and work diligently to keep them equipped with knowledge and resources that they need to be successful. What I love most about my job is really the ability to make a difference in both our product and the experience for our employees and clientele. Sezzle is a rare breed of company that highly values the support department and actually seeks out our insight, opinions, and feedback when we are both developing new products and features, as well as looking for ways to improve. 

How has your identity informed your work? 

Being gay has caused me to force myself into a lot of different molds. I have learned to adapt to many different situations to fit in, or not be “found” out. This has given me an ability to empathize with many different types of people and recognize what makes them tick. Not every person learns, or interprets things the same way. With that context it really helps me step outside of my shoes and situation to critically think when there is a problem at work. It helps me lead the team to the best possible solution and if we don’t find it right away, correct quickly. Knowing my team, their struggles, and what makes them fulfilled helps me to be the best leader I can. My people are the most important thing about my job and I truly believe taking care of your team first will yield the best result and in turn take care of anyone that uses your service. 

What are you passionate about outside of work? 

Trying new restaurants is always a good time for me. Given my experience in hospitality, I have such a high appreciation for a great night out. Trying the food, cocktails, and soaking up the vibe just energizes me and provides the perfect atmosphere to engage with friends and family or my husband, Matt. I also love television! I am a sucker for some reality television and the latest episode of The Real Housewives, but I’m really thrilled with a good cable drama as well. Always on the lookout for shows with great writing and most importantly cinematography.

Are there any fun facts about you and your journey that you’d like to share? 

The first person I came out to was a random server of mine that I was not really that close with. I just was so giddy about finally being comfortable and the fact that I had been talking to guys that I basically just blurted it out. Also I am a huge Kesha fan. I met her on a cruise she hosted. Yup, there was a Kesha cruise and it was amazing. She signed my arm which I then quickly got tattooed when we got back to land. I also protested outside her trial in NYC during her legal battle with her music producer. There is still a video out there on TMZ featuring this “Animal” front row. 

What are the qualities that make a good ally? 

Someone who listens, does not make assumptions, and stands up for what is right. Being present and showing love and support is so valuable when someone is experiencing hate and discrimination. Ensuring that person knows they are valued and stepping up for them in times of need can save a life. It also takes engagement to change this world we are in. Persecution and discrimination are real. From the BIPOC, to Asian and Pacific Islanders, and the LGBTQ+ communities, we cannot win the fight against hatred without the help of our allies. That means voting, that means confronting that hateful comment you hear, that means opening perspectives, and changing minds. Never feel your impact is too little, or the fight is not for you, because we cannot win without you. 

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