Joy Backensto | Legal Contracts Manager | Alameda, CA
Q. What is your role at Penumbra?
In July 2015, I joined Penumbra as Executive Legal Assistant and grew into my current role as a Legal Contracts Manager. I draft various hospital sales and consignment contracts, as well as other categories of contracts. I train and supervise legal administrative staff, including legal administrative assistants, contract administrators, contract specialists and similar positions to ensure that our department’s contract and administrative needs are met. I also help direct workflow and processes for the legal team, from assignments to reporting to approvals.
Q. Describe yourself at age 10. What career aspirations did you have at that age?
At age 10, I was living in the Philippines with my aunt and younger sister. I dreamed of becoming an elementary school teacher in the United States, where my parents and older siblings had moved when I was only 4 years old. Both my mom and aunt worked as elementary school teachers, so I wanted to teach just like them and help shape young minds. Mainly though, at the time, I simply dreamed about what it would be like to live in the United States and experience “luxury” items, like television, toys to play with, and a bicycle to ride. To this day, I am still grateful and feel so fortunate to have moved to the USA when I was 12 years old!
Q. Describe a travel adventure that you will never forget.
In 2010, I traveled (cruised) to several parts of Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Tunisia with my husband and my mother-in-law. The experience was both the first and last time for all three of us to travel together, and we all knew it would be the last as my mother-in-law had been previously diagnosed with ALS. We had a wonderful, emotional, and altogether unforgettable time together, taking in the expanse of the Vatican, the history at the Pompeii, the gorgeous blue landscapes of the Sidi Bou Said, and the incredible art in Barcelona.
Q. What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?
As a mother of a six-year-old, I’ve learned that striking the right balance between work and home life is very important, and also very challenging. I don’t think I’ve mastered it, and I probably never will, but I’m very grateful to have a supportive husband who helps out — and who constantly nags (I mean reminds) me to go to bed when I’m working late.
Q. What is your personal philosophy?
Be humble, stay grounded, be okay with admitting when I’ve made a mistake, and try not to take myself too seriously. Of course, all of that is much easier said than done, but I try to keep a positive attitude and not dwell on the small stuff.
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I have a major fear of deep water. I never learned how to swim because I completely panic once I’m even near water. I’m sure that being forced in high school gym class to jump off of a diving board without knowing how to swim didn’t help. Naturally, my six-year-old daughter loves to laugh at me when I’m waist-deep in our pool — she tells me I act as if I’m about to drown, which my husband thinks is absolutely hilarious.