Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Jessica Gambrill

  • Name: Jessica Gambrill

    Role: City Lead, Women Who Code Belfast

    What does your typical day look like?

    Typical day is: waking up, yoga, walking the dog, studying Spanish, achieving inbox zero, blocking distractions, reading/studying for class, biking to class, soaking up lectures, biking home, dinner with the husband and enjoying our time together before going to bed and doing it all again the next day.

    What are you currently working on?

    While looking to earn my MBA from Queen’s I am focused on learning how to be the best leader I can be, how I can achieve better greatness through self-awareness and having epiphanies about why teams work the way they do.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    Queen’s offers a very diverse cohort that grant me the opportunity to expand my cultural competency and witness the needs of the diverse community that exists in Belfast. This will be key moving forward with my career objectives of working in diversity & inclusion sectors here in Northern Ireland.

    Did you always want to work in this industry (tech)?

    Never did I intentionally seek out opportunities in tech, but I never regretted accepting those offers. This industry offers a learning experience daily, not just because technology is always changing but from a woman of color’s perspective it’s evolving in how it becomes more inclusive.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    I have always enjoyed learning and having it be my full-time job feels like a gift.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry (tech)?

    Teach yourself how to learn from failure. At the center of technology is iteration and in order for this to happen, things will go wrong that we can improve on. In that same way, don’t ever believe that your first good idea is your best one, be willing to challenge it over and over.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    I think the time of us being passive in the impact of technology is over and now we will turn the corner to making it work for us. As this happens, diversity and inclusion will become even more purposeful in shaping how this technology reflects our culture and can serve us as a community.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    It was serendipitous that I began working in technology but the person who showed me that this could be a profession beyond sales was the manager of professional services, Julie Sig. She was a strong woman with a clear path and a clear plan who encouraged me to keep my hat rack full with the different thinking hats for making decisions and strategy. She went on to be a global manager for FileMaker, a partner of Apple. I continue to think of her now and still have the book she gave me.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    The most important innovation that still creates a lot of curiosity is AI. We are just now seeing the potential benefits and pitfalls and it will define how we respond globally to the importance of diversity and inclusion.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    I have so many awesome gadgets! Right now it’s my Moleskine Smartpen as I take notes for class and it can record them digitally, helps a lot when searching my notes for information I need for papers or tests.

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