Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Ivanti.

JS: I am Senior Director of Customer Experience in EMEA. I am responsible for the consulting, technical relationship managers and project management groups across EMEA. Our primary function is to ensure Ivanti’s customers are successful at their jobs. I have worked at Ivanti coming up on 13 years, and before that, I was a customer of Ivanti’s. It’s been a great journey. 

Did you always want to work in technology? 

JS: Ha ha, no!  I failed IT (or computer studies as it was known back then) at GCSE! It really was not my subject. I was always interested in business and did business administration at college. I did work placements in the construction industry, which I enjoyed, but much of it was contract work.

I fell into IT completely by mistake when a contract ended, and I needed a new role. I’m so glad that happened; I loved it instantly. I was answering support calls for an IT managed services provider who were invested in increasing resolution on first call for their customers. I got lucky because I had a great boss and mentor who saw potential in me. 

Fast forward two years, I was writing CL programs on AS/400’s and working in operations.    

What do you like about working in tech?

JS: The almost constant change and ability to always be learning. Technology moves so fast, and that means there are always new challenges and lots of variety. I’m also a geek at heart and love a gadget. I get a real buzz out seeing things made easier by technology. My absolutely favourite thing about technology is how it’s changing medicine and helping people live longer and better lives. 

How do you relax after a hard day at work?

JS: Either with my family (I’m married and have two children), with friends, or jogging. I took up running two years ago after watching the Great North Run (the world’s biggest half marathon) on TV. I said “I am going to run that next year.” I think my husband thought I was crazy as we both knew I couldn’t run a mile. I ran my first Great North Run in 2018 and have completed lots of other obstacle course runs and 10ks too. I am running the Great North Run again in 2020. I still don’t think I’ll ever do a marathon – hats off to those that do. 

What do you think about the women in tech movement?

JS: I think it’s really important. I believe diversity enriches all aspects of my life, both at work and personally.  Exposure to other cultures helps us understand different perspectives and encourages creativity. Sadly, today, when I look around meeting rooms I’m always in the minority. I would love to see more diversity in leadership roles in technology. I see the movement making change, I am delighted that we’re looking at things like job descriptions and making them more appealing to other, diverse, groups.   

I know you have a young daughter. What advice would you give her if she wanted to pursue a career in technology?

JS: She’s five years old so right now her dream is to be a "Youtuber"! I would encourage her to follow her passion, because if she does, she’ll love every day she works. Assuming things haven’t significantly changed in the next 15 years, she would need to accept that she would be a minority. But she should embrace her feminine qualities. She should go and win based on her abilities, skills and experience. 

Any parting thoughts?

JS: My favourite quote: “A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” Coco Chanel