Jessica Duguid, Senior Graphic Designer joined WiseTech Global at the beginning of 2022, after a diverse and exciting career working in publishing, finance and tech, working and living in France, and becoming a parent to two children.
We spoke to Jessica to find out about her proudest achievements, her experiences as a working parent during the pandemic, and why she believes we need to break old cycles of unconscious bias to create a better future.
Can you share a bit about your career journey so far?
I started my career in publishing, where I was working for magazines like Good Taste, Country Style and Gardening Australia doing a lot of the advertorials. I've always had a passion for advertising, but I realized I wanted to explore more, so from there I went to an agency where I worked on a lot of print and TV campaigns.
After working for a few years, my now husband and I took four months off and travelled around Europe, which was amazing. We then moved to France and that's when I first got into tech, working for Amadeus, a travel technology company. This was definitely a very big learning curve, both starting in a new industry and adapting to a different country and culture, but it was lovely workplace and an amazing experience being able to live and work in France. From there I had my two children, freelanced in between and then worked in finance before joining WiseTech.
When I started researching WiseTech, I was really impressed by the company’s values and initiatives, particularly the focus on STEM and education. Recently our CEO pledged to donate $50 million from his personal fortune towards STEM education. When I saw that, I felt so proud to work for a company that gives back and encourages people from all walks of life to get into tech and to further educate themselves.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It puts a spotlight on the inequalities and challenges that women face, but it’s also a day to celebrate the talents and achievements of women. I don't think it's necessarily just a women's issue, I think both men and women need to address the inequalities we face and reflect on what needs to change, and find a solution together.
What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘break the bias’, mean to you?
To me it’s about breaking old cycles to be able to create a better future for the next generation. I think a lot of the issues stem from unconscious biases that are created within society. For people who have grown up with those unconscious biases, it’s about recognizing that and trying to make changes for future generations.
It's good for both women and men to acknowledge how we have unconsciously or consciously been biased towards women. Because at times, I’ve even been biased towards women, and it's not something to be necessarily ashamed of, because it's just something that we've all grown up with and it’s been so ingrained in society. But it’s about creating that safe space and giving ourselves permission to break those boundaries and change the future.
What's an achievement either at work or outside of work that you’re proud of?
In regards to International Women’s Day, for me it was being the first woman in my family to go to university and graduate. That was a massive achievement and one that I’m really proud of. I've always had a really strong work ethic and have always had this drive to achieve things in my life, and having a degree really set me on that path.
Living in France was also an achievement I'm super proud of, and I think living overseas is something that everybody should experience if they can. The chance to experience different cultures and to gain an understanding of different people around the world was amazing.
Finally, an obvious one is my children. I've got two boys, five and three, and they are by far my greatest achievement.
What has your experience as a working parent been like?
Throughout the pandemic, it’s definitely been challenging. Having my kids at home and juggling that with work, it definitely requires you to be more organized. Before I had kids I just flew by the seat of my pants and I'd literally just run out the door to the bus. These days you have to allow extra time for meltdowns and delays, because kids don’t really know what rushing is, so there's a lot of more slowing down, organizing and juggling. I get so much fulfillment from being a parent but also from my work, so even though it can be crazy at times I wouldn’t change it.
How do ensure you make time for yourself?
Being a woman and parent, I think we’re all accustomed to working at a really fast pace. I think we need reminding that it’s okay to take the time to slow down and enjoy the process. Instead of rushing to make breakfast, just enjoy the simple things like eating with your children, or going for a walk by yourself. Allowing yourself an extra 30 minutes to exercise or do something for yourself instead of rushing to get back to your desk, and relieving yourself of some of that internal pressure can be really helpful.
What advice would you give to young people considering a career in tech?
I’d say go for it. You’ll be exposed to a whole different world, you’ll meet amazing, intelligent people and you’ll get the chance to do really interesting work. I have zero regrets about working in tech, I’ve just loved the experience.