The Devil Wears Technology Blog IWD 2021 with Jacqueline White
Interview with the new President of Temenos Americas
Welcome to our 12th edition of Devil Wears Technology. Today we are celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 and this year I am delighted to be supporting the theme, #ChoosetoChallenge.
You too can partake in the theme by raising your hand up high and striking the pose to call out inequality.
For this edition, I was grateful to interview Jaqueline White, recently appointed, President – Temenos Americas. She is about 6 weeks into her VERY busy role but she still managed to gift me (I call it a gift because time is precious) some time to conduct this interview. And what better way to get to know someone? (Especially the new Boss Lady)…but to deep dive into questions.
Jacqueline’s story is very dynamic and I think you will be pleasantly surprised to learn about her work experiences and adventures living abroad. So read on.
HAPPY International Women’s Day and remember to – Enjoy, Embrace, Empower.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the South (Arkansas), but for the past 25 years, I have lived in the Northeast. I currently live outside of Boston. I’ve spent most of my career working in Manhattan and I feel that the Northeast is the heartbeat of the country – it also feels like home.
Where did you go to school?
I attended BYU in Utah where I studied the humanities, focused on history and literature, with minors in Portuguese and French. I also have a leadership certificate from Boston University.
How did you get involved with technology?
I’ve always been passionate about writing. My first two years out of university, I worked as technical writer and editor (while at the same time putting my husband through his Master’s Degree). I worked at Word Perfect. Who remembers Word Perfect? We then moved to Boston, where I transferred to being a sales rep / regional manager for 10 years, and that is what really launched my tech career. You could say that my career was started by supporting my husband’s academic interests and ambitions.
Because of the industry expertise that I developed as an individual contributor and sales executive, I was sought after by a large consulting company, KPMG. That move took me from a 20-something supporting my husband, to launching my own career.
Some words of wisdom:
“You don’t always have to know out of the gate what you want to do and what you want to be when you graduate from college. Give yourself a little bit of leeway to learn what you like and what you’re passionate about.”
I understand that you lived in Brazil and France– can you tell us a little bit about that time of your life? What led you to live and work abroad?
In between junior and senior year undergrad, I lived in France and Brazil. I’ve always had a love of languages, history, art, and culture. When I lived in France for a semester as an impressionable 20-year old, it changed my world.
In Brazil, I studied the language, did volunteer work, lived in the Amazon and worked with a lot of impoverished families. You can’t really learn a language unless you are submerged in both the language and the culture.
Have you picked up any cultural traits from your time abroad?
To me, it’s a sign of respect to learn a language or when visiting other countries to at least try to speak the local language. English has become the universal business language, but I always feel sensitive to others catering to the English language. I appreciate all of the different cultures I’m exposed to, and I always want to show respect by learning about the culture and the language in the country that I am in.
One of the things I appreciate about working in a global company like TEMENOS is that it gives us perspective – we are all citizens of the world. We are more alike than we are different. We all have families, significant others, wants and desires, and it’s important to remember that with our employees, with our customers, with our partners, and with others in general.
What is one of your greatest takeaways from your time at DXC, SAP, Oracle and Accenture?
We’re fortunate to be in such an exciting industry. High tech. Banking tech. We are the figurative and literal infrastructure that the world runs on. It is an industry where we make products that make a difference in people’s lives. No matter what part piece of the puzzle we’re holding, we all have a part of that client-centric business.
We are more alike than we are different. We all have families, significant others, wants and desires, and it’s important to remember that with our employees, with our customers etc.
What women communities are you involved with?
I am part of the national women in technology (WIT) group. I am very passionate about women supporting women – we owe it to each other to mentor, to support, hire, encourage. It’s hard to balance work and family life as well as extra-curricular activities, but it’s important that we participate and network, and offer a leg up to other women.
How do you manage your time with family outside of work?
The paramount challenge that everyone has, but especially women is how do we get it all done?
Quoting a bit of Jeff Bezos, “instead of talking about work-life balance, you should talk about work-life harmony”.
Sometimes you need to lean into your career, if there’s a deadline, or RFP, or go live, there might not be balance, but there can be harmony. So maybe you focus on work for six weeks, and then you take a week-long vacation. When you are at work be at work, but when you are at home be sure to be at home. Previously I was available 24/7, but I learned that it is important to set boundaries.
Dialogue around gender equality has been increasing in workplaces across the world – what advice do you give your daughters? What advice do you give your son?
I give my children the same advice – we are more alike than we are different, so the less we focus on the differences the better it is for us as individuals and organizations. We need to behave in a way, and treat each other in a way, that we would want to be treated.
The one piece of advice I give to women is don’t doubt yourself, and fight that feeling that comes over us where you feel that notion that somehow maybe you don’t belong at the table. Men don’t do that, they never believe they don’t deserve the job they have or the salary they have – women need to fight that voice and believe that they do belong.
How important is social media in your day-to-day? And Why?
Very important – social media is free marketing – it’s a way to credentialize yourself in your industry and function. It’s a way to develop your personal brand around your industry expertise. We need to be using all the tools we have to credentialize ourselves, and social media is one of those.
You have done a lot in your career, what is your driving force?
I have always been ambitious and achievement oriented – that’s just in my DNA. I really strive for excellence. Anything I do, I want to be the best at, and I want to bring out the best in other people as well as myself. Just striving for excellence and wanting to be the very best and be part of the very best is what drives me every day.
The blog is Devil Wears Technology – name an indulgence of yours – what do you like to do for yourself?
I love to walk in nature – 10-15 miles on the weekends. In the mountains, on the beach, through the forest. I listen to audiobooks, sometimes I listen to nature – I like long walks and hikes that take hours, that require me to be moving, but also allow me to enjoy the beauty of nature.