Women in Digital: Gillian Jones

Gillian Jones, senior business development manager at Condatis shares her career journey and what she thinks the industry can do to support women in technology.

Posted 27 February 2023 by Christine Horton

Did you enjoy school?

Absolutely! I am a self-confessed Hermione Granger and totally love learning, so school was great for me. I have a great group of friends, some of whom I have known since my first day at primary school, and I am lucky to be friends with them still today.

What qualifications do you have?

I have an Honours degree from the University of Dundee in International Relations and Politics and an LLB in Law from the University of Law, York. I am a huge believer in education, as this has been the foundation for my curiosity and wanting to learn more about people and things.

Has your career path been a smooth transition, a rocky road or a combination of both?

It could have been smoother. I started my law degree with ambitions of being a high-flying city lawyer, which was different from how things materialised. After finishing law school, I reflected on what I liked doing and, more importantly, what I didn’t like doing. As I mentioned, I am naturally curious and interested in people. Problem-solving, creating meaningful relationships with people and learning every day have thankfully been part of my roles since graduating. Sales has been the avenue for this to be realised. There have been some major highs and major lows in terms of career progression, with many challenges and growth. A linear and smooth trajectory is not realistic in a commercial role, but every challenge and setback has made me stronger and more resilient in my position. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow and develop.

What specific challenges do you see women facing in the industry?

In technology, it is not uncommon to often be the only female in a room, which can be both empowering and intimidating. Despite being very secure in my professional abilities and career achievements to date, sometimes imposter syndrome creeps in.

I am fortunate not only to have an amazing family who massively supports my drive and ambition in the workplace but also an employer who is hugely supportive of how I engage with my clients and the value I bring to the business.

As females, we are often underestimated or, in contrast, because we can be ambitious and driven, that makes me somehow a threat or difficult to manage. The key I think is finding an employer and environment that allows you to thrive and be who are you, regardless of your gender.

What is the best career advice you can give to others?

Be your authentic self at all times. Like I said above it is hard to be the only woman in a meeting room, but you are in there for a reason, so own it!

If you had to pick one mentor that had the biggest influence on you, who would it be?

I was lucky to spend some time working in the States under an amazing CRO. He taught me confidence and allowed me to grow and take on challenges that I believed to be beyond my skill set. He let me shine and grow and at no point tried to hold me back. I will always be thankful for his guidance and navigation.

From where do you draw inspiration?

I am a bit of a magpie, so I draw inspiration and learnings from several people I meet and learn from the attributes and qualities that they demonstrate. It is so amazing and inspiring when I meet a really successful and put-together female in a position of authority. It makes me want to strive for that.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced to date?

Juggling being a parent and working in a high-pressured and demanding position. I am naturally always going to work hard and push myself, but it can be challenging when also raising a young family. However, my daughter is as opinionated and headstrong as I am, so I need to demonstrate that you can have it all actively, but you need to work hard to do that.

What qualities do you feel makes a good leader?

The leaders I look up to the most always communicate clearly, and concisely and make actionable tasks manageable. It is not about tackling 15 issues at once but rather breaking them down into smaller chunks so you can work through the process and get the job done.

Good leaders also give people space and autonomy to find their own path and style.

As a leader, I think I am incredibly honest and I am consistent. I try hard to be open-minded and fair, but I also understand when I am pushing people out of their comfort zone. It is hard to be a good leader, and I don’t get it right often, but I always try, and I would like to think that people I work with know my intentions and aims, even if sometimes I fall short.

From a work viewpoint what has the last couple of years been like?

CRAZY! Since I started in Condatis, I have managed to get to grips with a technical and complex solution. I feel I am now in a great position to offer guidance and expertise to our clients in all things digital identity. There has been a lot of growth and progression but lots of work and long hours. However, we are seeing the results, making all the effort worthwhile.

What would you say are the biggest tech-based challenges we face today?

The balance between having the desire and ambition to be innovative versus the ability to challenge the status quo and make fundamental changes. For example, decentralised identity is a really amazing technology, but it does change certain industry norms around data ownership for example. Identity is not a fixed position in technology, it is a journey. Working out where people are on that journey and looking at the big picture is always one of the most enjoyable parts of my role, but also making these stages something that companies can deliver successfully and navigating the process is always varied.

What can be done to encourage more women into the industry?

Women need to understand that to be a female in tech does not mean you have to be in the technical side of things and be a developer, for example. I have spent over ten years in technology, allowing me to engage with some of the most interesting brands and companies, and I can’t code to save my life. A tech career can be what you want it to be, so don’t feel that it needs to equate to coding and don’t write off the opportunity as it has allowed me to travel, learn and have a really rewarding and successful career, thus far!

Give us a fact about you that most other people wouldn’t know.

I am an open book, so most people know most things about me. I guess my guilty pleasure is watching a number of the real Housewives franchises…so maybe people don’t know that about me.