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Inspiring Reigatian: Jemima Dickinson

Jemima Dickinson (RGS 2003-2010) is Channels and Alliances Manager, for the UK and Ireland at MuleSoft, an enterprise connectivity platform working within the insurance, higher education, banking, and healthcare sectors. She highlights the importance of going beyond your comfort zone and using failure as a stepping stone to success…

Briefly describe your journey from RGS to your current role
I finished RGS Sixth Form in 2010 and although I thought I might like to study languages, I was unsure where, so made the decision to move to France and Italy for a year and apply for university during my gap year. I chose to study French and Italian at the University of Edinburgh and spent my third year abroad once again in France and Italy, which was an incredible experience. After four amazing years, I graduated with a 2:1 in Modern Languages with Distinction in spoken French and, having studied such a broad subject, I was undecided whether to continue to study translation or look for a language-based job. On my graduation day from Edinburgh I received a call from a recruiter for a sales role in London and after a few gruelling rounds of interviews I starting working in Business Development for a tech start-up, which introduced me to the world of cloud software (a world I never thought I’d be part of!). As someone without a hint of a technical background, it was a great introduction to an industry that is in a phase of hyper-growth and underpins so many elements of our daily life.

Convey to us your current role and business
I work as Alliances and Channels Manager for an international software company that helps businesses to digitally transform through technology. My role is focused around a sales target and entails partner and customer relationship building, events, executive engagement, and enablement activities. It’s a great middle ground between consulting and technology sales and touches on different elements of the sales process; legal, accounting, deal negotiation and relationship management. More recently I have had a secondary focus on supporting our Public Sector and Retail Industry teams as they engage third-parties to accelerate sales pipeline and successfully implement our software.

Tell us more about the awards you have won
I was promoted into this role in May 2018 and was fortunate enough to be awarded the ‘EMEA Rookie of the Year’ for my achievements in my first year of partner management. As part of a growing organisation, we often find ourselves wearing multiple hats and my role, of managing our relationship with one of the large consultancy firms, provided a huge opportunity for career progression. In addition to quota attainment, our company is focused on personal and professional development and awards accolades to celebrate our core values. Last year I also received the ‘Growth Award’ for my work with our sales leadership team and supporting capability and sales pipeline growth for some of our boutique consultancies.

What does the recognition from these awards mean to you?
Both awards were a complete surprise and gave me the confidence to put myself forward for other opportunities and projects internally. It can be intimidating being surrounded by so many intelligent, successful, and driven colleagues and I’m hugely grateful to be recognised for standing out amongst all the talent. The awards also provided a platform to demonstrate the career path from business development into channel sales, which is something I’m passionate about as it promotes new avenues for women in technology sales.

Based on your experience of working at a firm that rewards success, what do you think the next steps are to creating equality in the work environment?
When you think of technology or sales roles there is often a predefined image of the right candidate and this usually doesn’t represent the diversity of our society. For me, it’s been invaluable having a series of mentors and managers, both male and female, who have focused on encouraging me to apply for the next role, put myself forwards and not be afraid to stand out when the opportunity arises. More recently I’ve seen great strides in encouraging diversity in entry-level roles, however I think more needs to be done to promote diversity within leadership teams to inspire the next generation. It would be a huge stride for equality to see more women in boardroom positions.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
I’ve recently read Brené Brown’s books and find her studies on vulnerability and shame both insightful and scarily accurate. As a mentor, I’m sure she’d push me outside my comfort zone and encourage me to make more mistakes to embrace failure as a stepping stone to success, which is not something that comes naturally. If you’ve not read her books yet, I’d highly recommend giving them a read!

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you use it?
Working in a high-stress, quota-driven environment, I’ve found I need a way to let off steam. I try to go for a run or do a spin class most days to switch off from work and have some time to myself.

What inspires you?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by a number of strong role models who embody the values of ‘working smarter not harder’. They inspire me to focus my energy on doing the important things well rather than burning myself out working until late in the evening trying to perfect everything. I also think change can be scary, so anyone who’s willing to make a change when they feel unrewarded or unfulfilled is an inspiration.

In five words (or less) what would your advice be to others in your field?
Celebrate failures as learning experiences.

How do you balance work and life?
I struggled with this concept when I first started working, often being the first to arrive and last to leave the office. Unsurprisingly, this meant I was always overtired and much less productive. Recently I’ve been scheduling more activities in the evenings which has had the added benefit of giving me more focus during the day. This year I’m hoping to travel more so I’m planning my trips well in advance to avoid getting too caught up with work.

What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Brené Brown: “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

Follow this link to see all our Inspiring Minds activity in support of International Women’s Day 2020.

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