Jackie Ronson

Global Customer & Digital Director - Hive

How did you get into data and technology, and why?

What really inspired my career was not a plan, but an experience. I remember years and years ago travelling with my boyfriend and being in a hotel in Canada. The whole experience didn’t involve people – it was all digitalised, it was all personalised, and it was absolutely incredible. Everything was at the touch of a button and this was really before digital transformation had started happening across a number of sectors. It was the sort of experience where I thought, ‘how do I get into that?’ I had no plan and that’s what’s fascinating when I reflect and look back on my career.

How has a setback or obstacle shaped you?  

I remember when I had my own business and I was doing the public speaking circuit, it was absolutely terrifying to get up in front of thousands of people to present. It was only through doing it again and again that confidence builds. Then you see that you can actually do it and you can draw on that going forward. The constant practice of something difficult helps you realise that you do have the skills and ability that you need.

What keeps you interested?

I’m really passionate about supporting women in data and tech and also women in leadership. These are really important areas for creating opportunities and there are many fantastic networks that I’m involved in. I mentor a number of girls because while I’ve been lucky in my career, I have also had some great role models and some great women leaders so I just want to make sure those opportunities are there for the next generation. I can see that they aren’t in many cases so if I can help open that up for others then I will feel as though I have done my part for the next generation. 

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I would say to be a little braver, be a little bolder, take a few more risks because when you look back, what’s the worst that could happen? If you’re doing things with the right intentions – with integrity and with ambition  – it’s only going to be respected. I’d also say to place yourself in uncomfortable situations and take yourself out of your comfort zone as you learn so much more from those experiences. Even if at the time you feel like a failure you will actually learn so much more and you will take yourself forward at a greater pace than if you hadn’t tried.

I continue to build a network of strong women to compare notes with and ask for help, because we can't do it by ourselves.
How do you gain confidence?  

Not everyone will be confident all of the time and that’s healthy and completely natural. I absolutely have my moments when my confidence will be shaken and I have to draw on my reserves – thinking about what I have done and what I have achieved and my experience, and that helps me.

Do you have a network of women to lean on?

I continue to build a network of strong women to draw on to compare notes with and to ask for help from, because we certainly can’t do it by ourselves. 

What does success mean to you?

I think it is ultimately about achieving balance and there have definitely been times in my life when I haven’t got that balance right, so I think success for me is ultimately having that in place for everyone.

What is the toughest lesson that you’ve had to learn?

There have been many, but one is around my natural tendency for perfection. In very dynamic environments you can’t wait for things to be perfect, you need to constantly improve and constantly test your thinking, so for me it’s been learning that actually getting something out there, getting something on the table in front of customers was going to be far more value than waiting until I got to what might be a perfect product but would never know because it would be too late.

What advice would you give to girls and young women interested in a career in data and technology?

I don’t think there could be a more exciting sector to get into. Data and technology is full of change, its full of innovation, it’s full of opportunities – it’s one of the biggest growth areas so you can apply many different skills to this sector and there will be something for everyone. There’s a real need to be bold and brave and to realise that this exciting sector is open to everyone, including women.

Can you tell us about the significant object that you’ve chosen?

Boxing gloves, because they remind me of my Australian heritage. I am proud to be Australian and growing up there developed that sense of a fighting spirit – feeling a little bit of the underdog and needing to punch above our weight to be seen and to be heard. I draw on this spirit at times when I need to fight for my corner, fight for what is right or fight to be heard.