For International Women’s Day 2023, some of our colleagues share insights about what helps them find purpose and success in their career with Certis.
Jo Simpson, our General Manager and Head of Certis Technology in Certis Security Australia shares her story.
Jo Simpson leads the growing Certis Technology team in Australia. Chief among her responsibilities is bringing in new technology and ops-tech solutions to the Australian security market.
“I saw a real need in the Australian security industry for the design and installation of technology solutions for customers, as there were significant operational issues on the ground,” she answered, when asked about her impetus for joining Certis back in 2021.
“With its extensive experience and international presence, Certis understands these daily on-ground operational issues, including onsite compliance, response times to an incident, detailed standard operating procedure implementation, and can articulate the optimisation and full implementation of new technology. Certis also understands how that can dramatically affect risk, safety, security and overall operational efficiency,” she explained.
In an ever-evolving technological landscape, Jo certainly has her work cut out for her. Fortunately, she’s got her team to help her stay focused and driven.
“The secret is working with a highly skilled and collaborative team that inspires me to do my best work every day. Having a supportive team is a powerful motivator in helping me continually improve and strive for excellence,” Jo revealed as she attributes her professional success and satisfaction to the teams that surround her. Together, they fostered a supportive, collaborative, and high-performing work environment that creates a culture of excellence across the organisation.
“A good leader once told me that you can’t eat an elephant overnight,” Jo shared. “I remind myself that the large tasks in work and life need to be broken down into small pieces, assessed and tackled front on.”
While she may work with drones, surveillance systems and intelligent analytics platforms, Jo recognises that at the end of the day, she is still human. “I know that I need to take holidays or breaks with family and friends (sometimes with devices turned off!) to completely clear my head and unwind. It’s a great way to ensure that I have time to disconnect from work and fully engage with the people who matter most to me.”
At work, she creates a healthy environment with a culture of mutual respect and support by communicating her needs and boundaries. At the same time, she is open and understanding of her team’s.
Recognising that work has its moments where absolute attention is demanded, Jo reminds us that “it's important to be flexible and adaptable when needed, and to prioritise self-care and quality time with loved ones when you get the chance.”
Embracing Technology, Innovation and Creativity
Despite being a champion for technology, Jo observed that for some, acquiring the latest technology is a much easier pill to swallow than adoption and integration.
“Not everyone is comfortable with technology, and everyone has their own learning curve. It's important to foster a culture of innovation, continuous improvement and adaptation to ensure that technology is being used to its full potential,” she quipped.
Her tips to encourage technology adoption? Training to create confidence, communication of benefits to enhance overall operations, and demonstrating the technology in action.
"Definitely Lady Diana,” Jo responded without skipping a beat when asked who she’d love to have dinner with.
“I believe she would encourage people to always be kind and considerate towards others, and to use their platforms to make a positive difference in the world. She also had a strong sense of self-worth and was not afraid to speak her mind. A trailblazer in many ways, I think she would encourage people to be true to themselves and to pursue their passions, even if it means going against the status quo,” she explained.
Other sources of inspiration for Jo includes frontliners who demonstrate grit and resilience, as well as those who have had to make sacrifices to care for others (such as parents) while working full time. Their ability to juggle multiple roles, working hard to create a better future for themselves and their families, serves as “reminder of the determination of the human spirit”.
Words of Encouragement
Jo believes that diversity is crucial in any field, including the tech industry. She encourages women who are interested in technology to take the leap to join, or make, that career switch.
In support of that, Jo has five nuggets of advice:
- Embrace your unique strengths and perspective. Women bring a diverse range of skills and perspectives to the tech industry. Don't be afraid to share your ideas, insights and embrace your strengths as a valuable asset to the team. Believe in your abilities and your potential. If you’ve done the hard work to get here, then you have the skills and knowledge to succeed in the tech industry. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Be proactive in seeking out opportunities and support. Networking and exploring different job opportunities can be an effective way to break into the tech industry. Seek out mentors and connect with other women in the industry to gain insights and build your professional network. It’s important to have people you can turn to for support when facing challenges.
- Stay current with new technologies and trends. The tech industry is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay up to date with new technologies and trends. Attend industry conferences, take online courses and read tech blogs to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.
- Be persistent and resilient. Like any industry, the tech industry can be challenging, and it's important to be persistent and resilient in the face of setbacks or challenges. View them as learning opportunities. Don't give up on your goals and stay focused on your long-term career aspirations.
- Celebrate your successes. Take the time to acknowledge your successes and accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Celebrating these successes can help build confidence and motivation to tackle future challenges.
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