Meet Jessica: the multifaceted professional who redefines what hard work means.
Our speaker in April is an eager professional. Her enthusiasm and vitality are contagious. Talking to Jessica feels like a shot of energy. She lights up the room radiating happiness and productivity.
With a tea in her hand, Jessica took some time off her dynamic life to share with the Future Females team her professional journey and her advice to stay healthy as an employee.
Jessica is an international business professional. She works in Communication, Organization & Stakeholder Management. Alongside her job as a communication specialist and content editor at VodafoneZiggo, she is a freelance speaker and event organizer. She has experience in corporate education, tech, and consumer psychology. She manages a vitality employment project at VodafoneZiggo and is the vice-president of NLdigital NextGen. And, as if this is not enough, she was recently awarded TechGirl of the Month. Jessica does it all, and her energy is endless.
Her colleagues call her a ‘social butterfly’ due to her constant enthusiasm to meet people, network and connect. Jessica considers herself without a doubt a multifaceted professional. “I believe my strengths come from working in different companies and different fields. It makes you a very flexible and multidimensional professional. If everyone is a specialist in one thing, then who is connecting the dots? You need people who are generalists like me, people who connect the specialists in A and the specialists in B to make it all happen.”
It is not uncommon to ask ourselves, how do people like Jessica manage their energy and motivation. For her is all about staying busy. She feeds from the tasks she does and her energy to continue comes from the work itself. “Many people are surprised that I still have so much energy because I do so much. But my energy level increases because of these activities and not despite them. Most people will think that if you do a lot, you must be tired all the time. But I am only tired when I do nothing. I am not the kind of person who can lay on the couch all day. Doing the things I love is what makes me energized” .
Jessica’s amazing energy management also comes from learning of her own experience. As any other hard-working professional Jessica has experienced a moment of frustration and breakdown in her professional journey, from which she has taken many lessons that she can now apply in her work to help others.
“You’ll be surprised that I have had only one —laughs—. But when I worked at Oracle I noticed I had a fascination for education within companies. That’s why I decided to do a master’s in Educational Sciences. I was working 40 hours a week and studying 40 hours a week. That was a lot to take in. I had to say to my social life that I did not have time, and put my education and career first. That was really hard. Wanting to say yes but having to say no. I had a big social pressure. I could not work less because I also needed the income. I could not study less because then it would take longer to finish. That was the only moment in my life in which I almost had a breakdown. I thought ‘how will I manage this? What do I need to do to not break down?’”
Jessica believes that the key challenge is to figure out what specifically is causing you stress in order to find the best personal solution. “I knew what was causing my stress. It came from social pressure. So I decided to go to Barcelona to finish my masters. I wanted to continue to work at Oracle and they had an office in Barcelona so it was perfect. I canceled my rent here so that saved money which meant I could work less. I started working 21 hours a week, I gained an Erasmus scholarship, and I had such social relief because I was away. All in one, that saved me money, I could work less, I finished everything on time and I didn’t have a breakdown” —laughs—.
For Jessica, her solution was not only a key milestone in her life but it made her realize that the obvious choice is not always the correct one. “People told me ‘you have to do less’, but that was not the cause of my stress. I understood that doing less sometimes is not the solution. Maybe it is not about doing less, it is doing it differently. And for me, doing it somewhere else”.
Jessica’s past experiences have allowed her not only to gain life lessons but also to live many rewarding moments. Her interest in education and wellness drives her to do good and fulfills her mind and heart with valuable experiences. “At Oracle, we did donations and volunteering programs. I was responsible for education, where we offered universities free curriculum materials in coding, big data, and cloud computing. I also set up a summer camp for coding. I saw all the kids working with code. Things I don’t even understand. I felt really old —laughs— but it was so rewarding. I have had so many fun and meaningful experiences. I love to make a difference. So I think I’m going in the right direction”. And she definitely is!