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IWD 2021: Meet Jess McCabe

Today we are catching up with our Head of Sales, Jess McCabe, on what IWD means to her!

Jess is 27 and has recently become a first time Mum to her daughter Maya. Jess started her career in sales almost 8 years ago and has spend the past 4 years working for Eljays44, starting out as a sales executive and going on to run the entire sales operation as Head of Sales.

What does IWD mean to you?

IWD to me is about celebrating and empowering women! We live in a time where women are continually pushing boundaries, breaking stereotypes and doing amazing things and owning them. Becoming a mother to my daughter Maya last year, I now more than ever want to share my experiences, stand up for what I believe in and make sure Maya knows that she can achieve anything if she puts her mind to it.

How did you get to where you are in your career?

I would have to say it has a lot to do with my family. Growing up, I was surrounded by strong women who have pushed me to strive for the best. My mum raised my sister and I, all while studying and from there went on to pursue a successful career in finance. Both my mum and my sister taught me to reach for the stars and that you can never stop learning.

What’s your career highlight?

My career highlight so far would definitely be returning from work after having my daughter. Motherhood has taught me many things, patience being a big one. I have learnt a lot of transferable skills and become much more adaptable and this has allowed me to take over the entire sales operation for Eljays44. Job satisfaction since being a parent is just a whole different ball game, and I have even more desire to work hard and succeed.

What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman at the very start of her career?

Never stop voicing your opinion, and don’t see your emotions as a flaw. They are part of what makes you, you!

What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women in management roles? 

I think that there is this perception that you can’t have it all when it comes to family life and work life. A while back, I was enrolled in a management course and the course leaders at the time asked me if I was planning on having a family in the next couple of years as the course was quite a big commitment. This type of assumption, that you can’t do both is a huge issue and one women spend a lot of time worrying over, when in fact, I am forever coming in to contact with amazing, ambitious, strong women that prove, you can in fact have it all.

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does this mean to you?

This is so important, I am huge advocate for this. The media historically has taught us to judge other women, whether it be a best/worst dressed list or terms such as ‘Queen Bee’ and ‘Ice Queen’ that are continually used to negatively portray women. It starts with us, we have to empower each other, lift each other up and remind each other that we are capable of amazing things.

Which woman inspires you most and why?

I recently posted about this on LinkedIn but my sister is a huge inspiration of mine. Being 18 months older than me, I always looked up to her through childhood and that hasn’t changed in adult life. She is self-taught in software engineering, is trilingual and has always chased her dreams whether it’s taken her to Africa, Barcelona or Dublin where she now resides. She knows her worth, and is not afraid to speak her mind.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman in becoming successful in your field & how did you overcome them? 

Being in sales, a very male dominated industry, I have worked in offices before where I was completely overlooked and not given the same chances and opportunities as my male peers. If I could give my younger self some advice now, it would be to champion yourself and ask for what you want, have those awkward conversations, know your worth and ask for that pay rise.

Finally, we know that work isn’t your whole life! So, what are your hobbies outside of work?

My hobbies have changed a lot over the last year. I have a new found love for home interiors and am incredibly passionate about sensory play and activities for my little girl.

Check back tomorrow to see the last in our IWD series, and hear from Eljays44’s head of HR, Alex Olley.

To read yesterday’s IWD feature with head of content Nina Mason, click here.

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