Meredith Jacobson is the network director for WITI LA. She is also a senior technical recruiter at Johnson Service Group (JSG), Inc., one of the top companies in the staffing services industry.
Julia Miglets, our social media and marketing strategist, spoke with Meredith about how she sets herself apart as a network director and a woman in tech.
Julia Miglets (JM): How did you get started in tech, and what brought your work to the success it's reached today?
Meredith Jacobson (MJ):
Login Consulting. I didn't know anything about the different types of servers or anything at all.
I joined Login Consulting in January. I started learning and fell in love with technology. That same year, Login Consulting sent me to my first WITI meeting. I met several amazing women, and I engaged with Henry, David, and everybody from WITI.
I am still close with a mentor I met at my first WITI event. Though she's not an active member of WITI, we still talk and get together, and our husbands are friends now. It's been amazing.
WITI is an impactful part of my journey to becoming successful. I've been in a leadership position since 2015, and I am passionate about it. I like the idea that my role with WITI is opening doors for other young women who are going to college and studying in the tech field. Anything I can do to help promote tech education for females is part of my passion for the industry.
JM: It's hard for women to find equal opportunities in tech. What have you done to set yourself apart from the crowd?
I work on the recruiting side of technology, and I interact a great deal with men and women. I've learned to be myself, be down to earth, and talk to them on their levels. If I don't understand something in the technology field, I'm open and honest, and I ask a lot of questions. That vulnerability helped me succeed because I'm willing to learn and grow.
My career in tech has been fabulous. I've had female bosses and I've had two male bosses. My current boss is amazing. He's opened up many doors and helped me find success at JSG where I've been the last year.
My time at JSG has been phenomenal. They've fully supported my involvement with WITI.
JM: What kind of creative avenues does the LA network use to stand out from other networks?
We were the first chapter. We have tried to create different events that appeal to different people so we can constantly evolve, grow, and embrace different kinds of technologies.
We've done events on cybersecurity, international trade and technology, women in aerospace, executive mentoring, speed networking, and many more. We introduced the idea of speed networking; it was hugely successful and one of our best events.
We've got a lot of variety in what we do, so that helps us stand apart.
JM: Is there a mission statement your network stands for?
We follow the WITI mission statement to build, empower, and inspire. We also firmly believe in Carolyn's philosophy that no one should stand alone. I embrace that mantra every time we have a meeting. I talk about how we should be inclusive.
JM: How can we encourage more women and girls to pursue careers in technology? What would you say to inspire them to have a career similar to yours?
WITI is engaging across the country with young women. At our aerospace event, we had some middle school and high school-aged girls who were interested in aerospace, and one of them wanted to be a rocket scientist. She was amazing.
We were invited to speak at a college in Pomona, California, talking about women in technology, how to stay in the field, how to network, and how to use LinkedIn. We made the event fun and did interactive exercises with them. The experience was fabulous.
JM: Do you think it made them more interested in tech?
Definitely. I have many LinkedIn connections, and people following up with me once they graduated. A lot of them stayed connected. They ask me questions from time to time, and I find it moving.
JM: Why are you interested in technology?
I like how tech evolves and how it is exciting and never boring. And even though I work in recruiting, I get to learn about new technologies all the time, and I love it. I'm inspired by technology every day, and it's fun. I do a lot of IT recruiting.
I had never heard of the Docker Conference, for instance, and they were sending my consultants there earlier this year. I did some research on the conference and found the Docker Conference is all about Cloud technology and how it's evolving and growing and how companies are utilizing it.
I love going to different conferences as a network director. I've been to the ISA, which is the International Security Association. They embrace us and have invited us back year after year. We've had so much opportunity here. I love it. We've gone to several talks on cybersecurity.
Everybody we meet at these events is different. Everybody has a different technology they use at their company, and it's great to learn, hear, and share.
WITI LA provides a local forum for women to network with each other, forge connections, share resources, and discover opportunities in the technology industry.
You can view upcoming WITI LA events at witi.com/la
Julia Miglets is a graduate of Youngstown State University. She studied Professional and Technical Writing and wishes to pursue a career in editing.