Jacqui Glover: Forging a Career in Tech as a Working Mother

Early Days: A Focus on Survival


Jacqui Glover didn’t expect a career in tech. After finishing school with no clear direction, “there were no funds to study and I had no idea when I had what I wanted to do,” she says. Life took an unexpected turn when she had a son at 23 as a single mother. “My decisions in my career then took a vast shift to focus on bringing in a salary to look after my son,” she explains. Her priority became providing for her child, taking an admin job at a large insurance company. For five years, she worked her way up to a team leader role. Though unfulfilling, it gave her time to plan her next move, deciding to get project management certified.


Breaking into Tech: Perseverance Through Self-Doubt


Armed with a certification, Jacqui expected to quickly transition into project management. Instead, it took a year and a half of perseverant applications until she got an opportunity at a small IT consultancy. Those first months felt precarious: “I genuinely thought I was going to be fired. Every single day, because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.” She describes faking confidence during a steep learning curve to understand the tech and the role.

Looking back now, Jacqui sees that difficult start as formative: “I was working every single day and I was just faking it throughout the entire process…It was a lot of hours spent on honing on the skill set. Really learning the product stack, really understanding what project management was.” The hands-on experience prepared her for more senior project management positions later on.


Progressing Whilst Parenting: Support Systems Enable Growth


After five years, Jacqui moved to Virgin Active to manage projects and programmes. When the company shifted to agile development, she was selected to transition into a product owner role despite having no experience. It was a trial by fire, but she enjoyed the learning curve working alongside developers and with different technologies. During this time, she also completed a degree whilst juggling three children and full-time work.

Jacqui is clear she could not have advanced her career so far without strong support, including an “understanding husband who supports my career growth.”  That enabled her to take advantage of opportunities even when they seemed beyond her experience level or comfort zone: “I pushed myself for them.”


Pivoting to Senior Positions in the UK


A desire to provide alternative opportunities to her family precipitated Jacqui and her husband relocating with their three children from South Africa to the UK. The transition came with major life changes, arriving with “just suitcases” and having to “start afresh.” Luckily, Jacqui could leverage internal contacts to swiftly win a role with the UK division of her employer. Within a month, she was promoted in recognition of her experience level. After proving herself in a customer-facing CRM position, she was later headhunted to Pinnacle as Head of Product, tasked with restructuring the division.

When asked to also take on management of Project & Programme Delivery, comprising business analysis and project management, Jacqui saw synergies with product work and is now Head of Operational Delivery. She has assembled multifunctional teams adept at both executing company strategy via enterprise initiatives whilst also advancing products to achieve growth goals.


Tackling Bias and Supporting Working Mothers in Tech


According to Jacqui, working mothers and diversity still face obstacles in tech. Recruitment processes play a role, as do company cultures and individual biases. She argues change requires buy-in and effort from both organisations and individuals.

Reflecting on early career experiences where male colleagues instinctively expected her to serve refreshments despite equal seniority, Jacqui believes change needs both structural and cultural shifts: “If you’ve got a workforce that is 50:50 split between genders, seek that feedback and actually listen to people rather than just having a textbox where you’ve got this policy.”

Enabling parents  to balance work and parenting duties through flexible arrangements, remote work options and equal opportunities fosters talent retention and career growth. Jacqui credits her own husband’s hands-on support as being vital in allowing her to advance professionally. Without family assistance, the expectation to be constantly office-based and working long, erratic hours in tech would have hindered her career. “You battle to be able to meet family commitments,” she notes.


Paying It Forward: Supporting Other Women in Tech


Having navigated tech whilst parenting, Jacqui now pays it forward both internally at Pinnacle and externally through interviews like these. She mentors more junior women entering product teams to help them skill up. And she coaches working mothers on how she managed competing priorities: “It is perfectly normal to feel anxious and stretched at times but the aim is to learn to appreciate that emotion but, in turn,  snap out of it just as quickly so you can progress.”

Her advice to women starting out in tech or struggling with self-doubt is to stay tenacious, realise setbacks are part of the journey, and focus on personal well-being. With resilience and right support systems, women can both nurture families and careers in tech: “You have the ability to manage both…I’m proof. Yes you can.”

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