What It Means To Be A Woman In Tech: Q & A With Valerie Jennings, CEO of JSMM
At the young age of 24, Valerie Jennings started a marketing agency in Overland Park, Kan. She has never let her gender define or stop her from powering ahead and making moves in the business world. Today, Valerie is the founder and CEO of Jennings Social Media & MarTech, as well as an influential business leader in the community. From being awarded the 2014 Most Influential Women in Business by KC Business magazine to her feature in Woman 2 Watch by Friday Girl T.V., Valerie is a true superstar. When it comes to being a woman in tech, Valerie advocates for other businesswomen and women and girls who want to pursue a career in the industry or who have started businesses.
What is the most rewarding part of being a woman in tech?
Technology is the future and being in the center of innovation is what drives me. As an early adopter in social media, I have been attracted to the industry as it continues to impact my business daily. Apart from innovation, I strive for success and excellence and the tech industry aligns with my vision as a business owner and as an early adopter in social media. Technology will shape our future, our planet and economic development across the world. We can never have too much tech in our future and as long as we continue to create and advance our societies, we will reap the rewards of a healthier planet, more jobs and a better quality of life. Women and men are leading this charge and I’m just glad to be part of it.
Why does JSMM & VBM work with so many tech companies?
Technology companies are our best industry for a variety of reasons. The primary driver is that we speak the language. Our team understands algorithms, databases, the science of marketing to targeted audiences, reporting trends and emerging trends, and adapting to new software. Once we speak a company’s language, they understand that we understand. Once you have mutual understanding, you can create anything for their business. Trust becomes a fact and respect is earned.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a woman in tech?
I do not see anything challenging about being a woman in tech. It’s an opportunity and I enjoy every moment of it.
How can we get more girls into the profession?
Mentorship is key, but also bridging economic and social divides to show girls that anyone from anywhere can enter the industry. You don’t have to be affluent, pretty, sophisticated or connected, you just have to understand the global economy and find the right company that feeds your passions.
Do you think that there is a gender bias towards women in the tech industry?
I don’t think biases existing until we define a bias. Women have shied away from STEM for decades. The U.S. also needs to step up its game in STEM all the way around. Do women feel intimidated by tech, maybe, but maybe we just now started talking about it in a way that showed women and girls that they are isolated. We just need to advance as a society and allow anyone to do anything they desire, so we can compete on a global economy of scale. Whatever your gender, you deserve to do anything you desire as long as it makes sense for you. The benefits of opening up career fields to everyone is that we will end up attracting the best. The best and brightest is all we should be looking for.