Q&A with PacketFabric’s Jezzibell Gilmore on the Challenges for Women in Mission Critical | “Working Twice as Hard, with Twice the Self-Doubt”
LEESBURG, VA — Jezzibell Gilmore has been the Senior Vice President of Business Development at PacketFabric, LLC. since July 2015. Jezzibell was an early stage employee of AboveNet Communications and Akamai Technologies, and previously served as VP of Operations at RoamData, as well as VP of Business Development for GTT. A passionate advocate for women in technology, she will be a keynote speaker at CAPRE’s Women of Mission Critical Summit on September 9. In anticipation of the event, we connected with Jezzibell to showcase her perspective and success, as well as to preview the Summit.
CAPRE: Thanks for chatting with us today. Please share with us a bit about yourself and your role at PacketFabric.
Gilmore: I lead Sales, Marketing, Strategy and Procurement for PacketFabric. I also help co-found the company. We’re a software defined hyperscale on-demand Network-as-a-Service provider. Our vision for the company is not to just provide transport services but to make network services easy to consume and encourage collaboration between companies.
CAPRE: Why is collaboration so important at this moment?
Gilmore: The next level of innovation is going to come through collaboration. No single mind is going to be as strong as the gathering of minds. If we can work together and put our minds together, we can be that much better. PacketFabric wants to be that platform to facilitate collaboration and innovation.
CAPRE: Talk to us about how you got into the mission critical space.
Gilmore: I stumbled into telecom accidentally in the late 90s. Prior to that I was just out of college looking for my way. I studied Fine Arts in school, and never thought about how I can contribute to our world. This certainly isn’t something I dreamt I’d be doing when I was a little girl. The more I learned about networking, the more I loved what it does for the world – providing access to information, and it inspired me to do more.
CAPRE: Tell us about your perspective on the telecom and Mission Critical industry as a woman and a leader.
Gilmore: The networking/telecom industry is a great place for professional women to succeed. There’s a lot of room for growth and improvement. The tech industry has historically had a low percentage of female executives and I think that many in the industry are working together to change that – myself included. I’m very much in support of equality. As a former board member of NANOG – I helped build and continue to support a Women in Tech Forum within NANOG, where we provide a way for women in technology to share their experiences, and we also raise awareness, and affect changes on these issues.
CAPRE: What are you looking forward to most about CAPRE’s upcoming Women of Mission Critical Summit on September 9?
Gilmore: To meet the other women in Mission Critical! It’s a growing group, but it’s still small. There are so many interesting stories and experiences to learn about and from. We can and should support each other and we can build lifelong relationships because we share such similar experiences.
CAPRE: What is the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman in this industry?
Gilmore: The self-doubt that one must overcome. As a woman, I doubt myself a lot more than probably some of my male counterparts. I feel that I work twice as hard, and I try to go into every meeting superbly prepared. With every project, I’m proud of the quality of work I put in.
And I notice the difference between male and female counterparts. I sense that females are generally more prepared for meeting and are more organized. I’d like to see all professional women more confident – I think that with time, all women could get there. I wish that we could collectively feel more confident in our abilities. I struggle with that – am I enough? Am I good enough? But it pushes me to improve, it pushes me to introspect in what and how I do.
CAPRE: What advice would you give to someone fresh out of college, or perhaps looking to switch industries, and considering a career in the Mission Critical space?
Gilmore: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even something that’s seemingly trivial can be a critical missing link. Truly understand how something works. There are so many acronyms and technical phrases in our industry and I encourage everyone to ask questions and get clarification. It’s the foundation of success.
On another note, be open-minded, be authentic, and be true to yourself. Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it has to work for you. Stay true to what you believe in – there’s a reason why you’re you. What works for you, will work for you.
CAPRE: Got it. Thanks for your time and insight today, Jezzibell. We’ll see you in Leesburg September 9!
Hear more from Jezzibell on September 9 at CAPRE’s Women of Mission Critical Summit, where she will present the 3:20 pm – 3:50 pm keynote presentation titled “Building for Success: Top 3 Mission Critical Factors.”
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