Career Snapshot: Be agile and don’t be afraid to embrace change
From programming an early Apple to gaining an MBA while having her first child, Julie Gibb, chief technology officer at Sim Local has clearly had a challenging yet rewarding career. But she says the bottom line is be ready to try new things.
VanillaPlus: What was your first job?
Julie Gibb: My first graduate role was at Nortel Networks as a project manager straight out of university in 1995, where I was responsible for the phased expansion of International Operators fixed line networks across Europe. It was a great introduction to working within a multinational company and taught me a lot about collaborating with multi-cultural teams across various geographies.
I was lucky to have entered the telecoms sector at a time of deregulation and was exposed to US operators expanding into Europe as well as a fast-paced, results-driven working environment. Those formative years gave me the foundations of a work ethic that still drives me to this day.
VanillaPlus: What led you into a career in telecoms?
Julie Gibb: When I was a child we had an early model Apple computer at home and I used to spend hours typing in programming code just to see a little stick man run across the screen and throw a javelin when I hit the enter button. The anticipation of the magic the computer screen was going to deliver to me was more thrilling than the actual result!
Later on in life when I researched different degree courses I kept finding myself drawn to technology-orientated degrees and I eventually settled on one that combined technology acumen with a business acumen. Since starting my career in telecommunications over 20 years ago, I knew I had found my calling and have enjoyed a rewarding career in the sector ever since.
VanillaPlus: Without naming and shaming, tell us about your worst ever boss.
Julie Gibb: It might be a little bit tongue in cheek, but I have not had a worst ever boss! Every boss has brought me a little further along with respect to confidence in myself and my abilities. I could not ask for more!
VanillaPlus: What has been your most memorable business travel experience?
Julie Gibb: One of the best reasons to work in the technology industry is the opportunity for international business travel and to be able to work in multi-cultural environments. I had the opportunity early on in my career to travel to Tel Aviv which was a city I had always wanted to visit.
The company who hosted the conference very generously facilitated a private tour of the main tourist attractions around Tel Aviv, and further afield, and I have a framed collage of our small group photographed at various well-known locations including a swim in The Dead Sea. Whenever I look at that collage, I am reminded of why I love working in technology. At Sim Local, we work with partners located all around the globe and it is truly rewarding to interact with so many different cultures.
VanillaPlus: What has been your proudest moment in your career so far?
Julie Gibb: Working full time whilst also completing my MBA for over two years was an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience. I learnt how to manage time effectively and to become quick at prioritising what is important. In addition to work and my MBA I was also expecting my first child, which challenged me to re-think how to complete the qualification successfully. With support from the college and my husband I completed my degree as planned and I have a graduation photo with my master’s degree in one hand, my son in the other and my husband beaming with pride beside me, which continues to be one of the proudest moments of my life.
I’m also extremely proud of the launch of the UNITE platform at Sim Local years of work finally paid off! The platform provides the core capability mobile operators need to offer eSIM services to their customers. It uses the latest in web technologies in conjunction with a cloud & microservices architecture to bring a best-in-class capability into an operator’s eSIM ecosystem this solves a problem for operators who are time- and/or resource-constrained where we can deliver a complete eSIM solution to them in just a matter of weeks.
VanillaPlus: What business/life lesson would you share with your younger self?
Julie Gibb: To have confidence in yourself, be agile and not to be afraid to embrace change. Technology is constantly evolving and bringing new challenges to our ways of working, therefore you need to be able to try new things and not be afraid of making mistakes welcome and learn from them!