And in today’s episode, Jacqui takes us back to the very beginning of her journey.
She was a newly qualified aerospace engineer, having just completed her vocational training.
But when the first project was assigned, her career came to a grinding halt — before it had really started.
The project was in Saudi Arabia, where she wasn’t welcome or allowed to work. As a female aerospace engineer, Jacqui was 1 of 2 in the training. This was not the first, nor the last time she had experienced sexism in her career.
The person who led her vocational training offered her work in the office. As a natural-born grafter, she brought her engineering approach to the software development part of the business.
Something that, at the time, was very new and innovative — now it’s called software engineering.
This marked the beginning of Jacqui’s transition from aerospace engineering to tech. However, as a female who is neurodivergent and visually disabled, the challenges weren’t over for her.
The 3 Main Choices You Have in Any Challenging Experience
When Jacqui is faced with a difficult situation, she knows that there are always 3 routes that you can take.
Even in the most challenging times, Jacqui eases out her bitterness with a walk in nature, before she finds herself ready to learn from it.
She’s never been the one to quit.
Taking on the role in the office, Jacqui learned the ropes, built systems and absorbed all that she could. She quickly outgrew her role. And was told she would have to wait 5 years to get a promotion.
After 2 years in another engineering role that she also outgrew, she started her first business.
The “Golden Thread” That Changed Her Approach to Profit Growth
Jacqui’s experiences throughout her career have always presented her with new problems to be solved. All of which she takes on with an engineering approach. She learns all that she can about the situation with hard facts and data.
And then presents her findings as a solution. It’s just the way her brain works.
She also cares deeply about how her business impact which has led to her current work with the UN.
But it wasn’t until someone flagged that she was highly empathetic that she noticed there was more to the way that she looked at problems than she thought.
After doing an empathy test — which she blew out the water — she realised that she had been using empathy as a tool in her business approach, without even noticing.
And when she worked this way with more awareness, she boiled it down to a simple concept:
If you build things for profit, you get the society that we see today.
But when you combine profit and purpose, this is where the real money and impact are.
You have a business that’s aware of its place in the world — while growing.
The research that Jacqui made on this topic got her an honorary Ph.D. — that she received 37 years after her undergraduate in aerospace engineering.
In what is a fascinating conversation with Jacqui on the podcast, there are a few key themes that stick out from all that she has learned…
- Always speak with your peers and share ideas
- Collaboration is at the root of all change
- Become aware of impact first
Jacqui’s work has changed how businesses explore their approach to climate change by spotlighting how much of an impact they have on the world.
And she leaves today’s chat with a thought-provoking question — how can we connect better to be that resource to create change?