We’re lucky that in Western New York we have many people working and blazing trails to build a better Buffalo. TechBuffalo in partnership with Be in Buffalo, 43North, Aleron, and Forge Buffalo launched a series highlighting Trail Blazers in our WNY community who are making a difference in tech, the start-up community, and bringing talent to WNY.
Jessica Schimert, VP of People at Mongoose, an engaging conversational software driven to help higher education streamline communication and enhance relationships. Jessica joined us this week to talk about her experience with her team and what she hopes Buffalo’s tech ecosystem will be in the near future!
What do you love most about Buffalo?
What’s not to love about the City of Good Neighbors? We live in a beautiful part of the country with year-round sporting activities. We have amazing restaurants, theaters, and THE BILLS! Most importantly, Buffalonians are unlike any others: tough, resilient, resourceful, supportive, and welcoming. I truly believe we have it all here in Buffalo!
What do you see the Buffalo tech ecosystem looking like in a few years?
In a few years, I hope Buffalo realizes traction from the multitude of efforts going on today. The collaboration among M&T, TechBuffalo, 43 North, InvestBuffalo, current entrepreneurs, and many dedicated individuals and organizations is staggering. Specifically, I hope Buffalo is able to create a robust tech talent pool from which companies can draw. I hope Seneca One becomes a live-work-play hub for the technology sector. And I hope Buffalo becomes a desirable market for tech companies to relocate to or select as their start-up location.
What is some advice you would give to those wanting to enter into the technology field?
The advice I would give is not much different than any other industry. First, know your strengths and interests and understand what makes you tick. Second, do your research and identify the breadth of available options. Third, don’t be shy: take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way whether it’s a volunteer role, internship, special project, networking event, training program, conference, etc. Exposure is what will help identify the right fit.
Finally, don’t be afraid to invite others to coffee. Our community is tightly connected. There are so many people willing to open doors and make a difference in the careers of others, be sure to take full advantage of this opportunity.
What made you focus on upskilling in technology?
My “upskilling” in technology is a little different than the traditional sense. My trade is people not technology. I spent many years as a leadership and organizational development consultant in a variety of industries and cultures. When I met the Mongoose team I was hooked! The fast-paced environment of this entrepreneurial tech company was so intriguing to me. I hadn’t spent much time at all in tech while consulting so I wanted to know more. The young, vibrant team is energizing to work with. They crave learning and development and that’s my passion! In short, technology and young, talented people are the future and I want to be a part of that that’s why I focused on “upskilling” in technology.
What is your hope for the people you are training and upskilling?
My role is all about ensuring we have the right people in the right seats to support our business goals. This is a function of aligning individual strengths and interests with roles. It’s also a function of understanding career interests and goals. If we know these details about each team member, we can create growth plans that support career goals. In turn, when an opportunity becomes available, we will have internal team members that are prepared to make a move.
My hopes for our Mongoose team is that they always feel engaged, challenged and that they are able to realize their full potential.