As we continue to celebrate International Women’s Day, we bring you Jessie’s career story at Scotiabank, where she’s a data analytics expert in Global Operations and uses her skillset to enhance the customer experience and have a meaningful impact on the business.
Jessie has always had an interest in the subject, but her career has taken a few turns before leading her back to data analysis. In her early 20s, Jessie transferred out of an engineering program because she didn’t like to be “the only woman in the room”. With a strong background in math and science, pursuing an economics degree seemed to be a good alternative.
“I picked hard courses in the economics department and that’s when I fell in love with applied microeconomics,” Jessie says. “I like to think of myself as an ‘economist turned data scientist’. I love data and thinking about how our customers’ information comes to be featured in a model.”
Throughout her career, Jessie has had the opportunity to work in different fields, including the academic world and the software industry. All her experiences have led her to her current role at Scotiabank as Director of Data Analytics for Global Contact Centres—a people manager role where she leads a team of 17. It’s a new challenge in her career that she’s embraced with open arms and with the support of fellow team leaders at Scotiabank.
“The transition to leadership at a director level is difficult, but I appreciate the calibre of executive leadership that we have at Scotiabank,” Jessie says. “Here you have the opportunity to learn from really strong leaders who have clear strategic plans and a clear vision for delivery.”
Over time, she’s developed her own leadership style. One of her maxims as a leader is to encourage people in her team to see data not just as facts and figures, but as an aggregate representation of humans that can be woven into a meaningful story.
“The work my team does is used by people every day,” Jessie says. “It is important to think about the people behind the numbers. The entire flow of data through the contact centres, which process millions of calls, is driven and enhanced thanks to data. We must view the data as a means to tell a story—not just some abstract story, but an actual story of how we can best run our business. Ultimately, it’s all about delivering useful and trustworthy insights—that’s how we as a team have an impact.”
And when it comes to hiring new people who can contribute to that data storytelling process, there’s one skill she’s come to see as essential to succeed in her team. “Curiosity is at the top of the list,” she says. “I value people who are teachable, so a mix of humility and curiosity is important.”
Jessie says she knows that the same curiosity driving innovation at work can also propel people to explore different professional paths. That’s why, as a leader, she encourages people in her team to develop new skills and try new things in their careers. For her, that’s probably one of the most rewarding aspects of being a people manager—helping others find their way to their dream job just like she did as she carved out a path back to data analysis at Scotiabank.
If you’re interested in learning more about working in a team like Jessie’s or any other group in Global Operations at Scotiabank, click here.