Kia ora. I’m Jill McCarthy and I am the Content Delivery Manager at Education Perfect and Mum of two. I live under the mighty Taranaki Maunga but I have called home to Wellington, London and Singapore.
I have over 10 years of experience in the tech industry with expertise in Project Management, Design Thinking and Agile Software Development. I have worked on tech projects in Wellington, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, and London. I joined EP as a Senior Project Manager helping to drive company-wide efficiencies by transitioning to a new CRM tool. I now manage a wonderful team who creates curriculum-aligned content for our customers on our EP Platform. In whatever free time I get with 2 kids under 3, I like to purchase pottery, drink coffee or craft beers and be outdoors – preferably in the garden or ocean.
Why do you love working at EP?
This is not my first rodeo and I know the values that are important to me. EP is very closely aligned with these. There is a strong emphasis on employee engagement, development and reward and recognition. Not to mention the strong emphasis on family. Flexibility and support enable me to balance a career alongside raising my children.
How did you find transitioning from your previous role into an EdTech role?
My background is not education (apart from receiving one) and understanding the education sector, global curriculums and educational terminology has been a steep learning curve.
I like to think of the skills I bring to the company as the hyphen in Ed-tech. While the hyphen is just a stroke, to me it represents the strategy, design, and delivery skills that are required in any company. They help bridge Education to Technology. I work with some incredibly smart people who are passionate about Education and/or technology. For me, I like a little bit of both, and my experience and expertise are the fuzzy bit in the middle.
Tell us about a time when you viewed an event or occurrence as a negative, though in hindsight it turned out to be positive.
In my early career, I was posted to a project based in Hong Kong to design and build an iOS iPhone and apple watch app (this was a time when smartwatches were just coming into the market). I was a recent new joiner to my employer in Singapore before they eagerly shipped me off to run a project and team in Hong Kong. When I reflect on my skill set, I had experience running design projects but not engineering, and I had little to no experience in agile or software development. Not only this, I couldn’t speak Cantonese, but everyone could speak English.
My lack of skills was not lost on my team as we struggled to manage scope, demanding stakeholders and technical constraints.
This was easily the hardest project I have ever been a part of, or led! Not because of the extraordinary demands of a high-profile customer in a foreign country, but because I was working with a group of individuals, not a team. There was no trust or connection, and we were all trying to make the best of a really bad situation.
The feedback I received from my team during this project was ruthless, I still shudder at the thought of our fortnightly ‘Retrospectives’. However, what I learned about building a team and putting them at the centre of what I do has been invaluable, and I have taken those learnings with me in everything I have done since. You are only as good as your team, your team carries you, and you carry your team. For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
What’s the funniest joke you know by heart?
What did the 0 (Zero) say to the 8 (Eight)? Nice belt.
Who is an historical figure you’d like to chat with over dinner, and why?
I would have loved to wine and dine with Hilary Clinton in the days after her concession to Donald Trump. Not a historical figure (still alive, kicking and wonderful) but, an event in history that fascinated and changed the world. It was a moment in time when we thought women had cracked the highest ceiling of all. Every now and then I like to read her concession speech!
What advice would you pass on to a younger version of yourself?
“Keep your heels, your head and your standards high!” – Coco Chanel