Career Spotlight: Jessica Barrett (B'07)

Jessica Barrett (B'07)

Business Development and Sales, pymetrics

Describe your current position and what led you to your job:

I recently started a new position in business development and sales at pymetrics, a New York-based startup using neuroscience and data science to make the recruiting process more efficient and accurate.

We are a small team, meaning that I have lots of different responsibilities, which I really appreciate and enjoy. I work on everything from developing marketing materials to prospecting new business to helping find new office space!

This is a significant transition from what I’m used to, which is large organizations and more defined jobs. I was drawn to pymetrics because I felt there was a gap in my skill set. I wanted to have sales experience, more autonomy and authority and work in a startup environment and this job provides me with that. I also strongly believe in pymetrics’ product and mission, and the culture fit was right for me.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?

It may sound odd, but I would say the most rewarding moment in my career was turning down a job offer from Google and joining pymetrics instead. Google is an absolutely fantastic company and place to work, but it wasn’t the right next step for me. My ability to trust my gut and believe in myself, and not take a job because I thought I should or because people were telling me to, was a huge accomplishment for me, both from a professional and personal point of view.

What is the best career advice you have received?

Sounds clichéd, but clichés are true: Do what makes you happy.

What would you recommend to someone interested in working in your field?

If you want to be on the business side in technology startups, it is good to have some understanding of the fundamentals of computer engineering. You’ll most likely be interacting with engineers and it is very beneficial to have knowledge of and appreciation for the work they do. It also makes your conversations more productive and you more credible. This is definitely not a strong point for me, but I’m working on it because I see the value that it has.

What challenges have you faced and how did you successfully manage one situation?

I think the greatest challenge that I’ve faced is self-doubt in my decisions and ability to be successful. Part of managing this has just taken time, but the more great experiences I have had made me more confident in myself.

What skills are necessary or what prepared you the most for your career?

While technical and analytical skills are incredibly important, I would say that the training I have had in developing my behavioral skills has best prepared me for my career. Self-awareness, the ability to influence others and creating coalitions are incredibly important skills/traits to have. I am certainly still working on all of this, but I can see that the progress I have made so far has really paid off. A huge component of that is getting and giving feedback—not just formally at work, but from other individuals you interact with.

What professional associations have aided in your professional development?

Georgetown’s alumni network was particularly helpful in accelerating my career. In my first year out of undergraduate school, I was working at J.P. Morgan, and went to a Georgetown alumni-hosted event where Mary Erdoes, a Georgetown alumna, who is now the CEO of J.P. Morgan’s Asset Management, was speaking. It was through that event that I became introduced to her, and I ended up working as her analyst for almost two years.

If you could have another career what would it be?

It would be something in food or education. I still think that either might happen at some point in the future!

How did your time at Georgetown University influence you and your career path?

Georgetown’s model in MSB of having foundations in business but knowledge and experience of liberal arts is something I have mirrored in my own career. I view myself as someone who has deep knowledge in business, but experience and skills in a lot of other diverse and creative areas.