Inspiring answers by Jenna Olovcic, one of our Ambassadors on her life and working as a Business Intelligence Developer.
1. Name and job role.
Jenna Olovcic – Business Intelligence Developer
2. What is something about you people might not know?
I compete in Full contact karate tournaments.
3. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading science fiction fantasy and classical literature, watching horror movies and Karate training.
4. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
It varied from being a warrior to poet, librarian or working in a book store. My dreams of being of a warrior of some sort were probably inspired by the novels that I read as a child. Many starred heroines that didn’t fit the mould, had struggles with their environment and broke the rules. I frequently wrote poetry because I found relief in it – it was my outlet. Picking up a book for me meant I couldn’t put it down and sometimes didn’t sleep for 2 nights in a row. I binge-read quite frequently at the cost of chores, sport and sometimes homework.
5. Who was your biggest influence growing up?… who were your role models?
My mother was my biggest influence my life and I could not thank her enough for all she did. She was married and then a single mum with 2 young children, but she didn’t fit the mould of expectations of women in our family – she travelled the world for work, built her own marketing business, the GFC came and lost it all. Worked a number of side jobs – hairdresser, maitre d’ and salesperson to make ends meet whilst my brother continued to attend high school and I, university. She built her own business in a new industry and has been in operation and profitable for a number of years. I watched her highs and lows but it wasn’t till my late 20’s that I was able to grasp the enormity of it all. She taught me two things:
- If you want to achieve something, fear not taking the risk to accomplish it.
- It’s ok if it doesn’t pan out. Don’t worry – Keep moving.
6. What were your favourite subjects at school?
Modern History – I had an inspiring teacher called Mr Teeple. He gave us materials from various sources so we could see one in point in time from numerous perspectives, not just the standard textbook. His classes were like uni lectures injected with blunt commentary and dry wit. He picked up on that I had a good ability for researching and digesting information in an analytical manner. I think that’s what actually drew me to data.
7. What were your least favourite subjects at school?
Physical Education was not my favourite – I got a D. I was not particularly well-coordinated or athletically gifted at any of the school sports offered.
8. How did you come to choose your current career path or were you led to it?
Like most, I did not know exactly what I wanted to do when I left uni. I tried different roles and job hopped to figure it out along the way. My career path to data, so far, could not be further from a straight line. I didn’t study data analysis directly at university, but we did plenty of reports and data analysis in biotechnology and I used that as my strength.
9. What are the biggest changes in the world of work (for women) that you are excited about?
I am writing this during the time of COVID – 19, where times are stressful and job uncertainty is high in many industries. I can’t absolutely say anything is truly exciting at present, but I am curious to see if there is any impact of working from home and social distancing for women in the workforce and the recruitment of women.
10. Would you say having a degree is the only path to a successful career? Would you say there are opportunities for women entrepreneurs in your career?
No – a degree is not a guarantee that you will obtain a job and one can definitely make their own way without a degree. However, having a degree makes it easier than having none, if you are not sure of what you want to do. Degrees teach many transferable skills including critical thinking skills that are absolutely vital in business and in entrepreneurial pursuits. Transferable skills is what I have used extensively to pivot roles.
11. What advice would you give your younger self and school leavers today?
If continuing education, strive but forget about perfect grades. Focus on the learning experience. Experience the extra-curricular activities (i.e. sports, debate, coding, exchange programs) at university.
Don’t wait to be given permission to achieve what you want to achieve or to wait for a certain time/age because everyone else has.
Take responsibility for your own career. Not every organisation is willing to help you develop.
Make sure to follow this series on STEM Careers Guide.
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