Scarlet JeffersScarlet joined Clario in the first few days of the company’s life and is the driving force behind the innovative, consumer friendly privacy and security solution which is set to revolutionise the sector.

Scarlet is experienced in technology consultancy and has advised brands like Barclays, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Dublin Airport on their UI and UX. Scarlet developed her interest in consumer experience at Apple where she worked whilst studying for her BSc in Physics (with a minor in French) at The University of Aberdeen.

Scarlet is an advocate for women in STEM has been involved in and hosted many women in tech events to encourage greater gender diversity in technology.

Passionate about cars, Scarlet lets off steam by rally driving in her native Northern Ireland. She is an enthusiastic cook and also runs half marathons.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

As the VP of Experience at Clario I’m responsible for creating a software and service product that challenges all of the expectations and current offerings in consumer cybersecurity.

We’re on a mission to disrupt the cybersecurity industry by building the world’s first truly consumer-centric solution, which will help to tackle the billion dollar cyber security crisis we are facing.

My current passion project in work is leading the UX/UI design team. We had to start completely from scratch and looked at the other players in the market to decide how we were going to design something entirely different. It’s been challenging, thrilling and sometimes a little terrifying – all at once – but the most fun I’ve had in my career yet.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, in the earlier years of my career and particularly after University where I studied Physics, specialising in Nuclear Fusion research, as it took a lot of thought to understand where I wanted to go from there. Tech was always one of my biggest passions so I knew it was an industry I wanted to work in but it took researching a whole plethora of possibilities and paths to explore in what capacity.

One area of particular interest to me is how people interact with technology because of my love for psychology and behavioural studies, so this combined with my passion for creative design meant UX was a perfect niche for me. This was cemented during my time working for Apple and it was after this that I stopped planning and went into management consultancy so I could immerse myself in all kinds of projects and businesses. It was a fantastic way to really push myself out of my comfort zone and discover new skills and strengths. As a consultant, you very quickly crystallise a deep understanding of yourself and what you love and excel at (as well as what you don’t!).

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Yes, on a weekly basis! Carving out a new path is never easy and there are always growing pains, some much harder than others to overcome.

I think the most challenging thing for me was being faced with my own mistakes or wrong turns, times when I haven’t been true to my own values or expectations of myself,  and learning to forgive myself for that. Forgiving yourself and embracing those mistakes as a way to grow and develop is fundamental to making progress.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’d have to say it’s in my current role at Clario. As proud as I am of the product and brand we’ve created, the transformation in mind-set of our team is what I am most humbled by. We have 800 amazing people who have all come on a personal journey of change and challenges and to play a part in leading that transformation is something I am extremely proud of.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

It’s a combination of having the discipline to keep myself open to opportunities and new experiences, even in uncomfortable situations, with having a strong support network around me, both in work and in my personal life. It took a lot of resilience and grit to get me to this position, and it was made possible because of the great people I have to turn to for help or inspiration when needed.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

  • Stay creative and be bold.
  • Tech moves so fast, you should always be seeking out innovation.
  • Be collaborative.
  • Try something crazy or new.
  • Look outside of your own niche or industry. Learn from others, and learn from yourself how to fail and stand back up again.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Definitely.  At times it’s still challenging as a younger woman in a very senior tech position to be seen as an equal in my peer group and to get the same level of respect as others; this definitely applies to all levels, not just leadership.

I’m so grateful that in my current role the C-suite champion team fully support my efforts (I don’t even notice the gender issue, which is incredibly refreshing), but in almost every job or project previously it’s something I’ve struggled with in the beginning.

For me, the best way to overcome it is to let your work speak for itself. Remain brave and tenacious and open to others and never let it affect your own self-worth. Your opinions, ideas and thoughts matter just as much as those of anyone else.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

There has been progress with gender parity in junior hires in recent years, which I believe is most likely a result of wonderfully curated girls in STEM programs targeted at school leavers and university students. We need to put a higher level of focus on mentoring women into leadership roles.

When you’re a minority, and perhaps often not  treated  as an equal, it’s very difficult to put yourself forward for promotions or advancements so it’s critical that we work to empower women in tech companies to step up for themselves and work towards a seat at the table.

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Shining a light on the work done by women in tech during their careers would be my one wish! When I attend conferences or events for women in STEM the topics often focus on overcoming the gender bias and challenges. I would love to instead see the industry showcase and celebrate of outstanding work done by these very talented ladies.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Online sources such as: Gartner research papers, FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Homeland Security and NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) are great for ensuring that I’m up to speed on industry advancements, regulations, and news. I am also an avid reader of WIRED’s ‘Women in Tech’ interviews, which highlight inspirational women in different areas of the tech industry.