This article appears as part of the Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, underwritten by the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. It was first published on project partner Campus Philly's website and is republished here with permission.
What started as an internship for Jessica Wescott eventually led to the opportunity to lead a team at one of the region’s largest tech employers, and the chance to give back through her work.
As services delivery manager, Wescott currently oversees a team of associate technical quality managers as part of the North America Services Delivery Academy at Newtown Square’s SAP America. She is responsible for the professional development program’s overall growth and development through comprehensive trainings, certifications and defined career paths. Her goal: to empower her team to “think big and dream big.”
In addition to her responsibilities, Jessica serves as a mentor to the Autism at Work Program, and is an ambassador to both the Diversity and Inclusion Organization and Corporate Social Responsibility Organization at SAP.
Jessica has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in business administration. She is the founder of Planting to Feed Inc., a nonprofit committed to helping eliminate hunger. She is also active in her community and a member of the Wesley College Alumni Association board of directors.
Below, check out Campus Philly’s interview with Wescott on being a “mathematician by trade, philanthropist at heart” and her career advice to aspiring tech professionals.
Tell us about your “Philly story.” How are you connected to the Philadelphia region, and what is it about the region that you love most?
Born and bred! My entire family is from Philly and the surrounding area. I grew up in Bryn Mawr, and my mom worked for the college, so I like to say I grew up on Bryn Mawr College’s campus. I went through the Lower Merion public school system and my high school Harriton (go Rams!) really helped to form the person I am today. I love everything about Philly and the surrounding area — it’s where my roots are and where I have so many memories. From visiting the Philadelphia Zoo frequently as a kid, to now exploring the city as an adult.
You say you’re a “mathematician by trade, philanthropist at heart.” How have math, and philanthropy, played a role in your tech career?
Without my math education, I wouldn’t be in tech. During my undergraduate studies I got a little taste of the programming life. At the time I didn’t consider myself a techie or interested in tech at all, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity to lean in. I also work for the best company in the region, SAP, which allows me to bring my philanthropist side into work. Between [give-back programs such as] Spring into Service, Month of Service, and overall corporates social responsibility activities, I get to fill my cup while enjoying what I do.
What’s the most rewarding part of working for a company like SAP?
The people — hands down. I have such a great community within SAP. People that genuinely care about me, my goals, and my future. I consider myself lucky to have met some really amazing people and friends where I work.
What’s a typical day like at SAP (if there is one)?
There isn’t one, but that’s what makes it amazing for me. I am always being challenged, always in a space to adapt, and always have opportunities to stretch and grow.
What inspired you to create your nonprofit, Planting To Feed, and how has your background in tech helped you to launch and grow it?
Being completely broke after college was my first inspiration. I had a part-time job, but groceries were/are expensive. I had this thought that I couldn’t be the only person with a job who struggles with purchasing groceries. So I started to grow food for myself, and eventually for my community. When growing P2F, I utilized a lot of the skill I was learning from my customer success experience; some failures and some successes. The same hunger and energy I brought to my role as a technical quality manager, I took with me to Planting to Feed.
If you were to give one piece of career advice to an aspiring tech professional in college right now, what would it be?
Trust the process. It’s OK to fail. As my mother has told me my whole life “In any ‘failure,’ pick your head up, and rest your shoulders back. You got this.”
Knowledge is power!
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