- Role Model -

Jacqueline Lee


Name: Jacqueline Lee

Occupation: COO

Employer: PolyUnity Tech Inc.

Education: Bachelor of Commerce, Memorial (Major in Finance); Bachelor of Arts, Memorial (Major in Economics); Certified General Accountant, CGA Canada, Memorial

Hometown: Paradise, NL

Current community of residency: Portugal Cove-St. Philips, NL

What does your typical work day involve?

Everyday is different! We have alot of flexibility and our team can choose to work from the office or at home. We're in a space with no windows so we try to get outside for lunch at the picnic table or a walk around the block. We have the largest 3D print farm in Atlantic Canada so our office is a mixture of desks and production areas. We try to divide up our work into projects so cross-functional teams are pretty normal. As the accountant for the company, there is quite a lot of solo work but I do really enjoy the collaboration of teamwork.

What do you love most about your profession? Why did you choose this career?

Although I'm an accountant, more and more of my time is spent on 'non-accounting' activities. I love being involved in strategic planning, people management, recruitment, operations, customer presentations & marketing. It's really valuable to have the training and perspective of an accountant to apply to other business areas. In a very R&D focused industry requiring good decision making with imperfect information, I'm able to analyze multiple scenarios, apply business fundamentals and offer the best risk mitigating strategies.

When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?

After a couple of decades working in property management, construction and real estate, I was eager to try something that was more dynamic, whose markets and customers were global and extended beyond a limited geography. In understanding the virtually unlimited potential of the network effect and building a growing recurring revenue base, I was very excited to make a transition into technology. With a business background, all of your skills can be transferrable and very relevant to many industries.

What were your favorite subjects in school?

Math and english

What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?

I never received any career advice in high school and had no female role models in business or STEM. I picked business because it was very general and applicable to every company and thankfully it worked out for me. In hindsight I would have been much more deliberate. I focused too much on getting A's and no time on real life experiences. Read books like Mindset-Carol Dweck and Grit-Angela Duckworth. Find local companies that appeal to you, ask for part-time internships, volunteer time, get exposed to different areas of these businesses. Spend time at your parents workplaces, if relevant and possible.

Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?

Besides the need to foster gender equality and wage parity, it is good for business. It is largely studied and understood that women-led businesses are more successful, make better decisions, have a generally happier workforce, have stronger workplace cultures, act more socially responsible, have better customer service, create products more focused on people than things, the list goes on.

Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?

I have lots of role models. I carefully choose who I spend time with and listen to as this has a dramatic impact on my success, my mindset and my development. There are lots of great examples right here - Cathy Bennett, Gina Pecore, Moya Cahill, Deirdre Ayre, Charlene Brophy. Joe Shannon gave me my first job and taught me an incredible amount. My mother has been a huge role model for work ethic, she was a single parent of 2 girls and went back to school as a mature student to become a nurse.

What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?

We have a beautiful province so I spend most free time fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, etc. I love puzzles, reading dark thrillers, reading self improvement non-fiction, baking and chasing our 3 boys around.

What superhero do you relate to most? Why?

Anything else you wish to share?


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