*Note: this article was written prior to travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the Maplewave team is not currently travelling.
Kathleen Jay understands that no one’s career path is a straight line. Being born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Kathleen wasn’t even really aware of tech careers until she began university and enrolled in an IT degree program. Now, she couldn’t imagine where she would be in life without tech. Kathleen has worked in the tech sector for most of her career, and currently works at Maplewave as Vice President of Delivery, where she has over 60 employees in her division.
In high school, tech wasn’t something on my radar. It was the early 90’s and it wasn’t something I was exposed to in school. Because of this, I leaned more towards business, and gravitated towards courses such as economics and statistics. I initially enrolled in a postsecondary business degree program, but learned of an Information Technology degree program at the same university, and after learning more from the students currently enrolled in the program, I found myself transferring into that program in my second semester. After that, I never looked back.
“I’m in love with my job, as I get to work with brilliant people and solve problems everyday. Maplewave’s culture really sets us apart – we’ve spent a lot of time working on our culture and we are very protective of it.” – Kathleen Jay
My career was built brick by brick – I started my career working for a software development company in Halifax as a technical writer. That company shut down after a few years, and after bouncing between a couple of different jobs, I was offered a position to manage the Saint Mary’s University IT department. I worked at Saint Mary’s for 11 years before leaving for my current position at Maplewave.
I’m in love with my job, as I get to work with brilliant people and solve problems everyday. Maplewave’s culture really sets us apart – we’ve spent a lot of time working on our culture and we are very protective of it. We are fun, relaxed, but extraordinarily professional when we need to be. We also pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our customers. We are extraordinarily proud that even with all that hard work, we find the time to give back in meaningful ways to our community and maintain a strong charitable focus.
Everything in our company that engages clients falls under my area of supervision – from software development and solutions design, to project management and client success . I am very fortunate to not only have a brilliant team here in Nova Scotia, but also a team in South Africa that works hard to bring our excellence to that piece of the world. Most of our clients are telcos in the Caribbean, and that sees us travelling to amazing parts of the world. Working for an international company is an adventure everyday.
“Get out and get exposure to as many occupations as you can. Everyone thinks of the vet, doctor, lawyer, but few look beyond that.” – Kathleen Jay
At Maplewave, part of my passion is growing other strong leaders, especially strong female leaders, wherever I can. In the next few years, I’d like to have the ability to influence leaders, and help those who want to learn and grow. I’ve always spent time volunteering with girls in tech initiatives, and recently joined the board for Techsploration, a non-profit organization doing tremendous work in our community to encourage girls to consider occupations in science, technology and trades.
If I were to offer one piece of advice to students, it would be to get out and get exposure to as many occupations as you can. Everyone thinks of the vet, doctor, lawyer, but few look beyond that. Look at all the options available to you. I do believe there is value in education, in whatever form that is. For some, a university degree is their path.
Others, a community college trade program is what you require to do what you love everyday. Most importantly, always ask lots of questions and always be curious.
Maplewave is the provider of software and retail optimization services for the telecommunications (telco) industry since the early 1990s. Today, Maplewave’s software is used in over 40 countries. In certain places, you can’t buy a mobile phone without using Maplewave software. The company products were built for retailers by retailers. Many of Maplewave’s earliest customers were pharmacy and general retailers – many of whom they continue to serve today. Headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Maplewave’s global footprint includes major footholds in South Africa and the U.K.