In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting the successes of associates from around the world. Below, Jennifer Ham, Managing Vice President of Sales, shares the story of her unique career path and how she has grown with Gartner.
2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2015, 2017 … these are my milestone years at Gartner as I approach the mathematical midpoint of my career. The first number is the year I started at CEB, armed with an MBA and the requisite consulting and dot-com startup experience we all seemed to have in the late ’90s. I started as a business development manager, ready to master sales in a few years and move on to something else.
The next years saw the births of my children, multiple promotions and team changes, the global financial crisis, a move to Sydney, Australia, and finally, the year that Gartner acquired CEB and I transitioned to my current role as managing vice president for Gartner Business Sales in APAC. I never planned to make a career in sales or live in Australia, or even stay at the same company for more than five years, but I had fantastic mentors over the past 16 years who coached me to find problems that needed solving, which led to different roles, and ultimately, to me moving around the world.
However, I’ve found that seeking mentors and career advice is only half the battle. “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen,” wrote Brené Brown, and I think people need honest feedback on their strengths and candid information about trade-offs to make choices that are right for them. I’ve had the chance to receive A LOT of honest feedback over my career, and while not all of it has been easy to hear, 100% of it helped me make important choices that ultimately supported my and Gartner’s goals.
In my leadership role, I try to ensure that my colleagues have information and growth experiences so they are equipped to make courageous decisions about their careers, whether they are just starting as a new graduate, are in the throes of balancing young children and work, or are looking for a major transition in their careers. It’s one of my goals to ensure that anyone who joins Gartner has the same opportunity I had for a flourishing career.
Gartner offers the kind of environment where ambitious, courageous people can build great careers. I’m excited to be able to represent Gartner’s diversity and engagement programs in Australia (especially Women at Gartner), and try to be a mentor and coach to help others, especially other women, mark their success milestones with Gartner.
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