Women in Tech is a Nexton series where we chat with the brightest women in the tech industry about their careers, their stories, and more!
For this Women in Tech article, we sat down with Jesica Wulf, a seasoned professional in Product Management from Argentina. Jesica dabbles as a producer of her own podcast and as a creator of experiences for technology professionals. On this occasion, we discussed her trajectory, her inspirations, and the global tech community.
Nexton: Jesica, thank you for participating in our new Women in Tech series! You’re a very successful technology professional and, currently, a Product Manager at eDreams ODIGEO. We’d love to get to know your story, how you got to be where you are now, and what’s motivated you along the way.
Thank you for inviting me! My journey starts with a very much younger version of myself being fascinated by technology. I've always been connected with the world through books and online information. When the opportunity to work as a Product Manager arose, I didn’t even know exactly what this role entailed, since the PM role was still unheard of in Argentina back in those days, but the job description instantly made me feel like it was meant to be.
Nine years have passed since then, and so far I’ve had the opportunity to work for many different companies, from startups to big LATAM and European industry leaders; and on multiple digital products ranging from very small experiences to big complex new products. Trust me, you never get bored as a Product Manager.
I’ve also started producing a podcast series called “Tiene que haber algo más” (“There’s got to be something more”) in early 2022. This outstanding experience has certainly challenged me to discover that great things can happen when you step out of your comfort zone.
Nexton: Speaking of which, in your TQHAM podcast, you and Magalí Bejar explore life as digital nomads and have conversations with professionals in the tech industry about their stories and how they broke free from the typical 9-to-5 work model. What inspired you to produce this sort of content?
The idea of the podcast was in Magalí's mind for a long time. When she told me about it, I instantly knew there was something in there worth exploring. For instance, there are lots of people I talk to on a daily basis that are afraid of change or that don’t know how to make that change happen, but they all have something in common: this “there’s got to be something more” feeling. I’ve been there as well and I know how scary it can be. So sharing stories about people overcoming fears and failures behind their successful stories made complete sense to me.
The idea of the show is to give a voice to these hidden stories in order to inspire people and help them avoid the feeling that breaking free from the 9-to-5 is not for them. In fact, in every episode, we feature a new experience and a new opportunity for the audience to start getting the feeling that they are not alone on this journey.
Nexton: And what part of producing and developing it felt the most interesting to you? Were there any roadblocks or difficulties that you had to overcome?
One of my superpowers is to transform ideas written on a napkin into reality, this was literally what happened with TQHAM: Magalí told me her idea, I immediately wrote it down and within an hour, we had defined a concrete plan to launch the first three episodes of the show! That moment truly felt like magic.
But the hardest part of the entire process was overcoming the fear of a format that wasn’t in our comfort zone. We had to create in just one month an entire brand from scratch, set all the apps and social media platforms needed to spread the word, schedule and carry out the first three interviews, edit each podcast,... the list goes on and on. But you know what? We did it! And our podcast has been growing nonstop since then!
Nexton: So what advice would you give to a fellow tech professional that feels stuck in the typical 9-to-5 (or 9-to-6 in most cases) and is longing for something more?
There is no such a thing as “I woke up and things just happened by magic”. The most important thing is to have your safety net in order to reduce uncertainty when the moment of action comes. Start studying those skills you might potentially need. Start saving up for when you do decide to jump into this new adventure. In a nutshell: have a plan in place.
Nexton: Before you started your podcast series, you were already pretty involved in the tech community, what drove you to help build the community? Why do you think it’s important for technology professionals to be involved in a community?
A community is more than just a group of people gathering around or hanging out, it's about having a support network you can go to when you have doubts, and a place where you belong. Some of my biggest learnings came from tech fellows' shared experiences. Besides, being involved in a community gives you the opportunity to try new things with the strongest early adopters you could ever find.
Nexton: Absolutely! We’ve also noticed you have a passion for building experiences, particularly those related to tech events and talks. What drove you or motivated you to start participating in such projects and creating such experiences? At which point in your career did you decide to get more involved in community building?
Oh, I love this question! It all started a decade ago when a university professor invited me to participate in the organization of an event for engineering students from all over the globe. I thought it was a fun thing to try, so I did it. However, if I’m being honest, at the time I had never experienced that much stress in my life… but at the same time, it was ten times more fun than it was stressful.
Moreover, getting to meet new colleagues, and managing situations I’ve never thought I was capable of, opened my eyes to a new world. Since then, I’ve been collaborating with several initiatives such as ConexiónStartup, TEDxUTN, HipFestival, FuckUpNights Buenos Aires, and many others. Regardless of whether you are a young professional or an experienced one, I highly encourage you to volunteer. You’ll be surprised about how many learnings (and amazing people!) you’ll find along the way.
Nexton: Switching topics a little bit, it sounds like you’ve been through many interviews and recruiting processes. In your opinion, what is the best way to make your projects shine in interviews? What advice would you give to young colleagues going through recruiting processes themselves?
The first piece of advice that comes to mind is: Do your homework –it is very important to know beforehand where you are applying to. Understanding what the company does, the product/service they sell, or even showing what you think their business proposition is like will surely make you stand out from moment zero.
To make my experience shine I always found it relevant to first share the impact and the process behind each decision for every example I give. Remember that the interviewers don’t want to know about the details of the project you’re showcasing; they want to get to know and understand how you manage your work and which role you typically assume in the decision-making process. This is what you should focus on.
Nexton: Lastly, do you have any pearls of wisdom for any young tech professionals starting their careers?
My advice for young tech professionals is to accept failure as part of the process. Don't be hard on yourself when things don't go as expected, but also be very conscious about what went wrong so you can learn and avoid the same mistakes in the future.