Jacqui Ferguson

NED, Croda


1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given

I was inspired by Bear Grylls, chief Scout speaking about his story of how he got into the SAS.  Over 95% of those who try out for SAS fail.  Bear spoke about that 5% extra enthusiasm that gives sparkle to everything we do.  It is what often gets us over the line.  I have always remembered that the difference between winning and losing can be so small. Think of your sprinter or marathon runner..  How can you get noticed? How can you do that job just a little bit better? I ask myself everyday how can I deliver my extra 5% ?

2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given

My father was born in 1926, so was an ‘older’ father from another generation. He suggested I might want to become a secretary because that was what smart women did!  I know he wanted the best for me, so this highlights how important society’s attitudes to women and their role are.  Needless to say, I rebelled????  We’ve still got more work to do on culture and attitudes in society!

3. What would you tell your younger self?

Always seek to help others where you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help.   Karma, it’s all true!

4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

I was lucky to fall into the technology industry 30 years ago (as a reminder there was no internet and no mobile phones back then! ).  The pace and speed of innovation in technology has always excited me and continues to accelerate.  The COVID pandemic situation has demanded that technology accelerate faster – I’m reminded that change happens when the risk of not changing is greater than the risk of change itself.

5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson whose story was told in the film and book Hidden Figures.  These three African American women who worked for NASA in the 1960’s were faced with so many hurdles – They just kept pushing.  They broke the ice for many of us today and the story of their journey is incredible.  There is still so much more to do.

 Meg Whitman has been a huge inspiration to me personally  –  former CEO Ebay, HP and now Quibi – I learned so much working for Meg as Chief of Staff at HP in Silicon Valley –  it’s was like 5 MBA’s in real life all at the same time.

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