We are so pumped to feature Jamie Barnett as this week's Fairygodboss. The investment banker-turned-startup marketing pro is now on a 6-month career sabbatical to pursue her passion for social justice work; she's currently volunteering on behalf of women, immigrants, and homeless populations — while also finding time to hike, garden, cook, and "laugh uproariously" with her children. She's well-versed in what it means to balance work, family, and personal interests — and her #1 career tip is extremely on point!
Fairygodboss of the Week: Jamie Barnett
Currently on 6-month career sabbatical to do social justice work; Most recently was Chief Marketing Officer at Netskope
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
FGB: Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
JB: I started out as an investment banker for a boutique firm doing primarily mergers and acquisitions. From that experience, economic concepts like option value, opportunity cost, and game theory helped me solve marketing and business problems. That — combined with a love of high-technology products — got me interested in running startup marketing teams.
Now, I'm currently on a six-month sabbatical from my high-technology career to do social justice work. I was nearing my four-year anniversary at cloud security leader Netskope when I realized that not only was my team ready to take over and lead the effort but I was also ready to try something new.
Before I jump right into the next thing, I'm taking this time to do some soul-feeding volunteer projects on behalf of women, immigrants, and homeless. Some are very hands-on like serving dinner and cleaning the refrigerator at our local homeless shelter on a weekly basis, while others require more planning such as developing and delivering a course called "Communicating from a Position of Strength" for formerly incarcerated women at a nearby halfway house.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
JB: My proudest accomplishment is marrying my best friend and raising two empathetic children. It's a work in progress.
FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
JB: Sometimes I find that the men in my profession don't take me seriously because I am both a woman and in marketing. I feel I have to over-compensate by being extra "on top" of things. I'm not sure if that's considered "overcoming" a challenge, or just having a chip on my shoulder, but that is the challenge that dogs me the most.
FGB: Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
JB: Jill Kyte was my boss at McAfee a million years ago. She was fantastic and met me exactly where I was in my career. She gave me frank feedback and constructive criticism, which I desperately needed. And when I made it to the next level and was promoted, she congratulated me heartily and sung my praises far and wide.
FGB: What do you do when you're not working?
JB: Other than volunteering and working for social justice, I like to hike, garden, cook, share terrible puns and movie quotes on social media, and watch funny videos on YouTube (like of dogs eating peanut butter) with my kids and laugh uproariously.
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
JB: Probably Sylvia Plath. I love her stories and she seems like a fun person. But I would avoid the crab salad.
FGB: What is your karaoke song?
JB: Walk This Way - the one with Run DMC and Aerosmith together. My kids and I totally belt out the words.
FGB: What is your favorite movie?
JB: Monty Python's The Holy Grail. After that, The Big Lebowski.
FGB: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
JB: My iPhone so I can listen to books on Audible. I know, boring.
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
JB: I hate shopping with a passion (except grocery shopping). I'd top up the kids' 529s and then give the rest to Project WeHOPE (homeless shelter in East Palo Alto) so they can make their kitchen more functional and buy a dishwasher that doesn't break every other day.
FGB: What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
JB: Find out what the mission is and make sure you are core to that mission.
FGB: Why do you love where you work?
JB: What I like best about my work right now is it's immediately impactful and I'm working with people who are sincerely interested in making the world better.
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women. So each week, we celebrate a woman who makes a difference in other women’s careers. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate and thank her by nominating her here.
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