Gail Jackson

Career Advice from Gail Jackson

As Vice President of Talent, Inclusion & Engagement at United Technologies Corporation, Gail Jackson is responsible for driving initiatives that inspire a culture of high performance, inclusion, innovation, and engagement.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve gotten along the way?  

The best piece of career advice that I’ve gotten is from my father. As I was struggling to determine my next move, he told me to follow my instincts, make a decision and not to look back. He said that regrets were not a good use of time so decide, move, and if it doesn’t work out, learn from it.

The second best piece of advice I’ve gotten came from a boss who was also a mentor. He said to me, “Don’t you know what you’re worth?” Essentially he believed in me more than I demonstrated that I believed in myself. I often have conversations with my colleagues about women and self-confidence. Very often we think of all the ways for which we do not meet 100% of the qualifications for a job, but men are more likely to think, “Hey, I’m 60% there and I can learn the rest.” It’s a different mindset.

Any tips for work/life integration?

My tip for work/life integration is to set boundaries for yourself. Understand what is non-negotiable and where you can be flexible. It may be time for practicing your faith, for being home for dinner a certain number of nights a week, or for attending to your own wellness. Those boundaries give you a sense of control and, as long as you continue to deliver results, your company will benefit from your improved engagement. 

At United Technologies, we are enhancing our policies and practices to allow better work/life integration. The good news is that technology advances allow us to work anytime, anywhere. The challenge is to leverage that technology in a way that supports a healthy amount of work/life integration.

Fill in the blank. People would be surprised to know that I ______ 

graduated from high school the same year as my great-grandmother. She had to leave school at the age of 15 to raise her siblings after the death of her parents. At the age of 77, she went back to receive her GED. And, she went on to receive her associate’s degree, majoring in gerontology! I come from a family of women who believed in education.

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