In honor of the So Northwest Women's Show at the end of February 2018, we're highlighting a couple women in our community who are making a big impact. If you want to join us at the Show, buy tickets online now!
Jamila Conley is the Vice President of IT at F5 Networks, and a shining example for anyone who wants to be successful.
Conley helps run F5, a company that specializes in delivering technology for web applications. It's heavy technical stuff, a perfect fit for her.
"We make apps go faster, smarter, safer - and we're trying to reach every app, everywhere!" she smiles. "I handle a lot of our transformational complex projects that come up and I really like problem-solving. I like to go into something that's ambiguous and figure out how we work our way through this to be successful
Born and raised on the East Coast, Conley has 23 employees under her wings at F5 - a company that it's name from the 1996 movie "Twister" - where the fastest and strongest tornado was labeled an F5.
"It's fast-paced, very innovative - we're always trying to adjust to market shifts," she explains. "It's exciting, but our culture is a great one, it's very collaborative. It's a lot of fun! We have Beer Fridays, so that really brings the culture together. We work hard and we play hard."
Preparing for life's journey started years ago, Conley's parents planting seeds of encouragement and support when she was a little girl living in Buffalo, New York. Now she's grown into an IT superstar, thanks in part to her strong family.
"My dad, he worked for Bethlehem Steel Company, Bethlehem Steel on the East Coast for 35 years," said Conley. "He was never late a day in his life - anybody knows me I hate being late. My mom, she really instilled the fact that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I was six or seven-years-old, and she told me 'Sky is the limit, the word can't is not in your vocabulary.' I really still to this day always just remind myself if I put my mind to it I can do it and I do live by that and I don't think there's a problem too big that I can't solve with the right resources with the right people coming together to solve the problem."
And Conley is well aware that she's setting an example.
"Being a black woman, being in leadership - it's extremely important to have those role models to my life both with my mom, [and] I've had teachers in my past that really supported me and really helped me reach my potential," she said. "I'm always trying to reach my potential and I also have mentors in my life - the people that I can go to just to bounce things off of, and be that trusted advisor I guess. I don't look at myself as an icon I guess - it's true and I want to give back from my experiences in anyway possible."
When Conley's not hustling at work, she really lets out her creative side! Snapping pictures all over the world, it's that passion that keeps her grounded today, no matter where she goes - she touches lives, inspiring everyone around her.
"I think it's really important to have someone like Jamila here at F-5 for two reasons," said Katherine Clouse, Director of internal Communications."One, she's a woman of color in a dominantly homogeneous industry. The second reason is Jamila is a collaborative partner across business - a voice of reason and power and I enjoy working with her."
A perfect role model for all, especially for young women aspiring for greatness.
"Accept challenges that come your way, don't back down from a challenge," said Conley. "You have what's inside of you to figure it out, to take a risk on yourself. If you want something in your career, go after it, because we only have one life you know. To be a little cliche, it's not a dress rehearsal. So if you want it, take the risk on yourself."