Mentoring helps Tarry gain career traction

Mentoring helps Tarry gain career traction

If it had not been for the terrorist attacks in 2001, Jessica Tarry may not have ended up in IT.

The 24-year-old business development manager at Divers Group, says she left school to work in a travel agency as a junior travel agent in her home town of Levin.

“I came up to Auckland when I was 19 just after 9/11, so it was very difficult to get a role in the travel industry at that time.”

However, Tarry found a job working at Acer Computers as an administrator.

“Rod Bassi had just taken over as country manager and he was looking to hire new staff so within four months I was promoted to retail sales manager, which meant I was selling to the likes of Dick Smith Electronics, Harvey Norman and the Farmers Group.”

The role was interesting as she got to travel around the country she says.

From Acer, Tarry joined a reseller.

“It was a small reseller, but it gave me a good view of the corporate side of things. I stayed there for a couple of years and was then employed by Divers Group as its business development manager for its IT services.”

The company helps companies selling IT hardware to add value to low-margin deals, says Tarry.

“Everyone out there is looking for a value-add that separates you from your competitors. I saw Divers Group as the company that was able to provide those companies with the value add.”

Keeping fit is a real passion for Tarry.

“I think it’s important to go to the gym and keep yourself fit and healthy. Being a farm girl I used to ride horses and be into equestrian activities. But unfortunately in the city I don’t have that opportunity, so it’s something I’d like to get back into in the future.”

Tarry says Divers Group is having the best year compared to the last three years in terms of revenue.

“In August we had the biggest month in three years, so it’s looking bright for the future.”

The people make the company special, she says.

“At this company everyone works as a team. Every Friday Max [Divers] buys the whole company lunch, so it’s a great atmosphere to work in. Max has given me the freedom to be able to go out and sell in the way that I want to sell and it seems to have worked.”

The company recently bought in Ingram Micro as a partner.

“They were a good choice of partner because that gives us the continuity of business and enabled us to reach out to all the smaller resellers, who we might not have had the opportunity to work with previously.”

Tarry credits mentoring for helping her advance in her career.

“Mentoring gives you years of experience that you haven’t yet experienced yourself.

I’ve had the opportunity to experience three mentors. One was through Women In Technology. They have a fantastic mentor programme, which encourages young women to get into business.

“I’ve also had mentoring through Chip Dawson who is president of the NZ Software Association. He’s been my key mentor in getting me where I am today. He taught me to be confident. It’s very easy to sit there in the background and let everyone else do the talking, but now I have the confidence to put my piece forward.

“My third mentor is Haddo Audney. He’s very factual, an amazing man and has written his own books. He’s in charge of our HR.”

As for the future, Tarry has big plans.

“I’d quite like to travel overseas and gain some international experience. Then eventually settle back down in New Zealand where I hope to be owning or managing an IT company.”

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