November 2018 – Jane Cassell


Jane Cassell, CTA
London, UK

What Citrix technologies are most important to your work?

Currently, I am focused on Citrix Cloud and IaaS, on various public cloud platforms, establishing the best underlying configuration onto which to deploy the Citrix components to make the best use of cloud tech. I am one of the Senior Workspace Consultants in the Hybrid Workspace team at my company, HPE. I originally joined a fairly small UK company specializing in Microsoft Azure deployments to bring my 20+ years of Citrix experience to the team. A few months later, RedPixie was taken over by HPE, who wanted to bring the RedPixie Azure skills into their portfolio. Since then, myself and my colleagues have been defining where we sit within this much larger organization and tracking down other parts of the business which also deal with Citrix technology.

You recently signed on as a mentor with the CUGC Women In Tech Mentoring Program. What are you most excited about for the class of 2018-19?

I think it’s brilliant that CUGC runs this mentoring program and wish there had been something similar when I was trying to get a solid foothold in IT. I am hoping that I can help my mentee achieve her goals and, for all of us, both mentors and mentees, to establish a wider network of Women in Tech to link up across skills and companies; to share knowledge, triumphs and even failures; to support each other in striving for our goals and to enjoy our jobs just a little bit more.

What has been your experience as a woman in IT and how has it shaped you?

When I started out in technology some 30 years ago as part of a software manufacturer’s support team, it was all women at that level. The developers were men, but otherwise, there were plenty of women around. However, I found that, as my career developed and I moved into engineering and then consultancy, the women seemed to be pushed sideward into project management or similar areas. I stubbornly refused, as I thrive on technical problem solving and am fascinated by all things techie.

I found that by sticking to my guns, grabbing all the training, self-education and certification I could, that I was accepted as a “techie” and the fact I was female was pretty much forgotten. I ended up being one of the “boys,” as or more technical than the rest of the team, and able to hold my own in discussions.

I suppose the best advice I can give now is very similar – “only you know what you are capable of.” Unfortunately, you need to “prove” yourself to others. So, be confident, get your training/certifications and engage with your peers. That goes for men and women. I’ve just found that sometimes women need a thick skin, as many men don’t know when they are being thoughtless with throw-away comments.

What’s the best life or career advice you’ve ever received?  

“Don’t give up on something you really want – stick with it – you can do it!”

What are you reading right now?

I read so many different types of books–more than ever these days since the introduction of eBooks–so much easier to carry, especially those technical books! It tends to be a mixture of continual learning, relaxation and self-awareness. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome (a mild form of Autism) – which explains a lot of the issues I have, such as a terror of speaking to large audiences at events and a hatred of huge crowds–I always thought the last issue was because I am rather short.

Outside of work and your CTA and CUGC involvement, what do you do for fun?

Other than reading, my main hobbies are cooking, Lego building, and travel. I love concocting or adapting recipes and menus to feed my friends and husband. I might even apply for MasterChef one year soon. I find the Lego buildings relaxing–working with my hands, seeing things created in front of me. I used to make jewelry for the same reason, but I haven’t had the time to work on that recently as it takes more planning to source the materials, etc. I also love to travel to all sorts of destinations, to see great scenery, to try local food and wine, and to learn about different cultures.

Meeting the chefs at Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France.
Jane and her husband on a wine tour in Bordeaux, France.
Visiting the Akureyri Fjord in Iceland.
One of Janes most favorite places on Earth: the Côtes-d’Armor in Brittany, France.

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