“I stayed for 12 months and never went anywhere else,” she tells Females in Motorsport.
Following the completion of her placement, Jess moved into the global team for a few more years where she had the opportunity to gain experience and exposure to many areas of Land Rover.
“I spent some time in the PR team and worked for the UK Press Office for a few years mainly on the lifestyle and sponsorship side,” she says. “And, then I moved back into events because I missed it so much and have worked my way up from there.”
Since then, Jess has remained in events and has worked her way throughout the business.
“I spent eight years in the global PR events team,” she says. “I managed all the reveals, launches, drives of all our new products, which is fun with a lot of travel.”
Jess then received the opportunity to transition to the Jaguar TCS Racing team and, as a sports lover, it was a no brainer.
“It was certainly something I jumped at when I got that call,” she says. “It was a great next step, with incredible amounts of travel and you get to do some really great things.
“I’ve had an absolute blast at JLR whilst I’ve been here.”
For Jess, moving into Jaguar TCS Racing was not only a great opportunity, but it fulfilled her love for sport.
“I love sport, which helps,” she says. “Motor racing for sure is something I have always been interested in.
“I always said to myself in my career, if I ever moved out of automotive, I would go into sport, and this combines both so it’s perfect as a passion point for me to be able to work through something that I genuinely enjoy doing every day.”
And, how was the transition from automotive to motorsports?
“It is different,” she says. “You’d go from doing maybe a couple of launches a year where you have months and months to plan, to a race a week and all the non-race activities.
“It’s intense, but it’s a great team and you’re doing an incredible job and are seeing some incredible places, so it ticks all the boxes for sure.”
Jess heads up the events team at Jaguar TCS Racing and in doing so, she and her team have a huge amount of work to do, both on and off the track.
“We do all the ticketing, hospitality, guest programs, and driver logistics when at races so making sure they’re where they need to be,” she says. “We also deliver all the out of race activities, such as today’s launch, and everything in between.
“It’s a lot of logistics, it’s a lot of stakeholder management whether that’s in the business or with our partners. It’s very varied which keeps it fun.”
Jess and her team have spent six weeks planning for the opening of Jaguar TCS Racing’s new technical facility.
“We have talked about this for a while, because we knew we’d be moving into this incredible facility,” she says. “It’s been super intense for the last six weeks, just because you’re moving into a new building, you’ve got a date in the calendar but is it going to be ready?”
And, events such as this one is no different from Jess’s main role, which involves a lot of stakeholder management.
“We’ve got so many different people to talk to,” she says. “As we’re not the only ones in the facility, it’s about making sure everyone is comfortable with what you’re bringing in, and the fact we’re showcasing what we’re doing here.
“This is really pushing the boundary on being able to tell our story a bit more to the people that are fans, partners, and employees.”
To do her role successfully, Jess has an incredible team supporting her and what is more impressive is the gender split.
“In our commercial team, we’re 59% female, so we’ve got a great balance in our team,” she says. “In my team specifically, I’ve got two women working for me - Cam and Lydia, who are my absolute rocks.”
Jess’s not alone in her drive for diversity as her team also wants to see more women across the business.
“They are as passionate about this as me,” she says. “You come into this team and because of the sporting element, it really is a team. Everyone has each other's backs.”
Jess grew up with two brothers and a strong father, who gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams.
“Going into automotive and going into those sorts of places, I’ve never really felt I couldn’t do it because I've never been told that I couldn't do something I wanted to do, or not go somewhere I wanted to go,” she says.
And now, as a manager, Jess is lucky enough to have a team with similar thoughts and attitudes.
“My team is pretty much the same,” she says. “They can be as confident as everyone else in the room because they’re the experts in what they’re doing, that’s the attitude we’ve got. We’re all there to do the job and as long as we do that job, we’ll do pretty well.”
Jess knows she has the support of JLR as diversity is on their agenda.
“Diversity and inclusion is a big part of where we are, certainly in the last few years, it’s been a highlight and a focus for the business,” she says. “Where maybe 10 to 15 years ago, you may not have felt as confident in a room, I certainly think that stereotype is going.
“In our team specifically, one of our key raison d’etre is ‘race to inspire’, and we live and breathe that every day,” she says. “Whether that’s talking to school kids during one of our programs that we deliver, whether that’s talking to our own employees in our workforce, I think everyone really lives that mantra.”
With almost thirteen years under her belt, Jess has some real career defining moments and in her previous role, she launched Defender.
“It was an incredible milestone for the business,” she says. “We launched in Namibia just before COVID-19 hit, it was literally one of the best.
“You’re a woman leading a team of guys in the middle of the desert, and to be able to get through that, and for everyone to think it was incredible, is really amazing.”
In her role now with Jaguar TCS Racing, it’s no surprise that Monaco is a special place for Jess.
“In this team, a career highlight is Monaco,” she says. “It’s the pinnacle of motorsport and to be able to go to Monaco, to run a program that was super difficult and complex with so many groups doing so many different things, and we had a yacht, to be able to get through that in that location, being a fan of motorsport, was incredible.”
For others who want to work in sports, Jess believes putting yourself out there and putting your hand up for new things, is key.
“Don’t be frightened to get involved,” she says. “There are so many stereotypes around that could put people off, put yourself forward to begin with, whether that’s work experience, education, don’t be afraid to put your hand up and get involved.”
And for those wanting to work in events, Jess emphasises the need for passion.
“As a whole, it is hard work. It’s about making sure it’s something you’re passionate about, and making sure you’re willing to give everything to it,” she says. “Depending on the area you go into, it’s a lot of travel. You’re the first in the room, and the last one out. It’s a grind.”
Lastly, it can be hard to put yourself forward, but Jess draws on the need for confidence.
“Don’t let any negativity stand in your way, just go for it,” she says. “That’s certainly how I’ve got to where I am now, I’ve put myself forward for things, put my hand up.
“It’s about having confidence and believing in yourself to begin with.”
All imagery is thanks to Jaguar TCS Racing