Wright exit from UK yields right top tech US job

Jacky Wright. UK Government
Jacky Wright.
UK Government

Women’s History Month:

“We run tings, tings nuh run we”

Ask any Jamaican about their capacity to beat the odds stacked against them and the response might resonate as a lyrical mix of poignant patois and poetry. Some might reference a recording by dancehall artist, Flourgon who in 1988 declared musically ‘we run tings, tings nuh run we.’

London-born Jacky Wright must have made that conclusion.

Born in England to a father who sailed from the Caribbean island on the HMS Windrush, joined the Royal Air Force to fight for the United Kingdom during World War II, Wright holds firm to the mantra Jamaican nationals have repeatedly proven by examples from Olympians Usain Bolt, Shelly Fraser Pryce, the island’s bobsleigh Olympic teams, Spelling Bee and beauty pageant contestants, music recorders, politicians, the science community and Sandra Lindsay, the first vaccinated person in the world against COVID-19.

Wright was recently named the chief digital officer at Microsoft USA.

To be clear, Britain’s Jacky Wright is now the top professional, the head honcho and the boss lady of the top US digital corporation.

How she reached the pinnacle of success is a testament to Black women, immigrants and the enduring spirit of Jamaicans residing everywhere in the world.

Reportedly, there are no Black CEOs, CFOs or chairs at the 100 most valuable companies on the London Stock Exchange. And according to CNN Business news, this year the percentage of Black executive directors and non-executive directors have been taking a nose dive since 2014.

Moreover, the prospect of future elevation seems bleak.

While the figures in the US inches at only 11.4 percent of Fortune 100 companies, diversity and opportunity as well as taking notice of the rise of Black women in prominent corporate positions here, Wright became convinced her future could be lurking across the Pond.

It was easy an transition. Allegedly she reflected on the struggles her father and uncles faced as immigrants to Britain.

She said despite hardships “he thought we had a better opportunity” in the UK but she always maintained “a firm belief that change was going to take much longer in the UK than the US.”

According to Wright, it was his experience of racism in Britain that prompted the family to move to the United States.

After some contemplation she applied the American proverb attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy — ‘when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.’

She reconciled that “there are more opportunities in the US than there are in the UK.”

After leaving the European island she was raised, she expanded her knowledge by taking a series of courses at City University of New York.

“In hindsight, “I’m not sure I would be chief digital officer at Microsoft had I not been in the US taking a series of career steps.”

The ambitious technologist found her niche at Microsoft but took a temporary leave from the tech company in 2017 to work for two years as chief digital officer for the UK government’s tax and customs department, overseeing the agency’s digital transformation and efforts to simplify tax collection.

Of her role as an immigrant, Wright remains devoted to her birthplace but also yearns for change there.

“I think this notion of really highlighting and focusing on change, right now at least, is in earnest in the UK. But I think we have a long way to go.”

“While my role says ‘US,’ I have a global influence because I work with large global companies and I do other things in the UK, Europe and Africa, so my purview is global and it’s always been that way,” she added.

Wright was given another boost recently when she topped Britain’s Powerlist 2022 ranking from Powerful Media.

In the annual list of Britain’s most influential Black people, the Microsoft executive was ranked ahead of Marcus Rashford, Manchester United’s star football player and child poverty activist, Anne Mensah, Vice President of Netflix, and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya.

Here’s a celebratory term of encouragement Wright might adhere this women’s history month — “You go girl!”

Catch You On The Inside!

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