Women in Technology: Jackie Cowan
Liquid Web’s Communications Manager for the Managed Hosting Marketing Team on perseverance and helping wherever you can.
Growing up in Allen Park, Michigan, Jackie Cowan spent a lot of time with her family playing card games with her brother and parents. An avid reader, Cowan loved the Scholastic Book Fair week in elementary school. “My bookshelf was always full and my Dad would have to sign my reading slip when we had Read-A-Thons in elementary school because I read so much so quickly,” she says.
But she has always been drawn to computers and electronics. As a kid, she was an observer, quiet and watchful. “I’m still this way. When in a new situation or on my own, I tend to sit back and watch my surroundings and how people act and respond. I enjoy gathering data before making decisions, which helps provide the most accurate information. And if I can put that data and information in a spreadsheet, that’s a bonus.” She enjoyed handheld games when she was younger—mainly the Nintendo Gameboy and QuizWiz by Tiger Electronics. Over time, Jackie became the go-to person in her family when others needed help troubleshooting stereos, gaming systems, and other technology.
It came as little surprise, then, that she would grow up to earn three degrees relating to technology, operational organization, and communication. Cowan holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Michigan, an MS in Communications from Ithaca College, and an MLIS in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
After graduating from Ithaca College in 2010, Cowan began looking for work. In July of 2011, a friend mentioned a job opening at Nexcess. “I jumped at the chance to interview,” she says, “and have been at Nexcess—and now Liquid Web—just shy of 10 years.”
Though she began as an administrative assistant, it became clear that the company needed dedicated customer billing staff. So her role slowly morphed into that of Billing Specialist and then Billing Manager. Midway through 2020, Cowan found a new home as Marketing Coordinator on the Managed Hosting Marketing Team. “I currently handle customer issues on social media, document and improve processes for the Marketing Team, handle communication for our Employee Writing Program, and help out with technical SEO checks for upcoming articles,” Cowan says. “All of my degrees helped prepare me for my current role with the Marketing Team.”
Cowan has also worked to launch and run multiple work culture initiatives with Liquid Web’s Culture Committee to encourage company-wide participation, like a step-tracking club, euchre tournaments, and an internal company podcast. “After COVID hit and we moved to being primarily remote, we tried coming up with opportunities to maintain employee engagement and participation,” she says. “One such opportunity was a euchre tournament that we ran through a card game app so employees across the country could participate. We had such great success and participants enjoyed it so much that after the first one last spring, we had another in the summer of 2020. I am currently working on putting together the first euchre tournament of 2021. A few people have already been asking about it, so I’m excited to release it to everyone.”
She has learned from several mentors throughout her career. “I think I’ve pulled traits from various people over the years as a way of ongoing self-improvement. No one is perfect and being aware that you can always improve a habit, reaction, or response is helpful for both career and everyday life,” she says. “Some traits that resonate with me are: whatever you do should be done well; if you don’t know how to do something then use whatever resources you have at your disposal to figure it out; and if you can help, do it.”
Cowan has made it her business to help others whenever she is able. “My motto is, ‘If I can help, then why not?’ If someone asks for help, I tend to jump right in. I like helping others and I’ve found that most of the time, helping takes less than five minutes of my time. Considering one day has 1,440 minutes, five isn’t too much to offer.” Last year, Cowan was the recipient of the Ultimate Dewy Award, an honor recognizing Liquid Web employees for being Helpful Humans and showcasing company values.
When she’s not working, Cowan enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her dog. “In the warmer months, I’ll read out in the backyard while something is baking in the oven. My dog will chase one of her balls or lay at my feet. It’s very relaxing,” she says.
Cowan has advice to offer young people interested in tech. “Don’t let anything, or anyone, stand in your way. If you like technology, there are plenty of opportunities to get started, whether it’s learning to code, computer science, video gaming, etc. Anything can be leveraged into a career now, so go for it!”
Mayra Pena is the former Communications Manager at Liquid Web and has over 10 years of experience in technology.
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