Rachel Bondi
Rachel Bondi Chief Partner Officer, Partner Solutions Group, Microsoft Australia
Jun 07,2021

How Jelaine Doncaster is leading by example

Jelaine Doncaster

Entering the technology sector was not Jelaine Doncaster’s plan – vowing in Year 11 after a challenging assignment that she would never enter programming or IT. The arts graduate had her sights on theatre, managing interactional acts and bringing them to Australia.   

But needing to make ends meet after graduation, she applied for a sales role at an IT company. A newfound appreciation for the fast-moving sector developed quickly.

“I never thought I would end up in tech, but I’m grateful that I did because it made me question my likes and dislikes,” Jelaine says.

Starting as a customer support representative, she quickly adapted to the role and environment, finding ways to showcase her skills. “No one wanted to do licensing. It was a complicated nightmare. But I understood it,” she says. “I saw an opportunity and grabbed it.”  

That significant step helped Jelaine grow as a sales professional. It also led to more responsibility, leadership opportunities and recognition. “I was in the right place at the right time,” she says.

Jelaine loves the fast-paced culture and pressure of meeting sales targets, which is why she’s been with Brisbane-based IT services provider Data#3 for 18 years. Passionate about creating and developing teams, she’s built the company’s software management, sales enablement and cloud solutions teams.

As the General Manager of Software Solutions, Jelaine likens her love of pressure to being an adrenaline junkie. Her other passions lie in working with customers and staff to achieve outcomes, and mentoring young IT professionals.   

“Seeing someone climb the ranks and develop gives me goosebumps,” Jelaine says. “Data#3 is a large company with a good culture. It’s a safe and supportive environment for women that provides them with the best opportunity to reach their potential and shine.”  

Being yourself is one of the most important lessons that Jelaine has learned during her career. She recalls trying to be mimic men at the beginning of her career, believing this would help her fit in. Growing older and gaining confidence professionally made her appreciate the differences. “We grew up in the 1980s with these perceptions of what we had to be,” she says. “But we should all just be ourselves.”

Jelaine highlights the importance of appreciating difference in strong and successful leadership. “If people see me asking lots of different people for their opinions, they are more likely to do the same,” she says.

As someone who has achieved success and a sense of fulfilment from an IT career, Jelaine is quick to point out that the industry has something for everyone – from marketing and sales to project management and HR. It’s also a sector that provides support, mentorship, variety and key initiatives to train and upskill women.

“My advice is to take and get involved in technology initiatives and programs that comes across, make the most of it,” she says.