Paying It Forward: A Pathfinder’s Story

Jackie Namalwa | Gold Fellowship Pathfinder

Uganda-based Jackie Namalwa is on a mission to fuel the aspirations of young tech professionals and help them achieve their dreams. As a senior talent recruiter with over a decade’s experience in the tech recruitment industry, Jackie understands clearly what it takes to support the growth and success of tech talent not only in Africa, but across the world. Her dedication is cemented by her personal exposure to mentorship and career support, and now,  she’s looking to pay it forward.

In this conversation, Jackie shares her journey to becoming a Pathfinder with The ROOM Gold Fellowship, the joy she finds in her work, and how young tech professionals can take advantage of the valuable offerings The Gold Fellowship has to offer.

Please share a bit about your background

I’ve had the privilege of hiring tech talent for big tech companies, startups, and scale-ups across diverse regions, including Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, the US, UK, Canada, and the Middle East. My expertise spans both in-house and agency recruitment, and this has helped me understand the intricacies and nuances of hiring for different technical roles including engineering, product development, data analytics and more.

One aspect of my work that truly energises me is connecting with tech professionals, understanding their aspirations, and leveraging that knowledge to connect them with their dream opportunities. I am deeply passionate about fostering these connections within the tech space and helping individuals achieve their career goals.

What inspired you to become a Pathfinder with The ROOM Gold Fellowship?

The ROOM's mission to connect tech talent with global opportunities aligned perfectly with my passion for facilitating transformative career journeys. The prospect of being part of a company that empowers junior tech professionals to unlock their full potential and thrive in their chosen career path was truly inspiring to me.

How do you define your role as a Pathfinder and what are some of your key responsibilities?

Gold Fellowship Pathfinder talking to two ALX Fellows

As a Pathfinder, I have the privilege of being a catalyst for the career growth of emerging tech talent. I work closely with young tech professionals, helping them map their career paths, facilitate transformative opportunities, and unlock their maximum potential. By offering a comprehensive range of resources such as employment prospects, mentorship programmes, coaching sessions and opportunities for public speaking engagements, I am dedicated to expediting the developmental journey of junior tech talent, empowering them to realise their life's purpose and make a lasting impact in their careers. My role also involves building long-term relationships with employers, and facilitating mutually beneficial connections with our tech talent.

What do you love most about being a Pathfinder?

I absolutely love engaging in one-on-one sessions with the Gold Fellows and establishing deeper connections with them. It is gratifying to work alongside young people who possess a strong drive to gain clarity of their career goals and aspirations. 

One of the highlights so far has been collaborating closely with The ROOM Fellowship team to develop a comprehensive job readiness kit specifically tailored to empower Gold Fellows with a competitive edge in their pursuit of dream roles. This initiative is aimed at equipping them with the necessary tools for success, and I’m thrilled to contribute to that.

What are some of your top tips for standing out in an interview? 

Summarise your CV. When faced with a "tell me about yourself" question, focus on discussing relevant experiences – essentially, prioritise quality over quantity. 

Conduct thorough research on the company and the individuals you will be interviewing with. Familiarise yourself with the company's products, services, and competitors, so you can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

Carefully review the job requirements and analyse them in detail. Under each requirement, note examples of how you’ve demonstrated them throughout your career. These will be the foundation of your answers to competency-based questions.

Practice answering potential interview questions and rehearse your responses out loud. This will help you refine your delivery and articulate your experiences. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be.

What role does mentorship and career coaching play in accelerating the growth of young professionals?

Gold Fellowship Pathfinder showing his phone to two ALX Fellows

A significant one. Mentorship and career coaching foster a culture of lifelong learning and individual advancement. They nurture a mindset of growth and inspire young professionals to embrace obstacles, pursue novel prospects, and continually enhance their skill set. Most importantly, they play a pivotal role in propelling the career growth of young professionals and equipping them with the necessary resources and expertise to navigate the dynamic tech industry with confidence.

Who is a Pathfinder that has impacted your own journey?

During my tenure at a previous company, I was fortunate to have a manager who doubled as my mentor and coach. Recognising areas where I needed improvement, she dedicated time and effort in honing my skills and leadership abilities. She also helped in identifying growth opportunities within the company that aligned with my skill set, and encouraged me to pursue them. Her support really helped to build my proficiency as a technical recruiter.

What value would you say the Gold Fellowship holds for young tech professionals?

The ROOM Gold Fellowship is an exceptional talent experience that provides young tech professionals with various levels of support. Gold Fellows gain access to lifelong opportunities and enticing benefits exclusive to them. Besides accessing well-equipped workspaces that boost their productivity and enable them to seamlessly deliver their tasks, Gold Fellows are also paired with dedicated Pathfinders committed to providing continuous support and connecting them to strategic opportunities that can accelerate their careers. If I were a rising tech professional, I would grab this opportunity with both hands. The Gold Fellowship holds immense value, and I encourage eligible candidates to apply.

The ROOM Gold Fellowship connects top ALX tech graduates with Pathfinders who mentor, coach, and support their career growth. Apply today to one of ALX’s world-class programmes so you can gain entry into the Gold Fellowship and unlock a range of benefits and perks reserved exclusively for Gold Fellows.

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