Jessica Barry – Conagra Brands

Jessica Barry – Conagra Brands

I was born and raised in Nebraska, moved away for a couple years and boomeranged back to complete my undergraduate and graduate studies and to be closer to my family. Nebraska always felt like home to me, and during my time as an intern here in Omaha, I met my husband and we decide that Omaha is where we wanted to raise our family and grow our community involvement. I have been with Conagra for almost 13 years now, growing my technical skillset in various roles, and I currently lead a team of software developers. Over my time there, I ran and scaled our intern program for 4+ years, created an internal rotational career development program, and led a large scale organizational transformation. I absolutely love individual and team development – coaching, mentoring, and building deep connections with others!

I have been participating in various NTC initiatives over the past 3 years, but I am currently building and scaling a Educator Externship program that I created in partnership with Conagra and NTC. This program gives Nebraska educators an 8 week experience at a Nebraska based company where they can learn how an IT organization works with technology and business process, and they take those learnings back to the classroom to help provide students with a realistic view of technology careers. I am continuing to strengthen the framework of this program, as well as recruit other business leaders to participate to grow the impact.

Personally, I am working towards growing my network and meeting new people to share ideas with. Technology education for all is very important to me, technology provides amazing opportunities and upward mobility so one of my main missions is to work in the community, specifically delivering the message that technology is a welcoming career for anyone at any level of technical aptitude. I always love giving my time to work with public schools and organizations to provide education and speak on technology trends as it relates to people and the community.

A couple fun facts about me… hmmmm. I am an avid video gamer, I play across all platforms with my family and it’s a large part of my stress management strategy. Second, my educational background is not in technology at all! I did my undergraduate in marketing and thought that was my passion…. but I fell into a tech job and have been hooked ever since!

If I had five minutes to prepare an hourlong lecture, I would teach about imposter syndrome, the importance of psychological safety in the workplace and in high performing teams, and the effects pressure, perfectionism and being self-critical can have on mental and physical health.