Here are some surprising facts about Jacky Wright (’85), chief digital officer of Microsoft and the top name on the 2022 Powerlist of most influential Black people in Britain, as published annually by U.K.-based Powerful Media. Number one: She’s based in the United States, not the U.K. Number two: Her career in technology began with a job she held back when she was an undergraduate working her way through Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business.
“I did not have an interest [in tech] until I got a job at a bank and started exploring technology,” says Wright, who was born in London to Jamaican parents and immigrated to the States with her family as a teenager. “We had an IBM computer, and I started playing around with it and learned how to code so I could automate my work. From there, I was curious about what else I could do with it.”
That curiosity led Wright, who had arrived at Baruch intending to study accounting, to declare a computer science major instead. She went on to work in IT for BP, Andersen Consulting, General Electric, and eventually Microsoft, taking a two-year secondment to serve as chief digital and information officer at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs—the British equivalent to the IRS—before returning to the tech giant in 2019. She describes being named the most influential Black person in Britain as “humbling.”
“I have always been focused on leading with purpose and paying it forward,” Wright adds. “My ability to do that hinges on my ability to raise awareness of the challenges people face, to be their advocate and ally, and to have a role in creating economic opportunities for them.”
And her advice for Baruch students who want to become tech leaders like herself? Focus on your passion first, and the tech part will follow: “Technology permeates everything we do. Whatever your passion, technology will play a role in it.”
—SARA J. WELCH