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Real Technologists: Jess Szmajda
Episode 516th May 2024 • Real Technologists • Trac Bannon
00:00:00 00:23:17

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I generally don't make cold calls, at least when it comes to inviting folks to be on Real Technologists. Jess Szmajda and I crossed paths through our online cybersecurity and cloud computing networks. She's a general manager at AWS leading Network Firewall and Firewall management business. Previously, she was the GM for the VPN practice.

With her online profile saying she's located in Washington, DC, I made the assumption that she works with the federal government. Oops! Never make assumptions! 

I could tell there was technical depth and a driving passion to impact others. 

It was time to set up a chat. 

When we met, it was during late August. The air was still warmed by the summer sun, and the evening was just beginning to hint at the cooler days ahead. Perfect weather for an energizing discussion and forward thinking ideas. 

Jess Szmajda's presence was an instant uplift. She has a delightful laugh that punctuates many of her sentences. 

Jess Szmajda: Well... I was actually born in the district. I think I was one of the five people born in DC that year. 

I'm a general manager. I own some of our network security services... network, firewall and firewall manager. A general manager at AWS is a bit like a CEO of business line. So I've got a couple products that I own and responsible for P and L and... all people sales, go to market, customer support, everything you name it. I lived in or near DC for most of my life, and I've never worked for the government. I don't know , the government thing, it's just never made sense. It's never been the place for me.



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