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Q&A: Talking with Tara Yates, Head of Digital Partnerships, APAC

Our Head of Digital Partnerships, APAC, Tara Yates, talks about her passion for racing cars, being a model for 12 years and why digital solutions are crucial to shaping our future.

We’re living in the era of digital disruption, and we need bold digital and technology leadership now more than ever. Leading this change demands knowledge, imagination, new thinking, an appetite to reinvent and the courage to challenge conventions.   

In this series, we're celebrating our team of digital and technology experts and visionaries, spearheading the development and delivery of our technology-forward solutions for smarter working and better living in Asia Pacific.

For this feature, we caught up with our Head of Digital Partnerships for APAC Tara Yates, to talk about her passion for racing cars, being a model for 12 years, why digital solutions are crucial to shaping our future and the vision for our digital partnership portfolio.

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Jacobs Head of Digital Partnerships, APAC. Can you tell us a bit about this new role and why it was created?

Thank you for the warm welcome – I’m excited to have joined Jacobs to lead the digital partner ecosystem in APAC and embed our digital partnership strategy.

Based in Sydney, my role is to work with our people, our clients and partners to build digital partnerships that are scalable, profitable and sustainable to challenge today and reinvent tomorrow.

It’s no secret that we are living in a digital era. Our clients are digitally savvy and require a high level of knowledge, expertise and markets insights. With the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been major shifts in our clients’ needs that have further accelerated digital growth.

For Jacobs to realize growth in this digital era we must partner with technology providers who have pioneered products and services and create meaningful digital solutions.

Digital partnering brings capability, innovation and market insights into our firm. It makes it possible for us to provide an amalgamation of leading-edge digital solutions to our clients by leveraging our strong local and global technology partner networks.

With digital connections and digital solutions portfolios, we can reach new customers and expand our range of new products and solutions. As we start our digital journey and influence our clients, we have an opportunity to create a new pipeline for growth and revenue streams, drive innovation across emerging markets and build our internal capability as we leverage best-of-breed technology in Australia and New Zealand.  

This is happening today as we respond to ANZ tenders, strengthening our position by providing a consortium approach relevant to our clients’ requirements.

Tell us about your background and what sparked your interest in a STEAM career.

After studying business and marketing, I decided to take a role as business development manager at a large Global Positioning System (GPS) and satellite provider 13 years ago. IoT and big data were a pipeline dream then. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve advanced since then.

It didn’t take me long to realize that digital is where I belong. I’m passionate about how technology can help build a sustainable future and the promise it brings in solving our world’s biggest challenges. Today, my experience spans intelligent transport solutions, decarbonization, asset utilization and management, IoT, cyber and developing networks that underpin digital solutions. 

Technology is an essential part of our lives today – it’s changing the way we live, learn and play. With the world population projected to reach a whopping 10 billion by 2050, the role of technology has become critical now more than ever. It’s shaping our future and can help us transition to clean energy, discover new transportation possibilities, lower carbon emissions and not to mention the endless possibilities for decarbonization to build a more sustainable world. 

Can you share some of the products and partnerships at Jacobs that excite you the most?

I am excited that we are leveraging our global technology partners like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to grow our internal knowledge and capabilities in cloud platforms and equip our super-smart data scientist at Jacobs to build game-changing applications for our clients. Jacobs has over 35 + enterprise agreements and aligns beautifully with our go-to-market strategy to become a solutions provider for our clients.

What’s something you learned in the last week?

Apple iOS has a function that has just blown my mind – when drafting text/email, press and hold the spacebar cursor to place it anywhere within the text field. I’ve chubby fingers, and this has literally saved me hours a month!

People would be surprised to know that …

I like to race cars and I’ve met Michael Schumacher.  

View from driver's seat

I was a model for 12 years, featured on various covers and campaigns, and have lived in Milan and London.

stevie nicks the dog

I’ve a dog named Stevie Nicks. She is a COVID-safe puppy!

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?

The Jacobs culture really sets us apart from the rest. Not only does Jacobs talk culture, wellbeing and inclusion, but also lives it and ensures that people are top of mind. Just a few weeks back, I received a care package with tea and chocolate from the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) leadership team.

package

Also, we are pioneers! Our Jacobs team is a group of highly experienced talented individuals. As we work together, we’ll be able to create something very special for our clients, offering some of the best digital solutions in the marketplace.

What is your vision for Jacobs’ digital partnership portfolio over the next five years?  

My vision is for Jacobs to be the leading digital professional services provider offering an ecosystem for our clients that gives them access to a plug-and-play marketplace with data and analytics services to optimize business processes and address sustainability goals. 

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