Crunchbase Q&A with Jessica Lindl, Vice President of Social Impact at Unity

The Crunchbase “Female Founder Series,” is a series of stories, Q&As, and thought-leadership pieces from glass-ceiling-smashers who overcame the odds and are now leading successful companies.

Throughout her career, Jessica has been a champion for social impact, working to improve learning outcomes and earning potential for all learners worldwide. In 2012, Jessica ran a company using Unity as a platform for social impact and fell in love with the power and scale of the platform as a means for making change. 

As the Vice President of Social Impact at Unity, Jessica focuses on empowering Unity creators and employees to make the world a better place. In this interview, we asked Jessica about her career path, why she felt this was the right field for her, and more.

“Even large, successful companies have an obligation to remember that shareholders aren’t the only people invested in their success.” – Unity’s Jessica Lindl on social impact and technology. 

Q: Why did you choose to enter your field/profession?

I’ve always been passionate about education and business so a career path combining the two was an intentional choice, and one that I’ve been lucky to spend two decades learning and growing in. 

My mom was an intensely dedicated first grade teacher and I saw how difficult it was for her to raise a family while working 70 hour work weeks, so I spent the first decade of my career using technology to make education easier for teachers. About 10 years ago, I was the CEO of a company that showed me the power of linking people who play games to their ability to facilitate social change, and as the Vice President of Social Impact at Unity, I now see an even bigger opportunity to make that a reality.

Q: What issues did you see in the field/profession before you got started in it?

To me, there is a very clear and obvious need to upskill and provide economic opportunities to underrepresented groups looking to break into a career in technology. By linking learning to earning potential, we can transform the tech industry. 

Q: How did you network, find communities, and make the connections you needed to succeed? Did you run into challenges along the way?

Mentorship has helped me build a solid foundation throughout my career, and I’ve been fortunate to have a bit of a “personal advisory board” made up of people who I have met at different stages of my professional journey. I have had challenges — we all do — but I always feel like there is someone I can turn to for advice. It is immensely important to ensure my advisory board is made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds and I also try to pay it forward and find people I can mentor in return.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Even large, successful companies have an obligation to remember that shareholders aren’t the only people invested in their success. It’s vital to keep all stakeholders in mind and find ways to return value to all of them.

Q: What is your advice for other female executives and for female creators at the beginning of their career or entrepreneurial journeys?

Don’t let anyone else define success for you. It all starts with your vision and what you want to achieve. Decide on the change you want to make happen, then let that be your guide to your professional moves.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or “personal mantra” you use to keep yourself motivated?

I really think that “innovation can and should come from anywhere” is something I keep in mind at all times. It’s not only reflected in my personal work, but also aligns perfectly with what we’re trying to do with our Social Impact initiatives at Unity, ensuring that people anywhere can use our tools to make a living, regardless of their background.

Q: What challenge are you most proud of overcoming in your career?

Connecting purpose to profit is a continuous challenge and opportunity. I believe that one can’t happen without the other on both a personal and company level. I’m proud of making my career decisions based on my own definition of purpose, my view of my own worth, and empowering others to make similar choices without sacrificing one for the other.

Q: How have you integrated your values and mission into your own work?

Q: By connecting purpose and profit at Unity, I believe we have unlocked growth and innovation opportunities that propel our business forward. This not only increases our value with investors, employees and customers, but allows us to create a competitive differentiation that protects us for the long-term.

Q: What qualities do you possess that you think have contributed most to your success?

Humility has helped me lead with gratitude and to make sure I always have goals to achieve that give back. Tenacity has enabled me to deal with setbacks and disappointments. And curiosity is also a big one for me — I love absorbing new information and different perspectives by listening deeply to a different perspective than my own.

  • Originally published June 2, 2021, updated June 3, 2021