What could be simpler than designing a handbag? Any six year-old with a few felt pens could do it. But designing the perfect boardroom handbag that doubles as a backpack, using the finest leather, made by the best craftsmen that catches the eye of the world’s fashion media? Ahhhh, now that takes creativity, innovation and one determined Kiwi, as it turns out.
To understand how Jacqui Gilbert operates, you only have to listen to her reason for leaving Telecom in her 20’s. “It didn’t capture my imagination and I love working for things that make me dream.” She finishes this sentence with what sounds like a self-conscious laugh but it doesn’t sound silly to me and it explains a life lived with passion and curiosity.
A Wellingtonian, who majored in psychology and political science at Canterbury University, Jacqui worked for a few years but “I’d always wanted to do an MBA somewhere because I really wanted to have the chance to see how I stood against the rest of the world.” She was drawn to Cambridge in England because...you guessed it, “I loved the innovation and the history.” That was 2013 when she was 31.