Gated community residents don’t know Jolynne Sprague of Gilbert, but without her or someone like her, they’d never leave or get to their neighborhood.
The longtime Gilbert resident and Highland High grad is director of operations for QuickPass, a local access-control tech company.
Created as a visitor-management software for gated communities, QuickPass “is all things access control for a gated community,” explained Sprague.
“We are a web-based software for residents to use to update their accounts and give access to visitors to enter their community,” she continued.
In addition to providing access control for residents to enter the gates, it also provides cameras, mobile patrol, gate service and maintenance and community facility access control as well.
Sprague joined QuickPass as an independent contractor in 2004 and worked her way up through a male-dominated industry to her current position as operations director.
Her knowledge of data collection earned her more and more tasks each day, making her the “right-hand woman” to QuickPass COO Sarah Jennings.
It took a little time to get there for Sprague, who has worked with Gilbert Sister Cities board as a teen and represented Gilbert as a foreign exchange student in Australia.
Married to a Gilbert native, the Yuma native has three children, including two at Gilbert High and a sixth grader at Quartz Hill Elementary.
She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in learning and pedagogy with a minor in child development and science.
But working with data offers a challenge that was hard to resist.
“As an independent contractor, I worked at helping QuickPass in design of the application for the user interface,” Sprague recalled. “I worked with the team to gather the right data and making sure that it was intuitive for the user to provide the correct data. I also worked to help integrate the platforms that comprise the function of QuickPass.
“My main task though was data migration. I have a keen sense for data puzzles and would take data we had received for communities, use Excel to undo the formats and such we were given in order to put in our format for our database needs. This is honestly still one of my favorite tasks today.”
There also was another challenge: working her way up in a world dominated by men, including HOA boards, gate companies, software developers and contractors – although she noted that community managers comprise a “pretty mixed population of men and women.”
She recalls times in her career when she realized “I was going to have to work harder to prove I had the knowledge as well as the assertive nature to get the installations done.”
She recalls being in meetings and telling customers something they that needed to be done and encountering resistance – until a male said the same thing.
“This was incredibly frustrating knowing we had done all the work and had plenty of examples and information to prove our position, but they needed to hear it from a man,” she said.
“Often the technicians in the field think they can charm you and get away with not doing sufficient work…just because they think I don’t know the difference.”
And it’s not like she hasn’t done a “man’s job.”
“My main tasks have always been computer-based and setting up the community on the database side, but I also had to be able to pull and terminate cable. I have run trenching and saw cutting machines. I have dug to lay conduit. I have installed cameras, wired and configured them, I have put in full access control panels and wired and programmed readers and I have done everything from start to finish of what is required for a QuickPass installation,” she said.
As director of operations for QuickPass, Sprague said, “I do whatever is needed to keep things rolling.”
Sprague, Jennings and Controller Melissa Hunt are now a team and “we have overcome many scenarios and worked through many things… We have really found a good stride and every year have managed to accomplish our goals and grow QuickPass in a variety of ways.”
And she offers this advice to women who find themselves having to prove they are just as capable as a man:
“Work to know who you are and what you are worth, but keep it close and only use it when you need to. Always evolve and continue to grow personally. Continue to refine yourself and give yourself the knowledge to be competitive.”
“Keep yourself humble and respectful,” Sprague added. “Find a way to use your voice and control your emotions. I have a teenage daughter and I live to pass on the same idea I would tell any young woman out there: share your opinion and know why you believe it, stay true to yourself and don’t dumb out. You don’t have to go out there as some bully trying to prove you are better. There is power in your grace and kindness.”