“Your worth consists in what you are, and not in what you have. What you are will show in what you do.” —Thomas Davidson

Jess Rees


Technology & Innovation

Organisation / Company



The things that really excite you and that you find yourself enthusing to others about are what you will enjoy working on, advises Jess Rees, 29. She’s found her niche as a lead data scientist for Discovery, heading up a team that researches, develops and implements machine learning, data science and AI solutions. She also works with natural language processing models, to maintain customer service excellence. \

Jess and her team are working on a project called Research and Development of the use of Large Language Models for use in operations, which she is proud of, because they have prioritised science and responsibility in their approach, and spent much time evaluating the AI to make sure it is working properly. She says the excellence and courage of her team, who are always open to learning new things, continually inspires her to work harder and better. Jess is an optimist who believes that the youth are becoming both more intelligent and wiser than their predecessors, and they will dare to innovate more. She says that AI technology is becoming more accessible to everyone, but it will also become more regulated, and we will know more about where it benefits us the most.


Masters in Big Data Science, University of Pretoria
Bachelor of Business Science, University of Cape Town


I am very proud of the main project my team and I are currently working on, namely Research and Development of the use of Large Language Models for use in operations. I am most proud because we have prioritised science and responsibility in our approach to this research and development. We have invested a significant amount of time in evaluating the AI to ensure that it is working accurately and safely.

I have learned that the things that make you nerd-out and enthuse endlessly to others because they’re just so cool are the things that you’ll truly enjoy working on, and therefore be most successful at.

I have also learned that if you are investing in an approach that you truly believe is better and safer, even if it feels like you’re going a bit slower at first, that investment will pay off and you will soon be moving both faster and in a way that is aligned to your values.

Finally, I have also learned that listening is often more important than speaking, and getting input from and debating with many knowledgeable (and strongly-opinionated) people can only benefit your work.


My most important role models have been teachers: teachers at school, advisers at university, and experts willing to share their knowledge and experience at work. They have shown me how important it is to share with and teach others.