Jess Thoms | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Jess Thoms

Less than a year after graduating from USC, Jess had established herself as a pioneer of the high-tech ‘chatbot’ industry as a co-founder of technology agency Xandra Labs.

The company specialises in the development of interactive chatbots – computer programs that help companies engage with their customers by simulating conversations with real people. Jess and her co-founders were engaged by The Bright City to design a world-first chatbot tour guide for the new Maroochydore CBD, and have worked with major festivals and a boutique alcohol brand.

Xandra Labs is the second start-up Jess has launched – she founded a social media strategy company, White Lane Creative, immediately after her final USC exams in 2015.

She said her USC degree had equipped her with the up-to-date skills and knowledge needed to launch businesses that specialised in the growing digital space.

“Every course I studied at USC was relevant and plugged in to what’s happening in the industry. The fact that I could access one-on-one support from my tutors and lecturers was critical.

“It feels surreal, but I’ve gone with the flow and said yes to every opportunity I could. I think being fresh out of uni gave me a fresh perspective – I wasn’t afraid to try new things."