Celebrating women in digital and tech: 32 industry pros share what they’ve learned so far
Here at Glass Digital, we're lucky to have some inspiring and talented women working for us. So, in honour of International Women's Day on 8 March, we decided to shine a spotlight on the women who make our industry thrive.
In this blog post, 32 inspiring women from the tech and digital sector — including a few of the amazing staff from our Organic Search, PPC, and Affiliate departments — have shared their top tips for those who are just starting out in their careers.
Janice Tong, Head of Product Marketing, TotallyMoney
To my younger self, I'd say trust your instincts more — your feelings are valid. There will be many people along the way who will make you feel not enough. There will be people who make you doubt your way of thinking, because it’s different from the 'majority'. But your diverse experiences so far have led you from strength to strength along your growth journey. Be open-minded, but trust in your instinct.
Natalie Welsh, SEO Lead, TypeFace Group
I would say that SEO is such a vast sector of knowledge and you can’t be an expert in everything. SEO is a community of experts, so choose a path and then work to become an expert in your niche. For example, I am an expert at auditing and troubleshooting but utilise other experts to get the site up to scratch, e.g. coders, scheme specialists, copywriters, and so on.
Milly Pyne, Outreach Executive at Glass Digital
I think the best advice I could give is to not put too much pressure on yourself. Looking back, I’d never have thought I’d be where I am now. I think the key is to just keep learning, as you can never learn enough in this industry. I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt during my first three months in the role!
Olivia Breckell, Technical SEO Manager, The Audit Lab
Don’t get overwhelmed: there are so many elements to a tech role, it is impossible to learn it all at once! It takes time and experience to become an expert in the field, but if you work hard at it, it does pay off. Make sure you’re constantly training and developing yourself within the industry. Things are always changing, and it’s easy to fall behind if you don’t keep up to date.
Lydia Sims, Operations Director, Pearl Lemon Group
I started with little experience and worked my way up. If I was to give anyone advice, it would be that you shouldn't be afraid to stick your neck out there. Don't stop learning, go and explore things! Apply for that position you might not be the best fit for in terms of experience and show that you're willing to learn. Go beyond your degree and learn as much as you can!
Bridie Gallagher, Managing Director at Glass Digital
My advice would be to overcome a fear of failing or making mistakes, and don’t let that fear hold you back. Many decisions you make will be wrong, but you can learn from them. Mistakes are inevitable, and there will be times when things don’t go your way. But the silver lining is that this can spur positive changes in the way you work, and that more often than not leads to something better.
The key thing is to be resilient, but this will come over time. You’ll have great days and some terrible weeks, but remain focussed and believe in what you are doing and just keep pushing forward.
Katrina Young, Director, Katrina Young Consulting
My advice would be to be open to learning, thinking outside of the box, and definitely staying ahead of the trends. Given the current opportunities with social media platforms, I would also recommend documenting your journey in an online portfolio to help attract recruiters or build your personal brand.
Jessica Freer, Head of Paid Search at Glass Digital
My advice to anyone wishing to start a career within Paid Search would be to keep up to date with industry changes and Google developments. PPC requires an element of forward planning, so employers would be keen to hear an insight into the current climate.
Along the way, try not to get too disheartened by any setbacks or mistakes. Own them and consider it a learning experience. They happen and you are human — it’s okay if the crown slips from time to time!
Heather Delaney, Founder of Gallium Ventures
Find a mentoring board that you can tap into for advice and insights. Look for people you admire for different professional qualities, which you would like to emulate or embed in your own enterprise. By doing so, you won’t be relying on a single person and will benefit from a more well-rounded perspective. Never doubt your instincts, as this will save you time, energy and headaches.
Siobhan Newmarch, Senior Content Executive at Glass Digital
My advice to anyone taking up a Content role in digital marketing would be to believe you can do it. The great thing about this industry is that everyone is learning new things all the time, so if you're a good writer but aren't familiar with SEO concepts like keyword research and backlinks just yet, you can easily catch up if you're interested and you work hard.
Sonia, CEO at Chaser
My top tip would be to praise more women and open up the floor to more women along the way. As women, we can get caught up in our own obstacles that we lose touch with how we can elevate each other. There were times in my past where I would witness 'hepeating' outright and simply go along with it, not to cause a stir. Now, I actively try to coordinate reaching out to other women in meetings. For instance, I’ll ask a female colleague after offering an insight, “What additional thoughts do you have?” This gives my colleague the opportunity to voice her opinion before anyone else can step in.
I would also encourage women to take credit for their achievements. Women tend to explain their successes by ascribing them to things like 'luck', 'hard work' or 'being at the right place, at the right time', rather than the innate ability or intelligence to succeed. The advice I give myself and others is to try to own the role you played in your success by forbidding yourself from falling back on excuses.
Dawn Scevity, Marketing Manager, Medication Management Solution, BD
Stay-tuned. Never think you know it all. I never stop learning, whether that's by reading blogs, attending seminars, vocational training or even from your team. When I have managed people, I always learn as much from them as they do from me.
Siobhan Kelly, Content Executive at Glass Digital
My advice to anyone looking for a similar role is to practice as much as you can, and not let your chosen degree hold you back. I wasn't sure whether I would be able to get a content writing role without a degree in English Literature, but by practising writing and learning about SEO, I was able to find the perfect career for me.
Elle Baldry, Systems Strategist, Elle Baldry Consulting
I encourage anyone who has a love and talent for technology to dip their toes into the tech sector. The tech world is vast, and you’ll be surprised at how many roles exist, so you can break the mould. It isn’t all about code and firewalls!
Polly Kirkup, Senior Outreach Executive at Glass Digital
I would advise anyone just starting out or looking to begin their career in digital marketing to believe in your ideas and put yourself out there for any opportunities that come your way. There’s a lot to take in and trends constantly change but when your campaigns and other projects come to life and succeed it is worth investing your time in learning and staying up to date with the industry.
Alana, Web Developer, Zeal
I'd say don't worry about trying to find your perfect dream job as soon as you leave school or university. There's a lot of pressure on young people to start their careers as soon as possible, but I think it's beneficial to experiment with different roles and skills as you learn more about yourself and grow as a person.
Virginia Rizzi, Head of Affiliate at Glass Digital
Affiliate is a very a niche and small industry where everyone knows each other, and everyone is very supportive. So don't hesitate to reach out to senior people, as they will gladly give you tips on how to get started in the industry and share their knowledge. Be very proactive, too: if you can stay on top of the latest trends, you'll be able to do the best work.
Felicia Hjertman, Founder & CEO, Tillit
Never be afraid to start over, to fail, or try something you have never done before. Personal growth and development that come from mistakes, failure, and taking risks, not to mention the sense of achievement when you try again and succeed. Dare to give it your all: the worst thing that can happen is that you learn something.
Emma Robinson, Senior Content Executive at Glass Digital
My advice for anyone looking to start or develop their career in digital marketing is to absorb as much knowledge as you can, not only in content writing but in other areas of digital marketing too. Everything you learn can help you in your role and the world of SEO is constantly changing, so embrace your curiosity and keep learning.
Jacqueline Davidson, Program Director at Aerospace Xelerated and Investment Principal of Global Accelerators and Innovation Programs, Boeing
My advice would be: don’t assume you need a tech or engineering degree to work in the tech space. Ask all the questions, even the ones you fear might make it seem like you don’t know what you’re doing. There is great power in curiosity and vulnerability.
Be authentic and empower others who may be in the same position as you. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, will champion you, and want to see you succeed. It can really help to find trusted mentors that take into account your whole self, meaning they will mentor you despite your job title or if you choose not to take their advice.
Charlotte Slinger, Content Executive at Glass Digital
As advice for anyone coming out of university with a creative, media-based degree, don't limit yourself to one industry when searching for a job. While you may think you have to get one of the more traditional roles associated with your degree (for me, that was publishing), today there truly are so many places you can go with creative expertise.
Catie Romero-Finger, CEO of Sinofy Group
My advice to someone coming into a leadership role is that you need to have a clear vision of what you want and how you are going to help get others there. If you are unsure then the boat will sink.
Something I would tell my younger self is a quote that I have tattooed on me: 'worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace'. I think a lot of people suffer from imposter syndrome both in life and in work, and I was one of them. The constant worrying if you are doing what is right will eat you alive. You have to trust yourself and your gut. Make sure you are confident in your convictions and even if you are a little unsure, fake it until you make it!
Lydia Carroll, Head of Content at Glass Digital
I think there's a common misconception that you need to have paid work experience on your CV to land your first digital copywriting role. However, there are loads of free resources and SEO courses available online, so it’s never been easier to develop your skills and knowledge independently. And, you certainly don't need a paid role to start putting together an impressive portfolio of writing samples.
To anyone looking to get into copywriting for the digital sector, my advice would be to ask around, grab every opportunity that comes your way, and most importantly — keep writing!
Beth Clayton, Outreach Executive at Glass Digital
My biggest advice for anyone starting their career in marketing is to believe in yourself, and to keep learning. The industry is always changing and there are so many tools out there to help you improve your campaigns.
Davinder Kaur, Head of Software Delivery, PensionBee
I wish I could tell my younger self to take everything one step at a time and celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small. Restarting your career comes with a steep learning curve and is hard work. It's therefore natural to doubt your ability, but you don’t have to have all the answers or be wonderful at everything to be a successful woman in tech.
Sarah-Jane, General Manager, CoursesOnline
I would tell my past self to not get so overly emotional when things go against me. Fortunately, I learned the importance of focusing on the bigger picture and not responding when feeling emotional. For those who are becoming managers now, I’d reiterate the importance of working constructively with your team to develop solutions, rather than focusing on their mistakes.
Rebecca Herworth, Outreach Team Lead at Glass Digital
Looking back, some advice I would give myself when starting out in the industry is to have confidence in my ability and knowledge, and to speak up and make my ideas heard. As a Team Lead now, I encourage every member of the team to have their say in our ideation sessions as every idea is worth hearing and sometimes the more creative and 'out there' ideas can be the most successful.
Natasha Sonawane Berry, Head of Marketing at Coastr
Try everything! Apply for internships and try roles in every function. Finding the winning combination of a job you like and that you are good at is not easy to come by. Even within a certain function — say marketing — there are a plethora of options. If you are creative, try content creation; if you write well then do copywriting for social media or blogs; if you are good at design then try website management. Similarly, if you are process-oriented, try your hand at supporting CRM processes and building the customer journey.
Jennifer Macdonald, Head of Marketing at Glass Digital
I would advise anyone looking at a career in marketing to try and soak up as much knowledge as you can to increase your chances of progression and to keep it exciting.
Imogen Wallis, Head of Discovery, Milk & Honey PR
My advice would be to not pigeonhole yourself too early. Digital marketing is continuously evolving, so experiment and take the time to find out which roles you like and don’t! If you don’t mind being thrown in the deep end, working for a start-up can be a great opportunity to do this as you often need to wear multiple hats.
Sam McOwan, Business Development Manager at Glass Digital
To anyone looking for a role in Business Development in the digital sector, my advice is to be hungry. Start making contacts as soon as possible by signing up for networking events. Make your face known, get used to chatting with strangers, building a relationship in the first instance, and then you can start creating a great network of connections.
Karina Bajega, Affiliate Marketing Executive at Glass Digital
My advice is not to be afraid to change career paths and try out new things. Be open-minded about taking new opportunities and try to learn to obtain as many skills as you can, as they will always be valuable in the future.
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