We’ve hand-picked five inspirational women in marketing and asked them to share their tips and secrets of success with us, whilst also revealing any challenges they still face as women in the marketing service industry.
The first part of this series delves into the career of Stacy Westhead, Director at London-based online acquisition firm atom42, and celebrates her successful and inspiring career in the digital space so far.
Looking back, what inspired you to enter the world of marketing?
All of my house mates at University studied marketing so I was constantly surrounded by marketing chat. I studied Mathematics, but always found their subjects much more interesting than mine, so when the opportunity to take marketing as a module in my 3rd year came up, I jumped at the chance. Once I left I was offered a marketing job at a “camp America” style company called CCUSA. That was my foot in the door and I have worked in marketing ever since.
Have you ever faced challenges being a woman in the workplace, and if so how did you overcome them?
To be honest, I have only had one situation where a client has treated me as an inferior, and I don’t know if that was because I was a woman or because I was much younger than said client. It wasn’t nice though, and took a lot of courage at the time for me to refuse to do his admin work, because that wasn’t my job. Generally though, I think there are lots of senior women in the world of marketing these days, so we probably get a much easier time than women did 10-15 years ago (and certainly a much easier time than women in other industries). I have also been lucky enough to work in, and grow, a company where everyone is judged on the quality of their work rather than their age / gender so I haven’t experienced any challenges in recent years.
Which piece of advice has stayed with you throughout your career?
Be aware of what makes you happy and what doesn’t, and realise that, to a large extent, you are in control of that. I always find it useful every few months to take time out to think about this, and make proactive changes to make me happier (both in and out of work!)
What mantra do you try to adhere to in your work life?
Don’t expect anyone to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.
What are three things you look for when you hire people?
A real drive to learn about what we do, not expecting answers to be handed to them on a plate, and someone with good communication skills.
Which iconic marketing campaign did you wish you had created, and why?
As this article is about women, I will have to say the Dove campaign for real beauty. It wasn’t about selling their products, but focused on their key users, and a topic that most of them could relate to. It was also a campaign with longevity, which could be executed through multiple media channels in different creative executions (PR / Viral video / Display etc.)
What is the one book you recommend to all marketers?
It’s not marketing specific, but the best business book I have read is re:work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
Do you have any advice for women striving to achieve similar success in marketing?
I don’t really have advice for women specifically, apart from don’t worry about being a woman! Be confident, work hard and trust your own ability, success will then come naturally!
Name one gadget you can’t live without?
Living away from family I would have to say my phone, although I resent myself for saying that because it’s so obvious! I do, however, have to say that people need to take a break from their phones and give themselves time to think, speak or simply take in their surroundings.
What would be your favourite business trip destination?
Bali. It’s my favourite place in the world so being paid to go there would be perfect!
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