In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, I asked 20 inspiring female marketing leaders from all walks of life “What advice would you give your younger self?”
From being more bold and speaking up, to finding balance and just getting some more shuteye, here’s what they had to say:
Abi Jacks, VP, Marketing, International at Rakuten Advertising
Firstly, work hard but don’t give yourself a hard time. I have worked with so many talented people who receive the highest levels of pressure from themselves. Yes, you want to achieve great things, but you also need a healthy mind and body to allow you to get there. There is enough stress coming from around us, don’t add to that.
“I have worked with so many talented people who receive the highest levels of pressure from themselves”
Secondly, celebrate your wins. The small ones with a mental high five and the larger ones, shout from the ceiling, you’re a marketer! These wins will give you (and your leaders) the confidence to progress upwards.
Finally, ask to train on DISC profiling and Situational Leadership – these two tools will help you hone your communication and leadership skills, increasing your understanding of those around you and yourself. These skills are just as important as technical ones.
Rochelle Shanthakumar, CRM Campaign Manager at ODEON
Don’t underestimate yourself. If you think you’re under-qualified go for it anyway, and if you don’t understand something don’t be afraid to ask. Everyone has to start somewhere.
“Everyone has to start somewhere”
Amrita Gurney, VP Marketing & Community at Crowdriff
Share your work. It’s a great way to get feedback from people inside or outside your organisation and can also help others who are working on similar things. As an added bonus, you will raise your profile so others look to you as a subject matter expert.
“Share your work”
Kait Creamer, CRM Marketing Manager at Framer
Give your authentic self to everything you do. If something feels wrong, speak up. If something feels right, lean in.
Ask for the things you want; doors open far more readily than you’ll believe. Take on projects that fill your cup and don’t let FOMO dictate the opportunities to which you say “yes”. Choose to work with people who put good things into the world – kindness, inclusivity, humility, and joy – and search for creative opportunities to do the same. Not everything has to be strategic or measured; make sure you leave room to do things simply because they sound fun or interesting. Your career is secondary to your humanness, so remember that when hustle culture tells you otherwise.
“Choose to work with people who put good things into the world and search for creative opportunities to do the same”
Finally, and most importantly, get some sleep.
Rani Mani, Head of Employee Advocacy at Adobe
Start before you are ready. Don’t trade progress for perfect. Stop waiting for someone to validate, promote or discover you. While you are waiting to be more qualified, gathering more experience, sitting on your ideas, know that others with unformed ideas, with far less abilities are being anointed industry thought leaders, getting promoted and seeing their ideas come to life in the world.
“Don’t trade progress for perfect”
Purna Virji, Senior Manager of Global Engagement at Microsoft
It’s okay to set boundaries. To say no. To prioritise time for family and self-care. Not only because that’s all that truly matters, but equally importantly it’s that the self-care time actually makes you *much more* productive!
“It’s okay to set boundaries”
And since you’re stubborn and burning with passion and ambition, seek out mentors earlier on who will push you to find balance in all aspects.
Grace Pyne, Head of Marketing and New Business at ENGINE UK
The advice I would give to my younger self is the same advice I try to affirm on a daily basis. Be bold, be prepared and make sure you see the value in balance. I have a voice and opinions which have a purpose.
Never go to a meeting, however informal, unprepared as you never know what the outcome might be.
“I have a voice and opinions which have a purpose”
Finally, balance. It’s important to recognise when enough is enough, working more hours in a day doesn’t necessarily get you further or allow you to do more it only makes you busy, stressed and overworked. Be efficient, strive for progress and nurture the relationships.
Jenny Stanley, Founder and MD, Appetite Creative
Don’t try and fit in with certain groups or crowds – just be you, always. There will always be haters, but the people you find that will like and support you when you are being you, are worth a billion times more than those ‘false’ people you are trying to impress.
I would also say be you, love you and others will too! You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, so why waste time, money, energy trying! Smile and don’t take it all to heart. Breathe and remember that there is always another day, and as long as you are trying your best – to hell with everything and everyone else.
“Be you, love you and others will too”
From a business perspective, I would also tell my younger self to take risks, push boundaries, be creative and always seek out the newest innovations.
Ade Onilude Founder and CEO of Women in Marketing CIC
Embrace life-long learning both professionally and personally. Remember to listen, stay curious about the world, new developments and global cultures. Try to be humble and be kind to yourself and others.
“Embrace life-long learning both professionally and personally”
There will be ups and downs that’s life, practice resilience – and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Margaret Molloy, Global CMO at Siegel+Gale
Great leadership is about competence, empathy and ambition. The task for everyone is to hone these capabilities. This trifecta applies to people of all genders who seek leadership positions.
“Great leadership is about competence, empathy and ambition”