It’s International Women’s Day and this week in our Marketing & Digital Leaders series, we are celebrating women in leadership! In today's blog, Rachel Wheeler chatted with Founder and Director of ReDefine Marketing, Amy Lawson. Amy discusses her role, the challenges she’s faced in her career, her thoughts on the gender-gap and the advice she would give to women that aspire to be in a role of power.
1. Please can you provide an overview of your role?
Over the last few years’, I have worked as a marketing and growth consultant. I work with small to medium sized businesses to develop and execute results driven strategies to help them grow.
Prior to that, I worked at a senior level in Marketing for brands such as Allianz insurance and the Co-operative Bank
2. What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
Balancing home and work life, especially after having children.
The last 12 months have been some of the most challenging of my entire career. Trying to home school a 5 year old, look after a newborn, and work has felt like the impossible task on many occasions. I think the pandemic for many has exaggerated the gender gap. A study carried out by The Guardian recently reported that 67% of woman have taken charge of home schooling vs 52% of men.
3. Do you think there are enough women in prominent positions? Why?
No!! There is still a gender gap and that’s a well-documented fact. Although the gap is slowly improving the figures are still quite staggering. I recently read that less than 5% of American CEOs are female, and 7% of FTSE 100 companies have a female CEO.
I think there are many reasons for this. Women tend to take on more responsibility for childcare than men do. And the need for maternity leave and absences to care for sick children can hurt careers. It will be interesting to see the impact that the pandemic has had on careers and the gender gap over the coming years.
4. What advice would you give to women who aspire to be in a role of power?
Surround yourself with great people - This is two-fold. Firstly, choose to work with great leaders. Choose the role where the organisational values match your own, not the role with the big job title or package. From my experience choosing integrity over money will result in bigger and better things in the long term anyway. Secondly, build a great team around you, as they are absolutely key to your success. Surround yourself with people who have skills and talents in areas where you are lacking.
Be confident in your ability– focus on what you can do and the value you add. Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others, the most successful teams are made up of people with varied skillsets.
Always have empathy– this is so important for me and I have always championed this as a value. Unfortunately, empathy is widely misunderstood and can be seen as a weakness or ‘pandering’ to people. For me, empathy is about being able to understand the needs of others, it’s about being aware of their feelings and how it impacts their perception. It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but being empathetic means that you’re willing and able to appreciate what the other person is going through. There are so many benefits to be being an empathetic leader, including more productive relationships, increased loyalty and enhanced collaboration.
Encourage other female leaders and avoid the boys club– In many businesses the boys club exists, and it’s more prominent in some sectors than others. It can be easy to think that you have to try and fit in to succeed but sometimes doing this only makes things worse. I have found my energy is better spent staying true to myself, focusing on doing a great job and most importantly, in supporting other female leaders. Taking the time to encourage them to believe they can succeed (if they want to). This is what will make the biggest difference over time.
ReDefine Marketing works with start-ups through to medium size businesses, helping them to develop and execute growth strategies, get in touch with Amy for more info!
You can check out the previous instalments of our Marketing & Digital Leaders series, including our chat with Stacey Judson, Head of Operations & Business Transformation at Elegant Resorts and If Only.
If you are looking for your next marketing, digital or technology career move, get in touch with our experts! Rachel Wheeler is Product & eCommerce Lead at Forward Role, find out more about Rachel HERE