To celebrate International Women's Day on the 8th March, this week we are putting the spotlight on inspiring women in digital leadership roles. In this first instalment, our own inspiring leader, Forward Role’s first-ever female Associate Director Rachel Wheeler, chatted with Rachael Tansey-Brown, Head of Digital at Findel Education.
1. Please could you provide an overview of your role?
I am Head of Digital at Findel Education, a private equity backed educational supplies business. I am responsible for the digital performance of the websites and supporting the company with its digital transformation. Two key parts of this role have been building an internal team of digital experts across all disciplines, ands ourcing and adopting best in class MarTech to provide the customer with an intuitive onsite experience that converts.
2. What are the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?
No challenges as such, only ones of my own making! In the early days of my career, like a lot of women ‘imposter syndrome’ affected me from time to time and I would often feeling intimidated when I was the youngest person in a meeting or the only female so I’d often be passive in meetings. These days though I am confident in my own abilities, who I am as a person and the values I have, and what I can offer the business I’m working for.
3. Let’s be more positive! What are your biggest success stories?
I would say it’s been building teams and scaling for growth. People will always be a companies biggest asset so building and nurturing teams are key skills to have and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed.
In terms of commercial success, double digit YoY growth is something I’ve always achieved. And that’s been achieved through always being led by data, and not being afraid to probe and ask difficult questions. Also back to people again, delivering through people is something I have consistently done in every role I’ve been in.
4. What advice would you give to women who aspire to be in a role of power?
Be authentic, there is no better version of you than you! Always play to your strengths, none of us are good at everything. As a leader surround yourself with people with skillsets that compliment your own. ‘Soft skills’ are really important too, be approachable, listen more than you talk, and show humility.
5. What factors do you think have caused an imbalance at the top of the ladder between men and women? What do you think we can do to overcome these challenges?
For women there are two key life stages that can impact their career development. Maternity leave and the initial years that follow which of course has been much discussed within this space, and then there are the menopausal years. The latter is now much more spoken about in workplaces and less of a taboo, however there is so much evidence now about the drop off of women in leadership roles during this time. I’m not sure what the answer is however it’s good to know that there has been research around this and many businesses are trying to support women and address this unbalance at the top of the ladder.
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