My former boss and mentor always asked me these three questions whenever I was questioning how happy I am in a certain role or at a crossroad in my career. “Are you learning? Are you earning? Are you growing?” These questions have helped me stay focused on my path and influenced my career decisions to-date. I’m a big advocate of personal and professional growth, and for me, success in my career means the ability to constantly grow and thrive – both as a person and a professional.
My career in tech happened by chance. To set some context, I’m working in a corporate function for a tech company currently, so it’s not like I studied computer engineering or programming and therefore landed myself in this industry.
I began my career in 2010, when I was in my final year at university and started a part-time internship at a local boutique PR agency, which specialised in servicing B2B tech clients. That was how I got myself immersed in the world of B2B tech. I was supporting senior PR consultants on accounts where I got to read up about all sorts of “digital marketing” that was on the rise back then – mobile marketing, email marketing, social media marketing – and a few SME companies in the mobile banking space. I loved the challenge of trying to simplify techy concepts to the layman, as I had to do as part of my role as a PR / communications consultant. It was different and niche. I felt like I had found my path then.
What has inspired me to remain in this industry is the pace at which technology is evolving and new innovations that we see being researched and launched to market. I get excited at the prospect of working with businesses to launch cool new innovations to the market.
For me personally, there are two big hurdles. One is external and the other internal.
The external hurdle is fighting the perception that I am “very young”. I think this comes with the fact that I have been blessed and lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to rise in the ranks at a faster pace than my peers. I have been in leadership or quarterly business review meetings where I felt like no one was seeing me as being credible or deserving to be there, until I started talking and they understood why I was there.
The internal hurdle is my own perception of how others see me. It could be that only a couple of folks in the room of 30 people see me that way – but I may have magnified this in my head which may sometimes lead to self-limiting thoughts and behaviours.
Intersectionality! It’s human nature for people to put others in a box and try to label them, but we need to do better as a society to break stereotypes and understand that each individual brings unique values and experiences to the table. I think that while there is a growing understanding and appreciation of intersectionality at the workplace, we still have a long way to go to see the appreciation of this being practised in reality. For me, I still feel that people generalise, assume and make their own judgments – it’s just human nature. However, there needs to be more education around this concept and what it means.
I would like to tell my younger self to know that my career is a marathon, and not a sprint. I can set certain goals and expectations for myself, but I also need to always remember to be kind to myself, and never, ever be afraid of failure. Failing is also an important part of growth.
On the career front, I hope to continue making strides and work towards my “career North Star” as a marketer in the B2B tech industry. I hope to continue learning and disrupting myself from time to time by picking up new skill sets and always challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone.
On the personal front, as a mother of two girls who will both be in primary school 5 years from now, I hope to be able to work in partnership with the teachers of my daughters to drive programmes that will help expand young girls’ vision of what they aspire to be when they grow up. When I was growing up, the vocabulary I was exposed to and therefore my vision of what I could be was limited, and I hope to change that for the next generation.