I started my career in video tech/video conferencing working for a company called Reuters (which is now Thomson Reuters). I was part of the project team requested to research the use of video technology at Reuters with an overarching objective to reduce business travel. Our goal was to select the best global solution, purchase and deploy video endpoints to key offices around the world as a pilot (London, New York, and Sydney) and track usage and benefits. The project was incredibly successful and for a few years I subsequently built a video conferencing service within Reuters that actually won a few awards for our innovative use of video technology.
I then went on to work at Dresdner Bank (now CommerzBank) for ten years which was a pivotal point in my career as this is when I began assuming responsibility for new areas and technology, becoming a multimedia specialist as opposed to just an expert in videoconferencing. Working at Dresdner Bank was actually how I was introduced to my current company Dreamtek. Dreamtek was selected as a vendor to help support our newly created broadcast studio and were specifically assisting us with post-production. I got to know the 6 people who worked at Dreamtek at the time really well and when the time came for me to transition out of the bank, I became an equity owner at Dreamtek.
I’ve been at Dreamtek for over 10 years now and we’ve grown from a 6-person company to a multimillion-dollar leading production company, with offices in London, New York and Singapore, and prestigious clients such as Google and Facebook. This year we’ve formed an exclusive partnership with experiential events company Liberty & Co – a move that will see Dreamtek evolve into a fully integrated, experiential creative agency. Combining our technological and production event expertise with Liberty & Co.’s deep strategy, creative, and event experience – we now have the added capabilities of managing bespoke, experiential events from conception and storytelling to the build, event marketing and delivery. It’s a really exciting time for us at Dreamtek with lots of incredible collaborations in the pipeline.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No! I was always incredibly ambitious and driven and knew I was going to forge a career in business but never set out to have a career in production and technology. My first step into the world of tech (with videoconferencing) demonstrated that I had an aptitude for communications technology and it basically expanded from there.
Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?
Of course! There’s been some pivotal moments in my career that have challenged me both professionally and on a personal level.
During my time at the Investment Bank, constantly having to deal with restructuring and cost reduction initiatives which at times impacted my team and inhibited progress and my business goals. During my time at Dreamtek, having to deal with rapid growth whilst maintaining incredibly high service standards.
We will always face challenges throughout our careers, that’s just a part of life, but it’s how you handle the challenges that matters. I’m a strong believer in leading with empathy and being flexible – especially in times of uncertainty and change, you need to be able to take each day as it comes and be prepared to deal with situations you’re not used to.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Undoubtedly becoming CEO of Dreamtek in 2016. It was a career defining moment and I am incredibly proud to be leading this company
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Tenacity and balance. Being able to balance my career, family and understanding the importance of both.
What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?
Be authentic. It’s ok to show vulnerability and to not necessarily understand everything, but show passion and enthusiasm and take the time to learn and you will succeed.
Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?
I fear that sometimes (and definitely more so back when I was starting out than now) that women are not heard and don’t progress because they don’t have the courage to stand up and ask for what they want to further themselves in their careers. I knew from a young age that I wanted to succeed in business and I learnt very quickly that I needed the courage to have a voice in situations that I may not have felt comfortable in.
One of my favourite quotes is from Oprah Winfrey – “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” and it’s so true. Women just need to be authentic and confident in their convictions. I definitely want young women to understand the challenges but to trust their gut and to not be afraid to take that next step in their career path.
What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?
Companies need to provide a collaborative environment and support mentorship and sponsorship for women. Companies need to evaluate performance fairly and as well as provide flexibility for working mothers.
Give women the platform to shine and recognize them when they do!!
There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?
If we are going to level the playing field then we need to not only increase awareness but also prepare the younger female generation starting at an early age. This is starting to happen with ‘girls who code’ initiatives in schools but more work needs to be done.
What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?
I would suggest following leading women like Sheryl Sandberg and Susan Wojcicki. Forbes website on top women in tech is also very helpful.
I am also a member of the Chief network which has been an incredible resource for networking, thought leadership and sharing.