This International Women's Day, we're spotlighting the amazing women at Born to celebrate their achievements but also the challenges they've faced, from Imposter Syndrome to finding their feet in a new role, and everything in between. In a bid to "Choose to Challenge" but also take on our value of "See Challenge as Opportunity", they've taken these and shared their advice on how to overcome them, in the hope of inspiring women to take the leap and pursue a career in their field. Read on to find out more...

 

Emily Williams, Strategist

 

Emily Williams - Born Social

 

Career Highlight

The fun answer: Driving a convertible, fluorescent orange Range Rover Evoque around the Dorset coast and it being called work. The serious answer: Every single pitch win, especially when it’s something I can’t wait to work on, and every time I see work in the real world that I’ve helped to shape.

 

Biggest Challenge

Finding my niche. I took the long way round to strategy through copywriting, account management and social media management - pinging between roles for a fair few years. But now that I’ve bounced into the Born Strategy Team, I know this has ultimately made me a better strategist. I know more about the bigger picture, how to work with different agency teams, and understand clients far better because of this. So thankfully the challenge was worth it.

 

One Piece of Advice

Remember that behind every polished strategy presentation is weeks of messy work, feedback and probable self-doubt. So don’t be intimidated, have confidence in yourself and your way of thinking, and don’t be afraid to share things with other people, even when it’s not perfect. 

 

 

Abbey Mills, Exec Client Services Director

 

Abbey Mills - Born Social

 

Career Highlight

Being a part of our leadership team taking over as owners of the business. Over the last 7.5 years at Born Social I have always felt a huge sense of ownership and pride in the business we've built, but going through this at the end of 2020 was a moment that made me sit back and take stock of everything we've achieved. Not only was this personally really exciting but to do it with a group of people I have unbelievable respect and admiration for, and genuinely love working with made it all the more poignant. 

 

Biggest Challenge

As someone who thrives working with other people unsurprisingly I found the prospect of working remotely challenging... I get my energy from others and generally communicate better in person. Managing this while leading my team and clients through their own challenges was certainly something I hadn't faced before. But, the resilience I've tried to build over the last few years when dealing with change, remaining optimistic and focusing on the things I can control helped... And it ended up being a pretty incredible year despite missing everyone's faces!

 

One Piece of Advice

Don't underestimate the power of being good at the 'soft stuff' like communication, emotional intelligence and listening. I spent a lot of my early career feeling insecure about my lack of 'hard skills' (in part because I was surrounded by so many talented people) and it led me to try and upskill in things that were never going to be my absolute strengths. Now I'm comfortable being curious about those things but I'm very happy to say the 'soft stuff' makes you a valuable asset if you can do it very well!

 

 

Hannah Penhall, Account Director

 

Hannah Penhall

 

Career Highlight

Being part of a team to create one of the world's first Facebook Real World AR effects which ended up gaining a tonne of PR, including half a page in The Times!

 

Biggest Challenge

Trying to prove that age and education aren't the only routes to progressing in a career. Competency and ability to succeed in a role should always be more important than these.

 

One Piece of Advice

Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how menial they may seem. There's no better way to fully get under the skin of a client, project or company.

 

 

Isabelle Zubaida, Social Media Manager

 

Izzy Zubaida - Born Social

 

Career Highlight

Definitely joining Born! I knew I wanted to work agency-side and I really love the deep dive into such a variety of brands, plus getting to work across a range of projects means there’s ample opportunity to learn from so many people. Managing to do all the above, relatively smoothly, in the middle of a pandemic also deserves a metaphorical pat on the back.

 

Biggest Challenge

Like many people, the ongoing battle with imposter syndrome! 

 

One Piece of Advice

I would say don’t worry about what you may, or may not, have studied- definitely don’t let this limit you as I thought it would for me (hello, BA in illustration). Be open to opportunities and learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. 

Focusing on my role as a Social Media Manager in particular, an interest in culture, trends and behaviour feels important. Getting used to working in a team and collaborating well is also quite key, as this is a role that involves a lot of communication with various people.

I didn’t really set out to work in marketing/ social media, but every job I’ve had has been one slightly convoluted zig-zag to where I am now, and I couldn’t be more thankful!

 

 

Mary Kingcott, Creative

 

Mary Kingcott - Born Social

 

Career Highlight

Landing my dream job for my first job. A.k.a Born Social

 

Biggest Challenge

Imposter Syndrome. Like most creatives, it’s my driving force and my Achilles heel.

 

One Piece of Advice

Think about the specifics of what you want to do and do it in your spare time. Do it for free, do it freelance, create your own side-hustle - just don’t wait until you land the job to start creating the good stuff. 

 

 

Lily Cullen, Marketing Manager

 

Lily Cullen - Born Social

 

Career Highlight

Joining this wonderful agency! It was the perfect mix of my ideal role within an industry I was really curious about, so when the opportunity arose I knew I had to jump at it - 2 years on and I’m so glad I did!

 

Biggest Challenge

Crafting an entirely new role at Born; there was no Marketing Manager position before me, so I had to establish what that looked like and ways of working with the wider team. On top of this, I was learning the industry lingo too! 

 

One Piece of Advice

Generalism is key in this role; there’s a whole host of transferable skills I’ve used from previous roles/my degree (BA Film, Theatre + Television), so don’t feel that a Marketing Degree is vital in order to bag a role in Marketing.

 

 

Emily Evans, Paid Media Manager

 

Emily Evans - Born Social

 

Career Highlight

Working on a social playbook for Greenpeace. My favourite work is work that makes a difference, and I felt really privileged to work with them and create paid strategy with real impact.

 

Biggest Challenge

Going from in-house in Surrey to agency side in Shoreditch. I’d gone from doing work for one brand to twelve (insert mild panic emoji) and it was really tough to get my head into such a different style of working, whilst trying to impress my new employers, make friends and figure out the best exit at Old Street. The learning curve was STEEP but so rewarding- I’ve had the best two years and have become so much better at my job.  

 

One Piece of Advice

Take your time exploring lots of areas of advertising to find which bits get you excited, and then dive into those. Carving out your niche isn’t always linear, so don’t panic if your career path is more squiggly than straight- there is value in every step of the way (even the steps you weren’t crazy about) so recognise what you’ve learnt and carry it with you.