All posts tagged: digital skills

How to Align your True Self with your Career: Using Purpose as your North Star

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What does it mean to be true to your purpose as you mould your career? What are the challenges in bringing your whole self to work? And what are the rewards? Our September 10 Digital Ladies event was dedicated to exploring this very topic. Co-hosted by Saswati Saha Mitra, the 10 Digital Ladies award winner for the 2018 Specialist Category, the theme for the event came about from a conversation we had about how it was at times difficult to find and keep hold of that ‘red thread’ of what was truly meaningful to us as we navigated our career paths. Time and time again, Saswati came back to the question of how to make a meaningful difference in the world.We set about pulling together a line-up of speakers who would offer rich and varied insights on the topic. Our panel was made up of:
  • Saswati who leads Uber’s Global UX Research team, delivering high quality strategic insights to Uber’s Product and Business Leaders. With 600+ cities to conduct research in, she also builds scalable processes that allow anyone in the company to become a user expert.
  • Gemma Carver who, as Digital Director for Pentland Brands, is responsible for growing the digital footprint of a portfolio of globally recognised brands such as Speedo, Canterbury, Mitre and Berghaus while also nurturing young brands such as Seavees (trainers) and Endura (cycling), and incubating new brands and innovations.
  • Emma Prest who oversees the running of DataKind UK, leading a community of volunteers and building understanding about what data science can do in the charitable sector. Emma also sits on the Editorial Advisory Committee at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
  • Penny Jones who enjoyed a brilliant 15+ years in digital media, performing a variety of business development and strategy roles. Far more interested in people than platforms however, she recently stepped down from her role as global strategy director for Conde Nast International to launch a career coaching practice, From the Middle, helping early and mid-career women create careers in which they thrive.

Here are the 10 things we learned from our speakers:

  1. What’s your purpose? If you know your overall purpose – you have something to guide you along your journey. And so, when life happens, you can adapt to the changes needed, without going too far off course. Penny said, ‘My purpose is to help people, I looked back over my career and the best bits were when I was helping the people in my team. I woke up in the morning and felt confident because I knew what I was doing.’
  1. We spend about 60/70% of our waking time at work, that’s a lot of our time and energy. Saswati said, ‘I want people to be able to say “I am proud of the life I have led, and it really matters to me where I spend my time and energy”’/li>
  1. Plan ahead (as much as you can) and set goals. ‘I didn’t know this in my 20’s, but you need to think ahead for the next decade,’ said Saswati, ‘By having a longer term plan aligned to your overall purpose, it gives you enough time to make mistakes along the way and correct your path’. Setting yourself some realistic goals helps to give focus and structure to your career. Try having some short term quick wins and longer term goals to aim for.
  1. It’s ok to be yourself. In your early 20s when you first join the professional workforce you don’t always know your true self. Gemma said ‘It’s taken me nearly 20 years to realise you don’t have to flex and mould to the role around you.’
  1. Do your research. Figure out the roles and industries that interest you. Then find people already in those roles, talk to them about the positive things about the role and also the challenges, and work out if it’s really for you.
  1. You might not always need a change of role. Sometimes you can be in the right role just not the right company. Gemma shared, ‘I once worked out I was in the right role, but it was more of the people change that I needed.’ It’s important that you work for a company where the values align to your own personal values.
  1. It’s ok to be scared. Emma said, ‘I was terrified when I applied for the job at DataKind UK, and I was probably still terrified for about a year and a half. It took me a while to feel like I knew exactly what I was doing and that a lot of the time I was the expert in the room.’
  1. Labels are for clothes. We often label ourselves with the company or roles we are in. Penny said, ‘when I left The Guardian, I wasn’t Penny from The Guardian anymore. I jumped straight into another job to give myself an identity again.’
  1. Have meaningful conversations. You need to have the right conversations with your employees to make sure they’re engaged and fulfilling their potential. Penny said, ‘you work hard to get the best people in your company, you want to be able to keep them and inspire them.’
  1. Careers are long and winding. It’s a marathon, not a sprint: Penny said, ‘career paths won’t always be linear… and it’s ok to change your mind.’

Stepping up and being true to yourself takes courage – and that can feel scary, especially when the path forward isn’t always crystal clear. Sometimes it’s about believing that the way will unfold; using your inner compass and trusting that you will get there.

Thank you to Photobox, our brilliant hosts for the evening, and also to Bright Innovation who have been doing amazing work helping 10 Digital Ladies reach an even wider audience, as well as doing our event write ups!

Nina LovelaceHow to Align your True Self with your Career: Using Purpose as your North Star
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10 Things We Learned About Embracing Ambiguity

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The latest 10 Digital Ladies event tackled the question ‘How to embrace ambiguity and uncertainty in a fast-paced digital world?’ In an ever increasingly fast-paced digital world, where the widening technology landscape and technology breakthroughs are causing business models to change and adapt faster than ever, how do we as humans embrace the ambiguity and uncertainty that comes hand in hand? We were joined by Anne Simmons, this year’s winner of the 10 Digital Ladies Technologist award 2018, and expert panellists, Reshma Shaikh, Chief of Staff to the COO at Springer Nature, Lindy Stephens, independent consultant and leadership coach in the software industry and Lindsay Ratcliffe, innovation and experience design leader and author.
If you missed the event, don’t panic…take a look at the 10 things we learned at the event.
  1. One of the hardest things is to stay resilient through change. Anne says, “I have had to get better at embracing ambiguity, I don’t find it easy”. Some people find it easier than others but that’s ok. You can learn some tricks to help you cope.
  1. Reshma shared a top tip “resilience is about personal management, you need to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are”. It’s useful to create a support network around you, with people who can help guide you and give you honest feedback. “But it’s also important to be able to check in with yourself,” added Lindsay “and work out how to get yourself out of the low”
  1. Being able to check in with yourself is very important. Knowing where you get your energy is key. “I like to think of resilience like a bucket; when its full I can handle anything but when it’s empty I feel like I need to hide under a duvet” said Anne. “It’s all about learning what fills up your bucket, and also knowing what drains it.”
  1. Lindy pointed out “You can’t always get it right. Sometimes you don’t have all the you need – so how can you know what is right or wrong?” You just have to go for it and work through it as you go.
  1. During times of change and uncertainty it’s important to be transparent and open. Anne said, “The first thing a lot of people think is ‘what does it mean for me’, -remember people need to hear that”. And be honest. Lindy adds, “If people think you are lying about something, they start to question what else you might have lied about.”
  1. There are many different layers of communication. Reshma said, “It’s important to be able to say, I will treat you like a human, please treat me like a human too”. It’s often easy to forget how other people are feeling through the changes- especially those in a leadership position. You need to understand and acknowledge how people are feeling.
  1. Not everyone will feel the same about change as you. Some people thrive during change, whereas others can fear it. Lindy said, “I love a crisis, it’s my bread and butter, but sometimes I forget people feel different to me.” BY taking a moment to consider all points of view, you’ll be able to bring everyone on the change journey with you.
  1. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Anne said, “You can choose to think about things in a different way, it’s unlikely that everything is changing, hold on to that and deal with them in different ways.”
  1. As a Leader you need to be present, don’t shy away from the change “make sure people know you care, it can really make a difference” Reshma adds. Present doesn’t always mean you have to be in the room. Call in to meetings, send emails, you can show presence without actually being physically present.
  1. It’s important to remember that you have a voice in this world of ambiguity. Lindsay said, “You as an individual need to ask, is it going to change for the better, do I have a role in this change? And remember, its ok to say, ‘I’m out’. It’s your life – you have to do what works for you”.

So, knowing yourself and what makes you tick is one of the most important things during times of ambiguity. Always remember, it’s your life – own it!

The event was kindly hosted at the amazing new Photobox offices in Clerkenwell and supported by the brilliant people from Bright Innovation, our marketing partners. It was a great event, we’d like to thank the panellist and everyone who attended, and we can’t wait for the next one in September.

Remember, if you have any thoughts on working with ambiguity and would like to share them with us please comment below or join us on Twitter or Instagram. As always, we encourage our community to offer ideas for our next 10 Digital Ladies book! If you still haven’t got your copy of our first book, Career Hacks, you can register for a copy here: http://bit.ly/10DLbook.

Nina Lovelace10 Things We Learned About Embracing Ambiguity
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10 Things We Learned About Working with Vulnerability as you Progress your Digital Career

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In the past, showing your vulnerability in the workplace would no doubt have been seen as a sign of weakness. But increasingly, leaders are starting to see how embracing vulnerability is key to building authenticity, and ultimately strength. However, whatever stage you’re at career-wise, facing into vulnerability is not an easy journey to navigate – it can be challenging asking for help when we feel most exposed. So at our recent 10 Digital Ladies meet-up, we decided to delve into this tricky topic: how do you work with vulnerability to build your own strengths, as well as those of others around you?

We were joined by Sarah Tan – our 2018 Winner of the Talent Development Award, Eunice Aquilina – coaching and organisational behaviour expert who develops leaders’ capacity to navigate change, and Sara Feldman – co-founder of Dialoguers, a business using technology to bring a form of Scandinavian psychotherapy to people experiencing mental and emotional distress across the globe. Lucia Adams, who organised the event and hosted the panel discussion said, “This is a topic that’s very close to my heart. Having faced into my own vulnerability when I made the jump to set up my own consultancy and coaching business, my work is very much focussed on supporting people navigate the challenges of business and individual transformation – and all the many vulnerable moments that entails.” Kindly hosted at the amazing new Photobox offices in Clerkenwell and supported by the brilliant people from Bright Innovation, our marketing partners, it was fantastic to have such great audience participation on this topic! Here are some of the insights and tips which were shared:
  1. Even today, sometimes vulnerability is not appreciated culturally within an organisation. And that can be really hard for women. “If this is the case can you create a space, small group or forum where people can be vulnerable?” asked Eunice. Vulnerability doesn’t have to be shared with everyone.
  1. For women, there is often a fine line between showing vulnerability without being perceived as emotional. “This a narrative we hear a lot,” said Eunice. We struggle to find examples of senior female role models because they make themselves a carbon copy of male role models, but this approach doesn’t work for many women.
  1. Eunice suggested ways to make yourself assertive without being aggressive. Centre yourself, be really present and breathe. This can often change the dynamic of the situation.
  1. As a senior person in business wanting to encourage others to embrace their vulnerability, “You need to have integrity and do what you say you’re going to do to support them,” said Sara.
  1. How do you get people to be vulnerable in a group with their peers? It’s about creating a feeling of psychological safety – if someone says, “I don’t know,” others will follow. You can even plant someone in a group to put their hand up and say, ‘I don’t know’ in order to lead the way. Sarah guarantees this will help break old habits.
  1. It needs to come from the top. Role model vulnerability: if we do it, others might take the risk to do it themselves. Female leaders in organisations demonstrating their own vulnerability help show people that this type of behaviour is OK.
  1. Thinking about vulnerability in the digital space and the pace of change – we may sometimes think, ‘perhaps I should steer away from a particular area because I’m older’, or, ‘I can’t keep up’ etc. But remember that very few people can keep up with every last digital development as it’s changing all the time. It’s OK to say I don’t know or I need time to learn more about a certain subject.
  1. Remember to take care of yourself whilst being vulnerable. “Putting yourself out there can be hard, especially if you’re a natural introvert like me,” said Sarah. “Vulnerability also has boundaries and you shouldn’t be afraid to put them up when you need to.”
  1. Sara shared some of her very moving experiences of working with refugees and victims of trauma. She noted that for people to move forward and heal, they need to open up and discuss what had happened to them. “It is in our vulnerability that we really make human connection and that can be incredibly powerful,” said Sara.
  1. It’s good to remember that when we’re experiencing really difficult times, we may feel like we’re the only person in the world going through it. But in reality, your issue probably isn’t that uncommon, and others will have experienced similar problems in the past or present, or may do so in the future.

So, sharing really is caring! The more we are open and honest with ourselves and those we work with, the more we can progress and move forwards. Don’t be afraid to embrace your vulnerability! Thanks to all our panellists and members who attended.

Remember, if you have any thoughts on working with vulnerability and would like to share them with us please comment below or join us on Twitter or Instagram at @10digitalladies. As always, we encourage our community to offer ideas for our next 10 Digital Ladies book! If you still haven’t got your copy of our first book, Career Hacks, you can register for a copy here: http://bit.ly/10DLbook.

We’re already looking forward to our next event on 19 July 2018, where we’ll be discussing Embracing ambiguity and uncertainty in a fast-paced digital world. You can sign up for the event here.

Nina Lovelace10 Things We Learned About Working with Vulnerability as you Progress your Digital Career
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10 Digital Ladies in Talent: April Meetup 2016

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A reminder to everyone that our April meetup will be a sector-agnostic look at digital talent – something that I suspect is close to all of our hearts! In short we want to spend some time discussing and sharing thoughts on digital talent: hiring it, managing it, and being it.

As usual we’ll have a line up of fantastic speakers to share their thoughts and experiences, followed by group discussions and networking. This session is kindly supported by Xcede, a leading recruiter operating in the digital, data and technology sector.

To RSVP, please click here:RSVP

Hiring Digital Talent

Our first speaker of the evening will be Michelle Coventry, who will be talking about her experience as a recruiter, most recently building Mark’s and Spencer Digital teams. She’ll be sharing her expertise in what to look for in potential hires but also what the candidates are looking for from employers and how to make sure you’re appealing enough in a competitive market!

Managing Digital Talent

Jane Lucken is a marketing professional who has led global teams at Thomson Reuters and HSBC and was most recently CMO at social media monitoring business Crisp Thinking. She has an MSc in Strategy & Leadership from London Business School but this did not fully prepare her for the challenges of managing Millennials! She will talk through what she has learned about getting the best performance from this generation.

Being Digital Talent

Amanda Davie is an executive coach and digital talent junkie. Amanda grew up, professionally-speaking, in the digital industry. She has hired, fired, nurtured, managed, championed, taught, mentored and sold digital talent her whole career. Now an executive coach Amanda helps digital leaders to fulfil their potential. Amanda is also co-founder of Digital Talent @Work, a professional development business that helps individuals and organisations put people at the heart of digital transformation. Amanda will be talking about ways in which you can explore your own potential in the workplace.

Digital Skills Gap

Sinead Bunting is the European Director of Consumer Marketing for Monster and prior to this was a Director at MediaCom, where she helped transform the company’s recruitment marketing strategy with the launch of its Career division. Joining the digital industry in 2000 (or ‘interactive’ as it was known then) Sinead has a real passion for supporting and encouraging women into technology roles and this passion has played a big part in developing and implementing Monsters ongoing Girls In Coding and women in tech focus. Most recently she has drawn together a number of key tech and HR figures and organisations to devise and launch a Tech Talent Charter. The charter looks to address the digital skills gap by rallying organisations to commit to recruit and retain more females and diverse groups into tech roles. Sinead will be sharing why she’d love you to join her in making a diverse tech workforce a reality.

Nina Lovelace10 Digital Ladies in Talent: April Meetup 2016
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