International Women’s Day 2018: The Women of Soap

Today is International Women’s Day. And in the spirit of the occasion we are joining in the celebrations by shining the spotlight on some of the wonderful women who work at Soap, the amazing things they do and what makes them the unique people they are.

Karen – Social Media & Content Executive

1. Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself

Let’s do this the old MySpace style, shall we?

Karen // 27 // Social Media and Content Executive // <3 // Orca are my favourite animal // Animation graduate from Sheffield Hallam Uni

*insert ‘Toploader’s Dancing in the Moonlight’ here and a templated MySpace layout*

2. What’s Your Career Background?

I started work in digital marketing about three years ago as a content writer at an agency in my hometown, but the allure of social media was too strong. I changed roles to a social and paid media executive, then shortly after started my journey here at Soap. I’ve just fallen in love with the fast pace of the social world – give me all the hashtags!

3. What Does a Typical Work Day Look Like for You?

I always start the day with a chai latte. But as I don’t live in Preston, before that I start with a 20 minute commute on the train where I attempt to wake myself up by reading. Once I get to my desk, I’ll browse the web and social feeds to see if there is anything newsworthy we can use for our clients. As social is quite fast-paced, this is an important part of my job. I’ll spend the rest of the day putting together social schedules for clients, researching competitors, learning new social media skills by watching webinars, and occasionally snacking on a Pringle or two. Tubs, that is.

4. Who Inspires You, and Why?

You’re probably going to question who on earth this is, but if you’re in animal activism then you may recognise the name.

My biggest inspiration is a guy called Richard O’Barry. He’s an activist who works to stop marine mammal cruelty and captivity. I’ve chosen him because he’s taught me never to be afraid to stand up for what you believe him. He’s nearly 80 years old and he’s still attending rallies and trying to educate people – it’s that level of commitment I admire.

5. What Do You Think is the Biggest Challenge for Women in Digital Marketing?

I think a lot more of the more technical aspects of digital marketing are seen as more “male” because of the leading influencers. We have Matt Cutts and Rand Fishkin – to name two – who are all great SEO gurus, but only a handful of people could pick out female SEO experts, which could make the role more suited to men. We need to be giving a platform to the women that are in the industry so that others see them, are inspired, and follow in their footsteps.

6. How Do You Achieve a Work/Life Balance?

I honestly think that the commute home is a great way for me to shut off from work and start focusing on home. I now associate my hometown with familiar “life stuff” like meeting friends and relaxing, whereas Preston is now my “work” town. I also have my dog waiting for me at home, so that’s a pretty big indicator of “work is done, hello giant puppy kisses.”

7. What Drives You To Succeed in Your Career?

Pride and passion. I’m an incredibly passionate person, which is one of the reasons I’m very into activism. If I believe in something or really enjoy it, I want to be the best at it that I can be.

8. What Advice Would You Give to Women Looking To Get Into Digital Marketing?

I’d say don’t be afraid to try different roles and see which one suits you. I started as a content writer in an entry-level position because I enjoy writing. I then found a love for social media which is what I’m most passionate about right now. Who knows where you’ll end up, but you won’t ever find out if you don’t try.

9. What Does Gender Equality Mean To You?

It means having the same voice and same ultimate goal as everyone else when it comes to fair treatment, regardless of gender. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re male, female, transgender, genderfluid… Everyone should be able to live and interact without hatred or fear of being vilified or mocked simply because of how you identify.

10. What Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?

Follow your passion, no matter what obstacles seem to be in your way.

11. What’s on Your Bucket List?

Travel to Iceland and see orca and humpback whales in the wild.

12. What Three Things Would You Take To a Desert Island?

A see-through kayak to get out on the ocean and see all the cool marine life. A large jar – it’s useful, ok? A bumper pack of towels (those with bath and hand towels included) to cover me from the sun. I’m more of a cold person.

 

Megan – Content Manager

1. Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself

Megan, 27, yoga do-er, reader, pizza lover, laugh snorter, lifestyle blogger, plant collector. I put ketchup on everything.

2. What’s Your Career Background?

I left uni with a degree in Broadcast Journalism but started work as a Marketing Assistant to a personal injury solicitors in South Manchester. I then moved into affiliate marketing and found it wasn’t for me. Then I got a job at a digital agency as Senior Copywriter. Then I upped sticks to Preston and landed at Soap as Content Manager.

3. What Does a Typical Work Day Look Like for You?

I’m in by 8:30am and usually nibbling breakfast at my desk by then. I try to block out big chunks of my day to individual clients rather than chopping and changing – unless some urgent work or edits come in. I could be writing onsite blog posts, researching new ideas, writing guest posts to help us get links, or rewriting and and optimising a client’s landing pages. No two days are the same.

4. Who Inspires You, and Why?

It’s got to be my mum. She’s the kind of combination most people aspire for; down-to-earth and wise but also not afraid to show her silly side. She can have fun with me but she also keeps me firmly grounded when I need it most. In a work/career mindset it’s my partner. He’s got a natural charisma and confidence around people that a social hermit like me can only dream of.

5. What Do You Think is the Biggest Challenge for Women in Digital Marketing?

It’s getting into the boardroom and into roles where they aren’t just doing the work, but they’re actually having an influence. Most digital agencies – in my experience at least – are run by men, who tend to hire senior members of staff in their own image. Then – again from my experience – rather from training, mentoring and hiring women that they already work with, they see it as easier to just hire someone new to fill the role. And that person will usually also be male. This creates a cycle that becomes harder and harder to break.

6. How Do You Achieve a Work/Life Balance?

I try to use my commute wisely. Try is the optimum word here. I’ll use that 15/20 minute or so drive as time to move my headspace from “home zone” into “work zone”. And vice versa when I’m on my way home – I’ll put some music on, or call some family members and have a catch-up. When I get back my other work (blogging) usually starts but it’s always nice to have that difference.

7. What Drives You To Succeed in Your Career?

Usually someone telling me I can’t do something – ha! All jokes aside, I find motivation in an agency comes easier because you’re responsible for other people’s success – in a way. And you want your agency to look good to these people.

8. What Advice Would You Give to Women Looking To Get Into Digital Marketing?

Sharpen your elbows. Metaphorical, of course, not physical. But don’t be afraid to elbow your way through and make your voice heard. Insist on being in that meeting, put forward an idea in a brainstorm, and don’t be afraid to suggest changes that are going to make the business better. And be proud if you get called bossy.

9. What Does Gender Equality Mean To You?

In my career experience, a lot of the gender inequality I’ve seen has been unintentional. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of intentional stuff. But let’s take a man talking over a female member of staff in a meeting. They might not necessarily do it deliberately, but I think the fact that they don’t realise this is perhaps worse in different ways. I want us to get to a place when someone looks at a female member of staff and just lets them get on with it. Let’s not make gender invisible – it helps makes us who we are – but let’s get to a point when it doesn’t matter in order for a person’s voice to be heard and taken seriously.

10. What Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?

Grades aren’t everything.

11. What’s on Your Bucket List?

See the Northern Lights.

12. What Three Things Would You Take To a Desert Island?

A knife – for preparing food. A net – to catch fish. Suncream – I can burn under a low moon.

 

Chi – Senior PPC Manager

1. Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself

I started working in PPC about 5 years ago and I’m still going strong! I love playing tennis and doing yoga, which balances out my other hobby -eating!

2. What’s Your Career Background?

I graduated from UCLAN with a degree in ‘Business Management in China’. From there I tried most jobs out there from waitressing to retailing at Footlocker and Lush (at the same time over the Christmas period, so I know pressure!), a baker at Tesco… Until a company gave me the opportunity to train in PPC which became my long-term career path and I haven’t looked back.

3. Describe Your Role at Soap

I manage all aspects of digital marketing from proposals, audits, client meetings, account set-up and management, through to reporting and analysis on a monthly, weekly or whatever the client wants basis.

4. Who Inspires You, and Why?

It would have to be my mum. She set ups and ran a take away business and raised a family when she moved to the UK at a very young age and didn’t speak any English. To me she shows that you can do absolutely anything.

5. What Do You Think is the Biggest Challenge for Women in Digital Marketing?

I think it’s when they decide to have a family but also want to progress in their career.

6. How Do You Achieve a Work/Life Balance?

I really try to prioritse my daily jobs so everything gets done in the correct amount of time. That way there’s no need to work overtime or put in extra hours.

7. What Drives You To Succeed in Your Career?

For me, it’s seeing positive results and that line going upwards.

8. What Advice Would You Give to Women Looking To Get Into Digital Marketing?

If they are looking to enter the PPC area of digital marketing, I would advise them to gain a thorough understand of the journey a user takes towards completing a purchase. What steps do they take that takes your client through to a sale? I would also advise them to stay as up-to-date with the latest digital trends as possible – read a lot!

9. What Does Gender Equality Mean To You?

This is really important to me, but quite simply it means encountering no discrimination because of gender anywhere in life.

10. What Advice Would You Give To Your Younger Self?

I would want to tell me younger self not to go to university, but to instead start gaining work experience as I think that is what’s been most valuable to me. But then again, I wouldn’t have met my partner if I hadn’t gone to university!

11. What’s on Your Bucket List?

I would love to visit Japan. And then visit all the neighbouring countries in Asia like Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, South Korea. Actually, I’d just like to see the whole world.

12. What Three Things Would You Take To a Desert Island?

A mobile phone, a solar charger and… my house?

Written by
Karen Martin
Karen Martin

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