1. In your career, what’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given, and why? 

Oh gosh, I’ve not really taken a lot of notice of random advice given. Typically, I solicit advice from those I trust, and am inspired to continue to grow as an individual, mentor, and digital strategist. But the worst would have been with a peer, not client or colleague, who told me that as women we should accept that there is a role for us, and a role for men. Trying to push too hard to fit into the male role will only bring me heartache, anxiety and stress. Just let the men do it and coast. Err what?? I cringe just repeating the words. I don’t believe in roles. Or black and whites. In this world we have the opportunity to make big moves, leaps, and changes. But only if we have the drive and motivation to do so, and the resilience to face what comes with that. Ultimately how you are called to live, in and out of work, defines who you are as a human and a leader. What you support (and those you support) too… so yeah, I threw that advice in the bin with the other garbage!

2. What’s your biggest ‘Cappuccino Career Cock-up’?

I love that this is called ‘cappuccino cock ups’.. Makes it sound light ha ha… mmm.. I guess, it would be back in the day of launching and then leading the Tribal Fusion (Exponential, now VDX.tv) EMEA Partnership team. We had to do the mammoth job of submitting the IACH figures - remember those days? Must have been in my 2nd year of moving to the UK to launch Tribal and, I saved all of the data to my desktop - not the company drive, which I then epicly and amazingly lost on the bus or train, never to be found again. Not backed up, not in the cloud, just gone gone gone…oof! My boss was not happy. But we put the coffee on and set about redoing all 6500 entries in one go… talk about teamwork! Thankfully, I wasn't sacked and lived to make up for it. I think my ‘let’s figure this out now and deal with the reprimands later’ attitude helped.

3. What were your lessons from that? (referencing to Q2)

To plan all of my priorities, make use of organisational tools such as Trello and Salesforce, stay on top of outgoings and link all of my communications rather than in black box on my desktop, and use the cloud to back up files!! I’ve learnt that sometimes we fail, but it’s not going to kill you, and what you learn about yourself in that time of chaos and uncertainty will be defining! I learnt to have an open rapport with my higher ups, so when I fail or make a mistake, I can actively and openly communicate it with them for a team resolution as I am one of many, not carrying the weight alone. And most importantly if a mistake happens jump on it immediately! Fail fast and then recover with integrity and honesty - because we are humans, not machines and the real proof of quality is how you respond in moments of conflict and discomfort.

4. What is the importance of making mistakes when paving your career path?

I mean the simplistic answer is to learn. I would not have launched the likes of Widespace, now Azerion, built the programmatic offering of Ogury back in 2018, or had the courage to pivot into launching the UK arm of a Swedish Attention Data Exchange without having made all the mistakes of my formative 18 year career in the digital wild! I figured out what I know and what I don't (and that it's not about knowing it all), to test boundaries, to learn to trust your instincts and always be prepared for new opportunities. 

Mistakes help you sharpen your intellect. They increase the tools in your tool kit, without them you are playing it safe, you do not grow, you live in mediocrity and who wants to live there? A full, dynamic and successful career for me is one where I have just the right combination of questioning my decision (not second guessing but a healthy dose of strategic review) with driving adrenaline, get that balance right and you can't go wrong. I don't believe in being fearless, I’m not a machine, but I do believe it shows I care about what I'm doing. I don't want to make mistakes, but I have made enough of them to know that WHEN (not if) I make another, I am 1000% more than capable of resolving them. I know I can move forward without falling to pieces and try, try again.

5. Summary: as a leader, what advice would you ABSOLUTELY NOT give anyone now?

To believe that a failure or mistake means you are not good at your job or don't have the aptitude to progress! That you must be fearful or quiet in your pursuits. That you cannot learn something new later in life because ad tech is for the young. That just isn’t true, they’re out-dated and antiquated thoughts. I would never ever say you as a person of colour are not as valuable, or shouldn’t be as visible as a non-poc group. 

I would say SPEAK UP, share yourself, your energy and your knowledge with the world, with your peers - you can and you must challenge yourself. Carve out a niche for yourself that is beyond what you think you are capable of (or someone told you that you could be) and see every mistake as something to celebrate because you are putting yourself out there, stepping forward, making decisions and bringing yourself into focus. 

Dream big but take even BIGGER Actions!