Women in Martech: Building Support, Promoting STEM, and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome.
by Sarah O'Neill, on 8 March, 2021
Just like our very own Paco, Ada Lovelace had a pet mascot.
A fluffy cat named Mrs. Puff, she followed Ada as she grew into the world’s first computer programmer. In 1815, Ada went on to publish the first algorithm to be executed by the first modern computer – Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine.
So we’ve always been interested in tech, even when those corsets were cutting the blood off to our brains.
Her mother wanted to keep her well away from her dad’s silly poetry and stuck her on an intense training regimen of maths, logic, and science, and possibly protein shakes. Scariest personal trainer ever.
“That better not be limericks in your hand, Ada”
“No, don’t worry mum, it’s just a complex machine that mimics a bird flying”
“Oh, that’s alright then.”
Okay, I’m going off topic.
I just wanted to prove that not every person in tech, or Martech, is a fancy looking hipster man with a perfect beard. It’s more like that scene in Life of Brian – behind every other full, fancy, and well-waxed beard is a Martech-mad woman.
Like, did you know that 48% of CMOs hired in the first half of 2019 were women?
But the numbers in general are still not where they should be. Women are still incredibly underrepresented in tech, and in the higher-level Martech positions. Although girls in primary school report a genuine interest in STEM subjects, by high school this is often lost.
It's clear that as girls get older, the lack of visibility of women within tech roles make the industry seem inaccessible. Although, it’s believed that the push for STEM programmes in the recent past is the reason why we are currently having an uptick of women leaders! (See our women in Martech series!)
“Women are much more prevalent in Martech due to higher percentages in marketing, but this is lowered by the far lower percentages of women on the tech side of Martech,” says Amanda Martin, VP of enterprise partnerships at Goodway Group.
So, with Martech, we get a pretty cool crossover. Not only do women from traditionally female-dominant industries find their way here, but also women in tech, creating an environment where women are welcome and encouraged.
Some people believe that the accessibility of Martech is the reason for this.
Speaking on the misconception that a career in Martech requires the need to code, Tiffany Horan of App’n’Roll and Women in Tech Chat says:
“Although it does help and is necessary in many roles, for others, all you really need is a genuine interest in technology. This ties in well with our most popular topic, which is quite simply ‘who are you, what do you do and how did you get there?’”
Paula Shannon, Chief Evangelist at Lilt hopes industry newbies will not be intimidated by the technological aspects of Martech, and instead see them as a challenge that can be overcome:
“Never be afraid of the inner-workings of technology. There is nothing you cannot understand or learn.”
Martech has a creativity for the creatives, and technology for the nerds. But some people believe that it’s this separation of arts vs science that may encourage girls to lean towards traditionally feminine industries.
“It took me longer than it should have to realise that everyone telling me that because I was creative I wasn’t cut out for maths or science was WRONG. Creativity and STEM are not mutually exclusive and in fact, so much better together” says Kiki Wolfkill, Head of Halo Transmedia, and owner of the best name I’ve seen in a long time.
Another aspect is representation. Like, I know that when I see Wonder Woman on screen, I immediately want to learn how to lasso.
“It’d be really cool to see women in STEM careers on posters in the hall, in our history and science texts, and visit our classes,” says a 14-year-old girl who is in eighth grade. “I don’t know what to focus on. But my tests say I’m a good engineer and I wish I knew what that looked like in real life.”
Paula Shannon, Chief Evangelist at Lilt, commented on how other women have shaped her experience in the industry:
"My first boss, Anita Komlos, took me in hand and taught me so much about business, sales, and marketing. I still keep in touch and have shared various success moments with her in the past.”
Sharon Winterton, VP of Customer Success agrees, adding:
“I was blessed to have a phenomenal team of women leaders as I came up through the leadership ranks in our delivery operations team. I learned a lot from their example, and felt a responsibility to continue carrying the importance of culture forward when they left Catalina to pursue new opportunities.”
And the benefits aren’t just on the personal level. Diversity encourages creativity and variety of thought!
“Companies with above-average diversity on their leadership teams report a greater payoff from innovation and higher EBIT margins.” Reports the BCG Henderson Institute. “Even more persuasive, companies can start generating gains with relatively small changes in the makeup of their senior teams.”
When someone finds a fellow professional they can relate to, especially in an industry they feel underrepresented in, it can be encouraging, inspiring and most of all, comforting.
Speaking on how you can bounce back from failure, Veronica Lazarovici, Marketing Operations Manager at Alma promotes the importance of representational support:
“Get a mentor and join the online communities. You will hear many others sharing failures/difficulties and will also get the support and inspiration you need to get through it.
“Don't be afraid to reach out to others for advice and help. You will be surprised how many people are just happy to give back to the community. We are not meant to do this alone!”
When women get into the positions they do, there's often another hurdle to overcome - themselves.
Dun, dun, duuun. I know, I know, that was very dramatic.
Imposter syndrome, a term coined in 1978, describes a feeling of doubt that your work isn't good enough, that you shouldn't be in the position you're in, and as a result, you're letting yourself and others down.
Studies have shown that women often report their work as worse than they objectively are. This can often have effects on how women approach salary increases, promotions, or even just speaking up in the boardroom.
"The braver we are the luckier we get. This mantra has been my combat against imposter syndrome," continues Veronica.
According to Valerie Young the author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women,” Imposter Syndrome most commonly effects anyone who has the pressure of being the 'first'.
Discussing her new book, for our monthly book club, Heather Cabot mentions her own experience with imposter syndrome, and how she overcomes it. Encouraging motiatio through focusing on positive affirmation, she says:
"There are the times when you hear the crowd or stop for a water break and get re-energised that make you realise you can do it. You have to have faith that those moments will come and you just keep pushing through."
So as more and more women are introduced to the industry, and as more and more women stand up and become inspirations, mentors, and icons, not only will the industry thrive from increased diversity, but women will thrive within it.
If that's not enough women in martech news for you, do not fear. We're running a women-centric websesh very soon - click here to find out more!
The websesh will feature a bunch of talented, professional women (TBA) discussing:
- Stories of career success to take inspiration from
- Challenges still face in the industry in 2021 & what needs to change
- Advice to drive your career
Don't miss out!
And we're not stopping there! As part of an ongoing series, we've interviewed the best and brightest women in Martech today. From MOPs, to SOPs, CX to CSOs, our interviewees offer career advice, industry insight and more.
- Veronica Lazarovici is a certified expert (and legend)! Currently living and working in Palma, Balearic Islands Spain, V is an automation and operations aficionado.
- Courtney Tobe Manager of Marketing Ops at AvidXchange and implementation genius, has plenty of tools under her belt.
- Senior Marketing Operations Manager at Databricks Christina Zuniga. A graduate of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, she volunteers with the organisation, which offers over one million bucks in scholarships annually.
- Vice President of Customer Success at Catalina USA, Sharon Winterton is a sales op and CX icon.
- Paula Shannon is the Chief Evangelist at Lilt, and previously the CSO and SVP at Lionbridge.
- Digital Marketing Manager at Integrate, Regan Hamilton. With a proven track record of exceeding client KPIs and stakeholder expectations, and managing key accounts, Regan is a marketing guru.
- Co- Organizer at DC Marketing Tech Talks, Moni Oloyede. From graduating with a masters from John Hopkins University, she has gone on to completely cover all aspects of Digital Marketing.
- Andrea Clatworthy is the Global Head of Account Based Marketing at Fujitsu, and is a black belt in improving business results, M&A internal and external comms and culture and change management. In the past she has been the Marketing manager at not 1, not 2, but 6 separate companies, as well as working in the Business Regulations Team in the Cabinet Office.
- Public Relations Offering Manager at OneTrust, Adriana Jones Lima is a PR, training, and events extraordinaire.
- Senior Marketing Ops Manager at Integrate Ashley Langford is a B2B and SaaS expert.
- Tabitha Adams is the Senior Demand Marketing Manager at Integrate, and a Board Member / Head of MarTech & Community Management at The Growth Ops Community.
- Amandine Boitel Servain is Vice President, Global Demand Generation,
at Cheetah Digital, and lives life in the fast lane (terrible cheetah pun, sorry).