Meet our Marcom Ladies
With International Women’s Day approaching, we’ve decided to put our Avy ladies in the spotlight through a series of interviews, to find out about their experience when it comes to being a woman in the drone and tech industry. It’s no secret that we find ourselves in a male clustered industry, where women still don’t always receive the recognition and credit they deserve, as well as equal opportunities and at times equal pay. When it comes to marketing, even though the majority of employees in the field are women (62%), they mostly hold junior positions. Men are twice as likely to reach the top marketing roles than females, according to MarketingWeek. Women make up 75% of the professional marketing population in the UK, yet more than twice as many men (18%) reach director level compared to women (7%). For all these reasons and more, we believe that it’s important to raise awareness about the current state of the tech industry and find a way to motivate women to join the workforce, while celebrating the women that we know. And where is a better place to start, than right at home. Read on to find out how these Avy wonder women are navigating through what sometimes appears to be a man’s world.
For the third edition of our Women’s Wednesday series we have our Marcom ladies! We got talking to Emmy, marketing captain and Manon, marcom officer at Avy. They make up the marketing & communications team and recently got a new member, Linh as their marketing intern, quickly catching up to the number of BD boys! They work alongside 4 business developers and together make up the commercial team. We sat down with our ladies to get their opinion on the theme of this year’s Women’s Day, #choosetochallenge and how to best promote women in the workplace.
What is your role at Avy and how does your typical day look like?
Emmy: I’m the head of the marketing team and we're part of the commercial team. I’m in charge of the marketing strategy as well as building our brand. I regularly follow developments and trends in marketing and the drone industry to stay up to date and get new ideas. My typical day varies depending on the day of the week. Some days are reserved for deep focus tasks, while other days are oriented towards catching up and meetings. It all depends on the current projects and the sprint we’re in, sometimes we get ad hoc PR requests, which need to be dealt with expressly. So, you cannot plan everything but that’s what makes it exciting!
Manon: I’m the marketing and communications officer. I work very closely with Emmy and we are the only two-women team at Avy. I take care of communications, social media and the website, as well as copywriting and international press releases. Furthermore, I also coordinate Avy’s presence during events and video productions, making sure our team is branded and ready to send it. In short, you could say I show to the outside world what Avy is all about!
What attracted you to the marketing field? What was your dream job when you were a kid?
Manon: I did my studies in communications and during one of my work experiences I realised that marketing doesn't attract me if the product doesn’t have a higher purpose. I often find that there can be a thin line, sort of a grey area in marketing when it comes to promoting your product and claiming it does what it says it does. However, I was lucky to stumble upon this position at Avy and was immediately drawn and inspired by its motto and really happy that I can do both marketing and communications!
As a kid my dream job was constantly changing, at some point I wanted to be a paediatrician, then a wedding planner which was inspired by a JLo movie I was a huge fan of. Another one of my dreams was to have a koala and kangaroo farm in Australia.
Emmy: I also studied communications and at the same time worked part-time at Yellowbrick, a mobile parking company. I got an amazing opportunity when their brand manager quit, and they chose me to fulfil that position. After 8 years of working there, I decided to take the plunge as a freelancer. Soon after, my friend who was dating Pi (Avy’s founder) at the time, told me they were looking for a marketing specialist at Avy, and I decided to give it a try. At first, I worked only one day a week setting up the building blocks for Avy’s marketing strategy, and eventually made Avy my primary job and built up the marketing grid together with Manon.
When I was little I wanted to be a veterinarian and at some point - a forest ranger, I loved the tranquillity and wilderness of it, and I still do! You can always find me listening to forest sounds while working. I definitely recommend tree.fm for anyone interested!
What does International Women’s day and its 2021 motto #choosetochallenge mean to you?
Emmy: I find it extremely important. For me #choosetochallenge means continuously challenging the status quo when it comes to gender inequality. In the last few decades, women definitely became more emancipated, however, the reality is that more work needs to be done. As long as women find it hard to speak up or men and women doing the same job can get paid differently, we need to keep on raising awareness of this injustice. Especially in the tech sector, we can feel and see this inequality more than in other industries because there are even less women working in the field. Therefore, I think International Women’s day is a chance to celebrate women, put them in the spotlight and point out areas in which we can improve our society towards a more equal one.
Manon: I couldn’t agree more with what Emmy said. As women, we are in an ongoing fight for equality and I can see it in so many areas of our lives. Just recently, I saw a LinkedIn post where a woman tried to speak up about inequality she’d experienced within her industry, the comments were despicable and just proved her point. It’s crazy to see such a backlash when a woman feels the need to share her experience. This is just one example of why we need to keep the conversation going and why the motto #choosetochallenge is of crucial importance.
At Avy, like many other tech companies, there are significantly less women than men, however we choose to talk about it, rather than pretend it’s not an issue. For instance, this series of interviews is a way to highlight the first-hand experience of women we work with and hopefully influence others to do the same.
How could we best promote and nurture women in their workplace?
Manon: Like I said, it’s all about keeping the conversation going, especially if you’re in a male dominated team. I personally feel that women do give a nice touch to the tech industry, making it more approachable and are very often the bridge between the technology and the person you're trying to sell the tech to. Therefore, it’s vital to make them feel comfortable in their workplace. It can be quite simple stuff, like avoiding dress codes and telling women to ‘dress like a lady’, what does that even mean? Also, keep on educating and learning about these issues. For example, the #metoo movement made men more aware of the way they speak to women in the workplace. What used to be considered ‘innocent’ and ‘light-hearted’ comments about a woman’s appearance has different gravity now, and they’re aware of it.
Emmy: It’s crucial to have an open culture, where trust is cultivated and issues regarding equality are addressed early on. I think women play an important role as well by actively supporting each other and avoiding the gossip cycle.
We also need to put more effort in the hiring process and find ways to attract women in order to achieve equal amounts of women and men at a workplace as that would surely lead to healthy balance in a workplace.
It is also about the little things, as Manon said, that can make you more comfortable in a workplace, such as providing deodorant, or tampons.
Which badass/powerful woman do you admire and look up to? How does she inspire you?
Manon: An inspiring badass woman, close to me, is definitely my step mum who sadly passed away. She always wanted to do good and regularly participated in charity events for handicapped or less fortunate people. Every year she would commit to a 100 km walk for Oxfam, and would always come back with her feet completely covered in blisters but huge grin on her face, since what she was doing always had a higher purpose. I’ve always admired her strong-willed personality and rebellious nature that I feel like I’ve grown into over the years. I also have to mention Queen Riri. She is pretty special and definitely chooses to challenge the status quo. Whether it’s with her make-up line which has over 50 shades of foundation, making women of all skin colour feel included, or with her lingerie line that covers a full spectrum of sizes, making women of all sizes feel included. I also admire how she doesn’t stick to just one thing, but does whatever she pleases with drive and passion.
Emmy: I admire lots of different women from different walks of life, politicians, DJs, teachers, stay-at-home mums, they all do something inspiring. However, just recently I was reading a book called “The Sisters of Auschwitz’, a true story about two Jewish sisters who were part of the Dutch resistance during World War II. Janny Brilleslijper concealed her Jewish identity and helped to shelter numerous families from Nazis, until eventually being caught and sent to, first Bergen Belsen concentration camp, and then, Auschwitz. Unfortunately, most of her family didn’t survive, but Janny and her sister did. She continued to tell stories and raise awareness about the treatment of Jewish people during and after World War II. Her story displays extreme courage and perseverance, as well as, strong character to stand up against the oppressive system, which is something highly laudable.
Thanks to our Marcom ladies for sharing their experience. Don’t miss out on the next edition with our Internal Ops ladies to find out more about what they think companies could do better to increase equality and what it feels like to be the female-dominated team at Avy
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