Who Runs Brighton Digital Women?
Brighton Digital Women was founded in mid 2015 by Rachel Finch. Alice Still and Lana Burgess joined Rachel on her mission early on, and helped her build a community of like-minded digital marketing professionals. Alice has now passed the baton on to Allegra Chapman who joined the team in July 2016. Read on to learn more about the organisers of Brighton Digital Women.
Read more about the Directors:
Job: Digital Marketing Manager
My move into digital marketing was the first deliberate choice I made about my career 6 years ago. I was lucky to be given ample opportunities to know that this was something I liked and was good at and encouraged down that path. This is one of the reasons why I founded Brighton Digital Women in 2015. How are young girls to find out the same things, that they have specific talent, interest and enjoyment in digital disciplines that are readily offered up to boys? The landscape needed changing, assumptions needed amending and opportunities need to be given earlier on in career education.
My journey to digital marketing began with helping the marketing team out with social media at a company called TravelBound in Brighton and being involved in the research and development side of creating the brands new website. This process really triggered off a few passions within my natural tendency towards tech geekery. I began to read, watch, talk about and search for anything I could get my hands on about web development, user experience and a newly discover passion, SEO.
After about a year of collating this knowledge I got to a point where I wanted to move on in my career to something that encompassed these things and gave me the opportunity to continue learning so I became a marketing and social media executive for TUI brands and was able to learn enough to start delving into web design. After a couple of years working at IRIS Connect as a Digital Marketing Exec I took on my next adventure as Digital Marketing Manager for TUI/Travelopia Education brands and now I’ve finally made the big jump to agency side as the Digital Marketing Manager at SiteVisibility in Brighton!
I’ve completed Google Squared Online and am always blown away by the amount of things still out there to learn. I cant wait to see what the future holds for me and for the women working in digital marketing in East Sussex.
Job: Natural Engagement Manager
When I was first thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, social media didn’t exist, and digital marketing wasn’t a career option. What I knew, however, was that I loved to write, enjoyed being creative and had a talent for communication (or at least talking a lot!). My careers advisor suggested on the strength of those points that I become a journalist, and I gave it a go, even going out to Sri Lanka to work as an intern on an English-speaking newspaper. But it didn’t take me long to realise that the world of journalism wasn’t for me!
I have always felt that I wanted to make a positive impact on the world, and so I gravitated towards the charity sector. I spent several years working in fundraising and communications for healthcare charities, but it was the communications part that I found really sparked drive and excitement in me. Meanwhile, social media was taking off as a tool for businesses, and I convinced my bosses that we should give it a go. A few months later, I was hooked.
Having found myself in a fairly unpleasant work environment, with a boss who didn’t take kindly to input from a woman, I decided the time was right to pack it in and take a new direction. I went back to university to do an MA in publishing at the London College of Communication, which included a hefty chunk of digital technology and digital marketing, which further fuelled my passion in this area.
Since graduating, I have worked in a variety of digital marketing roles, both in-house and agency side, working with social media and digital content to build relationships and help brands add value to their customers’ lives. When I came to look for my latest challenge, I realised that I had fallen in love with the variety and pace of agency life, and I was thrilled to be asked by Leapfrogg to lead their Natural Engagement team, building content and customer relationships into the fabric of their clients’ businesses.
From that early careers advice session, where my love of maths and physics were dismissed instantly because those are jobs for boys, to working in all-male teams and that final dreadful boss who (thankfully, as it turns out) pushed me out of the charity sector for good, I have bumped up against assumptions or prejudices because of my gender repeatedly. Luckily, I was raised to ignore all of them. I come from a long line of very strong women, and men who valued those women’s contributions to their lives.
I strongly believe that all workplaces benefit from a variety of voices, from people with all kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles. I’m thrilled to now be working in a company with a number of female heads of department, and a team that not only has a mix of genders, but a mix of nationalities, backgrounds and personalities. The work we do is all the better for that. The representation and treatment of women in digital has come a long way just in the space of my career, and I want to see even more women feeling that this is an industry they can be part of, and feeling that no doors are closed to them in their careers.
After completing my Law degree, I decided that my passion for law was academic. I couldn’t see myself being happy in the hierarchical structure and traditional culture of the legal world.
It wasn’t an easy decision as a legal career fit more comfortably with my preconceived ideas of what success looked like. But, I decided to shake these thoughts off and pursue a less conventional and more creative career.
After dabbling in events management and conference production, I discovered it was marketing (and all the writing it entails) that excited me the most. I went on to manage a six figure marketing budget, in-house, for an IT services company.
Later, I honed my content marketing skills creating content strategy and creative campaigns at a leading digital marketing agency.
I’ve also commissioned and edited articles for a healthcare publication that amassed millions of views every month. The publication was Medical News Today, a website I now write for regularly.
At the moment, I’m living the freelance dream, writing articles and creating strategies that help people, publications, and brands. You can find out more about what I do on my website.
Strong female role models have been a theme throughout my life. I was raised by a headstrong single Mum and, aged 11, I won a scholarship to a girls’ school with a distinctly feminist culture.
My interest in feminism was strengthened by my reading around feminist legal theory whilst at university. Later at FDM, being part of the team that marketed their Women in IT initiative gave me a taste for feminist issues in the commercial world.
Whilst our community is centred on helping to close the gender gap in digital leadership roles, I passionately believe that men, just as much as women, stand to gain from working towards this aim.
I am so excited to see this community grow, equipping fellow digital professionals with the skills, confidence and contacts to propel their lives forward.