Celebrating women in tech and marketing (part two) Picking up from part one, in which we discussed preconceptions of the tech and marketing industry and the women who provide inspirational, we turn our attention to the roles our group play at TLA and the routes they took to get here. Our groups’ time at TLA ranges from a few months to nine years, with various entry points and roles spanning marketing, development, quality control, account management and project delivery. One of the longest-serving at the round-table was marketing executive Rachel Hellon, who joined on an apprenticeship five years ago. “I was kept on after my apprenticeship and now look after our content teams, covering written content as well as video for our automotive brand Car Keys. The marketing team is fast-paced and results-orientated. Everyone has a clear idea of our respective areas of expertise and work well together to achieve success.” That first break in any industry can be like standing at the foot of an impossible mountain, but it’s something we feel passionately about helping people secure at TLA. As well as apprenticeships, we provide three- and six-month internships, work with local universities to provide placements and offer graduate and junior roles. Opportunity to explore and use new tech “I’ve been with TLA for five years,” said Shannon Miller, who joined shortly after Rachel and became the company’s first female developer. “I started as a placement while at university and came back after my final year as a junior. I’ve since moved up to a mid-level developer, working predominantly on our internal systems.” One of Shannon’s standout achievements to date has been building the company’s call centre system, which plays a critical role in the way we function as a business. “There’s plenty of opportunity to explore and use new tech, which is a great part of working here. Plus, I like to learn from other people within the company and there’s a lot of intelligence in the room! It’s great to learn from their experiences and ways of working, so that I can keep progressing.” Danielle Smith has enjoyed a similar journey, having joined as a junior and move through to mid-level as a support developer. In her own words, her role is to “take the pressure off the project team. Any bugs or support from the contact centre, any smaller projects that support the way we work, I help to ensure they run smoothly.” She added: “The devs at TLA are always helpful. If you ever need support, they’ll come over and offer advice to help you in your role.” From left to right: Shannon, Kathy, Alison, Danielle, Emily, Abi, Laurie, Amy, Rachel, Amara, Miki and Shania. Not pictured: Irina and Zoe from our London office. Building a career Away from development, Amy Smith joined the business nine years ago as a customer service operative, or ‘CSO’ as the role is more commonly referred to within the business. “I eventually moved from the CSO role into the QC team before moving into my position as account manager. That opportunity to move across departments has allowed me to build my career within the business, rather than moving elsewhere.” Amy ensures the campaigns we bring on from clients are set up correctly in the CRM and coordinates with the development team to make sure the necessary tech work is completed. Alongside tech and the contact centre, the QC department is one of the biggest functions within the business. They work alongside other departments to ensure the data we process and send to clients is of the highest possible quality to maximise conversion rates. Simply put, if the quality isn’t there, it doesn’t get sent. Alison Eustace has recently been promoted into the role of senior quality and compliance executive after three years with the business along with fellow QC teammate Abigail Hanson, who has been with us for 18 months. Commenting on her new role, Alison said: “Our focus is on improving quality from the ground up. All sorts of tasks are involved, from analysing calls to find a quality level to identifying potential issues that need to be addressed. We’re also working with the tech team to trial a new system for how we process data, which will have a positive impact on the way the QC team works.” Abigail added: “We are currently going through all of our training documents to ensure everything is up to date and putting together a new coaching plan for the CSOs to help them, as well as call scoring and processing leads.” Embracing change and opportunity Changes like the ones Alison refers to are part-and-parcel of a tech-led organisation like ours. It’s even reflected in one of our core values – to embrace change and opportunity and as quality manager Laurie Bloor attests, “there’s been a lot of change during my five years with the business, particularly with the way different departments have embraced new technologies”. But while technology impacts every role and department within the business, there is lots of variety with the types of roles available. QCs and CSOs aren’t tech roles but they have a huge part to play in making a tech company successful – and the same can be said for other functions within the business, including finance and sales. Our account managers Zoe Hamilton and Irina Ashakhanova, who’ve been with the business for one and two years, respectively, are also from a non-tech background. The point being that you don’t have to be a marketer or coder to build a successful career within the marketing or tech industry. As junior project manager Emily Abbey concludes: “The industry is changing so rapidly that we don’t really know what technology we’ll be living and working with in our day-to-day lives in the future, being a part of a technology-led business is very exciting.” Look out for more content as part of our Celebrating Women in Tech and Marketing series over the coming weeks by following TLA on LinkedIn.