5 Actionable Tips For Effective Networking

Networking can be a very powerful facilitator of career progression, but how do we know whether we are networking resourcefully?

To help our community learn more about the best networking methods, we recently held a breakfast panel discussion in June around “How to network effectively,” sponsored by Moo and Sprinklr. Two of our board members were joined by two industry heavyweights who have many years of seasoned networking experience und their belt. On the panel (from left to right):

  • Eniko Tarkany-Szucs, DevelopHer board member and Solutions Consultant at Sprinklr
  • Sophie Dermaux, DevelopHer board member and Senior Account Executive at Hotwire PR, who was chairing this discussion
  • Hannah Mirza, Global Head of Partnerships at Mediacom
  • Kata Bleyer, a digital leader with a background at Coca-Cola and AllSaints

We were reminded that networking isn’t just about getting to know new people – it’s also about benefitting from existing connections, co-workers and hobbies. Below we’ve outlined five actionable networking tips that emerged from the discussion.
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  1. Have a game plan

This applies to attending networking events. Kata Bleyer recommended: “Be prepared. Do your homework and think of some talking points beforehand.“

Prior to the event: Read the attendee list and identify interesting people. Then check out their LinkedIn profiles to see what their interests might be. Use this information to plan some conversation points.

At the event: When it comes to approaching a person that you have planned to speak to, Eniko Tarkany-Szucs advised that you shouldn’t be worried about coming off as overbearing. Simply walk over and start talking to them. After all, “Everyone has the same struggles. Making the first step to talk to someone feels intimidating, but is easier once you actually do it.”

After the event: Kata mentioned that she swears by her ‘little black book’, which she uses to remember people she has met. Keep track of whom you’ve met, along with a line or two about what was interesting about them, and follow up after the event.

  1. Use LinkedIn as your personal website

Our panellists all agreed that LinkedIn is a great tool for networking. Hannah Mirza pointed out that you should leverage LinkedIn regardless of whether you are looking for a new job or not: “Don’t just use [LinkedIn] as a CV – use it as your own personal website.” Our panellists’ main tips:

  • Make sure all of your information is always up-to-date.
  • Write articles about topics for which you have specialised knowledge or passionate opinions.
  • Delete rewards that you earned a long time ago, if you haven’t received any new ones since – no one will be interested in rewards from ten years ago, for instance.
  1. Mingle with your co-workers

The relationships you have with co-workers can have a significant impact on your career. To really benefit, you need to do more than just get to know people in your immediate team. Hannah Mirza noted, “You can only get so far if you focus on your immediate sphere. Go out and talk to people in other departments.”

Knowing what people in other departments do, and being able to ask them for help, can go a long way. So-called informal networks form when people from different parts of an organisation connect, and research has found that these networks can have an extensive impact on performance and innovation.

Hannah shared an example of a colleague of hers, who set out to network across the business as soon as she started her new job. This helped her settle in quicker and be promoted faster.

How can you get to know other people in your company better? Hannah’s tip was to simply approach people you haven’t met yet, and ask them if they’d like to grab lunch with you. If they can’t do lunch on that day, just put a date in the diary for another day.

  1. Get active

Our panellists pointed out that networking doesn’t just happen at networking events or in the office. Many work discussions also take place outside of work, and being part of those conversations can be very beneficial.

Find a hobby that you enjoy, and which you can do together with colleagues or at which you can meet other relevant people. Often, these can be sporting events. Kata Bleyer’s hobby is cycling, and she shared with us that attending cycling events has been great for networking.

  1. Nurture existing relationships

So you’ve made lots of great connections through work and through your networking efforts – don’t forget to nurture them. One piece of advice that came out of our discussion was to look back every few months and get in touch with people whom you haven’t seen in a while. A quick catch-up coffee is a great way to nurture a relationship and to find out what your network is up to.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event and our generous sponsors Moo and Sprinklr. If you missed this event and would like to come along to our next events, sign up to our newsletter and we’ll keep you in the loop.

If you’d like to speak at one of our next events, please sign up to our speakers list.

Written by Anna Abrell

Breaking into Digital Media: Inspiring Stories from Female Pioneers

The digital industry is a dynamic, exciting and constantly changing landscape, so there is no surprise that jobs in digital are hugely desirable and sought after. These digital changes aren’t just a reflection to how businesses adapt to evolving internet behaviours, but now more than ever, women are paving their way in the traditionally male-dominated industry.

We’ve already seen The Drum making more of an effort to celebrate the young trailblazers in Digital and encouraging those aspiring to enter the industry. However, according to The Candidate, there are nearly twice as many men currently working in the digital sector than women. Of course, there are various reasons to why this is the case, and at DevelopHer we believe one way to overcome this is by inspiring women to break into digital media via the power of sharing connected stories of  digital pioneers.
So we share with you four inspirational ladies, and their background on how they entered Digital Media with a top tip for you to get ahead in your digital media career.

  1. Hannah Mirza, Global Head of Media Partnerships, MediaCom

    hannah mirza
    “I started my career at an American start-up as the seventh UK employee.  When you come in low in the ranks you can quickly become a Girl Friday, dabbling into whichever area they needed that week from sales, to creative, to marketing, office supplies to managing data.  I wanted to break that mould and move to a more corporate role where my skill sets in digital would be more developed so made the switch to media agencies.  I kept the entrepreneurial spirit I had learned in the start-up in this new environment, looking at how we could build business, or in this case departments of the agency in emerging areas. Looking back across now several companies I have successfully built seven departments from scratch for local and international agencies across Paid, Owned and Earned media.  Most recently for Mediacom I am leading a new division for digital transformation and Innovation consultancy.  Pairing blue chip client briefs with start-ups taking me full circle back to my beginnings”

Hannah’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media: 

  • Dedicate time in your work week to the trade press and read a diverse set of industry and broader technology literature to stay current.  I get most of my strategic ideas from the most unexpected places and I put this down to that time.
  1. Louise Tullin, Vice President of Marketing, Unruly louise tullin

     “After studying English Literature at Uni, I applied, by chance, for a job a tech PR agency in Reading. This was before the iPhone was invented and had no idea how ubiquitous technology would become. After moving to a London Tech PR agency working for the world’s biggest tech brands, I jumped in-house. I oversaw international PR across 12 countries for the world’s largest privately held backup and recovery software vendor. I then headed to Unruly, a little-known video and tech company who has just raised $25 million in Series A funding. Five years on and the company has been acquired by News Corp for £114m and we’ve just been shortlisted for the Best Strategic Marketing Campaign at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Awards.”

Louise’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media:

  • Take control of your own destiny: While it’s great to take advice from your boss, mentors and family, only you can take charge of your own career. When you’re starting out that might mean doing lots of work experience in as many different places and roles as you can. Sometimes the hardest part can be figuring out what you actually want to do! Hands on experience is the best way to decide that. Then keep learning. Study a course at night school or online, read titles like The Harvard Business Review, ask to do a role exchange within the commercial team of your company so you can really get a good feel for what your customers wants and needs. Finally, learn how to code! I never did and really wish I had!

 

  1. Kate Newton, Search Insights Manager, Microsoftkate newton

    “I started my digital career in 2000, a year after graduating from university having first initially worked in the classified ads section of my local free newspaper, and then contracted at the Office for National Statistics processing employment survey data. During this time, I was conscientiously looking and preparing myself for my dream role as a junior web developer, so I could be in the best possible position for when that job finally arose. Since then my career as evolved from being a web developer, to becoming a content creator and online journalist before moving to London in 2004 and embarking on a career in search engine marketing. My core belief and motivation is that I only do work which I find interesting, which challenges me intellectually and creatively, and that I’m genuinely excited and passionate about doing.”

Kate’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media:

  • Be kind to yourself: if you are embarking on the first 6 – 9 months of your new digital career you are going to be on a steep learning trajectory. You’re going to have days of extreme highs but also lows; when you’ll feel frustrated and wretched because you made a mistake – and you will make mistakes. Hold your hand up and own your mistakes and learn from them. Listen, observe and practice – you’re going to learn about 70% of your new role from doing the job and the other 30% from mentors and formal training. Nobody expects you to be an expert from day one, and neither should you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for feedback, and never apologise for feeling silly or stupid for asking your questions. Be kind to yourself, remain positive and open-minded and keep a healthy perspective on your growth and development. You’re doing great!
  1. Cathy McCarthy, Vice President of International Marketing, comScore cathy mcarthy
     “After graduating with a Marketing degree in the US, I started out in market research at Information Resources (IRI) then when client side to Dole Foods as a Marketing Manager. With dual citizenship in hand, the lure of working internationally never left my mind. So I took the plunge and moved to Belgium in my 20’s and then to London 6 years later and have lived in the UK ever since. After many years in traditional marketing, I had my first foray into digital at Capital One UK where I was given the responsibility to look after marketing campaigns for their non-card products.  At the time, I didn’t know anything about digital marketing but I learned quickly with our partner Advertising.com, a performance network.  The experience paid off and I enjoyed working with the team so much and getting my head around their technology that I joined the Ad.com team as EMEA Marketing Director, helping to explain the world of ad tech to marketing managers just like me.  Now I look after international marketing for comScore and continue to be fascinated by digital trends that make our industry such an interesting place to work”

Cathy’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media:

  • You’re never too old to learn something new: With over 10 years invested in traditional marketing, I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to learn a new skill in digital marketing. I took the opportunity, kept asking questions and never looked back. My advice is to raise your hand and take a chance, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks and it will mean you’re never bored in your job.

Digital Media is one of many careers our community, mentors and speakers are part of. If you’re interested in more inspiration tips and career advice across the different tech industry, sign up to our newsletter here for more motivating articles.

6 Ways a Mentor Can Accelerate Your Coding Career

This guest blog is written by Designli

Learning to code is a lot of fun, but it can also be fraught with stress and confusion. Having the assistance of an experienced mentor to help you navigate your journey is invaluable. Mentors can provide a means of achieving your career goals.

Here are six ways in which a mentor can help you accelerate your career in technology.

1. Help in Avoiding Pitfalls

Mentors can provide valuable advice on ways to avoid common pitfalls. After all, your mentor was once a pupil, and there is a good chance that they have encountered some of the same issues that could hinder your progression. A mentor may be able to foresee problem areas and prevent you from making the same mistakes they made. When you are working with a mentor, not only will they be able to answer questions, but they will also be able to help further by showing you how to implement any changes that are needed.

2.  Motivation

Let’s be honest, a lack of motivation is something that plagues all of us from time to time. A mentor can provide the motivation you need to get back in front of the editor. Some mentors may put together study materials and test projects, to ensure that you are continuing to progress.

3. Customised Learning

One of the disadvantages of learning in a coding classroom setting is the lack of individual attention. When working with a mentor, you can discuss both your short-term and long-term goals, and together create a customised plan for achieving success. This can really help you identify and focus on the areas that will aid you in the future.
MENTORING@

4. Help with the Unknown

Coding languages can be mysterious, and at times, downright confusing. Even if you have only been coding for a short time, you have probably encountered issues that seem to have no cause. When you are unaware of the origin of the problem, you may be left wondering where to begin solving it. A mentor can help demystify unknown errors and explain them in a way that is easy to understand.

5. Career Advice and Connections

The best career advice comes from someone who is currently working in the field, and coding mentors are no exception. If you are looking for advice as to which career path is right for you, and more specifically, which languages and software you should focus on learning to achieve your goals, there is no one better to ask than your mentor. Not only can they offer career advice, but there is a chance that they will have connections in the industry that could help you land a job.

6. Real-World Experience

While studying can prepare you for many situations you may face in the real-world, there are times when unique obstacles arise that do not have a concrete solution. Coding mentors can provide you with real-world examples of challenges that you may be forced to overcome, so you will be confident in a similar situation.

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These were just a few reasons to consider using a mentor to help further your tech career.   If you are interesting in being mentored (whether you’re have a technical or non-technical background), read more on DevelopHer’s speed mentoring events.
You can also sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about future speed mentoring events during the year.

Why we should aim to be brave and not perfect: Learning through role models

Do something that scares you.

Fake it till you make it.

Embrace failure.

We’ve all heard these expressions so many times that they’ve become almost meaningless catch phrases rather than pieces of advice. They’re also much easier said than done, especially for women.

Do you recall ever wanting to do something but holding back because you thought you weren’t good enough? Have you ever tried something new and immediately stopped, thinking you were bad at it? And then of course, never attempted it again?

ReshmaSaujani_GirlsWhoCode.png

Reshma Saujani, the Founder of Girls Who Code, had similar thoughts about herself. As a Yale Law School graduate, she had always wanted to serve the public, but was afraid to take the first step. Finally, in 2010 at the age of 33, she decided to run for Congress. She was the first Indian-American woman to do that. She launched an election campaign, which for her felt like  jumping off a cliff but in fact she was set for victory.

The end result? She lost. Big time. It was a loss she referred to as “humiliating”. But it taught her a lesson, and it wasn’t one about failure – it was a lesson in bravery.

It became clear to her that very few women take a leap of faith and pick a career that they’re unsure of. Many of us go for roles that we know we are going to be good at, as we’re always worried that we’d under-deliver. We also very often think we lack the knowledge or the natural ability to accomplish something. Reshma understood that the desire to be perfect is instilled in girls from a young age and we grow up thinking that multiple attempts at something are a defeat.

“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.” – Reshma Saujani.

She had given an inspirational TED Talk about how the quest for perfection (not lack of ability) is responsible for the gender gap. By pursuing her desire to serve the society and help increase women’s share of the computing workforce, she founded Girls Who Code. Reshma thought that alongside teaching girls problem-solving, team work and confidence, programming would help them learn that imperfection is okay. Coding is all about trial and error; it’s hard, but extremely rewarding. It emphasises the importance of perseverance and self-belief.

Since 2012 when Girls Who Code was established, they’ve taught over 40,000 girls and operate in all 50 states of the U.S. They have partnered up with many Universities and major IT companies that support the program. But most importantly, they have given thousands of girls new-found confidence in their own ability and potential.

“..when we teach girls to be imperfect, and we help them leverage it, we will build a movement of young women who are brave and who will build a better world for themselves and for each and every one of us.”

At DevelopHer, we’re in awe of Reshma, who has done so much to help elevate women in technology. The way she’s mitigating the gender gap issue is just genius – she teaches girls the in-demand skill of programming and, at the same time, equips them in self-belief. Since losing in the first election in 2010, she’s founded a successful non-profit and ran as a Democratic candidate for New York City Public Advocate in 2013.

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If there is one learning we can tell you to do based on Reshma’s experience is  –
Do something that scares you.
Because you can, and you will!

If you’re interested in also inspiring others and doing something out of your comfort zone, sign up to our speaker list here.

International Women’s Day at UK Parliament

Last week, DevelopHer celebrated International Women’s Day on the 8th March at the House of Parliament, as, Sally Freeman and Sarah Rench from the team were invited to the Women in Parliament IWD event to listen and encourage others on how to be #BeBoldForChange.

During the event, we heard from a number of incredibly bold women who all aimed to fight for equality whether in or outside the Parliament and whether these changes be in our workplace or just in our day-to-day activities. These inspiring women, all mothers, were also tackling the art of balancing and fighting against the stereotypes.

We wanted to share with you the key highlights from these role models and how we can all think about being bold and making change.

  • Mims Davies, MP – and the first in her family to enter higher education
    – As Parliamentarians it is their our duty to mitigate against injustice

    Davies addressed the issue with the lack of MPs who are women. For many decades, female MPs made less than 5% of the total, but since the 2015 general election there are currently 195 female MPs (29%) out of a total 650 members of parliament. Despite there being more female MPs than ever before, Davies emphasised that we still need to reach 50% so we are really hitting quality and ensuring we’re paying the way for the rest of society.

  • Maria Miller, MP – Chair for the Women and Equalities Committee
    – We need more women into Parliament to have a stronger voice where Parliamentary decisions are made

    Miller discussed the importance of scrutinising the government and driving equality. Many MPs have pushed through policies relating to cross-government equality strategy and legislation, transgender equality, sexual harassment prevention and action in schools, women’s health, tackling the gender pay gap and many others. As we start to see progress in these areas, there is a lot more to do and support for these areas.

 

  • Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, MP – Previous accomplished lawyer
    – Nothing has come to a women’s agenda without a fight. It doesn’t matter which party you join, it just matters that you join

    Sheikh like many of us in DevelopHer believe equality means ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favourably on the basis of their specific protected characteristic including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.

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  • Baroness Dido Harding of Winscombe and Chief Executive of Talk Talk
    Businesses need to be like rugby teams – they’re made up of different shape, size and looking employees.
    “Leading a diverse team can be harder than leading an identical team. It requires an acceptance of difference to get the best out of different people”.

    Baroness Harding commented that we are all unconsciously biased and it’s important that this is considered when we are building and managing teams. We need to accept that we are all unconsciously biased, in order to challenge and overcome it. A key lesson Baroness Harding also embraced was the importance for working fathers and male role models who also fight for equality in order for change to happen.

 

  • Fiona Cannon,  Director of Inclusion and Diversity at Lloyds, responsible for diversity and inclusion initiatives for 90,000 Lloyds employees and 30 million customers. Cannon was awarded the OBE in 2011 for services to equal opportunities and also recognised as a Working Families Pioneer by Working Families in 2009.

    – We are starting to challenge conventional wisdoms

    Cannon explained how Lloyds took bold steps in publishing their goal to increase the number of C-suite women to 40% and the importance of more women in positions of authority in all sectors. One approach to change in the workplace is to address that existing business models don’t always meet the needs of employees anymore and that we need to be investing in ‘local hubs’ for work. It’s important to adopt agile hiring or flexible working – and to start breaking the traditional 9-5 office based way of thinking in order to bring benefits for all parties: for employees, companies and clients.

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If there is one key learning we could take away from this day of empowerment – is that change is starting to happen and we need to make sure we join work together to ensure change continues to increase equality in our day to day. Never underestimate the power of role models (female or male) and how this can help you be bold not just for now but for the future.

To read more about our Parliament experience, read ParliaWOMENtarians and the importance” by Sarah Rench from the DevelopHer team.

Keep up to date with our current adventures make sure your follow us on twitter @DevelopHerUK and Instagram.

Time to celebrate with The Drum’s 50 Women under 30 list

At DevelopHer, we’ve been popping the bubbly as 2017 brings some wonderful news to the DevelopHer team and community. This year, The Drum announced a list of the 50 women trailblazing through the digital industry before reaching the age of 30. With the results recently released, we’re so proud to see not one, not two, but three of the DevelopHer team had made the list this year! Not only that, but a member of our mentoring alumni also made the list too!

We wanted to congratulate every single woman who applied and got nominated. It’s encouraging to see the level of female talent that are making their marks in the tech and digital world, and also the hard work our team and community have done so far. We’d thought we’d share highlights of what inspires the nominated DevelopHer list.

Well done ladies, and we only hope more of our community make the list next year!

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Laura Chung, DevelopHer Board
Regional Product Marketing Manager for International markets at comScore

  • What one piece of advice would you offer someone entering marketing today?
    Curiosity is a great starting point for any career progression, so I would advise someone starting out to never be afraid to push themself to learn more and to ask questions. Marketing in some aspects requires mastering the art of multi-tasking. If you are on top of everything, it gives you enough time to find the challenges that really excite you”

Ella Roche, DevelopHer Board
PR and Outreach Manager at The Honey Partnership

  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
    I see myself as managing director of the Honey Partnership US. We’re a fast growth business and I’ve been running Chinese and US accounts since I joined. I have a supportive management team and excellent mentoring.”

Eniko Tarkany-Szucs, DevelopHer Board
Senior Partner Manager, EMEA at Sprinklr

  • Do you believe diversity in the industry is changing for the better?
     “
    I think there is a push for change and there are a lot of great organisations out there. Generally, I think there needs to be more women in leadership positions and/or male dominated fields who are prepared to mentor and serve as role models to other women.”

Lauren Ingram, DevelopHer Mentoring Alumni
Marketing Manager at 360i

  • What is your biggest career achievement to date?
    Moving to Berlin. I didn’t have a job offer, I just knew I wanted to work in the bustling tech scene there. So I bought a plane ticket and I sent a tweet to a chief executive of a startup I wanted to work for and went for it.”

Read more about our awesome DevelopHer team here and how you can get involved with DevelopHer.

Hannah, entrepreneur at Layer Home discusses the mentoring programme experience

In many ways, this time last year feels like it was just an eye blink ago.

In September 2015, I attended the first session in the six-month mentoring programme run by the team by DevelopHer and reading back over my notes from that session, I can literally feel the excitement running off the page.

We were each given a gift at the first session. A beautifully wrapped, perfectly analogue gift in our technology-centric worlds. Smythson had kindly donated a small, blue notepad for each of us and the wonderful team had handwritten a personalised note in each of them.

Written on a card inside my sky blue notebook was the quote from Confucius: ‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart.’

For me, this set the tone for the six month programme that followed and has continued to influence me in my life and MY business today. To do things with your whole heart, you have to own the decisions that you make, believe in them wholeheartedly and most importantly, be proud of them and of yourself. (Yes, it’s squishy but sometimes you need an emotional reality check – and that was one for me.)

I’ve never felt like someone who lacked confidence. HOWEVER I believe that there can be something inherent about us as women that stops us from just ‘leaping’. We think about things deeply in a way that perhaps men don’t, and sometimes this can hold us back. Yes, make measured, smart decisions in the main – but sometimes you just have to leap with your  heart and believe you can do it.   

Meeting other women (and men, too!) who live, work and leap with their whole hearts has cemented in me the belief that a network, support system, group, community – whatever you want to call it – is an invaluable part of fostering this inherent belief within ourselves and other young women that whatever they want to achieve is possible. NOT only is it possible, they can be the ones to do it. This is where the next chapter of the DevelopHer community comes in, empowering and elevating women.

Some of the people I met through the program have gone on to be important mentors. THEY make key introductions or to challenge me personally and professionally in ways that have helped to move things forwards. I made friends and peers, people who I can turn to when something feels difficult or overwhelming – sometimes all you need is your tribe to tell you something is possible. I’ve met role models and inspirations, people who I’ve looked up to and realised that they are amazing, but also human beings just like me.

It was a wonderful programme to be a part of and I benefited more in six months that I could even have imagined. So as we enter 2017 I look forward to using what I learnt from the mentoring programme to confront and overcome what the new year will bring me.

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Hannah Russell

To find out more of the top 10 things I learnt from the programme check out next month’s blog!