International Women's Day 2018 will bring together friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive in order to positively fuel the global momentum striving for gender parity with this year's theme; #PressforProgress.
To celebrate the positive achievements of the women working at Net Natives, we caught up with Holly Cartlidge, one of our influential and inspiring women and a Higher Education Research Strategist, to share her thoughts, advice and achievements.
What challenge(s) did you face and overcome to get to where you are?
I'd say the vast majority of my challenges have been things inside my head - crises of confidence, lack of direction, lack of ability to commit? the list goes on.
Other challenges have been things happening outside of work - because your career and work don't exist in isolation to the rest of your life, and life events have an impact on your work whether you want them to or not. It can sometimes be challenging to see what's the right direction to take with your career or to perform at your best when something big happens in your personal life.
I'm not sure that I've really overcome many of these things - I still regularly doubt myself and still have no long-term plans for my career - but I am perhaps better able to manage my feelings and take time to reflect rather than reacting immediately and emotionally to a situation.
What are the three most important things you do (or did) that contribute to your success?
Take all the opportunities available to you for training and development. There is always something you can learn at a training session or by spending time with colleagues with different skills and experiences.
Don't chase money, chase experiences - I think it's important to pick roles for what you will learn and how you will develop, not because it's more money or the next step up the ladder. In all of my jobs, there has been something that I've not done before, and those are often my favourite parts.
Don't assume that your approach is the best approach. I enjoyed being a manager because I had great team members who could always provide a much better solution for the issues we were facing than I would have been able to myself. And some of the most exciting teams I've worked in have been cross-functional where you get people from areas of the business, who tend to have different approaches and complementary skills.
What is the most fulfilling part of your role?
I love being able to take on big projects right from the start and shape them. There is a good level of innovation in my role and a lot of variety, which is really important to me. The Natives office is a great place for this kind of work as people collaborate and are not tied to their desks.
What is your biggest achievement/proudest moment in your career to date?
Right now, I'm going to say it's coming back to work after having my baby. I would never have said this a year ago and I may well not say this in another year. I really wanted to come back when I did, but even so, I still question my decision on an almost daily basis. But everyone here at Natives has been so supportive, and so enthusiastic, and I have some brand new, exciting projects to work on that I know it's the right thing and it's just about giving myself time to adjust.
What advice would you give other women looking to follow a career path in research and marketing?
Always make sure you have someone wise in your world who provides you with a sounding board or offers a totally different perspective. They might be a colleague or a friend, it doesn't really matter. The most important this is that you respect their input.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
It's part of the march towards gender parity, which I believe is vital for improving the lives of everyone in the world. It's about busting enduring gender stereotypes and the social structures that continue to perpetuate these, and enabling people to carve their own gender identity without pressure to conform to hegemonic norms or experience prejudice for not conforming.