AMBITIOUS FEMALES HELP DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY ACHIEVE 50/50 RATIO
A leading digital marketing agency attributes much of its success to the diverse mix of talent it has recruited.
And key to this policy has been the recruitment of a number of ambitious women who have ensured that the company bucks their sector’s trend by having an equal male/female split in the workplace.
Four of its leading females form part of the management team – Head of Client Services Kate Sherratt, Head of Digital Mindy Gofton, Head of Project Management Amanda Lieu and Senior Search Strategist Jane Cragg.
All four have very different backgrounds and interests, but collectively help to ensure that Manchester-based I-COM is able to meet the demands of its wide range of entrepreneurial clients.
Mindy joined I-COM six years ago having previously worked at agencies where females were very much in the minority.
Mindy, who studied for a PhD on Irish nationalism, said: “There would be a couple of women in the team and people were scared to make a joke in case it offended one of the women. The total opposite is the case at I-COM, where there is a large number of females and the company has always hired strong women.
“We are aiming to be a professional business but also one that is warm, friendly and not overly corporate. We look for the right personalities to join us. Even if someone doesn’t quite fit the job description, we will try and fit the role around them. This is a very different approach to recruitment to a lot of organisations.
“It is a real plus point that there are as many women as men at I-COM. It means that there is a good scene outside as well as inside work. Some of the girls will go to the gym together at lunchtime or socialise together after work.”
E-commerce technology graduate Jane has been at I-COM for just over a year and she, too, joined from an agency with a predominantly male dominated environment.
“My interview was very relaxed and informal and was conducted by Mindy and one of the senior guys.
“Although there are lots of women, they are all very different. I’m into my cars whether it is following F1 or taking a car to bits, while Kate is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and Mindy is a big music fan and used to run one of the first music blogs in Manchester.
“This diverse background and interests helps us to tap into the requirements of our customers.
“It is definitely beneficial having a healthy male/female mix on clients and usually means you can get the right fit.”
Mindy added: “If you have a team that reflects as many points of view as possible, you get a much stronger approach.”
Kate also joined 40-strong I-COM just over a year ago after the nine-year-old company decided to appoint a client services manager.
Kate said: “More and more clients were taking a wider range of digital marketing services and the company also knew it had an opportunity to promote these services better and offer a more holistic approach.
“We have since recruited two more people and created a dedicated client services department with me being promoted to Head of Client Services.”
Amanda is the longest serving of the four women, having joined I-COM seven years ago. Originally from Malaysia, Amanda studied at Manchester University. She opted to pursue a degree in Information Systems Engineering because she wanted to be “different” to her fellow students from home who went down the traditional route of doctors, lawyers and accountants.
Amanda said: “When I joined I-COM there were about ten of us and we have grown a lot over the years. We now have a project management team using the best available tools and processes. There are lots of strong females at I-COM, women who are driven, passionate and really care about their work.”
Mike Blackburn, Managing Director of I-COM, said: “A lot of companies in the digital marketing sector are still heavily biased towards male employees and management teams, but we have deliberately set out to create a far more balanced agency with women filling a wide cross-section of roles.
“We are proud of the fact that 50 per cent of our staff are female and that half of the management team are women. We believe it helps us match the right teams to customer projects and enhances creativity, innovation and delivery – the life blood of a successful digital marketing agency.”