Brigitte Slattery is the head of marketing for the APAC region at Samsung Ads and TV Services. Last year she won the award for Marketing at the Women Leading Tech Awards.
With the entries closing at 11:59pm (AEDT) tonight for this years awards, Women Leading Tech sat down with Slattery to discuss the challenges of being a female in the tech industry and how Samsung is working to increase representation.
WLT – What is the biggest challenge for you as a woman in the tech industry?
Brigitte Slattery: The tech industry has grown and evolved so much in the last decade, this innovation reshapes our lives as we know it. However, this shift hasn’t been as fast moving for women working in this largely male dominated industry. Despite the many contributions women are making, my biggest challenge is battling the undertone of female tokenism while increasing the representation of women.
WLT: How is Samsung working to improve female representation within the tech industry?
Slattery: People really make a place. Our senior leadership team at Samsung Ads is over 40 per cent female in Australia, and our global chief marketing officer built a Women’s + initiative and a male allies program that helps drive the agenda and continuously improves female and minority groups representation.
Last year we also created our “Behind the Screens” video interview series that highlighted leaders in various fields with half of those leaders being female, and had Sam Cooke, our head of product marketing for APAC represent us at the first Women OTT summit in Singapore.
However, day-to-day I am noticing a confidence gap in women early in their careers around self promotion. I think initiatives like the IAB mentoring programming, Google I am Remarkable are helping educate and elevate their voices, but more can be done to support them.
WLT: What did it mean for you to be recognised as a Women Leading Tech winner?
Slattery: It was a wonderful feeling; I had no expectations and was beyond delighted to be a finalist amongst some stellar women. However, for me the nod in some ways legitimised my move into tech and gave me confidence that I was on the right path.
The other side of it was the onset of imposter syndrome. But I was lucky enough to have a supportive network that helped me celebrate the success and reframe the negative talk.
WLT: Your previous experience is largely in the media/film space. What encouraged you to step into the tech field and what would you say to other women looking to do the same?
Restructures, redundancies and reorganisations were becoming a little relentless in TV. Whilst change is common amongst all industries, the turning point for me was seeing some formidable women leave when they were at the top of their game and not return to TV.
I always had a desire to shift into tech, but it wasn’t without its obstacles. My experience and resume were so content and TV-heavy that I was constantly knocked back by big tech. Samsung, for me, was the perfect combination of my love of TV and the new world of ad tech.
My suggestion for women looking to do the same would be to consider a jump to an adjacent area where you find your skills and experience will set you apart, not hinder you.
Definitely don’t ignore your strengths and gaps in your resume. Consider what makes you distinctive. Identifying differentiation between you and others will also help you mitigate negative self-doubt.
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