Dakota Digital MD part of International Women’s Day campaign

Today is International Women’s Day and I’m really proud to be part of a new campaign celebrating female entrepreneurs and all of our accomplishments. As an industry, marketing and PR has always had an abundance of strong, capable female talent and i can say without a doubt that we truly embody that here at Dakota Digital.

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women and, when you look at search marketing as an industry, it’s clear that some of the most powerful and influential figures are female. The CEO of Yahoo. The CEO of Omnicom Group. The COO at Facebook.

Likewise, the fitness and beauty market is dominated by female influencers – aspirational figures such as Clean Eating Alice for example. But they aren’t special because they’re women. They are special because they’re great at what they do. They succeed because they’re driven, passionate and motivated. That’s what success takes. Neither cup size nor bicep size has anything to do with it.

Dakota Digital is gender equal with a male and female lead director team. We complement each other perfectly and together, we’re growing a truly successful agency. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses – these aren’t gender specific, they’re individual personality traits and skills. Likewise, our team of talented, creative copywriters, social media experts and PR professionals is made up of men and women. For my part, I hope to be a great mentor to them and to serve as an example of how to be a good industry leader – not because I’m female but because I, and Chris, strive to support, encourage, motivate. That isn’t down to gender. It’s about being good at what you do, and committing to inspiring others who, for whatever reason, male or female, may be doubting themselves.

Whether you strap on a bra or pull on boxer shorts in the morning, gender shouldn’t be a defining factor in how successful your day is. If you believe your gender limits you, you’re part of the problem, not the solution and probably – your own worst enemy. Why waste energy being concerned if you’re equal to or better than anyone else? Success comes by focusing on your own skills and what you can bring to the table.

Being MD has its good days and bad. It’s a tough, demanding role with a lot of responsibility, whether you identify as female, male or gender neutral. But whichever way the pendulum is swinging, I’ve never felt that my successes or failures relate to being a woman.

I approach my role and its myriad challenges in the same way Chris approaches his. I don’t think it’s a sign of weakness as a woman to say I absolutely couldn’t do this without him. In the same way, neither of us could do our job without our team – the majority of whom just happen to be female- because as a unit, we don’t focus on whether we’re male or female, we concentrate on getting the job done and offering the best possible service to our clients. We strive to better our knowledge daily and work together to ensure we deliver for our clients. Together, we’re greater than the sum of our parts and really, in 2018, isn’t that what success should look like?

There will always be dinosaurs who don’t treat you with respect. But that isn’t gender specific. A growing number of Instagram influencers in the beauty sector are male for example. Their beauty tutorials and make up how to’s are equally as skilled as their female MUA counterparts, but that’s not to say they don’t experience prejudice from women and men and derogatory comments from both sexes.

I’m fortunate to always have been treated with respect, whether dealing with clients, staff or suppliers. There was one time, at a meeting when our client (we’ll call him Simon to protect the guilty) turned to me and asked if I was taking notes as Chris was speaking but, that’s more reflective of the individual than my presence as a female.

The campaign that I was asked to be a part of has been put together by PeoplePerHour, in celebration of female entrepreneurs. The University of Westminster used data from PeoplePerHour to determine that simply being a female freelancer increased the odds of bidding success by 19%.

The team also discovered that female solopreneurs were more likely to take lower value jobs to build up their portfolio before bidding for higher paid jobs.

Juste Semetaite from PeoplePerHour says, “The reality is simple: female freelancers are spearheading the efforts to close the gender pay gap by, first of all, closing more pitches, then delivering stellar work and eventually, demanding higher pay.

“Being so good they can’t ignore you has proved to be the hands-down best strategy in a fight with no rules”

You can read the full feature and see my video on PeoplePerHour.

Rebecca Appleton
MD, Dakota Digital

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