This years theme for International Women’s Day is #EachForEqual — an equal world is an enabled world.
It’s a cause close to our hearts. 58% of Vamp’s workforce is female – a pretty rare thing for a tech-based start up. To show our support, we asked our Vampers to strike the #EachforEqual pose and to celebrate, we interviewed four incredible women within the business who are all killing it in their own way. From CEO to Partnerships Manager, and from finance to tech, these four super-women share their stories and advice.
Gill Findlay, CEO
Tell us about your journey to becoming a CEO – were there any pivotal moments or people along the way?
In each step of my varied and fun career, I have had a supporter who believed in me. They pushed me to want to do more – and achieve more. Strong men and women were there beside me – influencing me – and helping me become a CEO.
I have always wanted to provide that support for others on my journey. I hope, in a small way, I have helped a number of men and women achieve great things in their careers too. Being proud of your team and their growth is the best feeling and the highlight of any role. All of these people I have worked gave me the confidence to be a CEO. If they all thought I could do it, then I had to give it a try.
What has been some of the most rewarding achievements you’ve accomplished since being our CEO?
In my experience, the most common things people want are autonomy and the support to make decisions. I like to try to provide that to my teams. Giving people within the business opportunities to grow, take on bigger roles, more responsibility and seeing them thrive is awesome. If I am not doing that every day, I am not doing my job. (It does cost me a bit in pay rises when they succeed though!)
What is one piece of advice you can give to others wanting to secure a high leadership role?
Be good at your job by honouring your commitments; doing what you say you are going to do. That is a simple one. Those that meet deadlines, targets, and achieve outcomes daily are going to be great leaders.
The leadership traits I value are: consistency, authenticity and honesty. These traits can, on occasion, come out as Scottish swear words when applied!
Sophie Troy, VP of Engineering
How do you think recently becoming our VP of Engineering has impacted the other women on your team?
There is a saying, “You can’t be, what you can’t see”. Having a women in a senior technical role encourages others to aim high as they see it’s possible to achieve.
You spoke at the Elixir EU Conference. What did you speak about, how did you prefer for it and how did this help your grow, professionally?
My talk was centred around why Elixir is a tech language for a startup. Speaking at a conference was something I previously would have never considered doing. Admittedly, I was totally terrified at first, so I decided to take one step at a time. Elixir EU was going to have 400 attendees so I looked at ways to work up to speaking publicly and to gain feedback. As a starting point, I reached out the local Elixir Sydney group and asked if I could talk at their next meetup for five minutes in front of 40 people.
After that, I took part in a panel discussion at an event and presented my speech in front of my colleagues. This experience took me out of my comfort zone and helped increase my confidence. It allowed me to grow my network and gain exposure within the tech community.
What is one piece of advice you can give to other women in tech wanting to climb up the ranks?
Build a network. I didn’t realise the importance of this until later in my career when I really needed one. It’s great to have people outside your workplace to get advice from or bounce ideas off. It’s also a great way to find out about new opportunities moving forward. I like to network by attending meet ups with Elixir and Women Who Code and keeping in touch with past colleagues.
Ruth Martinez, Finance Assistant
Can you explain your story leading up to your role now?
I worked as a Finance and Accounting Assistant for seven years while studying at university back home in Colombia. For six years after that, I was an Experienced Senior Auditor. Eventually I had to resign as one of the requirements for the next position was good English skills, something I didn’t yet have.
So I thought, this is the perfect time to fulfil one of my dreams to move to Australia and study English. Moving my life to another country took me completely out of my comfort zone, away from my family, culture and language. To overcome these challenges, I reminded myself to be patient and faithful. I believe that success takes time and it comes with persistence and determination.
I was working as a cleaner for Vamp when I was told that they were looking for a bookkeeper. Being trained and experienced in the industry, I was offered the job and the rest is history! I am so grateful I was given this opportunity. Vamp is a company that offers an inclusive environment and they have allowed me to grow and feel the support I need to keep going with my dream. Moving my life overseas turned into a beautiful path to where I am now.
What are some future goals you’d love to smash over the next few years of your career?
I’d love to strengthen my network in Australia as it’s a helpful way to continue developing my career. It will also allow me to stay connected with people in the social media world, helping me understand more about the way this industry operates. I want to use all my field knowledge to improve the internal control at Vamp, and lastly, I want to obtain my Certified Practising Accountant License (CPA), to enhance my technical, leadership and business skills.
What is one piece of advice you can give to other women wanting to work in finance?
The finance industry offers the possibility to work in a wide range of areas; accounts payable, budget analyst, cost controller or auditor. Take advantage of this in the initial years of your career and gain experience in multiple different areas. Allowing yourself to practise in varied industry roles will give you a significant leg-up in your professional career.
Lora Garrard, Partnerships Manager and Content Creator
What made you want to start content creating? And what inspires you to continue doing it?
It actually happened organically. Before I was pregnant I had a small following of around 1500 and once I started posting more about pregnancy, my following grew. I love taking beautiful pictures while keeping a real voice about motherhood.
The feedback I receive from other mums, and the network we have on the ’gram is enough to make me want to keep going. Messages from mums thanking me for sharing or saying that I’ve helped them is so rewarding. In Dubai we have a lot of small businesses run by mums, and helping to spread awareness of their brand means so much to them.
Managing a side hustle while being a mum with a full time job sounds challenging but I’m sure also very rewarding, what are your secrets to being a boss at all three?
It’s very challenging and the juggle is real! I say no to collaborations sometimes to manage. It’s just about prioritising, setting realistic goals and not beating yourself if you don’t achieve them all. Undeniably, my son Leo is my absolute world and we are very privileged that brands are so generous in sending us some lovely things. So when I’m up late at night editing or arranging my feed, its all worth it knowing its for him.
I also feel the pressure as a women to achieve a number of different things. I tried so hard not to be stereotyped as the mum who needs time off for her sick baby, or is tired, or didn’t sleep at night because her baby’s up. But I’ve realised its ok to say these things and to express our reality because it only helps other people who are going through the same thing.
What is once piece of advice you can give to other women wanting to become an entrepreneur?
Don’t give up. If you have a true passion or dream, you are very lucky. Some people spend their whole life trying to find theirs. So if you know what yours is, just go for it! It definitely makes hard work easier when you are doing something you love – or doing it for someone you love. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t always mean being CEO of a multimillion dollar company. Being creative, having ideas, and exceeding whatever your own goals are is enough. Male or female, it shouldn’t change the way we think, perform, or act. I’ve never felt that I couldn’t do something because I’m a woman. Yes, there are different pressures that can come with either gender, but we are equally as capable of being achievers.