Like a lot of women working in traditionally male-dominated industries, Marta James has unfortunately felt her own share of gender stereotypes catching up with her at various points in her career. But she hasn’t let this hold her back from achieving success! As Director of Digital Transformation at Whispir, she shares how she is helping the company create a positive legacy for future generations, and “open the doors for women” into STEMM.
Marta knows that a company’s culture is felt directly from the top down. With this in mind, she says she aims to “lead with empathy and understanding, rather than authority” while “breeding collaboration across the teams”. Leadership styles are changing, and Marta believes that leading an engaged and productive team now requires appreciating everyone’s differences and celebrating what their uniqueness can bring to the workplace.
Marta has seen first-hand how everyone is set on creating a more equal workplace – and especially those in charge:
“50% of our Executive Leadership Team are women, which is credit to our leadership team and our CEO and founder Jeromy Wells, who is a great supporter of diversity in the workplace.”
And to further help those coming up behind her, Marta takes the time to pay forward her own success through volunteering with GradGirls, a program for women in university aiming to promote the career opportunities in STEMM and offer real examples of women leading in this space.
Equality is no longer optional
Supporting diversity and inclusion is now no longer an aim a company can simply say they are working towards, it’s an essential part of their evolution if they are to stay current in STEMM. This is an area Marta feels is key to the growth of her industry:
“Equal opportunities and equal pay for women are no longer optional, these are a must.”
In her 14 months at Whispir, Marta feels reassured to see positive action in this area – not just platitudes and tick-boxing. Marta says breaking down discrimination and barriers to opportunities lies at the very core of the company’s culture:
“Whispir has diversity and inclusion in its DNA. They are actively challenging all their employees to overcome biases when hiring and in our day-to-day interactions. I’m proud to be part of a company like Whispir that actively works to remove prejudice from the workplace.”
Whispir has several employee-led diversity groups driving workplace diversity and inclusion.
Explore these and their other employee benefits and initiatives.
A workplace where you can be your true self
Many of us can find ourselves juggling different roles in our lives – perhaps as a co-worker, leader, parent, or partner – and most of us can relate to sometimes feeling as though we are being pulled in different directions for our time. For Marta, it is vital to find an employer that allows her to flourish in all areas of her life:
“Success is being able to do your best every day in all the roles you have in life, whether as a daughter, mother, or an employee. You can be an amazing parent, partner, and have a fulfilling career too. That’s something I aspire to every day, and a reason why I get out of bed every morning.”
Being able to feel you can fully show up is (at least in part) possible by recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses – and working with them. Marta self-identifies as an “ambivert”, with an equal balance of introverted and extroverted qualities. She describes herself as “very outgoing” and she “enjoys interacting with people,” while also being “a very private person” who likes her “me time” to recharge. From her first week at Whispir, Marta felt as though she could be her authentic self:
“The supportive and welcoming culture was apparent from day one. My expertise and skills were appreciated, and my voice heard.”
Throughout Marta’s career, she has always been drawn to innovation. Early on, Marta says she found a “fascination for customer buying behaviors” and specifically “how developments in technology can change them”. This led to an “affinity for customer experience design, martech, and digital product development”. After more than a decade working for some of Australia’s leading brands, she landed the role at Whispir, leading her department in “modernizing and digitizing business processes”. Marta says that the common denominator in all her roles to date has been the opportunity to influence change and innovate:
“I always joined companies at the time of a significant business transition. I was very lucky that my roles always had a remit to innovate and reimagine the brand’s customer experience. This combined experience allows me to work on the intersection of strategy, innovation, customer experience, and technology – which was the right recipe that brought me to Whispir.”
We shouldn’t only save innovation for the workplace though. Marta encourages us all to keep reassessing where we are in our career so we can identify our own measures of success – and then keep working towards those goals:
“Perseverance and determination are the two key ingredients you need to help shape your future and your own version of success. I never gave in to pressure or took the easy route.”
Marta feels positive about the future for women looking to pursue a career in science and technology. Times are changing and, as a leader in her field, Marta is helping shape how that future will look.