Alexa is a Social Media Editor at Verizon Media in Australia. With a passion for baking, we’re envious of her lockdown diaries! Tasty! We digress. Alexa tells us why the internet is the new age university and shares stories about her childhood travels. Welcome to this segment of Women In Marketing!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, ALEXA. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
Although I grew up in Sydney, Australia, I was born in Genova, Italy! My Dad still resides there now, so my childhood was filled with many memorable trips between the countries. I travelled and got to see beautiful places from quite a young age. All thanks to this dual-citizen lifestyle! I feel like this is something I value as an adult as I know not everyone has that privilege.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
Honestly, at this point, it feels hard to remember! I’ve grown so much since then.
I had a small but wonderful group of friends in high school and loved the experience of all my years there. I would say I never really came up against anything troublesome. I thoroughly enjoyed going to school every day. In university, I was a quiet learner. I really went there to buckle down and learn solely. I was determined to get the best marks I could in university, so I focused on that.
It was also a time where I took on earning two qualifications whilst working – very busy indeed!
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would probably be one of my dogs! They get King-like treatment! I want their life, that’s for sure.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
A fresh piece of Focaccia from my favourite bakery in Genova! It’s the stuff of dreams. I wish I could eat it more regularly. There’s nothing quite like it!
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
First and foremost, I want to be able to help my family in any way that I could to ease any financial strain. Secondly – and especially in this current world climate – I would endeavour to help those impacted by what is going on right now in the world. $10 million is a lot, and I already feel so blessed without it! So I would want to share with those who are less fortunate.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I love baking! I love to cook and, my #HumbleBrag is that I am pretty good at it too.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I’ve always found the psychology behind marketing to be interesting! The way campaigns come to life. The creative process and how it’s all made to look simple to the untrained eye. It has always captured my attention from an early age. I also loved fashion and desired to be a part of the industry from a business perspective (instead of a design one!) but still wanted to fulfill my creative side. Studying marketing and eventually moving into the digital/social space allowed me to do both, which is why I love my job.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
Although I love a cuppa, I am 110% team coffee!
As the pandemic began, I treated myself to a new coffee machine and some good quality beans to help get me through my new WFH life.
Since I am still working from home, my day typically begins with making myself a strong coffee (and check my phone!), my skincare routine and taking my dogs for a walk. There’s nothing better than spending a little time on self-care before the day begins!
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Learning to say NO!
It was a hard concept for me to use, but it’s honestly the only way. I think employers (especially now in a post-covid world) need to be more open to flexible working life. I look for this in an employer and try to implement it in my actions as an employee. I also really try to switch off all my work notifications at the end of the day. I used to ‘check-in on work’ A LOT, it wasn’t great for my mental health.
Put down that phone, and do something you enjoy!
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN BUSINESS MARKETING FROM TORRENS UNIVERSITY AUSTRALIA. YESSS GIRL! ACCORDING TO CNBC, RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY GLASSDOOR FOUND THAT COMPANIES LIKE APPLE, GOOGLE AND IBM (AMONGST OTHERS) OFFER WORK-FROM-HOME JOBS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE ANY FORMAL EDUCATION. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEIR CAREERS PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO AFFORD A FORMAL EDUCATION?
The world is your oyster, ladies!
I love that people can now leverage their area of expertise and offer courses (sometimes completely free!) online for anyone on a global scale. There is so much free information out there! People are killing it in their field of work; all of whom we can learn a lot from. I know so many people who did not go to uni yet are taking their industry by storm, so I am a firm believer that anyone can leverage information and experience if they’re willing to put the time into it. I have also personally utilised the internet to upskill MANY times as I am always looking to learn something new.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
I love it!
Having had a few and been one myself, having a person that wants to champion both your personal as well as your career growth is invaluable. It’s hard sometimes to know what direction you should be going, what skills you should be looking into and seeing things from an outsider perspective.
That is where a mentor can help you grow and help push you in ways you might not have thought to challenge yourself.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
I always set myself mini-goals!
I’ll say “you have 30 minutes to get this done, and then you can take a 10-minute break”. It helps to not only break down my day but allows me to have small wins throughout to keep me on track.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
I am not a fan! I am generally pretty loyal to whichever organisation I am working for and go into roles wanting to dedicate a minimum amount of time to get the most out of that organisation.
It can take time to not only make changes but sink your teeth into a job so moving around so quickly can impede this. There are situations where this does not apply! If your dream job pops up, you’re not happy or challenged anymore – everyone needs to do what is best for them.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
It is a very female-dominated industry! Majority of my roles within organisations have been working closely with that of mainly women, so it’s only natural that this has now started filtering up to more senior roles. I honestly cannot pinpoint a reason for this exactly, but I love being a part of a creative team headed up by a strong female lead.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
Sadly, whilst this is on the up, the corporate world continues to be dominated by men especially in the C-suite level. The big ‘boys club’ mentality is still prevalent and is a factor that impedes aspiring women who want to be in the c-suite.
Although it is difficult at times, I think we must continue to play to our strengths, rising above any preconceived notions of how women should appear and act at work. There’s a reason women are making it into these roles. It’s crucial to keep that in mind when faced with these situations.
Additionally, (and one I think of a lot!) is balancing career and personal life. In my opinion, it is rarely asked of our male counterparts, but something women are always questioned on. I truly believe you can have it all – and it’s more about making it work for you – rather than the other way around.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
Honestly, it is one of the more positive things to come out of this awful pandemic. I have long rallied for working from home, but with continuous reluctance from my superiors. I honestly think it boils down to productivity. Until this point, organisations thought that if you’re at home working, you couldn’t possibly be putting in the same amount of time and dedication you are when you’re in the office.
The pandemic has not only proved this wrong but allowed people to regain control over their work/life balance by having this flexibility FINALLY added into their workflow.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
I think it’s vital to always check-in on your team. Make sure that even though you might not be with one another physically, you are still making room to be ‘social’ at work. I feel like WFH has taken away the casual interactions of the day with your co-workers that broke-up the sometimes monotonous workday.
Whilst I love working from my home office, I crave these interactions too! I think just making sure everyone is doing well both mentally and emotionally during this time is vital to keeping your team operating and most of all – happy!
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Not to stress so much about the future! It all goes the way it should.
I think I spent too much time comparing myself to others. However, the path I’ve taken has been the right one for me at the end of the day.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
I am very much still recovering from 2020, both personally and professionally. I sadly lost a job I loved during the initial stages of COVID-19 and, although I have since found another that I am enjoying, the whole process did take its toll on where I thought my career trajectory was going.
Also, I’ve had a lot of changes personally that have changed my life significantly during the lockdown, so 2021 is really about taking a step back and enjoying life a little more, – and stressing a little less!
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
At the moment, it’s simple: Get to Italy!
With the pandemic, I’ve been unable to visit my Dad living in Italy – so my current only bucket list item is to see him again soon.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Michelle Cordeiro Grant, Sophia Amoruso and Veronica Devine – to name a few!
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am currently reading ‘The Space Between‘ by Michelle Andrews and Zara McDonald. I LOVE their podcast, and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into their book.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I love my job wholeheartedly and what I do as it’s allowed me to meet some incredible people and do amazing things beyond the regular 9-5. Having said that, if I had the talent, I would love to have been a theatrical performer (I love a good musical) or a teacher.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I just finished watching Bridgerton (in one day!). I need to start on Schitt’s Creek! It’s been sitting in my watchlist for too long.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
The BEST part about our industry is that you can make it your own. When I first entered, I would not have guessed I would be doing what I am today – and that is a great thing!
Traditional marketing as a concept is constantly evolving. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let your ideas be heard. Your perspective could impact things in a way you would have never thought. It will only benefit your team in the long run.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ALEXA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
My socials are: