Orla Hanby from DataCore Software thrives on working for a company that’s changing the way businesses use storage, allowing them to achieve significant performance gains.
Orla, the marketing manager for the firm, told Women Love Tech after nearly four years with the company, the most exciting aspect is, when it comes to women in tech businesses, ‘You can really feel the time is now.’
What inspires you about being in the tech industry?
The best thing for me is the people. You are never the most intelligent person in the room. Most people in this space have a well-educated opinion and I’m learning new things every day. I don’t believe I’ll ever reach a point where I know everything because it just keeps changing so fast. What’s also great is that women really look out for other women in this space I’ve been offered mentoring and guidance by some of the most brilliant and experienced women in this space. We’re lucky to be in an era where most men realise the importance of women in tech and what we can bring to the table. We are a part of their agenda, especially the leadership agenda.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more women into the tech industry?
I’m an advocate for encouraging more women into tech. However, I don’t fully agree with the diversity plans that many companies and as a result their leaders, are adhering to. Many women are getting roles, even though the men that are also applying for them are more qualified. While I appreciate we need more women in tech, I am not sure that this is fair. Plus, we must factor in the fact that many of these leaders are doing it to achieve their own diversity goals that HR place on them.
But I also believe there are things that women are not aware of, about working in tech, such as the support. Usually, you will not face a ‘Queen-Bee’ in the work place. On average, most women really support each other in this industry. It is an awesome team to be a part of and I’m yet to work with a male chauvinist in tech. I hear about them a lot but I am yet to meet one! So far, the men are genuinely delighted to have a female in the room, a female perspective on things and it challenges their way of thinking.
Can you describe a typical working day?
I try to go the gym in the morning, get a coffee and begin work at 8am. I travel a lot with work and am probably on a plane every two weeks. At the gym, I go through my to-do list in my head and make a plan of what has to be done. Then, I’ll go through emails for the first hour, unless I have a deadline looming.
I spend an average of 70 percent of the day at my desk, and 30 per cent out at meetings, travelling or on conference calls. Then it will be a variety of work, such as:
Campaigns that are currently running and those that are being planned – this entails internal, channel and distributor campaigns. All marketing activities are planned with a formalised strategy, with defined metrics that are measured and reported on.
– Work on market analyses, segmentation and mining of industry data to figure out the strategic targets per quarter and then create quarterly campaigns off the back of the industry data.
– Manage the portfolio of online marketing channels, including email and database marketing, digital marketing, events, social media, blog / content marketing, search and display / media.
– Run and manage all event programs, including; sourcing the right event, cost negotiation, speaker procurement, invite process, sponsor procurement (if required), target list development, design development and management, marketing document development, post-event follow-ups, internal communications with sales team, all while ensuring we achieve the metrics required to make a specific event a success.
– Interlocking with sales executives across APJ, product marketing & management, brand marketing, business intelligence and alliance partners to establish go-to-market priorities and plans
– Managing the development of our relationship with key alliance partners to create joint marketing campaigns, accrue qualified leads, and in turn, increase joint sales
What advice can you share for women in start-up and tech businesses?
I’ll share a piece of advice that my wonderful female mentor gave me recently – If you are the type of person who has an opinion and you feel it should be heard, only speak up with that opinion, if you can back it with fact. This is a male-dominated industry so the boardroom will contain approximately 90 per cent of males at all times and many of them will challenge you. If you can back yourself with fact, they will sit back and you will gain respect and be credible.
Also, pick your battles. Wrongly or rightly, many men do see females as emotional beings and they thrive on situations when we ‘rise’ and get emotional. Know when it’s right to get your own back up and question others. Be aware of your motivations behind it too and what you will get out of it (positive and negative repercussions) if you pick a ‘battle’.
And try to get a mentor, or two. Don’t be afraid to ask those that you respect and have attributes that you would like to learn from. I don’t think women should just get female mentors either, nor do I believe they should all be in a similar, yet higher, roles than you. Learn from others around you.