On Tuesday evening over 100 women from the digital industry negotiated an obstacle course of road works to make it to DAWN's (Digital Advertising Women's Network) event, "Have you ever felt like an imposter in your job?" hosted at Microsoft's London Victoria offices.
DAWN is an organisation set up four years ago by a group of women who wanted to offer the industry's female folk opportunities for networking, mentoring and learning from their fellow peers. Past events have included "Are all great leaders great managers", "How to manage your brand" and "What is success?"
The panel gave very honest, and at times very amusing insights into their own experiences of 'imposter syndrome' through their ascents up the career ladder. Carl Busazi (Editor in Chief, Huffington Post UK) was joined by three other panellists from across the media spectrum: Isabel Hopkins (Group Sales Manager, Microsoft Advertising), Emily Creek (Group Account Director, Ogilvy) and Kristina Bolger, Head of Entertainment Partnerships at Microsoft)
Although these were varied and opposing in cases, there was one strong message, that this is something that everyone had felt at one point or another, but in recognising it we can all move on to bigger and better things. I've taken the key snippet from each of the speakers to help you through your syndromes!
The 'lightbulb' moment - Isabel Hopkins, Group Sales Manager, Microsoft
"The moment that you realise that you have made it to where you are based on your own ability not luck or blagging or being a manager's favourite. Issy's was triggered by a 'me too' moment when she discovered she wasn't the only one worrying about her worthiness of a role. Once you've had this moment you can move onwards and upwards confident in your own ability."
Make your own luck and own your success - Carla Busazi, Editor in Chief, Huffington Post UK
"Often you are your own worst enemy, the little voice inside that's constantly undermining your achievements saying things like "isn't it lucky I got this chance" rather than realising that hard work and focus got you there. In addition to our own self-doubt we had to admit that sometimes other women have a knack for ensuring that we never feel fully confident in our own ability."
Carla was once asked in a panel interview "you've just been really lucky haven't you?" - enough to knock the wind out of anyone's sails! Her biggest tip when feeling imposter syndrome is to grab a glass of wine or a lunch with a friend or colleague who can reassure you that are worthy, brilliant and fully deserve the success you have worked so hard to achieve.
Be confident in an industry where no one has all the answers - Emily Creek, Group Account Director, Ogilvy
In digital it's easy to constantly wonder if you are good enough for the role that you are in as we work in an ever-evolving world. The key here is to ensure that you can give an informed opinion and not worry that you don't know exactly where Twitter will be in five years' time! Confidence can also prove a wonderful ally for covering over any gaps in your knowledge whilst you go and do your research! Also, don't be afraid to focus on your positives. We all suffer from being drawn to only the negative comments, but it's important to take pride in the positives as well. If need be surround yourself with these, even if it's a post-it note reminder on your desk.
Be proud of your hard-earned success - Kristina Bolger, Head of Entertainment Partnerships
On the flip-side we do have times when we know we've worked exceptionally hard to get somewhere and do feel justified in our success. Often admitting this can almost feel uncouth but we need to be brave enough to feel worthy of our positions. To help this, think about "what am I brilliant at right now?" In this industry we are often guilty of looking to the future too much and not focusing on the now, something which can undermine current achievements and progress. It's also really important that those around you know what you're doing, so share your successes and don't rely on just one person to fly your flag, as if they leave all that knowledge of your brilliance goes with them.
So to conclude, we all sometimes feel shaky in our positions, even those at the top. We need to be confident in our own abilities, and bolster those around us, so ladies...now's the time for your lightbulb moment!
DAWN events are held every quarter and are an opportunity for digital specialists across both media and creative to really debate and learn more about current issues
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