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Women making waves – The Drum 30 under 30 women in digital 2013

The Drum has long strived to positively impact on the number of women participating in the digital sector, challenging their under-representation in the upper echelons of the industry and championing the innovators blazing a trail for future generations of digital talent.

Here we profile and celebrate the very best of the next generation of digital leaders, as voted for by readers of The Drum.

The list is ranked in order of votes received from the industry, as well as a consideration of individuals' achievements and career highlights to date.

For the duration of the month of October The Drum will publish an interview a day with each of the 30 under 30 profiled individuals.

Creative Review: 

1. Laura Cochrane, digital business director, Manning Gottlieb OMD

1. Laura Cochrane, digital business director, Manning Gottlieb OMD

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Digital moves and changes so quickly that it’s tough always staying ahead of curve and keeping up to speed with the latest developments.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
Big data.
There’s just so much data available that businesses aren’t using it effectively as they just don’t have enough time or resources to process it all. A big game changer will be once businesses learn how harness it all and use it effectively in order to drive stronger success and ROI.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
My parents as they have given me everything I could possibly need in order to be successful both professionally and personally. They have always been great role models; running their own successful companies, keeping a happy home for me to grow up in, whilst also finding time to have the busiest social lives.

How do you relax?
With my nearest and dearest over a drink or a nice meal, researching my next holiday or out on a bike ride around Buckinghamshire.

2. Sally Rushton, head of social media, Jaywing

2. Sally Rushton, head of social media, Jaywing

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
It’s unusual for people working in social media to have both an understanding of the creative and analytical side of social media. I feel very proud that I’ve been able to lead the agency in both respects, simultaneously working with our data and technology experts to deliver real results. I’ve been fortunate to work with a host of great brands, notably First Direct, Oxfam, Yorkshire Water and First TransPennine Express.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?

I’ve worked with a fantastic range of creative talent in the last 10 years as well as some pretty inspirational planners, copywriters and conceptual thinkers. Paul Stallard, Gavin Shore, Dee Atkin and David Moore to name but a few. But what glues Jaywing together is undoubtedly our personable, down to earth account management team – and of course, our lovely chef Chris.

How do you relax?
I’m addicted to spin classes which I do religiously before work three times a week. This definitely helps me relax but also helps me get energised before work.

3. Olivia Harvey, head of media strategy, Somo

3. Olivia Harvey, head of media strategy, Somo

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Working in a completely new industry with limited tracking functionality presented a lot of unknowns. Although it could be daunting at times, it pushed me to create our own approaches and attribution methodologies which we use daily at Somo.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Carl Uminski for being super smart, inspirational, a brilliant teacher, amazing boss and mega nice all at the same time.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Running a vintage tea shop full of vintage furniture and treasures from local designers that people can purchase with their tea. I’d also make sure we sold eggs benedict so I got to eat it every day.

Describe your career to date in five words.
Crazy, fun, challenging, rewarding, awesome.

4. Jennifer Macrae, VP digital wallet market development UK&I, MasterCard

4. Jennifer Macrae, VP digital wallet market development UK&I, MasterCard

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Earlier this year we successfully launched MasterPass in the UK – a fantastic team achievement that I was proud to be a part of.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?

I find personal challenges can be the most difficult to tackle and having the self-confidence to take on increasing amounts of responsibility in groundbreaking areas of business previously proved a hurdle to career progression – one I’ve now overcome.

What would you like to be remembered for?
My ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ attitude to problem solving at work and being a great cross-functional team member.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Friends, family, colleagues and customers whose attitudes, resourcefulness and different perspectives constantly inspire me.

5. Melanie Isabel Dixon, social media manager, Phones 4u

5. Melanie Isabel Dixon, social media manager, Phones 4u

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
I started as a graduate here six years ago working within the campaign and marketing team and am now heading up the social media team. I’m working on big campaigns and am surrounded by a great team and agency. I love my job, so I think that’s a pretty nice achievement.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
The dual screen phenomenon manifesting itself into live events. The smartphone is already a ubiquitous part of the live event experience and as arenas become more connected its only a matter of time until events are streamed direct to smartphones via apps and portals. Particularly useful if you are in the nose bleed seats! Google Glass looks pretty exciting too.

What would you like to be remembered for?
Upgrading 500 bad mornings, 300 lunch breaks, 100 dull weekends, 70 bad hair days, 10 kitchen utensils, six summer holidays, five skateboards, three cats beds, two student houses and a ukulele. #projectupgrade

Describe your career to date in five words.
One big old learning curve.

6. Safiyya Riyadh, head of technical services UK, Affiliate Window

6. Safiyya Riyadh, head of technical services UK,  Affiliate Window

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Being a female (and head of department) in a male dominated industry, I have had to work twice as hard to gain the respect of colleagues and clients alike.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Professionally, my good friend Michelle Boxall, lead generation director. Not only did she come into Affiliate Window with guns blazing, she’s helped shape the entire business and generate a new revenue with lead generation.
Personally, my mum (original, I know). She’s been with me through thick and thin, providing advice when difficult work situations have sprung up and helping look after my son while I’ve come back to work full-time. I couldn’t have done any of the amazing work to date without her help, assistance and guidance.

How do you relax?

At home with my husband and son – spending quality time with family is incredibly important to me.

7. Freia Muehlenbein, head of content and online PR, Search Laboratory

7. Freia Muehlenbein, head of content and online PR,  Search Laboratory

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Growing a team in a fast-paced industry brings a number of challenges as the role of an ‘SEO’ changes constantly. Growth can only happen with a strong team, good processes, commitment, and determination to be the best.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
When I was in school I wanted to be a social worker, supporting homeless people. I then studied International Events Management and had my first job in the digital marketing industry. So if you mix these up, I would probably organise events for a charity and promote them online?!

Describe your career to date in five words.

A heck of a ride.

8. Heather Swales, senior digital planner, Stein IAS

8. Heather Swales, senior digital planner, Stein IAS

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
The speedy transition I made from a role in production to my current role in digital planning. Making a success of this switch led to me being named ‘Rising Star of the Year’ at The Drum Marketing Awards earlier this year, which was a fantastic surprise.

What’s the next game changer in digital?

In B2B, marketing automation and revenue performance management is the big thing at the moment. For many B2B brands, being able to implement and manage this effectively is going to be huge.

What would you like to be remembered for?
For being a talented digital strategist, but also as someone that my colleagues really enjoyed working with.

9. Laura Dinneen, head of strategy, Bloom Worldwide

9. Laura Dinneen, head of strategy, Bloom Worldwide

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
There isn’t one biggest challenge I can think of because I have to challenge myself all the time to do things I’d never normally raise my hand for. I constantly challenge my clients to take courageous steps by changing their own ‘business as usual’ so I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t do the same myself.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
Bringing ‘digital’ and ‘social’ silos crashing to the ground and embedding this way of thinking into the core of business. A lot of organisations are starting to realise that ‘social’ isn’t a separate department or a campaign and I’m excited to be able to use my experience to take them on this journey.

How do you relax?
I live in Brighton so I love nothing more than having a swim in the sea after work or a barbecue on the beach with my friends. Every now and then you can’t beat a great hip hop show.

10. Katy Ratican, digital producer, Smooth Radio

10. Katy Ratican, digital producer, Smooth Radio

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Smooth 70s (a digital/online radio station) is definitely my favourite child. It’s such a small team but it was our passion for the station, rather than any external marketing (of which there was none), that led it to achieving over 600,000 listeners within 12 months. As a bonus, my knowledge of 70s music has expanded greatly.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I’d be happy if my colleagues and clients remember me as honest, reliable and efficient – but I’d love for them to remember the passion and enthusiasm I brought to digital projects.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I love live music and travel, so in another life I’d try to wangle a career that combines the two of those. But in my heart of hearts, I’d probably be performing show tunes in the West End (providing I had the talent, which I most definitely do not).

11. Gemma Howley, group paid search director, Manning Gottlieb OMD

11. Gemma Howley, group paid search director, Manning Gottlieb OMD

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Working on the multi-million pound Virgin Media account for over four years was both my biggest challenge and opportunity in my career to date. I worked with a large team of passionate and digitally driven marketers and media specialists, both client side and at Manning Gottlieb OMD which always pushed me to be better. Consistently driving bigger and better results has been a career highlight.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I may or may not be working on Search: The Musical. Enough said.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Robert Ffitch, our CEO, inspires everyone at Manning Gottlieb. He works hard, he cares and he wears lovely cardigans. It is his attitude and approach that drives us all to do better work. Don’t tell him I said that though.

12. Victoria Trow, creative, DigitasLBi

12.  Victoria Trow, creative, DigitasLBi

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Making an installation for the Barbican that takes you on a sonic tour of London’s history. I had so much fun making it, I learnt loads about technology, and it was up in one of the most iconic buildings in London – eek. Oh, and we made it in a week.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
I’m currently a single creative – finding a partner is hard. So, hi there reader. Help me overcome my current career challenge. If you know any awesome art directors out there, please put them in touch.
@Victoria_Trow

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I’ve been watching a lot of films about cults recently. Maybe I’d try and be a cult leader.

13. Cecilia Massola Taliacarne, senior account director, Infectious Media

13. Cecilia Massola Taliacarne, senior account director, Infectious Media

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Being Italian and spending most of my career working in France and the UK meant I was challenged with adapting to these very different cultures whilst growing my knowledge and skills.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
When cross device tracking is made practical it will allow seamless customer experiences across the digital environment, something way overdue in this multi-screen world.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Any woman who is able to find a good balance between work and private life. Our managing director, Zoe Steventon, is a great example of someone who does this well.

14. Amy Byard, account manager, Umpf

14. Amy Byard, account manager, Umpf

What would you like to be remembered for?
Encouraging social mobility and improving self esteem among talented young people from financially deprived backgrounds. I was helped in a similar way, so it’s a matter that’s very close to my heart.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Judith Stamper, who was my personal tutor at The University of Leeds. She’s a true role model and taught me a lot about life, as well as journalism.

Describe your career to date in five words.
Fast, fun, fulfilling and f***ing fabulous.

15. Caroline Lewis, senior account manager, AKQA

15. Caroline Lewis, senior account manager, AKQA

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Carving out a niche for myself at an agency I’m forever proud to say I work for.

I greedily balance a few hats on my head; from project management to account management, copywriting to social media strategy. I’ve moved between them as I’ve progressed, but I was always really reluctant to choose one discipline and leave anything behind.

Now that I’m part of the social media team, I’ve been able to forge the perfect hybrid role for myself and I’m working on some great projects, surrounded by people who inspire and amaze me daily with their passion for creativity and innovation. It’s an exciting place to be.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
My good friend Anna Lewis – digital publishing entrepreneur and founder of Completely Novel and ValoBox.

How do you relax?
I don’t do it half as much as I should. Once the working day is over, you’ll find me blogging, writing and researching until I can’t keep my eyes open.

16. Amy McCulloch, client services director, Eight&four

16. Amy McCulloch, client services director, Eight&four

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Creating a solid reputation for an agency set up by a couple of 23-year-olds. Making the digital truly real and the real truly part of digital.

What would you like to be remembered for?
Giving young digital professionals a platform and opportunity to grow and develop. And my fluorescent yellow shoes.

How do you relax?
Love to bake. Can also be found trampolining and running around Royal Victoria Dock. Partial to mojitos.

17. Katherine Seaton, UX senior associate, DigitasLBi

17. Katherine Seaton, UX senior associate, DigitasLBi

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Managing complex business requirements and technical constraints behind the design of multi platform CMS driven sites without losing sight of the needs of the user.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
I see the biggest change being the move towards designing for connected, cross platform, cross device experiences which keep users at their heart. The introduction of interconnected smart objects poses a new challenge in terms of designing experiences that fit naturally into people’s lives.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
I would say that all of the people I work with inspire me on a day-to-day basis in some shape or form but the person who has more specifically had the greatest impact on my career to date is previous UX director at DigitasLBi Claudia Ehmke. From day one she has guided, challenged and helped to mold me professionally. She has been and continues to be a true inspiration to me.

18. Katie Camenzuli, head of performance display, iProspect

18. Katie Camenzuli, head of performance display, iProspect

What’s the next game changer in digital?
Greater display transparency, control and exposure through increased data and analytics. Display has often been viewed as a closed box but we are moving into an era where clients and agencies have the capabilities to embrace greater control.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
My team and colleagues who continue to impress and inspire me in my role each day. I continue to learn from some of the best digital minds at iProspect and love to be challenged and developed via colleagues.

How do you relax?
I relax through spending time with my amazing family and friends, socialising and escaping the pressures of my role. I love to travel, visiting new places and family homes abroad with my husband.

19. Alice Bentinck, co-founder, Entrepreneur First

19. Alice Bentinck, co-founder, Entrepreneur First

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Founding Entrepreneur First. I set up two years ago with a colleague from McKinsey and we are now the leading graduate accelerator in the UK, and in our first year created 11 start-ups valued at $32m nine months later. Two of the first cohort are now funded by Y Combinator and three of them have raised in excess of £1.5m in funding. We have revolutionised the accelerator market by taking individuals before they have a team, or an idea and we are the only accelerator worldwide to run this model.

What would you like to be remembered for?

For changing the way top graduates see their career choices. Founding a high growth tech start-up will become as prestigious as joining the best banks and consultancies.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
My co-founder Matt Clifford is pretty awesome. It’s important to work with someone who you admire, respect and can learn from.

20. Felicia Makowska, strategy manager, Deloitte MCS

20. Felicia Makowska, strategy manager, Deloitte MCS

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Managing a great team to create a digital strategy for a major client in the publishing industry. We worked in close partnership with our technology team and, while it was challenging, we created some fantastic work for our client. Also being promoted to manager.

What’s the next game changer in digital?

Corporates’ ability to use customer analytics effectively so that they can better understand who their customers are and how they want to engage with products/services. Better insight will inform customer experience design and go-to-market strategies so that digital solutions fit into consumers lives even more seamlessly than they do today.

How do you relax?

With family and friends, wine and the occasional yoga class.

21. Ines Nadal, associate director, Ipsos ASI

21. Ines Nadal, associate director, Ipsos ASI

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Playing a part in developing Ipsos ASI Digital offering, including our in-the-moment research tool; Brand Shout.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?

Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Advertising at Google, for having a vision of where she wants to go and not giving up, being innovative, bold and not fearing failure.

Describe your career to date in five words.
Non-stop challenges, learning and fun.

22. Emma Townley, digital creative, OgilvyOne

22. Emma Townley, digital creative, OgilvyOne

What would you like to be remembered for?
Professionally, I’d like to be remembered for doing great work. Personally, I would love all the talks, workshops and portfolio nights we put on as the Young Creative Council to reach as many young people and industry professionals as possible. Advertising is a hard thing to get into and we are trying as a group to make it a bit easier to make those first few contacts, get some feedback on portfolio work, adjust working conditions for people on placements and provide young people with reliable source of information and inspiration.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
I have a lot of time for the gals over at SheSays, they are a great organisation run by some awe-inspiring women. I’ve been to some really interesting talks and events run by them. Any women in advertising should check them out and go along to some of their events as we are a mostly male dominated industry and giving female creatives a voice and a port of call for inspiration is a fantastic thing.

Describe your career to date in five words.
Hectic, non-stop, worth it.

23. Sarah Oliver, account director, We Are Social

23. Sarah Oliver, account director, We Are Social

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
When I joined We Are Social I moved from the corporate giant of WPP, which had every process under the sun, to a small start-up where you just turned up and got stuck in getting stuff done. Adapting from one extreme to another required continually learning new skills and being able to adapt quickly. However, the experience taught me a lot and gave me the skills to be in the position I’m in today.

What would you like to be remembered for?
Breaking boundaries. I like to try and push myself, clients and those around me to be innovative and unique in the work we do. If someone tells me it can’t be done, I’m more inspired to find a way to do it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?

Either a lawyer, as I can always win an argument, or having a peaceful life owning my own café, which I would fill with paninis, cakes and board games.

24. Hollie Wilcox, digital marketing manager, Ink Digital

24. Hollie Wilcox, digital marketing manager, Ink Digital

What’s the next game changer in digital?
The development of wearable technology such a Google Glass and smart watches. These devices will completely change the digital landscape, opening up the number of channels people will have to consume digital and allowing technology to be fully integrated into our everyday lives. From a marketing angle, I’m excited to explore how companies can utilise this to target consumers on so many different levels and at any time.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I have always had a creative side and when I was younger I wanted to be an interior designer. If I wasn’t working in digital, I’d love to say that I’d be the next Kelly Hoppen, designing amazing homes for the rich and famous!

Describe your career to date in five words.
What I love to do.

25. Fiona Gandy, international account director, 7thingsmedia

25. Fiona Gandy, international account director, 7thingsmedia

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Contributing towards both agency and individual account award successes in the past three years. Winning Emerging Marketer of the Year at the MiAwards and helping to build a team of highly passionate, creative and intelligent people.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
I don’t think any of us can honestly say what will be the next game changer as the industry is constantly developing with new technologies popping up every week. I do however think that the biggest change within the industry as a whole will be the wider adoption and understanding of customer attribution and true omni-channel marketing.

How do you relax?
By walking home from work every day. I also love to travel as growing up in Dubai means I’m only truly relaxed when it is sunny outside.

26. Rachael Pettit, marketing director, YPlan

26. Rachael Pettit, marketing director, YPlan

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
It has to be launching YPlan in London (and soon New York). You’re always working with tight budgets in start-ups so being able to create a strong community and drive over 300,000 downloads in just 10 short months after launch is a big achievement and testament to the rockstar team, the product, and of course the marketing know-how we have at YPlan.

What’s the next game changer in digital?
Mobile. We’re living in a last second world where people want to do everything now. With mobile you can provide a completely frictionless experience to satisfy just that need with everything from ordering cabs to booking tickets for a cool night out.

What would you like to be remembered for?
For never stopping and always smashing any target that’s given to me. I wake up and I’m straight into work – it’s a bit of an addiction.

27. Kate Crowley, global search director, iProspect

27. Kate Crowley, global search director, iProspect

What would you like to be remembered for?
I hope it’d be for delivering impressive results but never taking myself too seriously. You definitely need a good sense of humour to thrive in this industry.

Who inspires you most professionally or personally?
Professionally I’m constantly inspired by various high-level people at Aegis Media. I like to watch them in action and then internalise what impressed me most, like some kind of media succubus. One example that springs to mind is how Richard Morris introduced himself to new people in a meeting when he was head of planning at Carat. He wouldn’t say that he was the head of planning, only that he worked in planning. I really like the idea of not relying on your job title to impress people, instead encouraging others to listen to the quality of your words. It also catches out those people who think it’s only worth their while to listen to the big dogs!

Describe your career to date in five words.

Where are my media parties?

28. Becky Coyle, creative lead, Rufus Leonard

28. Becky Coyle, creative lead, Rufus Leonard

What’s the next game changer in digital?
We’re so accustomed to digital interfaces now and technology becomes increasingly invisible, I feel like, as designers, we’re reaching a point where we design for the user, not for the medium.

What would you like to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for elegant and effortless design, without ever taking myself too seriously.

How do you relax?
I like working out. And wine. Not at the same time.

29. Meaghan Fitzgerald, head of marketing and operations, 23 Snaps

29. Meaghan Fitzgerald, head of marketing and operations,  23 Snaps

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
One of my great life ambitions was to travel and live abroad, so in 2008, I turned down a job offer in my home town of Palo Alto, California, to move to London. I didn’t have a job, place to live, any contacts or much in the way of savings, but felt it was the right time in my life to take an adventurous risk.

Within two weeks, I had met the team behind Spoonfed Media, a London-based start-up looking for a marketing director. Getting started in the UK, from a professional and visa perspective, was incredibly challenging but with the support from Spoonfed and the incredibly welcoming London technology community, I quickly found myself becoming an active part of Tech City and the London start-up scene.

Describe your career to date in five words.
Jump first, find parachutes later.

30. Jenny Kitchen, managing director, Yoyo Design

30. Jenny Kitchen, managing director, Yoyo Design

What is your biggest professional achievement so far?
Becoming the managing director of an award-winning digital agency at the age of 27.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Joining a young business in the early days is a challenge that I will never forget. I worked in several agencies prior to Yoyo, but I was always employed to do a certain job. When you are running an agency, there is always more you can be doing from sales and marketing, financial planning and agency strategy to delivering bigger and better projects for your clients. I had to adapt and change my working style, otherwise I would have burnt out pretty quickly. Now, I still have the same focus, determination and hard work ethic but I give myself time to relax and have fun.

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