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IWD 2024: Take the fear factor out and ask for support
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and loyalty, women are not just breaking barriers but reshaping the future. As we celebrate International Women’s Day and rally behind the theme of investing in women to accelerate progress, female leaders from Eagle Eye share their tips on what it takes to pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in technology.

You can have it all

Kate Ratcliffe, Head of Product Management at Eagle Eye, is living proof that women can have it all. A working mother, inspiring leader and mentor to others, Ratcliffe is passionate about the tech industry, which is evident not just in her current role, where she helps to define and develop products and solutions that deliver true value to clients, but also in her involvement with the Purple Women community – a platform to develop women’s careers in tech and allow them to reach their full potential.

Her advice to aspiring females in the tech space: “Firstly, don’t be intimidated if you are entering a male-dominated field. Diversity brings a breadth of skills, approaches and viewpoints. Therefore, if you are one of only a few women, you add so much value,” she points out.

“Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Find a mentor who can point you in the right direction, someone you respect and that you can learn from.”

Women’s role in shaping the future of loyalty

As emerging technologies continue to reshape the landscape, Ratcliffe believes women have an important role to play in shaping the future of loyalty. “Advances in AI are going to make creating truly personalised customer experiences a reality. Successful loyalty strategies will be those that drive engagement and loyalty by creating incredible experiences for their customers that make them feel understood and valued,” she shares.

“We need more women in product, engineering and data science to make sure emerging tech is representative and free of bias.”

Ratcliffe also shares the pressing need for organisations to continue investing in their female talent to accelerate progress. “If they’re not already, organisations should create mentorship programs where women in leadership can help aspiring talent,” she says. 

Research also demonstrates that women leaving the workplace or slowing progression when they look to start a family is a huge problem. Flexible work environments and benefits are critical to combating this, not just with strong maternity provisions but also offering remote/hybrid working and flexible work options. Companies must support women as they return to work after having children. 

“Creating a buddy system with fellow parents can make a huge difference. Our Purple Women group was established to represent the incredible ladies in our business and make Eagle Eye a great place for our Purple Women to work. It’s a community that is everything from a friendship group and support network, to a platform for us to develop our women and allow them to reach their full potential.”

Innovation and diversity

Sarah Jarvis, Communications and Propositions Director at Eagle Eye, is also the co-author of Omnichannel Retail. Jarvis has more than 15 years of experience as a retail marketing leader in the loyalty industry, working with some of the world’s largest retailers and FMCG brands to help them drive profitable growth by prioritising the customer in their decision-making processes. In that time, so much has changed. But for her, that’s one of the best parts. 

“The industry is always evolving, which is one of the reasons I love it,” she shares. “More than a decade ago, I remember discussing the vision of 1:1 personalised marketing with retail clients. At the time, we weren’t sure it would ever be a reality. However, today, this is exactly what is happening at a massive scale thanks in part to developments in AI.”

Reflecting on the industry’s evolution, Jarvis considers its future and the critical role women will play in shaping it. She says, “We always need innovative and creative minds to help build the future of retail marketing. In the tech sector, particularly, we need a better representation of women in product and engineering teams as we know diverse teams create more value.”

Representation from the top down

To achieve diversity in technology, Jarvis insists that organisations must ensure strong female representation from the board level down. Even more, she believes senior team members should be made available to provide coaching and mentoring to more junior employees. 

For aspiring women aiming to break into the loyalty, tech and marketing industry, Jarvis encourages them, saying, “Go for it!

“It is an amazing industry with so much breadth, which means there is a lot of choice in terms of what you can actually do, even once you narrow down the sector.

“In my career in the loyalty industry, I have worked in commercial roles, been a client director, and am now running marketing and communications. I’ve managed to grow my skill set and experience across a huge range of activities, which has kept me learning something new every day. There’s never a dull moment,” she beams.

“So my advice to other women would be to stay open to growing within an organisation, exploring a variety of roles to expand your experience and help you craft the right role – one that enables you to deliver the most value to the company while gaining the most job satisfaction.”