International Women’s Day 2018 will bring together friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive in order to positively fuel the global momentum striving for gender parity with this year’s theme; #PressforProgress.
To celebrate the positive achievements of the women working at Natives Global Consulting, we caught up with Chloe Hashemi, one of our influential and inspiring women and an SEO Manager, to share her thoughts, advice and achievements.
What challenge(s) did you face and overcome to get to where you are?
The main challenge that springs to mind is something that I only understood very recently – which is ‘imposter syndrome’. I started working in SEO before I had even graduated from university and found myself in a client-facing role quite early on. Sitting in meetings where the people I was speaking to were very established in both their niche and company was intimidating to say the least. I instantly felt as though I didn’t belong in those decision-making meetings and was worried that the client I was speaking to thought I looked ‘too young’ to be running their marketing campaigns.
I can’t say that my gender has got too much in the way of getting me where I am today but I have dealt with a few rare occasions of sexism in my client relationships which have led me to approach other client relationships more cautiously. In these instances, I felt some lacked trust in my judgement and would go above my head and run my strategy by my male boss. Although there have been very few repeats of this, there are times when the irrational uncertainty can hit and I second-guess myself in the face of assertive men in business; feeling a perception of inexperience in my role and sometimes ‘too-female’ has led me to question whether other people will trust my judgement and authority where it matters.
What are the three most important things you do (or did) that contribute to your success?
One thing I am certain has contributed to my success is how I spent my time at university. Although I was a conscientious student, my degree itself was not my only focus. I filled my life with volunteer work, freelance photography, student radio and writing for the student newspaper. The skills that I learnt from these activities became transferable skills for the working world. Immersing myself in the local community throughout my three years at university allowed my confidence to grow, and taught me a lot on how to communicate with people – these skills have proven to be very useful in my career so far.
Keeping at these things after university (where possible) has kept me confident and proactive on the whole, which I feel has trickled through to all areas of my life. Taking on projects outside of my 9-5 job has allowed me to never get complacent, which is another thing I have brought to my professional career, and it has allowed me to be successful so far.
If you could tell your 18-year-old self, something that you know now, what would it be?
I would tell 18-year-old Chloe to stop worrying about grades – I have learned that in the real world, outside academia, they aren’t as important as experience in the field and a nice dose of confidence.
Who are your top female role models, and what about each inspires you?
My three female role models are quite random and unrelated. Ellen Page is one because she is so unapologetic about who she is and a great activist for LGBTQ+ issues. She’s really talented too.
Annie Leibovitz is another, simply because she is one of the most famous female photographers out there. I would love to be able to capture personalities the way she does in her photography and produce such iconic photos as she has done throughout her career.
Annie Mac is also another one who has inspired me in the past few years. I admire anyone who knows their craft as well as Mac does, and has such a passion for what she does. She is also an excellent speaker.
What is the most fulfilling part of your role?
The most rewarding part of my role is when I get the chance to help a smaller brand or institution. It is always so satisfying to hear that small SEO-related tasks can have a huge impact on getting a new brand’s name out there.
It is also quite satisfying to spread the word about SEO. Frequently, those I speak to on a day-to-day basis aren’t fully aware of the ‘art’ of SEO, so by just educating them on the basics can be really eye-opening and exciting for them. There is often a lightbulb moment when clients understand how SEO can be used for their institution.
What is your biggest achievement/proudest moment in your career to date?
In the world of SEO, a proud moment definitely has to be helping a local brand get the national visibility it deserved. As a result of my SEO strategy, I managed to get this client ranking #1 for a national keyword, which resulted in £10K worth of revenue in just one weekend of them claiming this top-spot. It was just really rewarding to see how my work could have such tangible results to help the client’s business grow.
More recently, being the main presenter on a Natives Group webinar is something that I am quite proud of. Public speaking is something that doesn’t come all that naturally to me, so I was quite proud to successfully research, write and present the webinar despite some nerves – and live to tell the tale!
In the world of photography, getting my photograph printed on a full-page of NME magazine last year was definitely a stand out moment.
What advice would you give other women looking to follow a career path in SEO and marketing?
My advice would be to just go for it and believe in yourself. Even if you don’t have the relevant degree for a career in marketing, research or analytics, it is never too late. If you are really proactive and keep your goal in sight, you’ll get there in the end. Sign up to an online course, reach out and get yourself a mentor, or attend as many talks, seminars or events related to your field of interest and usually this hard work will pay off.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Putting all of the really important politics aside (just for a second), International Women’s Day holds a really personal place in my heart. All the inspirational figures of my past and present are women, and the 8th of March is a day devoted to celebrating and appreciating all of these wonderful women.
If you would like to know more about the opportunities at Natives Group, please visit our careers page or get in touch.
Want to read the rest of our International Women’s Day series? Visit www.natives.group for more.