Name: Kate Ross
Position: Commercial Director
Your career journey: After graduating from University of Nottingham, I started and completed a digital marketing graduate scheme at Reed Elsevier. On completion, I set up eight&four with my fellow graduate marketing scheme colleague Amy McCulloch, and from a dining room and no clients we have grown to one of London’s fast growth digital agencies based in Soho. 11 staff and counting, we work with global clients and count digital industry leader Spencer Gallagher and Peter O’Hoole as our Chairman and FD. We have very big plans, which include doubling the size of our agency within the next 12 months!
Do you think that being female has impacted upon your career progression? Well there’s no such thing as ‘gender blind’ in business unfortunately – but I’ve noticed the impact in surprising ways. It is rare to find women in digital marketing, and so I definitely ‘stand out’ in the industry – giving us the advantage of spectacular!
In general, do you think there is a male bias in the digital media industry? I think that in management/senior levels it is very male heavy, yes. Myself and my business partner often find ourselves the only women at digital agency owner events, or making up half the handful!
Do you do anything to attract more female talent to your organisation? As female owners, females who interview with us often talk of their excitement to work at a female led agency, and the changes in culture they notice from male owned agencies. So we naturally attract a lot of female talent anyway! We have therefore never had a need to proactively attract female talent – and have achieved a great balance. Going forward, we’ll look to keep a representation across all other areas as well.
From your time working in the industry have you seen any changes in the number of women working in the industry or the perception of women who work in digital media? My experience only covers a few years, so I can’t say I’ve seen any radical changes. However we have a generation of very ambitious young women in the 20’s (our own staff included) – who I’m excited to see changing things at the top over the next couple of decades. I certainly want to be part of the sea of change – so my experiences at senior levels these last few years becomes a footnote in the digital story.