Anna Forbes is UK Country Director at Azerion. She was previously COO and Co-Founder of Teads Studio, Senior Director at Xandr, and UK General Manager at The Trade Desk. She is also the co-founder of Ponzu, a digital interactive fitness and wellbeing platform.
What is the biggest opportunity for women in your sector of the digital industry today?
The greatest opportunity is that there are already women in leadership positions, leading startups and paving the way for others. Those that are in these positions can drive inclusion and equality efforts within the industry. Women in the digital industry should seize this opportunity to break barriers and advocate for diversity, which will in turn shape a more inclusive and promising future.
What is the biggest challenge to you as a woman in the digital industry and how are you overcoming it?
The main challenge I’ve encountered as a woman in the digital industry is issues with fair parental policies. This creates a challenging system for individuals who require or choose to take time off for parenting responsibilities.
To overcome this challenge, I’m leveraging my current leadership position to drive change for working parents within my organisation. Ultimately, my goal is to help level the playing field in the broader digital industry, by pushing for more progressive and inclusive approaches to leadership and work-life balance.
What three things could employer companies do to make the digital industry better for women?
First, to encourage more female-inclusiveness, companies should implement policies that promote diversity within leadership roles, and offer ongoing training and mentorship specifically tailored to women.
Second, introducing inclusive policies such as equal pay practices, flexible working and comprehensive parental leave will allow women to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively.
Lastly, identifying and nurturing female talent and ensuring that women have equal access to leadership roles will enable visible representation at the top leadership positions.
What support structures and organisations are most important and effective to you as a woman in the digital industry?
I find several support structures and organisations to be invaluable. First, female-led networks, which offer opportunities for networking, knowledge sharing and mentorship create a space where women can learn and support one another while navigating the industry.
Second, diversity and inclusion initiatives, which level the playing field and create a more welcoming environment. Then, companies that offer work-life balance programs, such as flexible scheduling and family-friendly policies are essential for women juggling their career with parental responsibilities.
What is the biggest misconception about women and by women in the digital industry?
The biggest misconception is that the system is rigged to work against women.
While there’s no doubt there are significant challenges, every cohort has their own hurdles to overcome. But there are allies; seek them out and build a network of support, based on trust and shared values.