Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Digital Women: Arshiya Nazir, Programmatic Strategy Director at Dentsu

Arshiya Nazir is Programmatic Strategy Director at Dentsu. In a career spanning over a decade she has worked at companies including The Telegraph, Zenith and Mindshare.

What is the biggest opportunity for women in your sector of the digital industry today?

The biggest opportunity for women in my sector is that anything is possible now.

Heritage channels like TV, OOH and Retail Media are going through a convergence with the digital industry creating a variety of skills and roles for women to put their interests and strengths into. To make the most out of this it’s important to:

  1. Stay curious – go to events and webinars on a variety of subjects at play,
  2. Ask questions there are smart people in every business working on things not everyone gets to hear about,
  3. Be brave planners and implementors – there are opportunities out there to test new products, new partners, and even “new” initiatives like cookieless strategies and the infamous privacy sandbox.

What is the biggest challenge to you as a woman in the digital industry and how are you overcoming it?

The biggest challenge is structured support for growth. Some individuals can push themselves or have the personalities/confidence to build their brand and grow/engage with their network but many women in the industry do not. This is where structured support programmes can help.

What three things could employer companies do to make the digital industry better for women?

The three things’ employers can do to make the digital industry better for women is:

  1. Promote Visibility: Make a conscious effort to nominate your women on panels/company examples/promotional writing, champion their individual strengths, encourage them to showcase their work, and encourage them to build on their strengths when you notice it.
  2. Encourage Mentorship: Facilitate and incentivise mentorship programs connecting female newcomers with experienced women in the industry.
  3. Embrace Flexible Work: Continue offering and expanding hybrid/flexible work options to accommodate diverse needs and support working mothers.

What support structures and organisations are most important and effective to you as a woman in the digital industry?

Today there is an abundance of female support networks and upskilling resources available, which has far exceeded in my opinion, compared to what was available when I started in the industry. 

From networking groups and mentors to diversity & inclusion focus, there are more tools than ever before to help women thrive e.g.

  • New Digital Age spotlight on Women 
  • The Women in Programmatic Network 
  • Bloom
  • Senior talent starting their own coaching.

What is the biggest misconception about women in the digital industry?

The biggest misconception in the industry is that coming back into the office full time is not going to impact women.   

The fearmongering around flexible/hybrid work is unfounded. Not only has UK studies shown no negative impact on productivity, while highlighting benefits like:

  • Increased employee satisfaction and well-being
  • Improved talent attraction and retention
  • Greater diversity and inclusion

Flexible and hybrid working has put a stop to the “mummy track” stereotype which has hurt parents returning to work, having a work life balance, and proving to the younger generation that women can still have a family and come back to thriving careers up to senior leadership positions.