Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Digital Women: Rachel Wilkinson, Associate Director, Business Excellence at Xaxis

NDA’s Digital Women series is talking to leaders from across our industry to understand the particular issues faced by women. Next up is Rachel Wilkinson, Associate Director, Business Excellence at Xaxis

Why did you join Digital Leading Ladies? What has being part of DLL meant to you?

I joined DLL around the same time as the bubbling voices of discontent started to rise into a chorus around the lack of visibility and appreciation for the female talent at the top in the adtech space. I’d come through the SSP and Publisher world and knew that a vast wealth of digital female talent existed, but before DLL we weren’t connected as a body. 

Years later this network serves as a safe space for me to truly chase my goals and aspirations knowing there is an army of women I can rely on for support who are literally just a message away. The group transcends any company or competitor rivalry and genuinely is a space for recognising and uplifting each other’s talent. 

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities for women in the digital industry today?

There have been a wealth of initiatives and gestures from the industry to become more diverse, equal and inclusive but actually seeing tangible action take place is still a challenge. It’s more important than ever for women to keep holding our industry to account and as for receipts not gestures. 

Talent scarcity for roles means we don’t have to ‘settle’. If you’re interviewing then request the gender pay gap stats, ask about the ratio of females in senior leadership, and understand their support for primary carers of children. If you don’t like the answer, then vote with your feet.  

What does the industry need to do to better champion women?

Male leaders need to lend their voices AND take action. I say more, as I’ve had the fortune to work for true male allies, but they shouldn’t be the exception to the rule. Mark Read has been a leading voice with the launch of the WPP Visible start programme, I’d love to see more male leaders do the same. 

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities overall for digital advertising this year?

There is no doubt that the current climate will see marketers needing to invest every penny wisely as budgets get cut. Brands are fighting to take a slice of consumers ever-shrinking disposable income, so their media spend has to work harder and show results. The birth of true omnichnnel solutions like Unmissable allows marketers to get quicker results, deeper insights and measurable ROI across all their digital budget in one place and react quickly to emerging trends. 

What is your biggest achievement in digital to date?

It’s seeing the success of others from the initiatives that I personally support. I’m proud to invest my time and network into future digital rockstars. The ERG I helped launch in WPP for social mobility has seen us support Brixton Finishing School and Visible start candidates, and personally, I wear my work with Lollipop mentoring as a badge of honour.