Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Helen Southgate, Chief Global Officer, Acceleration Partners

Helen Southgate is Chief Global Officer at Acceleration Partners. She has nearly 20 years experience in the digital marketing sector and is one of the leading experts in affiliate marketing. Previously she was MD at affilinet and on the digital marketing team at Sky.

Who is your digital hero?

Looking through previous Digital Hero articles, there is a mix between personal acquaintances and industry gurus such as Seth Godin.  I thought long and hard on this and kept coming back to one person who has had the most positive impact on my digital career, Darrell Wilkins, Managing Director of Under2.

What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

Darrell has changed the way I approach business and leadership. 

He has taught me to read, learn, listen, have confidence in my own abilities, understand my weaknesses and address those effectively.  Perhaps most importantly, he has taught me the importance of integrity.  It’s one thing as a leader to preach values, another to live and die by them but I’ve learned that it’s integral to success and to be a good human being.

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

Darrell is driven by excellence. He is a perfectionist by nature and truly cares about making things better. 

His company concept of a website loading in Under 2 seconds demonstrates the high bar he sets and never settles for mediocrity.   He has a unique ability to understand the complexity of digital, in that you can be technically good at building websites, but by having a wider context on the customer, brand and business you can more effectively solve a client’s problems.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

The number one challenge that brands highlight is measuring their ROI. 

Today brands run marketing across various channels. Privacy laws make tracking challenging and consumer journeys more complex so brands are understandably finding it harder to understand the true ROI of their ad spend.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

In 2017 I set up the UK and European arm of Acceleration Partners. From being employee number 1, there are now nearly 50 incredibly talented and dedicated people in the UK/EU business, in 2021, we achieved over £3m in revenue. 

I’ve now moved to a new role as Chief Global Officer in the same company but my most significant achievement is leaving that business and team in a position to scale and grow to new heights.