Rob Blake is UK MD at Channel Factory. He has a digital career spanning two decades, including roles at companies including AOL, Advertising.com, Rocket Fuel and MediaMath. We asked who his digital hero is,
Who is your Digital Hero?
I’ve actually got two, Lisa Goodchild and Sarah Wilson, the co-founders of Digilearning, which is all about upskilling the youth of today on all aspects of digital media and marketing.
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
I’ve known Lisa for a very long time and alongside Sarah, they have shined a light on the industry through Digilearning. They are empowering not only the youth of the day, but people who haven’t quite had the support they need to make the best of themselves. One of their initiatives, Girlrise, is focused on driving more young women to a career in digital.
Both myself and Lisa came from humble beginnings and therefore we understand the challenges the younger generation face to make a breakthrough. Through digilearning, Lisa and Sarah are encouraging and upskilling the next generation of digital media and marketing specialists, helping these young people exceed expectations.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
Lisa and Sarah are two of the most selfless people you could ever have the pleasure to meet. They’re both genuine, massively driven and have the grit and determination to fight for their beliefs.
By fighting for the underrepresented and underprivileged, and using their contacts and network in the industry, Lisa and Sarah are helping to develop then next generation. I don’t doubt, with these two guiding them, the next generation will be led by a diverse group of ambitious and hungry individuals ready to give the industry a much needed shake up.
What are the biggest challenges in digital that we need another hero to solve?
Inequality in all aspects of the industry. The playing field needs to be levelled and we need to stop repeating the same pattern of hiring the same people. If the industry wants to keep evolving we need fresh new insights from new blood. Let’s get out of our comfort zone and make a difference.
Sarah and Lisa have made an amazing start but I’d encourage more people to get involved with Digilearning – perhaps by offering mentoring services. There are a wide range of initiatives from Girlrise, supporting women in digital and DigiRise, the three step training programme. Lets not just talk the talk, it’s time to walk the walk.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
Personally, I take great pride in developing people. I love coaching and working with individuals and teams to help drive them closer towards their goals. I am always happy to see my colleagues develop into superstars in the industry and take great pride in the fact that I may have played a small part in that journey.
I also think the only way we’re going to help the industry as a whole grow and develop is by working together and sharing our experiences and learnings.