IWD 2021: A letter to my 18 year old self

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If you could write a letter to your 18 year old self, about to set out on your career, what advice would you give? 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked women from all levels of the agency to share the career, or life, advice they wish they’d been able to give to their past selves. 

From not letting a lack of degree hold you back, to realising you’d rather be behind the camera than in front of it, the responses were varied. But what they do have in common is a sense of perspective for those now embarking on a career in advertising. Moving on from mistakes, taking time to discover your voice or passion, or just picking a path that’s true to you. 

Here’s some of the best bits.

Jennifer Lawlor, Senior Producer: You will never stop learning 
The acting career won’t work out, let’s be honest it never started. However, you will end up behind the lens, not literally, but as a Producer. It will dawn on you that you’ll never stop learning and that you don’t want to. The things that will motivate you will shift and bend over time, but that is life, you’ll enjoy your career’s changeability and won’t shy away from it. Keep going!

Mobbie Nazir, Chief Strategy Officer: Be proud of who you are
Don’t try to fit in. Be proud of who you are. Be proud of your differences – your gender, culture and heritage. Don’t follow existing ways of doing things – leadership can be about empathy and listening, not command and control. And if you’re not given the opportunities you deserve in your career, cut your losses and move on. 

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Kelly Macbeth Mackay, Sports Writer: You can monetise your interests 
Keep experimenting. Stop listening to opinionated noise. Protect your energy. Demand pay for your time. Know your worth. It is possible to combine all of your interests and monetise them. You don’t have to fit a pre-designed structure. FLOW. 

Fola Enifeni, Strategist: Take time to find your voice 
You already know that it won’t come easy, but you’ll figure it out. You will discover your own voice, but all in your own time. You’ll shed a couple of times; you will think you’ve found yourself, but alas there is more to you. All through it all, know that you are in the right place, your voice matters and you have the answers. 

PS: Year 2020/21 will be tough 😭, but you’ll see , it might just be your best year for self discovery. 

Lucy Doubleday, Managing Partner: Do what makes you happy
Not being a graduate won’t hold you back, though you’ll have to work harder than others to prove yourself, particularly when you start out. Find good mentors, personally and professionally. Don’t be intimidated by people who talk louder than you – often, they’re not saying a lot. Finally, you’ll be in your career for a long time. Do what makes you happy. The rest will fall into place.

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Alice Beaden, Senior Marketing & Events Manager: Move on from your mistakes 
Mistakes you make won’t be remembered long-term by anyone except you, don’t dwell on them just learn and move on. As soon as you stop growing in your job, know it’s time for a change. You’ll have more energy in the next five years than you will ever have, now isn’t the time to be worrying about work, channel this energy into doing things you love and having fun. 

Kate Hicks, Senior Account Manager: Embrace your own kind of smart 
You are smart. Not exam smart, maybe not book smart but you are intelligent and smart in your own way. Have faith that you will find yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. You’re smashing your career in advertising, you’ve already achieved for more than you ever thought you would. 

Rosie Pond, R&I Analyst: It’s ok not to know everything 
Thank that media lecturer at college for helping you figure out your passions when doing university applications, you’d have never discovered advertising even existed as a career choice if not for that. And it’s ok not to know everything, keep listening to people, asking questions and learning – one day you’ll be able to turn that into a career that you LOVE. 

Sarah Hecks, Interim Head of Editorial: Success comes in many forms
When it comes to your career, think about what you really want. Not what others want for you. You’ll spend a lot of time at work, so pick a path that’s true to you. Not everyone is cut out for a traditional career. Find something the nine-to-fivers can’t do and remember, it’s not just about the job, it’s about the people you work with too. 

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Annabel Heath, Production Manager: Taking a risk is OK 
Please don’t fret about what to study at university or what job to go into. Apply to jobs even if you aren’t 100% sure what the day-to-day role is, because you’ll get a job that will show you where your career can go. For a while you might think that the only route for you is kids TV, but then before you know it, you will be in LA working on a global ad for Pepsi. 


If you’d like to work at We Are Social, you can find all our job openings here: https://wearesocial.com/uk/people 

To find out more about the people that make up We Are Social, you can see the results of our latest Diversity & Inclusion Survey here, and read our 2021 Charter for Change here