Despite working in the very male tech sector, Anna de Souza, who spoke at the IoD’s Woman in Business 2015 conference, has never let gender hold her back
In 2012 I stumbled on London’s tech scene. I had been working as a marketing and brand graphic designer for some time and was looking for a fresh industry to explore. The tech sector being very male-led just added to the challenge that we, as women in business, thrive on.
I have always loved a design challenge, and I found a dazzling array of new opportunities and possibilities in tech.
I found a job on the newly built Google Campus, working for a campus partner. I got to know a lot of talented, bright and fun-loving people who were full of new and exciting ideas.
The community spirit and willingness to share ideas sucked me in, and I wanted more and more of the adrenaline rush that comes from collaborating with top talent.
Every day brought more interesting people through the doors, each with their own story and eagerness to learn: programmers, writers, investment bankers, consultants and start-up founders.
Women in Business – the challenge
But it was noticeable that men were in the majority. This didn’t bother me: I was a design professional with experience behind me and had come to a point where I was excited to be challenged.
I knew working with them would widen my experience and give me new perspectives.
And it certainly did. I made connections with people I wouldn’t normally come into contact with and realised that mixing unlikely people together in a discussion often led to new ideas.
That’s not to say there weren’t challenges. I think all women in male-dominated environments face them.
I was lucky enough that they never prevented me from reaching my destination.
We’re at a time when women’s voices are being heard more and more. Most people I’ve met have been open-minded and open to collaboration.
I’d hope my passion and determination are obvious to anyone who works with me. Negative experiences have only made me work harder.
Starting your own company isn’t an exclusive club. On the contrary, there was a very simple beauty to it.
Of course, connections helped, as they always have and always will. But if your idea was good and you worked hard enough you could get a piece of the action.
After a few years of meeting people through work, attending events and joining clubs, my sister and I decided to turn our network into our business.
We began to build up a client base by reaching out to start-ups and global companies. We would work on their brands – my focus would be design, and my sister’s copywriting.
That’s how it happened, and Cut to Content was born. We’re still starting out as a creative content agency. We’ve worked with fledgling companies and multinational brands, helping to communicate their messages with imaginative online and offline content.
Our creative works offers businesses modern marketing solutions. We’ve turned our passion into something real.
Starting your own company isn’t for everyone. You live and breathe it while facing many challenges along the way.
But I’ve taken the main lessons of a career in fast-moving design and applied them to how I work at Cut to Content: priority, planning, adapting to situations while building solid relationships along the way.
You have to stay on top of industry trends, while also keeping on top of what you’re already doing and a team of people. All being said I love the ride and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Related: Women as Leaders 2016 conference
Some of the country’s most inspirational business women will be speaking at the IoD’s Women in Leaders conference in London on 17 June. Hear fascinating stories, learn how to implement lasting changes in your company and leave motivated to accelerate your career. Find out more on the IoD website – click here (opens new window)