Indianapolis, IN – March, 2019 — Centric Indianapolis’ Raquel Richardson received a spot on the advisory board of Together Digital group, formerly known as Women In Digital.
The group has almost 2,000 members and their events attract around 40,000 women. The purpose of the organization is to help women find their power through supporting each other, learning and growing opportunities, mentoring and more.
Raquel answers 9 questions about Together Digital, mentoring and growth —
1. What gets you excited about being a part of this group?
What gets me most excited about being a part of the Together Digital group is the group of individuals in the digital and marketing space. It’s an inclusive and diverse group of women with all kinds of marketing backgrounds. The benefit of getting a group together like this is hearing different perspectives on today’s issues, and it helps to open your mind about the struggles that others face at different times in their careers.
2. What is your role on the board and what does that entail?
I am occupying the seat of an advisor on the Indianapolis board of Together Digital. This position simply means I’m one of the more senior and experienced people in the room. I’ve been there, done that, and I’m here to help. I work to build out our Together Digital events and work with my connections to find sponsors and speakers.
In this role, I get to mentor the young women as they dive into their careers. My purpose is a combination of helping out the organization, putting on successful events, and also helping all the women in the group get to where they want to be in their career.
3. What are the benefits of mentoring and how is that important to career growth?
I enjoy mentoring, and it’s something I believe helps drive deeper thinking about your goals and what steps to take to accomplish these. I was mentored early in my career by amazing people, and I love that I get to give back and help my mentees get to where they want to be in their careers.
The best part about mentoring is that it’s not a one-way street. Many people have the misconception that mentoring only benefits the mentee, but it also benefits the mentor. I would argue that it builds up the mentor more. It’s an opportunity to learn about issues I never faced and gain insight into what it’s like to be a young woman right now. I don’t usually experience those struggles, and it gives me a fresh perspective of the industry.
It’s rewarding helping someone else and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. I enjoy meeting new people, and their stories help me stay relevant.
4. What’s your professional experience in the digital space?
When I started my marketing firm in 1999, web development was starting to take off. I used to code and make websites (they were very ugly). It started simply with clients wanting images and content on their site. It was new to everyone, but I dove in head first, taught myself, and figured it out.
In the next 14 years, my firm shifted entirely to digital. We focused on telling stories from a digital perspective. We kept up with the ever-evolving world of technology. I grew in these 14 years in the digital space. I was there in the beginning and I work to evolve with the field today.
Now, everyone is digital. When working with someone new, you must ask, ‘What does digital mean to you?’ There are tools and technology that are considered digital in everyone’s profession. I feel lucky that I’ve been exposed to the digital space, and I’m comfortable there. It’s been a long run of almost 20 years adapting, enjoying and staying curious. I am always wondering what’s next.
5. How can women in the tech and digital industry help each other?
The purpose of the organization is to help the women in the group to find their strength. Doing what you can to provide a culture, platform or workplace where someone can find their power and be their best self – that is the best way we can help one another. It comes down to supporting one another and building each other up. Power means something different to each person.
To me, power is learning something new, confidence, having that crucial conversation, being brave, doing the right thing. Seeing the strengths in someone and helping them be the best version of themselves, that’s powerful.
One of the things I love about working at Centric is that it’s a place where we get to be ourselves, and we’re encouraged to do so. I get to be me. When you get to be you, you are strong.
6. What does the Together Digital group do to support this power?
We hold Ask and Give meetings locally, where members meet to discuss the challenges they are facing. As a group, we choose the top three we want to dive into deeper. Everyone in the group then offers advice and provides their perspective. The wisdom on a particular challenge can differ anywhere from “dig in and work harder” to “get out; that’s not the space for you.” It’s interesting to hear the unique perspectives based on their differing backgrounds and experience, and it’s all valuable.
In addition to mentoring, we have personal reach outs we set up for after the meetings. Based on the advice you offered or the issue you had, you set up coffee or lunch to further invest and build those relationships. We’re all in the same town and have the same profession. Let’s work together to solve an issue one of us may be facing – the more brain power, the better.
7. What advice do you have for women starting out in digital?
Stay engaged. Look for opportunities to join or volunteer with local organizations related to your primary interests, attend networking events and keep learning. Stay connected to people, technology, relevant organizations, the pace, and methodologies. Thrive at your job by staying relevant and involved in what’s going on in the digital industry.
If you stop connecting and learning, it can quickly take you away from an applicable standpoint and being the best at your career. Three to five years pass by, and you settle into your job. Life happens. While you are doing your job, you’re not keeping up. This apathy is a significant mistake people make. Do your best to find one thing that helps you stay interested and aligned to the digital world.
8. How can you apply what you learn to your current position at Centric?
There are all kinds of different technologies and platforms used by the women in the room. Each meeting could bring together 30-40 other companies surround you, and you learn how they approach digital. You hear what technologies they are utilizing, where they are in maturity and the market. You can learn a lot from other people’s successes and struggles.
The best part about this group is the mentality of the women. Our values focus on helping each other. It’s not about competition. Everyone is open with their knowledge. We understand there is power and benefits in helping each other.
9. How can other women get involved and why should they?
Yes, get involved. Come to a local event, meet with someone in the group, reach out to learn more. Be willing to speak up, offer advice and talk about the challenges you face. You can’t show up and be silent. You won’t get anything out of it.
Share your vulnerabilities and give back. Everyone in the group wants you to feel safe, empowered and confident. They want you to be the best version of yourself! If you’re in the digital industry and want to grow yourself and your careers, you should join your local Together Digital.
About Together Digital
Together Digital is an association dedicated to accelerating the advancement and growth of women in digital fields by giving women the most powerful tool in their arsenal: one another. After just a few months of membership, our members report they feel more confident and more equipped to elevate their career at a faster pace. We’re dedicated to this promise to our members and offer cancellation at any time if not satisfied.