Women's History Month - Julie Alexander

As it’s Women’s History Month, we’d like the take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on the badass women who work in the marketing and technology industry. This is a series of blog posts we'll be publishing to celebrate the incredible work they do for the industry. So without further ado lets introduce you the amazing women in martech.

Introducing Julie Alexander

Julie AlexanderMeet Julie Alexander, Head of Marketing at Relay42. Relay42’s platform for Intelligent Journey Orchestration empowers businesses to create meaningful customer relationships by utilizing smart technology to transform fragmented interactions into seamless journey. 

Things that get her gears going: coming up with new and exciting campaign strategies; experimenting with different types of demand gen content; spearheading interdepartmental projects; chatting with customers and learning how our product helps them — then sharing it with anyone who will listen; getting sales colleagues excited about marketing initiatives; learning how to do marketing more efficiently, more effectively and more creatively!

What’s your job title, if you could choose an 'honest' job title, what would it be? 
My job title is Head of Marketing, and if I had to choose an honest job title it would be something along the lines of Crazy Marketing Lady. We have a very small marketing team, so we’re constantly coming up with new things to try — none of us can afford to be strategic thinkers only, so we’re all ideating, producing, evaluating, tweaking — it’s a bit of a mad house, but it keeps things interesting and exciting. That means that on any given day you’ll find me presenting a strategic vision, running off to do an interview for a new piece of content I’m writing, and then sitting down for a coffee and a 1-on-1. I like it like this, though — if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in the scale-up tech space!

How would you summarise your career journey? 
Accidental! Truth be told, I studied English in college and had every intention of becoming a teacher. I moved to the Netherlands (from my home state of California) after graduating, though, and ended up working as a translator for a small company. Eventually I moved on to copywriting, then content marketing, and now to the broader scope of marketing management. None of it was planned out far in advance, but rather I seized new opportunities as they arose. I feel incredibly lucky that this path found me, and that I’ve ended up on a career journey that I continue to learn and grow from every day.

What has kept you the most motivated throughout?
Coming up with new ideas and initiatives with colleagues and then seeing those plans come to life has always been super motivating for me. Besides the work itself, though, I find myself most excited when I feel like I’m helping people — whether it’s through a new campaign that I know will be perfect for our audience or assisting a teammate on a personal level, I always want to be useful and contribute something positive to others.

What has been the biggest barrier throughout your career journey?
Probably myself! When I look back, the times I struggled most were usually times when I was holding onto a limiting thought or belief — I’m too young, I’m not experienced enough, I can’t. The breakthroughs always happened when I learned to let those beliefs go and allowed myself to move forward.

Do you think it's important to maintain balance between your personal life and work - do you have any advise for how you achieve this?
Absolutely. Although I might approach this a bit differently than some. Yes, it’s important for me to make sure I have time to do my hobbies, hang out with friends, chill, daydream… that’s work/life balance for me. What it doesn’t mean for me is keeping some conceptual “home self” separated from my “work self.” There are many people who do this, and it works for them. But for me? I need to feel like I’m allowed to be my authentic self wherever I am.

My advice for maintaining balance is figuring out what your boundaries are and sticking to them. It’s also vital to find a work environment and culture that fits your needs. For me, that looks like a very free, informal atmosphere — what does it look like for you? Once I started looking at potential employers from a culture-first perspective, that’s when I found the place where I could feel balanced and comfortable.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
Relax. Slow down. Enjoy. (That’s 3, I know.) It’s easy to get caught up in achieving more and moving on to the next big thing, but you never really reach that — you’re always right here. So look for the friendships and learning opportunities around you right now and cherish those. You’ll get where you’re going eventually, whether you worry about it now or not.

What would you like young women to know who want to get in to marketing/technology? 
Don’t be afraid to jump in and get your hands dirty. Marketing is all about finding new, fresh approaches; it’s data and growth hacking — it’s trying things and failing. The best projects I’ve done have come from little “what if” ideas. Don’t be afraid to throw those ideas out there — just make sure you’re ready to follow through and do the work to bring them to life. Take responsibility and take initiative, and your marketing career will grow organically.

Who's a professional woman you admire? 
I admire all of the women who are building careers and pushing themselves forward despite institutional roadblocks and challenges. Women who are standing up for themselves and making themselves seen and heard, even when they’re the only woman in the room — especially when they’re the only woman in the room.

Best advice you ever received ? Professional or otherwise.As a kid who grew up with a pen in her hand, I will have to quote one of my favourite authors for this one:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” –Dr Seuss

Find Julie on LinkedIn