In this latest edition of Women in Tech, we speak with Jessica Box, the Senior Director of Product Insights & Analytics at Linktree, who shares her journey from building growth engines to nurturing and cultivating cross-functional teams.
As a passionate advocate for empowering women in tech, she delves into the importance of mentorship and creating a safe and open environment for diverse voices.
We also discuss the challenges of navigating gender biases in the workplace, and the need for greater representation of women in STEM fields. With her sights set on solving big problems and having a positive impact on the world, she shares her personal goals and the habits and skills she has developed to achieve them.
Can you tell us about your role as Senior Director of Product Insights & Analytics at Linktree, and also your career journey to date?
I originally joined Linktree to build the growth engine that powers and sustains our growth across product growth, growth marketing and insights. Since then I built multiple teams from the ground up to a cross-functional group of 48, across product, insights/analytics and CRO. It’s been an incredible journey, with customers in every country around the world but I am most proud of the teams I’ve been able to nurture and cultivate in my time here. In my current role, I’m focused on leading and growing our high performing insights and analytics teams to form our data into insights both for our team and customers, ultimately to build products that support content creators and businesses.
Prior to Linktree, I spent over a decade working with some of the most prolific brands locally and globally (including Toyota, Slack, Australia Post and Sportsgirl), building new business ventures incubated from within and growing VC funded startups like Finch.
I’ve also run Girls in Tech Australia for the last 6 years from its early days in Australia through to being nationwide.
I’m driven by wanting to have an impact on the world and that’s always what’s tethered me when making decisions on where to spend my career.
From your previous work with Girls in Tech Australia, you are passionate about empowering more women to pursue careers in tech. How can we encourage and support more young women to enter STEM fields, and what role does mentorship play in this process?
For me, being a mentor is about being a champion for others. I see my role as shining a mirror up to what people already know, rather than crystal balling their future for them.
This looks different for each person as everyone has different needs, desires and goals, both in their professional and personal life. I pride myself on leading with empathy, and remain committed to creating an open, comfortable and safe space for people of diverse backgrounds to share, while I listen.
I believe listening is absolutely the most underrated skill and can be so helpful for allowing intelligent, curious people to realise their potential and thrive in their chosen path
How has mentorship played a role in your career, and what qualities do you think make a good mentor? What advice would you give to young women who are seeking mentorship and guidance in their own careers?
I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by mentors throughout my career and think it’s crucial that female leaders empower up-and-coming women to be themselves and help them realise their potential. I like to think of this as being a champion for others through informal mentorship, which is something I do in my role at Linktree, on the board of Banjo and to a mentorship I co-created to support up and coming martech leaders.
For young women seeking mentorship, I’d challenge you to find people who will lift you up and push you to be better than you could have imagined. This doesn’t mean your mentor has to have taken the exact path you’re looking for, but rather has seen the world and can share their views with you to cut corners. Push to find people like that.
As a female leader in tech, what career lessons have you learned throughout your journey, particularly in terms of leadership style and navigating gender biases in the workplace? Who are your leadership idols, and what have you learned from them?
Oh gosh, so many things! I am naturally very empathetic so I lead from that place and I have cultivated my leadership style which is to ensure I see my team as whole people, creating clear goals that I hold them accountable to, but at the end of the day we’re all driven to have an impact so I lead from that shared understanding. I come across bias everyday, so my personal approach is to call it out and acknowledge it when it happens (including when I do it!). It’s so important to give others feedback as they often don’t know they’re doing it and you can be the one to create change.
According to data, only 16% of Australia’s STEM-skilled workforce are women. What can businesses do to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, and how can we encourage more women to pursue careers in this field?
The challenge I see in the tech industry for women in particular is the lack of role models. This stems from underrepresentation of course which we know given women are only on 34% of ASX 200 boards. The concept of “you can’t be what you can’t see” is something I always share with people I mentor and also wider leadership teams in the companies I work with. How can you know what opportunities look like if you can’t see them? We need to get much better at this.
What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing careers in tech or entrepreneurship, but may feel intimidated by the male-dominated nature of these fields?
The best advice I’ve received is “run fast and break things”. It was said to me by a male champion early in my career who has continued to champion me in any room he enters. What this advice meant to me was to never set a ceiling for myself and always push for greatness. I have taken this on throughout my career (it’s particularly helpful in startup and scale up environments!) and regularly push for the same in others, so I’d encourage all young women to not put a ceiling on their goals and dreams.
Finally, what are your goals for the future, both personally and professionally, and how do you plan to continue driving innovation and success in the tech industry?
I am incredibly passionate about solving big problems and having an impact on the world. I see myself as supporting solving the bigger problem space of equal opportunity throughout my career so have some big goals tied to that too. Living up to my values is ultimately how I’ll get there, using many of the techniques my coach May Samali has taught me since we have worked together including:
- Building the habits that power your goals – most goals are set as outcomes rather than processes, she’s taught me how to turn them into sustainable habits that help achieve my goals. For example, I track the things I say no to which helps conserve energy for the things I’m saying yes to
- Taking the time for rest – all different types of rest are so important. I am a big fan of the 7 types of rest which I’ve been adopting for some time now to ensure I am in tune with what I need to be at my best
- Reflecting – this is such a critical skill to be successful in tech, particularly fast paced companies like Linktree where there’s so much opportunity and decision making coming at you everyday. I find documenting my learnings to be so powerful in ensuring I grow.
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