Welcome back to our Women in Tech feature, this time with Georgina Bitcon, the trailblazing Area Director of Enterprise Solutions at Meltwater ANZ and the recent ‘Sales’ category winner at the B&T Women Leading Tech awards.
With over eight years at Meltwater, Georgina has not only broken new ground as the first female Area Director in Australia but has also played a pivotal role in reshaping how enterprise and government organizations approach their communication strategies.
Today, she sits down with us to share insights from her impressive career journey, her leadership philosophies, and her commitment to championing diversity and empowering women in the tech space.
Hi Georgina, thank you for joining us today. Can you share with us the genesis of your career at Meltwater? What inspired you to focus on media and data within the tech industry?
I can’t believe it’s been nearly ten years since I joined Meltwater. Reflecting back, landing with Meltwater was very much a combination of “by mistake and by good fortune”.
I studied an Arts and Law degree at uni and was always torn by what I felt like I should pursue and what I was really passionate about, and as I progressed through my degree I realised that presenting and speaking to people was really something that motivated me. I studied rhetoric at uni and did some sales work for a friend on the side when I realised it was a really exciting profession.
I also knew I really wanted a career that would enable me to travel, so I started my hunt for the perfect role – which is when I stumbled across Meltwater whilst exploring the most interesting roles that offered both a combination of my ongoing interest in media and communication, as well as global opportunities.
As is often the case, it was ultimately the culture at Meltwater that captivated me, as opposed to the role itself. The team’s values aligned perfectly with my interests and strengths, and across the years (of which there have been many!) Meltwater has always felt like the right fit.
When I joined in 2014, the tech industry was already known to be a nimble and fast-paced profession with a global orientation, and Meltwater was already the tech challenger – even more radical at the time – as the media landscape was shifting online.
Having previously held a research role, I was intrigued to understand the positive impact data-driven technology would have on businesses and I was drawn to the company’s drive and innovative mentality to raise the bar on the solutions available in the market.
It was and continues to be exciting to be a part of. We are still dedicated to adapting our solutions and the company’s structure to reflect the changing industry, and that’s what’s also kept me here – my job has always presented fascinating new challenges, it has evolved with the company and I love engaging in impactful work with our customers, while collaborating with inspiring people.
In your role as the Area Director, Enterprise Solutions at Meltwater ANZ, you handle a vast array of responsibilities. What does a typical day look like for you, and how do you manage such a wide-ranging portfolio?
It’s a fast-paced and dynamic role that requires adaptability and a great team culture to achieve our goals. And it’s safe to say that no two days are ever the same!
Given the cross-collaboration required of both my department and the broader organisation, creating a cohesive culture is a top priority. I have a team of high-achievers that work on our top-billing accounts, so ensuring the team feels supported and in sync is where I spend a lot of my time. I also work hard on ensuring the business unit is involved in the strategy and tactics of our efforts, so it’s a joint pledge that we make to the business on our deliverables.
I also work closely with several other departments, including legal, product, and global counterparts. This cross-functional approach enables us to effectively align our efforts and achieve common goals.
Translating our ambitious goals within the Enterprise segment into day-to-day operations continues to be a key challenge. There are many moving parts, and finding the balance between meeting daily tasks and evaluating our processes can be demanding.
One of the most exciting and important parts of my day is meeting with our clients. Building these relationships by working closely with them allows me to have a holistic view of their needs and challenges – at the personal, organisational and broader industry level, establish trust and loyalty as an extension of their team, and in turn I can engage in more productive conversations to identify how we best support them.
You’ve been instrumental in ensuring women are represented in Meltwater’s decision-making process and that diversity is deeply ingrained in the company culture. Can you discuss the initiatives you’ve implemented and how you are maintaining this level of inclusion and diversity?
First and foremost, I believe in candidly sharing my experiences and setting expectations when I have a seat at the decision-making table. By fostering close relationships with senior executives, I have been able to openly discuss my perspective and advocate for initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion within the company.
It all began with advocating for my personal career goals and aspirations, and realising the significance of openly sharing these with the team. This approach has now become a key principle that I impart to my team.
I also believe in the value of leading with merit. If you ever encounter unconscious bias or doubt about your value and role in certain settings, it’s important to make sure you approach the situation with a fact-based approach by emphasising the tangible contributions and value you are bringing to the table, reinforcing the reasons why you should be there in the first place.
I am lucky to work at a company where diversity and inclusion are highly measurable goals, and our executives are deeply invested in fostering these principles. It has always been a top priority, with consistent attention and support from leadership. In fact we have a DE&I committee that meets regularly to discuss better strategies to promote equity locally and share suggestions with our HR and leadership teams.
For example, we recently changed policy to allow employees to switch their public holiday leave to holidays that are significant to them. I wish we’d done that sooner. 10 years ago I don’t think we spoke about Embracing Equity frequently, today I think we speak about it most days. I’m glad for that.
To cultivate a culture of inclusion, we have also created various office cultural events that allow team members, regardless of seniority, to actively participate. These events encourage collaboration, exchange of ideas, and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Additionally, I have taken an active role in mentoring my team. I think mentoring and providing growth opportunities to talented individuals, regardless of their gender, is an essential part of promoting diversity and ensuring a pipeline of strong leaders.
What advice would you give to young women who aspire to pursue a leadership role as part of their career path (in tech or other)?
When it comes to leadership, my advice is to actively participate in the company you work for. Engage in projects that may not directly align with your KPIs. Show curiosity about what other departments are doing and look beyond your region and teams – it will provide you with a broader perspective.
By doing so, you can foster genuine support from colleagues, build authentic connections, and become an expert in your field. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of how your role fits within the company, by learning from others, will contribute to your growth and development.
Remember, it is essential to work beyond your own function. Embrace opportunities to collaborate and contribute across departments, allowing you to broaden your skill set and knowledge base. This cross-functional approach will not only enhance your leadership potential but also enable you to make a more significant impact within the organisation.
If we are looking specifically at the tech industry, it’s an exhilarating space that demands thinking big and broadly. It’s crucial to educate people on how they can effectively leverage technology to achieve optimal results. You should aspire to be highly informative and ambitious when presenting solutions to clients, ensuring they are well-informed and empowered.
As you navigate your career path towards leadership, you can certainly anticipate encountering various challenges and barriers. Be prepared to think innovatively and find alternative ways to improve business outcomes. Stay engaged in your job, demonstrating dedication and perseverance, which will ultimately lead to success.
In summary, my advice to young women aspiring to pursue a leadership role, whether in tech or elsewhere, is to not be afraid to push beyond your limits, be ambitious and always think big and innovatively, foster genuine connections and be active within your organisation. By embracing these principles, you can pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career in leadership.
What can the tech industry do to empower women to pursue leadership roles?
The tech industry has the power to empower women to pursue leadership roles through various impactful measures. It all starts with a fundamental shift in hiring practices, emphasising inclusivity and diversity.
By actively seeking out and attracting female talent, companies can provide equal opportunities for career advancement and create a more balanced workforce. I take pride in sharing that our Meltwater ANZ team sets a positive example in this regard, boasting equal representation of both female and male talent, a testament to our commitment to these principles.
To truly empower women in the industry, it is essential to foster an understanding of the wide range of opportunities available. By highlighting successful women leaders as role models and showcasing their achievements, young women can be inspired to explore and pursue leadership positions. This helps break down the barriers and misconceptions that may have previously deterred them from considering a career in tech.
Creating an inclusive company culture is another critical aspect. Building a culture that values and promotes equal access to support and coaching for all employees is vital. It is essential to ensure that every individual, regardless of their gender, has a voice and that their perspectives are valued and respected. Transparency in decision-making processes and providing ample opportunities for growth and development can contribute to fostering an inclusive environment where women feel empowered to step into leadership roles.
Within our ANZ team, we currently have five women occupying leadership roles. They play a pivotal role in nurturing various initiatives, including the Leadership Learning Program, which I’m currently enrolled in, coaching and mentorships, as well as executive sponsorship. Additionally, they actively champion efforts to promote reward and recognition within our organisation.
Diversifying the existing culture is also crucial. Companies should strive to create a more inclusive environment that supports the well-being of all employees, moving away from the traditional “work hard, play hard” hustle culture. By broadening the definition of success and maturity to include everyone, companies can attract and retain diverse talent, providing an atmosphere where women can thrive and feel encouraged to pursue leadership positions.
At Meltwater, we prioritise employee wellbeing and inclusion through a range of policies and initiatives. These include our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and family, global access to the Calm app, comprehensive health and wellness insurance and screenings, as well as workshops; and active social and CSR engagement through initiatives like Green Council and DEI councils.
Lastly, what does the future look like for you at Meltwater? How do you envision your career evolving within the company and how do you plan to continue to champion women in tech?
I’d like to see Meltwater maintain its position as the market leader, ensuring it continues to have outstanding net retention figures driven by strong client loyalty. I am determined to keep playing an integral role to see Meltwater become the social and media intelligence technology of choice for every enterprise business in ANZ and abroad.
We are certainly punching above our weight, as our market already contributes revenue figures exceeding international expectations. I am excited about the direction that the company is already taking in the space and I am committed to continuing to find and provide the right opportunities to reach our full potential.
As a woman in a leadership position within the tech industry, and as the first female Area Director at Meltwater in Australia, I am passionate about the future success of women, not only at Meltwater, but the tech industry at large.
At an industry level, I’d like to continue fostering collaboration amongst women and work together on key initiatives that would inspire more women to consider a career in STEM, ultimately bridging the skills gap and bolstering further growth within the industry.
From within the company, I plan to continue to be a key contributor and to play an active role in paving the way for women to be represented in Meltwater’s decision-making. I am focused on ensuring diversity is always reflected and championed within the organisation’s culture. I also want to keep empowering more women to achieve top performer recognition within the company, as well as work closely with my team to invest more time in upskilling to grow stronger in their performance and capabilities together.
Finally, from a personal development perspective, my goal is to keep rising through the senior leadership ranks in the industry and to be a Global Senior Executive leading world-class, elite teams of Enterprise salespeople, who introduce game-changing technology solutions for the largest organisations in the world.