Happy International Women's Day! Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Commercial Director, Natalie Woodall. Natalie has worked at Pixel since 2015 when she joined as a Client Manager. Since then, she has gone on to collaborate across most areas of the business, and now sits as Head of the Client Services Department and the Commercial Director. We're excited to hear her insights on the challenges and opportunities facing women today, so join us as we delve into Natalie's journey and reflections.
Nat, thanks for taking the time out of your super busy schedule to sit down and let the people of our blog and LinkedIn get to know you a bit better, especially on such an important day for women. Your story is a really interesting and inspiring one, so if it’s ok with you, we'll dive straight in?
Lets do it.
Everyone has different motivations for getting behind this important day, but why is International Women’s Day important to you?
Well, it's a day devoted to celebrating women’s achievements in a bid to raise awareness and achieve gender equality, and that’s pretty important if we’re going to keep moving forward and seeing more women in senior roles.
I think a big part of that is recognising each other's successes. Our economic climate has changed over the years, and it's important that we reflect on the past and use our learnings to set goals for the future.
The juicy bit, tell us about your journey, how did you get to where you are now?
I went to university and studied Fashion Buying and Marketing, and in my final year, landed a great opportunity as a Marketing Exec at high-end e-commerce company, CountryAttire.com. Roles like this are brilliant for providing an opportunity to be involved in all aspects of creative marketing, and I quickly found my excitement came from brand direction.
I then went on to join in-house agency, Capture at The Very Group, where I was able to showcase my creative and strategic flare, selling and delivering marketing campaigns to well-known brands within the clothing and footwear sector, working with the likes of Ugg, Nike and Adidas.
A few years into my career, I got an email from one of the Directors at Pixel looking for a Client Manager. The role was to develop and maintain a relationship with Lloyds Banking Group, specifically project managing creative content for their digital estate. And the rest, as they say, is history! Fast forward 8 years and I've never looked back. Nearly every year at Pixel has seen my role change and move forward, which has definitely kept things interesting!
No career is without its obstacles, what are the main challenges you’ve faced in your success?
The early part of my role at Pixel was navigating through a male dominated industry, especially when combined with construction. Turning up to a construction site when you’re the only woman amongst 50 men can be pretty intimidating. In more recent years, the biggest challenge I’ve faced is not letting emotion take over. Finding the balance between caring enough and remembering its business is what has enabled me to stay level-headed and make the right decisions.
One of our favourite questions, what did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?
My earliest memories of what I wanted to be when I grew up was anything to do with horses. I think because I watched Black Beauty a million times and was at the stables every weekend, I became a bit horse obsessed! But safe to say, science was not my subject, so I was never going to be the next Super Vet, and despite asking my dad numerous time, he wouldn’t buy me a pony to keep in the garden.
By the time I was at secondary school, my dreams had moved towards using my creative skills to become an architect or interior designer, which developed into becoming a fashion designer. Accepting I was better at the numbers than the drawings, a degree combining business and fashion seemed the perfect next step.
If you could have dinner with one or more inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
These will probably seem quite odd, but my first choice would be the late Queen Elizabeth II. To be the monarch of the United Kingdom for over 70 years, and to take the throne at such a young age, I’m inspired by the integrity, respect and commitment she gave to her role.
The second would be Victoria Beckham, not because I was a huge Spice Girls fan growing up in the 90’s, but because she tried and persevered with a new career and her fashion label, despite the public backlash and criticism she received. She wanted to make a name for herself and have her own independence away from the Spice Girls and her husband. I’m sure she’d also chose somewhere fantastic for dinner!
Whether it be professional or personal achievements, what are you most proud of doing?
Professionally, it would be ‘almost’ reaching every goal I’ve set myself. Whether it’s been delivering some of Pixel’s biggest projects, building a fantastic team of people, or completing additional qualifications to continue my career development, I’m proud of working to see those goals through.
Personally, I'm proud of my determination to become a director by the time I was 30. Whilst it might have been 1 year later than I’d hoped, I stuck with it and got there. Sometimes you need to be your own motivation and recognise your own successes.
Share that knowledge! What is the most important piece of advice you’ve been given?
Stay honest and true to yourself. To do that you have to know who you are, what makes you tick, and what makes you jump into everyday life. If you can find that, you’ll find focus and a path for the future.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Believe in yourself, have confidence and don’t hold back. You don’t need all the answers to start a career, you might not know the end point of where you are heading, but having small continual goals to push yourself will help you develop. And most of all, enjoy what you do!
Is there anything specific you would like to share with women considering a career/climbing the ladder in the AV industry?
Don’t think you have to be a tech whizz - I didn’t even know how to cable my own TV at home when I started at Pixel. You can learn the tech, the processes, and the terminology, but your own self-belief, confidence, and the right attitude is what will make you stand out from the crowd.
As a business, we champion the accomplishments of women worldwide, and celebrate the strides we’ve made towards equality so far. As we celebrate the fierce, fabulous, and resilient women who have paved the way for future generations, let us also commit to supporting and empowering women in all aspects of life. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and Happy International Women's Day!