Becoming a leader: female forces at GetYourGuide
For the latest installment of our “Becoming a leader: female forces” series, we sat down with Claire, Director of Brand and Creative Studio, to discuss her career path, her first year at GetYourGuide, and saying yes to opportunities that scare you.
How did your career progress before GetYourGuide and how is it progressing at GetYourGuide so far?
Having only been at GetYourGuide for just over 12 months, I’m still relatively new — but what an incredible and exciting growth trajectory it’s been! I joined the team in January 2018 to help lead a full rebrand. This involved asking lots of interesting questions about the company — who are we? What do we stand for? What do we want people to think about us?
At the time, we were only a team of three, so I had the opportunity to really dive in and drive the process. I worked with the design agency, Design Studio, coordinated the internal team, and even organized a launch party for 500 people. It was madness but a lot of fun, and very rewarding to see it all come together. As a previous founder, and having been in a startup for over 10 years, I really love the entrepreneurial ethos — to make something from nothing and to get sh*t done!
I’m now Director of Brand and Creative Studio, and have built the team from zero to 14 in under six months. We are responsible for brand strategy and creative across the organization. This means whenever you come in contact with the brand, we’re there. Our next big project is a TV campaign so look out for that — it’s launching soon!
What are the key pieces of advice you would give someone to help them progress in their career at GetYourGuide or elsewhere?
Say yes to things that scare you
I think women, in particular, often have the tendency to turn down opportunities for fear of failure. I definitely suffered from this when I was younger. I only said yes to things I knew I’d be great at — which meant I probably missed a lot of great chances. Part of developing and growing in your career is doing things every week that feel hard or make you uncomfortable. You’ll often be surprised at what you can accomplish when you just go for it. As my mother would say, “what’s the worst that can happen?”.
For example, I’ll be speaking at women in leadership meet-up in a few weeks. It’s a topic I am passionate about but the thought of talking in front of a room of people still horrifies me. The worst that can happen? I’ll be awful and they won’t ask me back — and I can live with that! But instead, it might open up new opportunities to get involved in a topic that I care deeply about.
Be nice to people on the way up
One of my first bosses was the CEO of a big advertising agency. Every morning he would come in, greet all the receptionists by name, and ask how they were. This may seem like such a simple thing to do, but it set the tone for how the whole company behaved. It fostered a culture of respect and interest in everyone — irrespective of the organization’s perceived hierarchy. There’s this myth that you have to be unpleasant to get ahead. This might work for a while, but it’s a belief that will eventually catch up with you. Strong leadership is about having a vision and enabling everyone in your team to be part of it. No-one wants to work for someone they distrust or downright hate.
Netflix has this great line in their internal manifesto — “we say no to brilliant assholes.” They have recognized that even the brightest minds are divisive if they don’t also have the right attitude. I have always guided my career with the belief that you should work hard and be nice to people — and I think it’s always served me well.
Be so good they can’t say no
Get in the driving seat of your own career. It’s your responsibility to gain the skills and experience you need to achieve your dreams. No one else can do it for you. That means you need to be open to continuous learning, and that you can’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. For example, GetYourGuide runs these fantastic leadership courses, and I was lucky to join the course this year. Despite having led big teams for over 8 years now, I still found I had so much more to learn.
A mentor can be another great way to make sure you continue to progress in your career. They can help you look at challenges in a new light or from a different perspective. They can also share their knowledge, experience, and can connect you with your future network.
How do you think about and plan for your own career development?
I think I can summarize this as be conscious. Too often we sleepwalk through life. We maintain the status quo and don’t really engage with our lives in a meaningful way. Take time to explore what makes YOU happy. What do you enjoy? What brings meaning to your life? What satisfies you? Ask yourself these questions and then take active steps to incorporate the answers into your career. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. You only have one life and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Go out and take what you want from your job — don’t sit back and hope it comes to you.