Giving women the confidence and self-assuredness to take action in the modern workplace is exactly why #YesSheCan exists. This week's blog post with Jess MacIntyre provides a perfect example of exactly how to do just that! Read on below!
Can you tell us a bit about you and your career?
I’m co-founder of Mac&Moore, https://www.macandmoore.com/, a marketing communications plug-in to start-ups and small businesses looking to create a positive impact in today’s world. We work closely with business leaders to unpick their marketing and brand challenges, then build creative and strategic roadmaps which solve the specific problem. We can then activate together, allowing new ideas that are completely tailored to each business to reach the right clients, customers and audiences.
My career has not just been about producing award-winning high-quality marketing work but also about building teams, authentic and inspiring cultures and providing purpose and motivation for everyone I work alongside. As a result, I’ve helped build some ground-breaking tech businesses who are not only commercially successful but are also striving to create a positive impact in the world they operate in. The changes over the past 13 years in the marketing and business landscape have also inspired me to co-found Mac&Moore and continue to evolve the businesses I work with from the inside out, helping them to build something sustainable and with a strong purpose.
Outside of work I’ve always been a huge advocate for volunteering and believe this experience has hugely impacted my work and business for the better. I’ve volunteered for Age UK, Cancer Research and most recently YouMakeIt, a charity set-up to help disadvantaged, unemployed women in East London. I believe you need to be the change you want to see in the world and since setting up Mac&Moore our ability to help create positive impact for organisations globally has allowed me to find more meaning and purpose in what I do.
What made you choose this industry?
Honestly? I just wanted to work in a creative, fun industry where you could break a rule or two! I always knew the corporate world wasn’t for me and I didn’t like feeling like a small fish in a big pond. I’ve also always been a good communicator and essentially that’s what marketing is. The ability to reach many people with interesting, engaging things to say. Alright then, sign me up!
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
Many challenges, the biggest being my own self-confidence! I didn’t get along with the education system and whilst I was fortunate enough to leave with good grades and get a 2:1 degree I never felt like I was “academic” enough to really make a difference. I came into my own in the world of work and have always learned best by doing. That being said, the advertising and marketing industries can be tough with long hours, high demands and some bosses with big egos. The inequality within the industry is still rife and particularly so for women. Part of the reason for setting up on my own was knowing there were very few opportunities in-house that were available to me that felt like an attractive proposition i.e. I didn’t have to compromise my integrity or values to get there. I believe many women still face these challenges today.
If any, can you tell us more about how you overcame those setbacks?
I persevered. I always believed there was something better waiting for me I knew that it was just going to take time and perseverance. It takes a lot of resilience to get back up after you had a fall but I always been a big believer that you never give up.
The biggest career set-back I had was prior to starting Mac&Moore when I was made redundant from the start-up I was working at. Whilst this was down to the business as a whole failing, I took this very personally and it hugely affected my self-esteem. With the right support system behind me and a belief that things would get better, I did bounce back. In the end, this ‘biggest failure’ really turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to step out of a job and role that wasn’t fulfilling me and build the business I’m successfully running today.
In hindsight, I can see that I learned the most from my biggest failures and set-backs. The keyword here is learned. I never made the same mistake twice. So take stock of any moments that have felt like failures and think about what you can learn and apply to make things better going forward.
‘In hindsight, I can see that I learned the most from my biggest failures and setbacks.’
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
The power of people. It’s incredible what technology has done to enhance our lives in today’s world. But I do what I do because of people, I’m inspired by humans and their potential to be better. Both on a 1-2-1 sense working with the incredible people in my day-to-day career and in regards to the wider world I get to reach through the work we do.
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
Initially, it was because I cared what people thought of me and I wanted to prove people wrong. I’m glad I’ve gone away from this way of thinking as it’s unhealthy but I am thankful for the initial drive it gave me to get to where I am today.
Now my drive and determination are focused on producing meaningful work that makes a difference, promoting and empowering incredible people and doing my small part of making this world a better place. I want to be proud of myself and I also want to make the people around me proud too.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
I hugely rely on my EQ (emotional intelligence) which is one of my biggest assets and is one of the fundamental reasons I believe I’m successful in business. I have the ability to be honest, and connect authentically with most people I meet. When you’re starting out this is so key to building and creating meaningful relationships. Another reason is you stand out! I hope in the future it’s more commonplace to have female founders in all industries but at the moment they are few and far between. So we utilise this to make sure we stand out from the crowd and celebrate our difference.
‘I hope in the future it’s more commonplace to have female founders in all industries but at the moment they are few and far between.’
What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?
Go with your own grain. It’s important to listen to a lot of advice and learn along the way but how you apply these learnings must be in a way that is right for you. Be true to yourself and that’s where you’ll find you work at your very best.
Have you ever felt that your gender has brought unnecessary challenges to your career?
Absolutely! I’ve actually been very aware of the inequality between men and women for as long as I remember. I grew up in a patriarchal household and always had an overwhelming sense that I was treated differently because I was a girl, which I hated!
What I initially loved about the creative industries is that I felt I was alongside so many different and unique individuals with all sorts of different belief systems and backgrounds. However when you get to management level being a woman in advertising you have to either ‘play the game’ and adopt masculine energy to get ahead or give up your seat at the table. I wasn’t prepared to do either.
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Be kind to yourself. Practice self-care and set healthy boundaries, respecting your time and energy. If it’s depleted you’ll burn out.
Get a support network around you. Choose friends you trust to give you honest but kind feedback and cheer you on when you’re having a bad day!
Always keep learning. Meet interesting like-minded people, keep up-to-date with the latest goings-on in your industry, read, listen to podcasts – nobody is going to do it for you and it’s important you stay relevant.
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
I guess I’d have to say my business partner Nat, and I’m pretty sure if asked the same question she’d say me! Going into business with a partner is much like starting a romantic relationship with someone, and in order to see it grow and strengthen you need a healthy amount of respect, honesty, communication and commitment. Whilst I credit myself for getting to the place I have today, I know that having a business partner who has been loyal, patient and kind along the way has allowed me to be the very best version of myself. The journey hasn’t always been easy but it has been worth it and I’m proud of the place we are both in today because of each other and the commitment we’ve made to each other both personally and professionally.
What are your key motivators?
Money. And I’m not afraid to say that! Women get sidelined far too often when it comes to salary and promotions. I want to see this change positively in my life not only for myself but for other women too.
Being proud of myself. Making decisions based on integrity and getting better at what I do. Never taking the easy option if it isn’t the right thing to do.
Paving the way for the next generation of women. Everything we do today could have a positive impact on the next wave of female founders. We don’t take that lightly and use our privilege as a platform to speak out about inequality and what positive impact we want to see in the world today and tomorrow.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Don’t minimise yourself. There are always going to be challenges presented to us whether that’s navigating motherhood, family commitments or battling imposter syndrome. My advice would be that you ARE good enough, you DO deserve that seat at the table and you CAN make it work on your terms. It might not always be easy but no leadership position ever is.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
It’s basic really but ‘listen’. In a world where everybody can now have a voice, I believe not enough people really take the time to listen. That’s the key to really good communication and respect. If you’re not prepared to listen as a leader then don’t expect anyone to really listen to you.
‘If you’re not prepared to listen as a leader then don’t expect anyone to really listen to you.’
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Please don’t waste your time on boys…. be the own love of your life. If you can master that I promise the right type of love will come along.
Looking for more inspirational content? Check out our other recent Q&A with Lisa Byrne, Managing Director of Tonic Marketing Consultancy