In this blog, we interviewed Lisa Byrne, Managing Director of Tonic Marketing Consultancy. From planning and managing multi-media campaigns to booking celebrities for events, Lisa’s varied role makes her career nothing short of amazing! We spoke to Lisa all about why she chose to work in the Marketing Industry and what she has learned along the way to becoming a female leader. Read on to find out more...
What made you choose this industry?
I studied marketing and PR and management at university and fell in love with audience research and analysis. I loved working out the ‘why’ people would consume media in certain ways and being able to provide a science behind recommendations. I put myself out there while at uni and gained a lot of work experience in several amazing places including Saatchi and Saatchi in London and realised quickly that this was the area I wanted to work in when I graduated.
Despite working hard both at school, college and uni as well as securing several unpaid work experiences - it was a chance meeting that spring-boarded my career. I met a guy on a plane who happened to work for one of the biggest radio groups. I told him I would work for free for 6 weeks and he snapped me up! The rest is history and that experience shaped the rest of my career path, as I tried to work alongside all the staff I could in the varying radio departments and collected and retained oodles their contacts in this time. (I keep in touch with most of them to this day!) It’s true that you should always talk to as many people as you possibly can - you never know where one conversation will take you!
How did you get to where you are now, and did you face any challenges along the way?
Hard work, determination and tenacity. In the early days when I was literally knocking on doors, there was often a lot of rejection. In my job, you have to face a lot of negativity and you hear a lot of no’s, but you have to keep going in order to succeed.
If any, can you tell us more about how you overcame those setbacks?
For every no, there must be a yes somewhere and you learn to keep going until you get it. I got better at handling the rejection and I decided to use the experiences gained to polish my sales pitch and make me become faster at conversions - knowing how to overcome the challenges and objections. Now I work smarter, knowing when an opportunity is dead and how to maximise those that are not.
‘For every no, there has to be a yes somewhere and you learn to keep going until you get it.’
What’s great about being a female in your role?
I meet with a number of MD’s and directors, often men and I have to present ideas to the board. I think sometimes at this level they are surprised by my ability to handle objections as well as my confidence in my own abilities and skillset. I love the fact that I can juggle a young family and still dedicate so much time and energy to my business as well as having such a good knowledge of the industry and the people that work in it. I think as women we can tackle any challenge thrown at us and can multitask so well.
What is your biggest achievement in life?
Setting up the company with a newborn baby. The business was born when a client needed help a short while after my 2nd boy was born - it was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t say no to. It has been the hardest but greatest thing I’ve achieved to date.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
I love to travel and have instilled this passion in my boys too taking them everywhere we go from Dubai to the Maldives. I have a travel blog that I enjoy contributing to and I have recently taken up yoga classes and meditation to gain that little bit of calm. It’s often so hard to switch off when running your own company.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Trust your gut.
Work hard but work smart – it always pays off.
Don’t be scared to take risks.
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
Always get it in writing - my dad taught me this at a young age, he’s right and it’s never been more relevant than now 2 years into business. He’s been my mentor throughout the Tonic journey providing me with business insight and help which has been invaluable.
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
I meet influential women in business all the time but one that really stands out is Dominique Morton - founder, owner and director of Mancub. Dominique set up an incredibly successful business in a completely new sector after seeing a gap in the market. She is proof that if you believe in something and yourself hard enough anything is possible!
‘If you believe in something and yourself hard enough anything is possible!’
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
I think we are getting there slowly, most of my past bosses were female and they were the best role models to work for.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Being more confident in their abilities. Putting yourself out there a little more to ensure that you are on the radar within the company. I’ve always been my own PR guru, making sure that at each company even the CEO knows who I am.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Go for it! Make sure that your voice is heard and that you surround yourself with the right people with the right work ethic to help you get there. Remember that you need a long-term attitude too. Some of the most successful people have been working so hard to achieve their goals for much longer than it appears on the surface with lots sacrificed along the way – be prepared to put in that time.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Getting the systems and processes right. I enjoy reading and watching extracts by Michael E Gerber and it makes complete sense. It sounds so basic but if you crack this part of any business you are destined to succeed. It’s also important to ensure you have the right mix of work/life balance - otherwise you end up questioning why you do what you do.