Candice ArnoldCandice joined IFS assyst as CMO from Eggplant. She was named as one of the top 50 most influential women in the UK Channel and was shortlisted as CRN’s marketeer of the year in 2018.

 As a senior marketing professional and a digital native, she firmly believes that marketing breathes life into brands and services.

With prior experience at IBM, Sun Microsystems, QuantiQ, and Oracle, Candice brings an extensive track record of expertise in cutting-edge technology and marketing innovation.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I joined IFS – a global enterprise software solution provider – as CMO of their newly acquired Enterprise Service Management (ESM) business unit. Technology and its ability to make our lives easier has always been a passion for me, so IFS assyst’s brand proposition of using smart solutions to improve employee and customer experiences excited me from the outset.

Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the world’s largest and most innovative technology companies, from IBM to Sun Microsystems and Oracle. I firmly believe in the power of marketing to breathe life into brands and services and have extensive experience leading large global teams to solve complex commercial issues.

At the same time, I’m a strong believer in the importance of being an advocate for women in technology and have aimed to set an example for women hoping to enter a similar field. I was proud to be named as one of the top ‘50 Most Influential Women in the UK Channel’ by CRN, as well as being shortlisted for its ‘Marketeer of the Year’ award in 2018.

Currently, at IFS assyst, I am working on bringing the evolution of the product to market. Our next product release, due for General Availability over the summer, consumes most of my time at the moment. This pivotal release provides customers with the ability to discover, manage and optimise their cloud and offline applications and infrastructure without additional cost – included in their ESM subscription. This capability is foundational and crucial for organisations looking to anticipate and fulfil employee demands.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Growing up in apartheid South Africa, it felt like I had two choices. On the one hand, I could do nothing and live as a product of the system, while on the other, I could forge my own path. Ever since I can remember, I have strived for the latter. From an early age I had the ambition to excel and stand out amongst the status quo. I was born into a culture animated by storytelling, so for me marketing felt like a natural choice, enabling me to marry my skills and drive.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

There have been multiple challenges along the way, especially as a single mother working across multiple regions. In the morning, I’ll wake up early to connect with my team in APJ, followed by getting on with my day job. I’ll then pause for dinner, play and bathtime, before picking things up again to work with my west coast colleagues. To make all of this happen, time management is an essential skill I’ve had to master and finding the right balance in my daily routine has been key.

From connecting with many women from all walks of life, I’ve had the opportunity to hear from different people on their own experiences within the workplace. I’ve learned that there’s a number of common issues that have stacked-up against us, from negative self-talk and imposter syndrome to fighting against glass ceilings and the gender pay gap.

 What’s one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

My career tipping point came when I started being unafraid to advocate for the customer amid bureaucracy. In fact, in a 360-degree report with a previous boss, the most glowing comment said: “she is impossible to manage, but customers simply love her work.”

One of my main principles is being customer obsessed. I believe this is the key to a thriving organisation and creating competitive differentiation, which is especially vital in the technology space, where companies are constantly being disrupted.

By focusing my marketing discipline on making things clear and easy for customers interacting with the business, I’ve seen great successes. The approach sets a virtuous cycle in motion: the company becomes sensitive to customer buying patterns, which in turn educates offerings and allows the entire organisation to sell the way people buy.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology marketing?

There are a few things I wish someone had told me before I started my career:

  1. Marketing can be thankless: sometimes the small things go unnoticed, but don’t let that dishearten you. Steve Jobs summed this up well – “details matter, it’s worth waiting to get these right.”
  2. Create for your audience, not the critics: remember it is easy to criticise, but it takes real courage to build something. Don’t let one person’s opinions get you down – there is every chance your audience thinks differently and appreciates what you’ve created.
  3. Practice kinder self-talk: imposter syndrome is real, and the higher you move up the ladder the more people are watching you. Learning about a new role or business can’t happen overnight and during this time your inner critic can take hold. It’s important not to be too harsh on yourself.
  4. “Colouring in” shouldn’t be negative: one of my previous CEOs used to fondly say we were the “colouring in” department. While I hate the idea that all we do is use colouring pens to solve a problem, I believe design is extremely important for bringing technology brands’ stories to life.
  5. Use the right tools: use the tools that make you feel in control even if that means you need to become your own IT support. I’m also a big fan of Piktochart, Keynote, Unsplash, and the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Progress has been made, but unfortunately barriers still exist for women working in the technology space. Data from Tech Talent Charter has shown that only 15% of women work in technology roles, which is a shocking statistic when you sit down and think about it.

We need to ensure technology career paths feel like an option for girls from a young age, which is reliant on rethinking the current curriculum. Organisations also need to make sure technology roles are advertised in an inclusive way – and marketing campaigns can play a key part in ensuring that businesses are promoting open positions effectively to attract diverse talent.

Representation matters. Women of all ages from pre-school and beyond need to see and hear from striking role models. By this, I don’t mean presenting stylised versions of ourselves. Instead, I mean authentic ‘sheroes’ in positions of power telling our story to the media and in boardrooms.

This has huge ramifications for workforce hiring protocols, spokesperson opportunities, our politics and the media we fuel our thoughts by.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

From a marketing perspective, creating strong female role models within the business is extremely important. Ensuring that women working in technology roles are given a platform not only internally, but to reach wider external audiences should be a top priority for every marketing team.

Offering flexibility is also key for women balancing work and family life. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever. Employees’ expectations have changed drastically – we now know we don’t have to be an office every day to carry out tasks successfully.

In hybrid working environments, the key is ensuring we are giving employees seamless employee experiences, no matter where they are working. Technology and practices like ESM can really help here, allowing businesses to deliver great employee experiences across every device and automate repetitive tasks.

What female role models throughout history have inspired you?

While not necessarily specific to technology, I am an avid reader and most inspired when I consume the stories of powerful women. I was enamoured with Maya Angelou after I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I also really connected with Michelle Obama’s story in Becoming – her childhood in a small, humble family filled with love really touched me.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

A good starting point is working with organisations like Founders4Schools. The platform publishes resources that support a STEM agenda and can help expose leaders with diverse worldviews to classrooms across the country.

I also recommend surrounding yourself with progressive thinkers. I love Audible as I have access to feminists like Matthew McConaughey, activists like Brene Brown and Roxanne Gay, as well as storytellers like Stephen Fry and Tina Fey.