Chloe Cameron

As Chief People Officer for the Pax8 EMEA region my role is to ensure we keep humans at the heart of our growth.

I develop the vision and strategy to maintain and scale an inclusive, high performance culture built on servant leadership, psychological safety and genuine community. My mission is nothing short of empowering every Pax8er to do the best works of their lives here.

I came to a career in tech via a degree in History from the University of Cambridge, believing the Internet to be the Guttenberg Press of the 21st Century. I have worked in global corporates and small start ups and occupied a variety of leadership roles across marketing, business operations and most recently people. In 2021 I was honoured to receive theCompTIA  Advancing Women in Technology Leadership Award.

A fun fact about me: I am an unashamed analog book nerd and love hunting through secondhand bookshops. I am currently building up a collection of original Penguin Classics.

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

I started my career in B2B marketing working for a number of publicly owned companies learning how to navigate my way in the corporate world. This was something that I really enjoyed but I soon became a little disillusioned because a number of internal processes significantly slowed progress down and the impact I was making within these organisations was relatively small to what I felt I could have achieved.

I had to take a step back and think: do I want to spend my working life working at a large corporation, keeping comfortable with good benefits? Or do I want to make a difference? I chose to make a difference, and in 2013, I joined Wirehive as the Head of Marketing.

At the time I was employee number seven, and from that point the business grew rapidly. After a couple of years I had been promoted to Marketing Director, and it wasn’t until I then started managing people that I truly understood the importance of culture and leadership within a business. I was starting to get real exposure to finance, IT, people and marketing before we were acquired by Pax8 in 2021.

The acquisition was Pax8’s first outside of the US and it kickstarted the company’s journey to international expansion. I was provided with a choice – to head up the business’ new UK marketing efforts, or become Chief People Officer. I chose the latter. I saw there was an opportunity to bring a people-first culture to a much bigger scale. That is what I’m trying to do today – I want to bring the experience I received as employee number seven to 300 people across EMEA.

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

I had to get over the fact that on many occasions, I was the only woman in the room. It is a tough hurdle to overcome, but the sad reality is that in a male-dominated industry you can’t rely on someone holding the door open for you. I have had some amazing mentors and role models to help me with this. I had seen women who had tackled the issue head on before and they gave me the confidence to believe in myself.

Mentorship is so important because they have the cheat code to where you want to get to. You also need someone who has your back, and who believes in you on those days where you don’t believe in yourself.

I would say that confidence is key. There’s a famous quote by Glennon Doyle Melton: “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. I was scared quite a lot of the time at the start of my career, but with each new challenge I felt a little bit less afraid for the next one. That gradual build-up of confidence carried me through to the other side.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m really proud of my current role – earning a C-Suite position and being able to lead a function in a specific region while shaping the whole work experience for a group of people. We are currently a team of 300 and growing, and I’m honoured to be a part of a people-centric global company where we can all learn from each other and grow together.

It feels like, in some small way, I am contributing to raising people’s expectations about what they can expect from the world of work. Whether they stay with us on the journey – which of course we hope they do – or if they decide to work elsewhere. Either way, they have experienced a better way of working and now demand it from others.

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

Learning to understand myself and how to communicate with others. For example, I’m naturally quite introverted, so in a large group of people I prefer to sit and listen. It has been really important for me to understand my preferences, so that I can both understand other people and also advocate for myself.

I’m really fortunate to have worked with a number of highly supportive people that have been keen to understand me. Saying what you need is not a sign of weakness or failure. You are letting people know where you are and what you need to be successful.

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

Being really clear about who you are and what your superpower is, is really important. It might not be what you think it is, or even what you want it to be. There is only one of you and you need to invest time in getting to know yourself; figuring out who you are, what you want and what value you bring. Once you have done that, you can figure out where you want to go.

I would also recommend against chasing short term markers of success. Your career is like a game of chess. You have to think a few steps ahead. Don’t be afraid to do the sideways move or jump into a new industry if you realise your passion lies elsewhere. If it is going to get you to your end destination quicker, focus on that and take your time to figure everything out.

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

As a society, we are fundamentally patriarchal, and this will always create barriers for women. The workforce is full of people who have been brought up with certain gender expectations and who have benefitted from particular systems and sadly some of them are blind to their privilege. Comparatively, there are some people who have had the deck stacked against them from day one. However, over the last few years, people have become more aware of the bigger issue.

The #MeToo movement really opened the conversation around the biases against women in business. There was a great listening moment where people spoke up about a number of issues – the emotional labour, office housework, women assumed to be secretaries or expected to get the coffee or taking meeting notes. People now recognise that issue but the conversation must continue.

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

Provide great mentorship and develop the right employee resource groups, whether this is to promote women in tech or drive better social impact. These groups provide a platform that allow employees to meet role models, support each other and build informal networks. For instance, Lucie Hutchison, who was the third woman to join our sales team in March, 2021, set up our first women’s empowerment group in the UK to help create an inclusive workspace.

I would also encourage leaders to read and talk with each other. Power is held at the leadership level, so organisations must demand that the group is curious and that it educates itself about all things within the business. By fostering a culture of curiosity, people are more likely to be open minded about differences, and more aware of their potential blind spots.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Find your tribe. Building a community and making the time to come together and share experiences, stories and knowledge. It really helps businesses to develop groups of people that have each other’s backs, and this can play an important role in educating team members as well.