Danielle Templeton

With a passion for art and design, Danielle started her career at Widen in 1997 working in the catalogue production.

Moving to marketing in 2009, she now manages a team of creative professionals focused on strengthening and expanding the Widen brand. Danielle enjoys working cross functionally to support brand alignment and is passionate about sharing information with others, supporting customers, and elevating the Widen experience across all digital channels.

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

I have been working at Widen since 1997 and I’m currently a Creative Manager at the company. Over the course of my career, I have worked across a wide variety of different disciplines including but not limited to catalogue production, data management, customer success, production art, design, and marketing. I am now the lead of the team that I was a part of.

I was painfully shy growing up in a small midwestern town. I went to Western Wisconsin Technical college where I studied commercial art which helped nurture my creativity. I love to create, whether it’s drawing, designing, painting, home improvements or gardening. I went back to school in 2003 to study web design realising I needed more skills to stay competitive.

I am now focused on building the Widen brand, supporting our customers, and delivering positive digital experiences online for our customers and buyers.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I did not plan any of my career, but the one thing I did know was that I always wanted to work in the creative world. My high school art teacher told me that he saw me leading a design team someday, so maybe that’s always been embedded in the back of my mind. Ultimately the people and opportunities presented to me at Widen have helped to shape the path I am on today.

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

Absolutely! I’ve had to learn new systems and research web design and development trends daily as it is such a constantly evolving industry. I took online classes and in person training to stay on top of all the latest trends in the world of design and web development. I think it is incredibly important to keep learning – that way, every day is like a breath of fresh air!

I have been a victim of bias and judgement and so I have had to develop a thick skin along the way. But it never changed me in a negative way and in fact only encouraged me to do and be more. I’ll admit that I have made mistakes, but I have learned from every one of them. I am sure there will continue to be challenges in my career but I will continue to learn and develop.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My greatest achievement to date has been becoming the Creative Manager at Widen, and being given the opportunity to help my team and others learn from and grow with each other. I also get a tremendous sense of satisfaction from helping to build brand awareness across the entire organisation at Widen – helping to increase cross team collaboration has been a big part of that.”

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

I think an insatiable curiosity has been a key feature of my career to date. What this curiosity means is not only being aware of the world around me for inspiration, but also wanting to learn more from others and about how things work. I think when working in the tech space this is especially important.”

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

If I had to summarise my top tips for young tech professionals and students it would be:

  • Be curious
  • Never stop learning
  • Take that online class
  • Attend a webinar about something new
  • Try something creative – you just never know where your next spark might come from!”

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

Yes, this is an indisputable fact. I think to try and eventually overcome these barriers; a few key steps can be taken. Young women in tech (and other industries) need mentors who can help them navigate what can be a tricky career path. Ideally these mentors should be women who are further along in their careers, who know what it takes.

Another factor I think is helpful, is to attend workshops. These workshops should encourage young women with inspiring speakers. I also think being aware of your biases: what you may judge someone else on quite possibly could be something you yourself could be judged on.

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

To support women working in tech, I think it is essential that businesses try to address the following:

  • Actively try to build the most diverse workforce possible.
  • Companies should encourage personal development both inside and out of the workplace.
  • Build opportunities for mentorship.
  • Encourage cross-team collaboration for opportunities to learn from each other.
  • Offer competitive benefits packages.
  • Allow employees the option to work remotely and provide flexible work schedules.

There is currently only 17 percent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I think constant encouragement is vital. As already mentioned, hire as diverse a workforce as possible. Introduce technology into areas where women may be interested or already working. Build more mentorship programs for women and focus on people as humans not just employees, customers, and buyers.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I am a visual person by nature so some of my go-to conferences for the last few years have been How Design Live, Adobe MAX and Inbound.

I also enjoy a variety of shows and documentaries which I think are noteworthy either for those interested in design or personal development. Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix – I’ve actually seen an exhibit by the artist: Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern. Other great shows I recommend are The Creative Brain, Blown Away and Bréne Brown: the Call to Courage, Face Off and Project Runway. Basically, I enjoy anything that involves creativity from home building and interior design to makeup art, animation, and movie making. After watching the making of Thriller as a child, I immediately wanted to be a makeup artist.

My go-to websites for inspiration are Behance and Codepen. Reading wise, I love What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith and How Women Rise and Mark Reiter but like I said, I am more visual than a reader by nature!

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