Emma Bates featured

Inspirational Woman: Emma Bates | Co-Founder, Diem

Emma BatesEmma Bates is co-founder of new disruptive social media platform Diem, designed for women and non-binary people.

Diem is a new social universe, launching this Autumn (with a waiting list of over 20,000+ already) aiming to tackle the inequality that exists for women and non-binary folks IRL and on social media. Social media is hugely influential to how we live, work and interact with each other, and yet the vast majority of leading platforms are designed by and for men.

Diem is providing a safe, alternative space for women & non-binary folks to share knowledge about the things we don’t talk about openly, marking a move away from performative content and towards a more equitable, personal experience.

Emma is a lifelong advocate for gender equity and equality, and is dedicated to making a positive social impact on the lives of women and non-binary people by building alternative communities.

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

I’m British but living in New York, I moved over about 6 years ago now and since then having been working in the start-up ecosystem stateside. By trade, I’m a marketer, partnerships manager and community builder. My entry into marketing was somewhat untraditional — I started out by growing a blog to 100k+ readers at age 19 and then transitioned into marketing roles at some of the fastest-growing consumer brands in NYC and the UK. Most recently before co-founding my current company, I led Global Marketing & Partnerships initiatives at the DTC travel brand, Away.

Currently I’m building Diem, we’re building a new social universe, designed for women and non-binary folks. We are creating virtual worlds centered on spaces for knowledge sharing. Anything from skincare to 401ks, you’ll find experts & peers to converse with via synchronous & asynchronous mediums. We believe that every persons unique experience is knowledge another can learn from.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I always knew I didn’t want a traditional career path (aka working in a big company). I was lucky to have parents that supported by slightly unconventional ways of getting where I wanted to go and remaining patient while I only applied to start-ups in my final months of university. I’ve always loved being in smaller environments where I can learn from everyone around me and there are no barriers to knowledge.

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

Definitely! Depends on the challenge at hand but I’m a big proponent of asking for help vs trying to figure it out by myself (community is everything!) So typically when something isn’t going quite right I reach out to those who might be able to help me navigate.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Founding Diem was a pretty big achievement and raising our pre-seed round was no easy feat – i’m very proud of all we’re creating and can’t wait for others to experience it.

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

I made a choice to view my career as stepping stones to my larger mission of having a positive social impact on pushing gender equality in the right direction. I think being able to disassociate the day to day with that goal has helped me navigate choices from a more strategic perspective.

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

Ask questions! There are always going to be people who know more than you and typically, they’re happy to share their knowledge. Be curious in meetings and when interfacing with other team members outside your immediate team, that’s how I met my co-founder, I was interested in learning more about digital product and we both worked together at Away so I sought out her knowledge to better understand how you build technology.

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

100% – I don’t think there’s one answer or solution here but I will say that employers should actively seek to hire women into tech not to be a token diversity hire but because they’re really talented (they’re out there! try a bit harder to find them!) From the entrepreneurship side, give more women in tech money – you never know, there’s a big chance we’ll build great, profitable businesses and bring other women along with us.

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

Listen to them and create working environments where they feel confident to contribute.

There are currently only 17 per cent 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’ve thought about this quite a lot in the past, and I really don’t know in all honestly. But one thing I have always come back to is education – if I think about my own school experience, I was never actively encouraged to take subjects that would have prepared me for a career in tech. Access to education & more transparency into all the areas of the tech industry as a starting point would be huge. Much like careers in finance, we know from our research at Diem that the tech world is a black hole to many women still.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I love Femstreet & Accelerated Newsletters for generalized insight into happenings in the tech world! Also recommended finding entrepreneurs & VCs to follow on Twitter, tech Twitter has a lot of (often annoying lol) noise but lots of insights, resources & knowledge is shared.