Inspirational Woman: Eva Taylor | Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Hootsuite

Eva Taylor

Eva has over 12 years of experience creating and executing strategic programmes and campaigns that connect and engage brands with their customers and stakeholders.

In her role at Hootsuite, she works across the organisation to demonstrate the value of social beyond the marketing department and demonstrate how we can drive positive change through social for good.

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

I’m currently Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Director at Hootsuite, one of the leading social media management firms. I’ve been with the company for about four and a half years, and previously also managed social marketing and operations alongside CSR.

My work includes developing social impact strategies that focus on positively impacting Hootsuite’s employees, customers, neighbourhoods, communities, and environment for the long term.

For example, in 2021 we focused heavily on bringing Hootsuite’s guiding principles of “allies and neighbours” and “step up” to life for our employees through a new programme called Hootsuite for Good. As part of this, we launched a partnership with Benevity, the leading provider of corporate purpose software, to power our social impact programs with a focus on employee engagement through volunteerism and employee giving and matching. During our first ever HootMatch event this fall, I was thrilled to see our employees personally give more than $55,000 to hundreds of causes, which Hootsuite then matched to double the impact.

Another core component of our social impact portfolio is our HootGiving program—I’m really passionate about how we enable and empower non-profit organisations and charities with our platform and expertise to help them unlock the power of social media to help raise awareness, fundraise, recruit volunteers, run campaigns, and promote advocacy.

More broadly, I have over 12 years of experience creating and executing strategic programs and campaigns that connect and engage brands with their customers and stakeholders.

I’m deeply motivated by a passion for driving social impact professionally and personally. I’m always looking for meaningful ways to use my time and skills to support people of all ages and backgrounds, and to be kinder to animals and our planet (via organisations like Women in Tech World, Futurpreneur Canada, the BC SPCA, MondayGirl.ca, and Make a Wish Canada).

At Hootsuite, I work across the company to demonstrate the value of social beyond the marketing department, and show how we can drive positive change through social for good. In my time at Hootsuite, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some wonderful initiatives with groups such as the World Woman Foundation, StepUp.One and Witness Change.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I made a conscious decision in high school to pursue my bachelor’s degree in commerce as I wanted to develop a certain set of skills early on in my career that I could then use to help the non-profit sector later on. I started working in tech from the onset as I was particularly attracted to the blend of strategic and creative skills needed to succeed. I loved how the tech industry continuously evolves, which creates endless opportunities to learn new skills.

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

It has been challenging at times to be an underrepresented individual in certain circumstances, and to know that you might be experiencing pay inequity despite your experience or performance, for example. The effect of this is particularly detrimental to one’s mental health, which in turn affects your ability to give your full attention to the task at hand, which is why efforts such as pay equity are so important in order to level the playing field. Finding an organization that champions pay equity as well as a trusted colleague internally at your organisation who can help champion your cause can be helpful in these scenarios.

This is certainly part of the reason why I enjoy working at Hootsuite — they are proactively looking for the data to inform their decisions on how to support all underrepresented groups, with initiatives such as leadership coaching programs, pay equity, diversity hiring targets, and inclusive benefits. It would have been incredible to have had this level of intentional support throughout my career.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Having managed several teams throughout my career, I’ve come to value team successes more than individual ones. Few things are completed in isolation and I always feel an immense sense of gratitude when I see the members of my teams succeed and grow in their careers, even if that means losing them to bigger, bolder opportunities as they pursue their next step.

As a more recent example, I was especially grateful to be a part of a small team at Hootsuite that raised nearly $1,000,000 CAD in 24 hours from across 40 BC-based companies for the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts following a devastating flood in British Columbia. Shortly thereafter, the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of British Columbia announced they would each match every dollar donated to the Canadian Red Cross 2021 British Columbia Floods & Extreme Weather Appeal, so our impact was tripled to several million dollars.

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

Being open to new challenges and working hard to learn new skills quickly has been an important part of my professional development. I would often raise my hand to take on new responsibilities that may not have been a part of my traditional job description. This gave me more exposure to different areas of an organisation and helped me determine where I wanted to focus in my career.

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

Try to lead with a growth mindset if possible — the tech industry is constantly changing, so believing in your ability to improve your capacities and talents over time will spur you to take advantage of new opportunities more often.

If you’re looking to develop new skills or move into a different skill set, consider alternative ways to build new skills if those opportunities aren’t being presented at your workplace. For example, working with non-profit organisations can be a great way to gain additional experience while giving back to your community. Networking across your company will also enable you to better understand the different departments and skills needed.

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

Even today, we continue to see a shortage of women role models, gender-based pay gaps and persistent gender bias. However, some companies are visibly striving to change this by establishing diversity, equity and inclusion as a priority for their organisation with the necessary support of their leadership team.

As an example, Hootsuite has made a formal commitment to prioritising pay equity by taking the #PayUpForProgress pledge, which was developed by a fellow tech company, Unbounce. As part of this, we annually review compensation across the company and immediately rectify any disparities. This type of programme can help by bringing companies together as part of a shared goal with frameworks in place to help make it actionable and sustainable.

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

Formalising your goals is a good place to start — this includes prioritising this work within the business as a corporate objective so that it has the necessary executive sponsorship and resources required to bring it to life.

More specific examples could include making a formal commitment to pay equity, offering internship programs for underrepresented groups, providing tuition assistance for skills development, rethinking your family leave policies to make it easier for parents to share the responsibility, offering child care assistance, providing company-wide unconscious bias training for both hiring and promotions, and establishing formal mentorship programs.

There are 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?

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d want to see equity and parity in terms of opportunities (such as hiring, promotions, and leave) and pay, ideally across all underrepresented groups in tech. The pay gap in particular is still visible and women/caregivers who leave the workforce to take care of their families are especially vulnerable to this.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I tend to sign up for a lot of e-newsletters from a variety of events and publications to stay up to date on what’s happening in both tech and CSR—one such example is the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

I also find it incredibly helpful to join online communities with other like-minded professionals, whether that’s on a social network such as LinkedIn or by joining casual monthly virtual meetings with other CSR professionals that I’ve met through my network.