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.


Dipti Dey featured

Inspirational Woman: Dipti Dey | Director of Professional Services, Hootsuite

As Director of Professional Services at Hootsuite, Dipti Dey has joined a company which empowers women to fulfil their potential.

As a leader and firm believer in mentorships, Dipti believes Hootsuite is making great strides to improves its diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. It hasn't always been like this for Dipti in the technology industry though. Whilst Dipti has been fortunate during her time at Cision, the technology industry as a whole can be debilitating for women's confidence. Over the years, Dipti has seen many women, including herself, fail to recognise their worth and not step up for positions they are more than qualified to do. Dipti believes that women are too focused on ticking all the boxes before they progress, but this isn't what's important nor is it what men do when they are in similar scenarios. Showing confidence, taking risks and learning as you go is an important way for women to progress in the technology industry especially as businesses become more conscious than ever to diversify their leadership teams.

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

I have always considered myself a changemaker, and that’s the reason I joined the tech industry, as change is always guaranteed.

I have been at Hootsuite for nearly four years now, and I have worked my way from Professional Services Manager for Customer Success to Director of Professional Services across EMEA. As this was a new role in the organisation, it really gave me the opportunity to make the job my own and carve out a place for myself as a female leader within the company. Over the past four years, I have had the privilege of seeing the company evolve into a more female-led organisation that champions diversity and encourages women to be ambitious.

Before Hootsuite, I worked at Cision for nearly fifteen years. I started out as a contributor and left heading up the customer success division, and I think that was a real career-defining moment for me.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

When I first started my career, I didn’t really have a clear career plan. It’s only when I landed my first management role that it changed. I had the responsibility of making my team successful and to do so meant getting plans in place!

When I had my son, I created a 5 year career plan which I wanted to achieve in 2 years. I wanted to work for a company that was considered a game changer in its field and held strong values that I could relate to. That’s why I joined Hootsuite in 2015. Making my son proud was a big part of my career plan too. Whilst the role I took at Hootsuite was a step down in seniority, I knew I would love working at the company and embrace the challenges I would face. I had the ambition that within two years I would work my way up to Director level - and here we are!

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

I have been very lucky in the sense I have worked with some hugely supportive male leaders throughout my career, who championed female leadership and encouraged movement up the career ladder. But that’s not saying I had an easy ride, like most women in the industry I had to fight to be noticed and that was a challenge. Early in my career I definitely also struggled with having the confidence to step up and put myself out there, but as I learnt to believe in myself, understood what I could bring to the table that was different from everyone else, and began to see which direction I could take the business, I started to be judged on my credibility and not my gender or race, and that’s got me to where I am today.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

It’s definitely hiring and promoting all the talented individuals I work beside. Many of those that I have mentored over my 15 + years of experience in tech have developed and become highly successful people leaders in global organisations, which makes me very proud!

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

That’s easy, it’s down to two words: Hard work! There are no shortcuts to success and that’s a fact. It’s something I tell all of the individuals I mentor - you have to put in the hours, show commitment and be determined to get the best results. You can’t be afraid of failure, and above all, as a female leader, self-believe is absolutely key.

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

The number one tip I can offer to someone in the tech industry is to be confident in yourself and what you can offer, because there will be times when you’re the only person that does. If you are resilient, hardworking and determined to excel, there really is no reason why you can’t. The industry is heading in the right direction when it comes to diversity, and I personally cannot wait to see where it will be in 20 years from now.

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

Yes, I do believe there are definitely barriers to success for women working in tech, and while the industry has developed, it still has a long way to go. Having said that, I do think something can be said for hard work, doing your research and showing resilience. It is so important for women entering the industry to know their worth, and not being afraid to step up. I often see young, capable women who won’t put their hand up because they don’t think they’re fit for the role, and it's a real shame. You don’t get anywhere in life without taking a few risks.

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

There are plenty of things companies can now do to ensure they are supporting women working hard in the technology industry. It needs to come from leadership, having someone in charge of inclusion and diversity, who has the first-hand experience of the issues in the industry, and is passionate about making a change. Hootsuite has definitely stepped up its game in recent years, and we now have Heidi Rolston who looks after inclusion and diversity, across the business.

Something we do regularly at Hootsuite is to bring together all female leadership, across every different department, to brainstorm what is working well at the company, lessons to be learnt and how we can improve in the future. These sessions are led by our Chief Marketing Officer, Penny Wilson who is hugely inspirational to me and a great role model for everyone within the industry.

The brainstorm sessions ensure we get multiple different viewpoints on how we can support women, instead of it coming straight from the top down. These brainstorms resulted in the company creating a female mentorship program which is soon to trial launch in Vancouver, as a way for junior women in the industry to learn skills from women at the heart of it.

There is currently only 15% 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?

The first thing I would do is change the recruitment process to be more inclusive. At Hootsuite, we strive to make the recruitment process as inclusive as possible. We don't just consider gender, but other intersections like race and sexuality etc. It's important that the industry as a whole does the same. Making the recruitment process inclusive for all, and setting up the company that it's a welcoming environment. Having said that, it’s great to see more high profile roles in tech go to female leaders, such as Susan Wojcicki, CEO at YouTube, Ginni Rommetty, CEO at IBM and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, does make me more hopeful that things are slowly changing.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

In terms of podcasts, I love to listen to ‘Witty: Women in Tech Talk to Yaz”. It’s a bi-monthly podcast about women disrupting the technology industry, including the challenges women face in the industry and their first exposure to tech. The conversations are genuine and the humour is smart, it’s a refreshing take on addressing the issues within the industry head-on.

When it comes to books, one of my favourites is Indra Nooyi’s biography. She has been a huge inspiration for me throughout my career, and her book is no exception. Other authors include Steve Jobs, he’s extremely insightful and his books are highly informative. I’m also a  huge fan of Start with Why by Simon Sinek and The Wolfpack by Abby Wambach.