She’s an experienced digital marketer, savvy strategist and persuasive storyteller. Five years ago, she jumped into digital marketing from event production and hasn’t looked back. Today, she’s the Director of Digital Strategy at TDT. We love her self-awareness, authenticity and attitude in taking every challenge on with gusto. Here are her words of wisdom on the definition of entrepreneurial spirit, the “cult of busy” and the power of values.
Talentedly: How has the digital marketing industry affected the way you view leadership?
Ashley Banks: To succeed in digital marketing, you need a constantly evolving strategy, a willingness to quickly pivot and the confidence to fearlessly champion new ideas that might fail. This experimental approach is often the antithesis of conservative corporate leadership. Because of this, I now approach leadership in a much more horizontal or collaborative way, rather than with a rigidly hierarchical, top-down structure.
I’ve done my best work when management has given me the freedom and trust to experiment with new technology and fresh ideas. To me, the best leader is someone with a clear vision who invites employees to collaborate in making that vision a reality, empowering employees along the way to achieve and grow. That type of management culture is what I look for in career opportunities, and what I try to cultivate as a boss.
TLY: What is the best professional feedback someone has given you?
AB: Be vocal about your value and your values — in any job you should know the point where you are willing to walk away. This has led me to both advocate for my work and remind myself when it’s not worth compromising.
TLY: What is the skill that has served you best in you career?
AB: Entrepreneurial spirit. Not knowing how to do something has never held me back —between the limitless internet resources at your fingertips and a great network, there is no excuse for saying “I don’t know” or not taking on a new challenge. Throwing myself into new projects with gusto or campaigning to work on initiatives outside of my original job description form the key elements that have driven my career forward. Entrepreneurship isn’t just starting your own company — it can be building a new job description or a new department in your current job.
TLY: What advice would you give your 12-year old self?
AB: Don’t strive for perfection. Excellent, or even sometimes good, work is good enough — use the time you’ll save time to do more, create more and enjoy what inspires you. Try not to fear failure or judgment, because those fears can cripple you.
TLY: What are you most proud of?
AB: Reaching a point in my career where I can choose the projects and clients I work with. Rejecting the cult of “busy” to take time for people and activities that excite me. Staying creative. Defining success for myself rather than looking to others.
TLY: Advice to those desiring to enter the digital marketing field?
AB: There’s never been such a low barrier to entry for getting your work seen — take advantage. However, with many people competing for the same jobs, a diverse skill set can get you far. Coding and other tech skills combined with a creative mind and intuitive design sense make you invaluable. Are you a strong writer longing to get into content marketing? Differentiate yourself with added design and visual skills — proficiency in Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe creative suite make you a far more desirable candidate. Digital marketing melds both creativity and data science — the best people in this sphere are passionate about both the creative that forms the emotional heart of campaigns and the data helps those campaigns reach the right people at the right time.
TLY: What’s the secret sauce to being an Influencer?
AB: Listening. It’s easy to fall into the trap when connecting with new people to excitedly think of how the person could help you. Instead, explore how you can help people. It’s fun and gratifying to introduce two people who you know could collaborate beautifully, or to share an article that someone would find fascinating. I’ve found people value my input more when I don’t come out of the gate pitching, but first build a mutually interesting relationship.
Lydia Loizides is serial entrepreneur, technology provocateur and relentless challenger of the status quo. She spends her days as Founder & CEO of Talentedly, a technology company on a mission to help people grow from good to great at work (technology + people = amazing results). The rest of her waking moments are spent running, reading, learning, and trying to prove that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42. You can follow Lydia @lydiaNYC @GetTalentedly, on LinkedIn and the Huffington Post.