Stacy Westhead: Rising Star Award Winner

17 Feb 2014
By Parker

atom42 award winner Stacy Westhead portrait photo.

“And the winner of the Media Week Rising Star Award goes to….” Yup, you guessed it, our very own Stacy Westhead!

We caught up with Stacy to talk about what winning the Rising Star Award meant, her journey into online marketing and her top tips for aspiring marketeers…

Can you tell us a bit about the Rising Star Award?

In their words, Media Week’s Rising Star award “seeks to find the chief executives of the future”. In short, the award gives recognition to professionals within the digital industry who have achieved great things and show promising signs for the future.

What was the ceremony like?

It was really good! We had a table to ourselves so it was a lot of fun.

The Rising Star award wasn’t announced until 11pm so by the time my name flashed up on the screen I was incredibly nervous…and a little tipsy!

The award was presented by Greg Davies – aka Mr Gilbert from The Inbetweeners – so I was a bit star struck! Every other winner simply shook his hand, however, I – all of a fluster – gave him a massive hug!

How did your nomination come about?

Andy (Atalla – Founder of atom42) had been saying for a long time that he wanted me to win an award before I was 30. He laid down the gauntlet, so to speak. It was almost like it was Andy’s way of thanking me for the work I’ve done over the years. He wanted me to get recognition from someone else that wasn’t him.

After writing a personal statement (covering my career so far and main achievements),  I was then invited to present to judges from within the industry – it was probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever had to do, and to make matters worse I then had to wait 10 weeks for the verdict.  Thankfully it was good news.

Has winning the award changed your approach to your work?

It definitely hasn’t changed what I do or the way I do it. It has, however, given me a confidence boost. It’s made me realise that I do know what I’m talking about and I should learn to trust my own instincts more.

What was your journey into online marketing?

I did a degree in Maths at Lancaster University. I was always really envious of my housemates’ degrees though – they all did marketing and it looked like they were really enjoying it so I took the opportunity to do a module in marketing in my final year.

When I graduated I sent my CV to recruitment agencies and they suggested a career in search marketing as it could be both analytical and creative.

What have you learnt from your journey?

I have learnt that if you are pushed outside your comfort zone or thrown in the deep end it can be the best learning experience and the best way to learn about a job.

You also can’t underestimate the importance of having a good team of people around you – people are really important to you and your success.

When you joined atom42 it was a one man company – was this a risk?

As an outsider, joining a company at such an early stage is a massive risk. I remember my Dad spouting off stats about how many businesses fail in their first year! But hearing Andy’s big plans for atom42 made my decision a no-brainer. I’d worked with him before and I saw this as a fantastic opportunity to be closely mentored by someone with a wealth of experience and progress quickly within the company.

What have been your greatest achievements?

Keeping clients for as long as we have feels like a strong achievement; we’ve worked with NAH for seven years and Drinkaware for over four years. It’s also a real honour when new clients come from recommendations, it reinforces the good work that we do.

What have been your greatest challenges?

Losing clients is always difficult but it’s how you bounce back that matters. Sometimes there are factors outside your control. If this is the case, it’s important you don’t beat yourselves up about it.

It’s tough when atoms leave too. We all work so closely and everyone becomes part of your little work family. Fortunately we have a really low staff turnover but even when someone leaves for the best reasons it can still be upsetting.

How do we go about encouraging female talent in the workplace?

If you just look at the Media Week Awards, there are a lot of female directors, CEO’s and managers etc and they’re being recognised for their work and achievements– I think the tide is turning.

A lot of the time it’s to do with frame of mind. If you don’t perceive yourself to be inferior then you’re less likely to be treated like that.

What would your advice be for aspiring marketeers?

Don’t rely on other people in order for you to progress and learn. You can learn so much yourself.

Be creative and push boundaries. Even if you’re doing something monotonous, you can make it more creative and get better results.

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