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International Women’s Day 2024: “Just get out there and do it!”

Zarah Akilagun Mar 8, 2024

In today’s world, women are expected to take on many roles such as, the mother, the friend, the daughter, the work colleague and the list goes on. We need to learn to be kinder to ourselves and take care of our bodies and minds. I hope my story resonates with some of the women out there and is a reminder that we are stronger than we realise and have so much value and self-worth.

Growing up in Northern Ireland as a mixed-race child in the 90s was challenging but it has taught me to always stay strong and true to myself.

At school I always wanted to become a sports physiotherapist due to my love of sports. However, my choice of subjects at school, led me to study Business at University. During this time, I completed a placement year and landed my first full time job with a professional services company in their marketing department.  Soon after that my career journey in Marketing began.
I’m not going to lie that I did find working life tough the first few years, I struggled with my confidence but was always very dedicated to my job. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to go on training courses, networking events and internal company days that have all helped me grow.

Fast forward to the present day, where I am working as a Marketing Manager for DisplayNote, a software company in Belfast and part of the Volaris Group. Having been in this role for nearly 2 years, I am looking after a small team of marketeers and have really grown as an individual thanks to the opportunities I have been given by the company.

DisplayNote and The Volaris group have opened up lots of opportunities to learn and develop which has made the transition into a Management role a lot more comfortable for me especially in a heavily male dominated industry. I was encouraged to enroll on the Management Essentials Course led by Verosa, a well known UK leadership and training company. From this course, I learned the basic principles of management and different tools and techniques that can be applied in everyday working life. I also found it really comforting to hear from other managers in a similar environment who were on their manager journeys just like me.

I have also been very lucky to be involved with one-to-one Management Coaching in which I have a mentor who works with me once a month. This is my protected time to discuss any challenges and mark any successes I have achieved along the way and come up with solutions suitable for me that I can put into practice.

From a companywide perspective, I have been involved in strategy days and more specific sales and marketing workshops with my team, who I have to say are a super bunch to work with! Without doubt, I am still learning and growing as an individual, but what’s resonates most with me throughout my journey to date, is that I have always tried to make the best of every opportunity that is given to me. Nothing is more rewarding than the feeling of achievement, especially if it outside of our natural comfort zone.

As women, we tend to under value our abilities especially in the workplace and we often suffer imposter syndrome. Can we really do this? Are we good enough?

My answer – of course! Just get out there and do it!

“Women are taught to be too many things that contradict each other so I’ve decided to just be strange and powerful”.

Shatara Liora A Mad Girl’s Song

Zarah Akilagun-Thompson | DisplayNote Technologies

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