Where do you work and your role title?
News UK – Head of Content Platforms
Get To Know Me
Favourite ice-cream flavour: Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
Wrap up in the shortest sentence possible what your role means.
I lead the team at News UK that creates the tools, which our journalists use to create content for The Times, The Sun and several other publications.
What is the interesting / challenging part of your work?
I went to University to be a journalist but ended up going into Tech since there was so much opportunity in this industry. Where I work now enables me to bring these two career paths together. I love that I get to witness the day to day effort of producing the news, learn what the journalists need, and then work with our teams to build the tools that will help them do their jobs even better. In today’s climate, quality journalism is more important than ever.
What attracted you to choose a STEM field?
My first job was working in Public Relations in California’s Silicon Valley. There were so many exciting start-ups and I wanted to be a part of what was being built instead of writing about it on the sidelines. I took a chance and applied for a Junior Project Management role at Everdream – a tech start-up founded by two of Elon Musk’s cousins. Since then, I’ve never looked back.
Technology is needed all over the world and working in this industry means I’ve had the opportunity to work in San Francisco, London, and New Zealand, as well as travel for work to amazing places like India and across Europe! 🌍
What is your biggest achievement that you are most proud of? How do you track and express your achievements in the workplace and beyond?
A few years ago, I ran the New York Marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Then in 2008, I spent 8 months travelling around Europe in a camper van.
Small tip: make sure the camper van has a large wardrobe. You get tired of wearing the same three t-shirts every day! 😜
When it comes to work, I mainly seek out opportunities that will really challenge me. One of my favourite projects was working on the project management team for the PlayStation 3 launch. I was later invited back to lead the global re-platforming of PlayStation’s website for the PlayStation 4 launch. They were the most stressful experiences of my career, but also amazing opportunities to learn.
Who are your mentors or role models that helped you either directly or indirectly?
I’ll be honest, there weren’t many women in Tech through a lot of my career. I often find myself in meeting rooms where I am the only woman. It’s getting much better now, but being fewer in numbers meant that the women I worked with really rallied around one another.
I had incredibly strong and supportive women at my side and some of them are now my best friends. I’d have to say my female colleagues are my greatest supportive influence.
Strong women lift each other up, not tear each other down
How do you think women can be game-changers in time of crisis?
Our ability to listen and our emotional intelligence can have a very positive impact in times of crisis. There are several amazing female world leaders who really listened to the advice that they were being given, considered it carefully and made choices that would result in the best positive outcome for their entire country. The results speak for themselves.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader? Are there any technology resources that you would recommend?
Reading books about building your confidence and striving for your dreams – As a little girl growing up in a small town in Colorado, I never dreamed that I would have the courage to leave home at 17, study on the other side of the country and then travel the world and live in such a big city like London. I was lucky to have parents who drilled into me that anything was possible and I never even thought that my gender was something that might hold me back.
Follow inspirational women on Instagram – not just celebrities, listen to motivational podcasts or find ones that will help you learn about your area of passion. It doesn’t have to be about your professional career all of the time. I work to live, not live to work.
Whatever your dream may be, feed yourself the fuel that will ignite that fire
It’s your day off. What do you do to relax?
I love going for long walks through the countryside, hanging out with my girl friends, having a glass of wine, laying in a hammock while listening to an audio book, or playing with my English Bulldog, Bentley. But most of all, I love to travel and I’m really missing it. 🍃🐶
What advice would you give to your 21 year old self?
- Don’t work unreasonably long hours! If you’re working 10+ hours per day, you need to focus on only the most important tasks and learn what doesn’t need to get done. Or your boss needs to hire more people and stop taking advantage of you.
- The greatest opportunity to earn more money is when you’re accepting a new role! Invest in making your CV amazing and work on your interview skills. When negotiating your salary, start with what you think you should ask for, then add 20-30%. You’d be surprised how often they say yes or only skim a little bit off the top. You’re worth more than you realise.
- Don’t wait for someone else in the meeting to say what you’re thinking! The number of times I’ve had an idea or thought of a good point but didn’t have the confidence to say it! And then someone else said the same thing I was thinking! When it happens, use it to build your confidence that your ideas and thoughts really are good. Then take that chance to say what you think and your confidence will continue to grow.
What makes you RARE?
1. Not taking myself too seriously – One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was from a colleague in my team who said ‘I’ve loved working in your team because you can still be silly even in a senior role. It’s the first time I’ve realised I can be myself and still be successful.’
2. I love to champion my teammates – It goes back to my early days in Tech and how much it helped to have strong and supportive girlfriends cheering me on. There’s nothing worse than a manager who is worried you’ll outshine them. Good leaders are those that help their teams find the best versions of themselves.
3. I often find myself in ridiculous predicaments – I’ve been locked in Hyde Park after they shut all of the gates at night and I had to beg a jogger running past on the outside to help me scale the fence. I’ve accidentally jumped on the wrong train on the way into work and got locked in a train depot. I accidentally put on someone else’s tights in the women’s locker room at the gym and the tight’s owner caught me doing it. I’ve fallen asleep on a cream sofa with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream in my hand and awoke to a very hot pink stain where it had all melted onto the sofa.
Want to know more about Hillary? Connect with her on LinkedIn