Dolly Lakhani, the Senior Marketing Specialist (MEA, Networking) at TP-Link MEA, speaks about her journey into the tech industry

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
My day usually starts with checking my emails. Since TP-Link is a global organization, most of the communication between the HQ team and our customers takes place via mail. By studying these internal requests first thing in the morning, I can prioritize my tasks for the day and adjust my schedule accordingly. I then get busy managing a team of creative staff, going over the budget, as well as monitoring and reporting on the success of campaigns.

This entails planning and communicating for social media platforms, email marketing, paid advertising campaigns, and content marketing to the relevant. All of these elements work together to help meet the goals of our digital marketing strategy. Most days, a quick check is required for ground branding, obtaining progress reports and ensuring everything is running smoothly with the agencies. Some time then needs to be dedicated towards handling and updating the website as well as monitoring the Google Analytics randomly to check performance data and discover patterns. A portion of my time is devoted to various meetings with PR Agency, Suppliers, partners & distributors and other internal management meetings that happen round the clock.

Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
I started out as a Project Management Lead, and my experience in that role resulted in providing me with unique technical skills that I can apply to this multi-faceted role that I am in today. Working with a start-up early on gave me an excellent opportunity to understand the industry’s ins-and-outs at the beginning of my career. I analysed what I’m good at and felt that this industry would be a good fit for me.

For starters, I’m incredibly organized and am not afraid of taking calculated risks. I believe failure is an essential part of the experimental process that drives this industry towards success. I take genuine pleasure in learning new things and getting out of my comfort zone to take up new challenges. Continually on the lookout for new learning opportunities, I realized early on that this is the best industry to find that in.

What first got you interested in tech?
IT is a part of every industry today, and this even includes retail, design, insurance, banking, aerospace, energy, and healthcare. At a young age, I was able to gauge that IT is essentially growing to provide the infrastructure and tools every business organization needs to operate and thrive.

Technology has been growing and evolving at a lightning-fast speed, and I had made up my mind that it can be one of the best industries to work with. Fast forward all these years, and it still holds true, only more so—the demand for solutions provided by this growing exponentially by the year. Being on the marketing side of this industry, I genuinely feel I’m doing what I love.

Did someone support you, and do you have a role model?
Not really. I believe everyone has to chart out their own paths and learn from their own individual journeys.

Would our world be different if more women were working in STEM?
The future looks bright for young girls who are interested in a career in a STEM-related field. I would encourage them to follow their passion because that’s where their success is going to be, regardless of what area of STEM it is. As the number of women in STEM continues to grow, women will have a more extensive support system and opportunities to excel in their chosen fields. Women bring a whole new set of skills to the table here.

When I’m solving problems, both logic and unquantifiable aspects are considered in equal proportion. For instance, I’m trained in SEO and possess the knowledge on how to use analytics to ensure the success of a marketing campaign, but I also majored in design and know-how to apply creativity to a project to take it to a different level of appealing.

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
As we can see around us, technology innovation and its adoption growing and evolving manifold by the day. There is no doubt that it is in high demand and one of the best industries to work with. For me, marketing technology is a field where I feel I truly love what I do. There are a number of positive aspects of working in the field of technology, especially for women. In most cases, the work here is dynamic and ever-evolving; thus, it is highly engaging and provides women with a path to create in myriad ways.

According to a survey it is fantastic to see that 67% of women in tech believe that ‘making a positive impact’ on their organization and/or industry is the best thing about being a woman in tech. According to the same report, the second-best thing about being a woman in tech is ‘encouraging other women’, and I second that as it is one of the most critical factors.

Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
The number of women taking up a career in a STEM-related field is growing but at a reduced pace. Studies report that only a small percentage of women are selecting their career in STEM. This is increasing as more and more women encourage, motivate, and set an example for those around them to explore the benefits and learning outcomes of working in these fields.

Honestly, I personally cannot pinpoint the cause behind these figures as I genuinely believe that this is the best decision I took in terms of my career. With increased exposure and access to advanced education, the industry will surely see more women bringing their expertise on board in the next couple of years.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
Dive into the tech industry with confidence. Always be on a lookout for new opportunities, be willing to learn more, and try new things in the tech industry. Always know that everything is achievable. It’s just a matter of how much work you want to put into it to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to take on a task that you may not be proficient in. Take it up and its on journeys like these that you’ll learn the most.

As women grow in this field, they’ll see that an increasing number of opportunities will start opening up for them. Even when times get difficult, my advice would be not to look for an easy way out. I know it sounds easier said than done, but once you try to embrace this approach, you’ll see that there’s a lot to learn from it. One can learn so much about the industry and oneself by taking up new challenges.

What do you do to unwind after work?
After work, my entire time is dedicated to my family and myself. I love spending time with them and catching up on how everyone’s day went. I enjoy cooking for my children and spending quality time with them. Children are therapeutic, and time with them can really feel like an elevating therapy of sorts after a long day at work. I try and engage in various kinds of activities with them, going for cycling trips in safe places, for instance.

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