Australian Careers Service interview Tanya Williams about founding her company.
Name: Tanya Williams
Job title: Chief of Everything
Organisation: Digital Conversations
Q: What does your current role entail? How long have you been in this role?
A: As Chief of Everything and founder, I am in control of everything, as my title says. This means I have all the responsibility, control and get to make all the decisions about the future of the company (which is a good and bad thing). I have been in this role for two and a half years, but have over two decades of marketing, sales, ecommerce and digital experience.
Q: What are some major achievements or awards in your current role?
A: I have been lucky to be involved with some great projects. I helped coordinate the Digital, Innovation & Technology stream of Global Café which was the prelude to the G20 in Brisbane in 2014. I have spoken at many events including Click Digital and done countless workshops. I love what I do. Plus starting your own business is no small achievement. It takes hard work, courage and perseverance to do that.Q: What was the career journey that brought you to this position and work role?
A: How long do you have? Ha-ha. I started in retail when I left school but a head-on car accident 24 years ago made me sit up and reconsider what I wanted to do with my life as I wasn’t enjoying retail. I’d always thought marketing was an interesting option, so I did a course and got some first-hand experience. Over the years, different opportunities presented themselves, which I took advantage of. I moved into media sales then digital from there although everything I did felt like a natural progression. You never know where life or career will lead so be open to new opportunities that will push you out of your comfort zone.
Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A: I changed my mind constantly like most kids. I wanted to be a jockey, a photographer, interior designer and when I left Year 12 I wanted to study journalism, which I did start but never finished. I am a long way from where I started or thought I would end up but I love what I do now and very happy I moved into digital, which is a skill that every single person will need in the future (even if they don’t realise it).
Q: What did you do or study upon leaving school?
A: I started a Bachelor of Communications and left after three months. I hated uni and was itching to get out into the world and earn some money. I did complete a Bachelor of Business Marketing by correspondence years later.
Q: Who or what was a major influence in your career choices?
A: Good question. I always wanted to be in a professional career, not trade. My dad was a train driver and did shift work and I saw the sacrifices he had to make. Being a child of the 80s I love watching women in their power suits and big shoulder pads and could see myself being a power woman… ha-ha!
Q: What were some major challenges in your career journey?
A: Lack of jobs in the field you wanted was the biggest issue when I left school. I also didn’t realise how unimportant the HSC really was in my career. It was only important when you left school. There weren’t internships when I left school so I was limited to the typical opportunities. Find a job in the paper and apply for it. In later years some of my biggest challenges has been around managing people, including having to deal with bad bosses, poor communication and seeing people who weren’t worthy get promoted. I don’t miss that.
Q: What book has had the biggest impact on your personal or professional life?
A: I read a book called Yes You Can, which I still have and have reread over the years. My family wasn’t entrepreneurial so I never really believed or thought I could have my own business at any real level. Two of my recent faves are Remarkability by Lorrain Murphy and Oversubscribed by Daniel Priestly.
Q: What is your ‘dream job’? When do you plan to achieve this dream?
A: It has changed over the years, depending on what I am doing at the time. Currently my dream job is to be doing what I am doing, however with a massive, passive income so I can do more travel and fulfill my dream of working on overseas projects.
Q: What life dream would you still like to achieve?
A: Long term financial stability for the business is a major one. Business can be up and down, and even business owners I have spoken to that have been around for 10 years say there is no such thing as stability. I am hoping to prove them all wrong. Secondly, I want to help individuals and businesses all over the globe become digitally savvy. Everyone should have access to basic education and I am trying to achieve this through various online courses I am building. And finally, I want to work on projects in overseas markets.
Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
A: I think growing your career and your personal experience is updating your skills and always learning. Don’t think because you have a university degree that you are entitled to a high paying job. You have to learn from the ground up and put in the hard yards – you will look back at those years fondly. Take time to update your skills, always be proactive, have a good attitude and build relationships with everyone – you never know who will be in what position as your career progresses.