As part of our new ‘World of Work’ series, our in-house writer Holly Pigache interviews members of the EdTech Lobby community to find out about different professional pathways. Here, I interview the Founder of Parent Tech Marketing & PR, Sarah Handley.
What was the path to you founding Parent Tech, for Marketing and PR?
I saw the positive impact that apps and technology were having in my in-house employment as a marketing and PR person. Anxious parents were able to receive reassuring video updates on their child’s progress from the hospital because of the secure video messaging app, vCreate Neonatal. Similarly, the IT Manager was relieved as she received an early-warning alert of a potential student safe-guarding issue at her school because of a web filtering platform.
I knew that my super-power was elevating brands and helping them increase visibility and I decided that I wanted to set up my own business and do this for multiple clients at the same time.
I’m super passionate about women role models in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and increasing the number of women who pursue careers in roles that tend to be more popular with men. I want my little girl and others around the world to be inspired and know that they can be, and do, whatever their heart desires; even if it means them entering a field which is male-dominated; they can achieve greatness!
I want to be the model for other girls and women to think, if she can do it, so can I!
What is the most interesting part of your job?
The people. I work with founders and CEOs who are abundantly passionate over what they do and have a deep desire to up-level the world with their life-changing apps. Their creativity and wish to bring positive change in their respective fields (health and/or education) is truly inspiring. My happiest place is when I am creating messaging that I know will help my clients to super-charge their visibility online so that they become more attractive to their ideal investor, online communities and their future users.
What is something that surprises you about your work?
The power of the work. By giving people access to education and health apps that can deliver a solution to their problem that just wasn’t open to them before because of financial constraints or access issues blows my mind.
Have there been any key turning points in determining your career progression?
I have never shared this before but in previous roles (not including vCreate) I felt like progression up the ranks was limited. Do I feel like that was because I was a woman? Yes, absolutely. It sounds like a cliché but I definitely felt a glass ceiling and when you are performing really well and you don’t receive the recognition for it and then your male counterparts are rewarded instead of you, it is so depressing. I knew there was another path out there that was more aligned to my values and that was becoming an entrepreneur, so I went for it!
Describe your career journey in three words.
Giant roller coaster.
Do you have an ultimate career goal? If so, what is it?
My five-year vision is to help 100,000 app founders by 2025 to increase their visibility so that they can attract their perfect investors, excite communities and engage future users to download and LOVE their app. I will do this through 1-2-1 coaching, online courses, webinars and group coaching.
I’d love to expand my team and be able to talk with school children about how exciting a career in STEM is; we know there is an increased demand for coding and digital skills but there is also a need for people who can communicate effectively and know that building an app is just one part of the jigsaw; bringing an app to market needs a perfectly balanced mix of skills like research, sales and communication so there are jobs to be had in these areas too.
Would you do anything differently if you could start your career again?
I would have spoken up more in meetings and put my opinion across. This comes second nature to me now because I have identified and worked around why I didn’t feel able to speak up before. I had self-belief and self-esteem issues that originated from the playground; I felt like what I had to say wasn’t good enough and people would laugh at me. It took me a long time to realise and address this issue; working with coaches and mentors I have been able to remove the blocks that had previously stood in my way.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
I am doing it now.
What’s the main piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start a business?
Believe in yourself 110%. You can believe in the work you do. You can believe that by taking consistent action towards your goal, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you will be living a watered-down life and never get to live your best life or become the person you were born to be.