“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” 
― Sheryl Sandberg

BABE #142: EMMA BATES,<br>Head of Global Marketing @ Away

Head of Global Marketing @ Away

As Head of Global Marketing for Away, the luggage company designed for the modern traveler, Emma handles all things collaborative, bringing an extensive background in branding and content creation to the table. Outside of the office, you can find her pursuing personal creative and professional endeavors and fighting for the causes she believes in. She's smart and savvy and plays a crucial role in the growth of one of our favorite women-owned companies, and we're excited to see what she'll conquer next.

The Basics:

Hometown: London, England
Current city: New York, New York
Alma mater: King’s College London
Degree: B.A., War Studies
Very first job: Social media and content manager
Hustle: Head of Global Marketing @ Away

The Interests:

A babe you admire (and why?)
There are so many! Currently, I’m feeling particularly inspired by my friend Scarlett Curtis, who has been doing some amazing work in the United Kingdom to petition for free sanitary products for girls receiving free school meals.

Favorite app, website or blog?
Uber and The Cut

Favorite fictional female character?
Wonder Woman

Go-to adult beverage?
Anything with tequila

What would you eat for your very last meal?
Steak or massaman curry

Go-to news source?
The Guardian and BBC News

Favorite social media account to follow?
@hotdudesreading. Every caption is hilarious.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Harbour Island

What’s something most don't know about you?
I used to play the harp.

The Hustle:

Tell us about your hustle.
My full-time hustle is at Away, where I’m focused on global brand marketing partnerships—meaning I work on everything from product and content collaborations to experiential moments and activations (like our pop-up hotel during Paris Fashion Week, Chez Away!) On the side, I’m also a social media influencer and co-founder of Pink Protest.

What does your typical workday look like?
I get up, maybe go to the gym, get ready for the day, grab a coffee and walk the Williamsburg Bridge to work. My work day usually consists of lots of meetings internally and calls or in-persons with current and prospective partners, lots of emails and also strategy/brainstorms for 2018.

How do you stay organized and on top of your work with such a hectic schedule?
Prioritization! I am also obsessively organised, so I don’t find it hard to make sure everything is executed on time.

How has your gender affected your professional experience?
I have been very lucky to not have my gender affect my professional experience yet. I find it upsetting that gender is still overwhelmingly considered a weakness in many industries and companies. However, I love seeing the rise in female entrepreneurs and leaders. I have faith it will only continue to change.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
The people I work with and being able to travel!

Who are some women in your field that you look to for inspiration?
Both of Away’s co-founders, Jen and StephSheryl Sandberg of Facebook, and Audrey Gelman of The Wing.

Are you involved with any other community organizations or side projects?
I co-founded Pink Protest with my friend Scarlett Curtis last year in a bid to combat feeling more than a little helpless in regards to everything happening in the world. The primary idea behind it is to highlight different causes and movements across the world we are passionate about and want to put our voice behind. We created a community for empowering women and sharing the stories of those paving the way for change. I also volunteered as a Young Leader for the non-profit, Women for Women, helping assess advise on new ideas and initiatives they were working on, and I’ve acquired a small following on Instagram, which occasionally results in a few partnership/side projects, including content creation or attending brand events.

What helps you wind down?
Exercise, mostly. A glass of red wine also doesn’t go astray.

How did you adapt your business practices to match the rapid success of Away?
One of the most exciting parts about working at Away has been our rapid growth—our team is growing every day, introducing new exciting partnerships and designing even more essentials to improve the travel experience. Things are moving quickly here, but each idea is thoughtfully considered, and that’s why I love coming to work everyday. I tend to take a similar approach in my personal work, so it didn’t take long to adapt to the environment at Away where ideas quickly come to life and are executed to the fullest.

Early on, Away leveraged Instagram and influencers. What was it like investing so much in that strategy?
As a digitally native brand, so much of our community at Away is built through social media. In fact, the second-highest way people indicate they’ve discovered Away is through Instagram! Our co-founder and chief brand officer, Jen Rubio, is an expert in this area and keenly identified early on how important this would be in building and expanding brand awareness. Partnering with influential ambassadors—whether they’re celebrities, artists, or bloggers—has been a key focus in our marketing strategy as a way to increase our audience reach, but we’ve also seen user generated content as being equally impactful in this area. People love to share images of their travels, and the content people share organically can often be just as impactful from a brand marketing perspective.

How have you worked to develop Away’s brand partnership strategy? What do you look for in the brands you partner with?
With every partnership at Away, we aim to do one or more of the following—excite our existing customer base around a new offering, work cohesively with a partner to reach a new audience (and vice versa), and/or build an exciting experiential moment. Additionally, a big focus this year will also be paying close attention to whether a specific partnership exposes Away to a new market as we look to expand internationally in a bigger way.

What is the office culture like at Away? What are the aspects of the company culture you most value?
The best part about our company culture is the type of people it attracts! At Away, our core values make for a very transparent and collaborative atmosphere—we say that we’re “in it together” and that translates to constant opportunities for learning and growth. I love that everyone is willing to brainstorm and collaborate—that kind of teamwork means that we’re able to come up with better ideas than any one person could do on her or his own.

How has Away changed or influenced your love of travel?
My love of travelling was instilled at a very young age by my parents—I was actually born in Singapore (where my family lived at the time), and I’ve been fortunate to grow up travelling to destinations all over the world, with no plans to stop any time soon! Luckily, one of the best parts of working at Away is the places it takes me—Away has only bolstered my love for travel. A few of my favorite work trips in 2017 included Sweden, Sri Lanka, and Paris.

What is your personal philosophy when it comes to work/life balance?
I’m usually pretty good at switching off when I need to—I try to stick to one hour a day where I absolutely cannot look at Slack or email, usually by going to a workout class. Taking time to disconnect (even briefly) is so important in preventing burnout and minimizing stress. I’m so fortunate to work at Away, where we’re actually encouraged to take vacation regularly, either to recharge or to explore a new place. Ultimately, it allows me to stay present when I am working and enthusiastic about the many projects we have happening.

How have your past internships/education/work experiences prepared you for the work you’re doing now?
I have a degree in War Studies, so I wouldn’t say my education specifically trained or prepared me for the work I’m doing now, but it did teach me how to meet deadlines, think critically, problem-solve, and cohesively form and present a case—all valuable skills for life, generally. Prior to Away, I had experience in social media marketing, blogging and community management, as well as brand marketing from various internships, jobs and consulting positions. These experiences allowed me to explore my own interests, but also gave me important context for the role I’ve been charged with at Away. With that said, working here, it’s essential to stay adaptable—there’s always an area that can be improved upon or a project that poses new challenges, and we know that being nimble and iterative are key to being able to succeed. I’m amazed by all that I’ve learned in my less than two years working at Away, and would bet many of my colleagues might say the same.

What is one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your work? How’d you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle I face with my work is a recurring one: overcoming disappointment or failure. These are unavoidable when working in a job that’s both challenging and rewarding, so I always try to turn them into key moments for learning. It’s easy to let disappointment or failure keep you from moving forward, but I’ve realized that these are important opportunities to improve your work and build resilience.  

What motivates and inspires you?
My friends are often my biggest motivators. I have an amazing group of friends in London and New York who continue to inspire me with the work that they’re doing—they serve as a constant source of motivation.

Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Don’t compare yourself to others and support others as you wish to be supported! There’s no place for envy or jealousy in success.

Connect with Emma!

Instagram // Email

This interview has been condensed and edited.
All photos are property of Away.

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