Mum-spiration: Why my Cornerstone mum inspired my career in tech
With Mother’s Day around the corner and International Women’s Day just behind us, we caught up with one of the daughters of the Cornerstone marketing team, Sophie Atherton. As a guest blogger for us this month, Sophie shares her inspiration and motivation behind her career in technology.
As a daughter, you often look at your mum as your biggest role model and strive to grow up to be just like her. Even from a young age, you see children copying their mum’s every move – from trying to put on their make up to walking around in their shoes and clothes. For me, my mum is more than just my role model, she was and still is my biggest motivator in life and played an enormous part in helping me find my potential and get to where I am today.
When people asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would always reply with “I want to be like my mum” and that stuck with me throughout my childhood.
During my final year at University, I had to finally go out into the world of work and start looking for jobs. Growing up with a love of tech, and being intrigued and inspired by how quickly it can change, it was a no brainer that that was the sector I was going to fall into. I decided that marketing was the route I was going to take, just like my mum. But it wasn’t plain sailing. After realising that many marketing roles required experience, my mum gave me her first piece of advice – go into sales. She told me to learn how to sell the products, talk to customers and understand how sales and marketing work together.
After a couple of years working in telesales and business development roles, I suffered from stress-related alopecia and my hair started falling out (disastrous for someone in their mid-20s). Here came my mum with the best advice in my career to date, “you need to quit”, she said, “You’re far too young to be this stressed. You need to find a job you love and pursue your dreams”, I quit my job the next day and did just that.
Now, as Head of Marketing and Alliances at a data analytics company, Adatis, I look back at what my mum said that day and think how I would have never achieved this without having that conversation. Her advice is so important to me and always led me down the right path in life. And now, she’ll come to me for my advice too!
Alongside all the great guidance that my mum gave to me over the years, her leadership also inspired me to become part of institutions such as the Women in Technology Network and support the gender balance in the technology sector. Having a mum who is a leader in the technology sector, and now finding myself in a similar position, meant that it was only right for me to help promote other women to find their potential in the technology sector.
But what I most admire about my mum is her strength. My older sister passed away 18 years ago after a long illness and my mum’s resilience and strength helped heal the pain we were all feeling at the time. Her determination, passion and incredible attitude are what makes her a great leader and team player and I aspire to lead my team the way that she leads hers.
People say you can never have it all, but when I look at mum and all that she is achieved, I’d say it’s almost certainly possible. We’re now a team that will look to inspire others.
Photo of Sophie Atherton with her mum, Colette Wade, Vice President Marketing & Business Development EMEA.
About Sophie Atherton
Guest blogger for Cornerstone, Sophie is Head of Marketing and Alliances at a data analytics company, Adatis.