Angela Catalanis the Director of Global Product Marketing at Nearmap, a leading geospatial and location intelligence company. She is also a freelance marketing consultant to startups. She has built her career as a product marketing strategist, helping tech-powered businesses understand their customers and craft killer positioning and messaging that makes their products shine.
How did you break into leadership?
I never pursued to be a manager of people, as I was always more interested in producing great work and solving interesting problems that allowed me to grow. To me, leadership is a by-product of the relationship you build with the people around you. I always looked for gaps where I could add immediate value and focused on building strong relationships that way. You can’t call yourself a leader if you have no one to believe in you, and it starts from investing in developing your talent and skills that will ultimately back you up.
What unique obstacles or challenges have you faced as a woman in a tech leadership role?
Unfortunately, there are not enough of us in tech, let alone in leadership. While there are a lot of challenges that come with it, such as a lack of women mentors, the gender pay gap, workplace harassment, and the boys’ club culture, it’s not all that bad.
I see it as an opportunity to think creatively, take the lead, and flip the script. I don’t have a STEM degree, but it doesn’t mean I don’t belong in tech. I have boobs, but it doesn’t mean I can’t speak up and show what I’m capable of achieving. I learned to let my work speak for itself with data and people who can advocate for me.
How do you negotiate a higher salary?
Negotiating a higher salary is something that has startled me for years. I followed a four-step process, which I still use today:
- Know your worth – research and get an industry benchmark. Go to PayScale, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and talk to recruiters to see what the fair market rate is for your role and responsibilities. Then keep track of all of your achievements, so that you can document your growth and show value that is hard to deny.
- Work on yourself – be growth-oriented, not goal-oriented. Continue to learn and evolve as a professional. How else can I increase my value? Can you take on more projects or do professional development courses? Where can I add value to the company in the medium/long-term?
- Put yourself on the map – as marketers, we often forget to put the time in to develop our own brands. Value can only be added when there is a problem to solve. Find that gap you can plug yourself into, and do an exceptional job at it. Be known. Do a roadshow of your work and share more broadly.
- Ask confidently – there’s no point doing all the work if you don’t ask. The worst that can happen is that your employer says no. At that point, you need to ask, “What does it take?” You will have the answer then to decide whether to stay or to walk away.
If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
If I had the chance to advise my younger self one thing, it is to apply for jobs not for the money but for the experience you can gain and people you can learn from. I’m grateful to have learned a lot from the different businesses where I got to wear many hats and create things from scratch. I wasn’t making a lot of money then, but my broad experience helped me become resilient and confident in what I say and do. And don’t worry about getting that fancy university degree—you’ll probably end up not using half of what you’ve learned anyway. So, focus on gaining experience and honing your skills, and the money will follow.
What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?
Too many to mention here: launching new brands and products, generating millions of dollars of revenue for businesses, developing products that no one wanted, the list will go on. But my most significant career highlight is the people I’ve met and befriended along the way.Share something interesting or valuable with our community.
- My favourite podcast is the Knowledge Projectby the people behind Farnam Street (fs.blog). The podcast features stories from fascinating people you can learn from: tech entrepreneurs, journalists, a psychologist turned professional poker player, relationship counsellors, etc. Every episode challenges your mental model so that you can think better in every aspect of your life.
- Death meditation by Jade Alectra changed my life.
Thanks to Jes Kirkwood who conducted this interview in September 2020.