In the past, the face of the technology world was one a lot of people would assume to be male, but now there’s a young, awesome woman for young girls to look up to! Katy Lynch founded a social media marketing company that she turned into a force to be reckoned with, and then became the CEO of Techweek (which took place in Chicago this year!) She doesn’t live by any presumptions, assumptions or rules, and she’s teaching us all how to do the same
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO REACH THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
Prior to Techweek, I was the President and Co-founder of SocialKaty, a full service social media marketing agency. I ran that business for four years, growing it to around 60 clients and 25 full-time employees. I initially bootstrapped the company, then raised a small round of funding from Lightbank. The business was acquired by Manifest Digital in July of 2014.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME DRAWN TO THE TECH WORLD?
I moved to Chicago seven years ago and worked for Facebook’s largest travel application, Where I’ve Been. This was my first taste of start-up life and I absolutely loved every minute of it. At Where I’ve Been, I was in charge of all of their social media marketing and branding initiatives. When I wasn’t at the office, I was buzzing around town, taking part in networking events and meeting entrepreneurs who were building their own startups around the city.
HOW DO YOU STAND OUT AS A WOMAN IN A TYPICALLY MALE-DOMINATED FIELD?
I don’t look at it as “how do I stand out as a woman?”, but more “how do I stand out as a leader in tech?” I always try to be true to myself, put my team first, work really hard, learn from others, and force myself to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of the business.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK SOCIAL MEDIA HAS CHANGED THE MARKETING WORLD?
Social media has changed marketing in a huge way! The ability to connect with anyone (or any brand) at any time is so incredible and so powerful. Real time conversation is changing the way that companies interact with their customers and vice versa. It is a two-way conversation. As Scott Cook said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.”
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNED PROFESSIONALLY?
There’s a lot of different ways you can be successful. Consistency is very important, so I try to trust my gut.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
People. I love working and connecting with people from all backgrounds and nationalities. Ultimately, my goal is to make Techweek as diverse as possible.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
Knowing when to switch on and off (of work mode). My husband and I create little rules with each other. Every Tuesday night is date night. No matter what. No checking emails, no checking phones. We just enjoy each other’s company.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO LAUNCH THEIR OWN COMPANY?
Think about the problem that your company is trying to solve. Think about your target audience and how you’re going to reach them. Think about your business model.
How does your company make money? How are you going to scale your business? How are you going to build your team?
WHAT ABOUT FOR A GIRL LOOKING TO GET INTO THE TECHNOLOGY?
Never let the fact that you are a woman stop you from getting into tech. Your gender has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to run a startup or be part of a technology company. You are as awesome as your male counterparts, if not better.