Girls on top: imposter syndrome and the Glass ceiling

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Joanna Ayre
Joanna Ayre

An article by Joanna Ayre

Shortly after graduating from the University of Greenwich with a PR degree I was introduced to Phoebe Lebrecht by my personal tutor who had met her at an event.

Phoebe had just founded her own social media agency and was looking for someone else with a shared passion for social to join the team.

We hit it off instantly and seemed to share similar ideas and excitement for all things social.

This was around a year ago and since then Glass Digital Media has been going from strength to strength.

As two girls in our twenties we were fluent in social from a young age and enjoy the job so much it rarely feels like work.

Every twitter notification gives us a buzz and there’s no better feeling than when a post goes viral. Sharing social media reports containing high engagement levels and hitting a client’s targets fills us with glee.

Imposter syndrome

Yet, in a very competitive market saturated by massive corporate agencies, we often suffer from ‘imposter syndrome’ a common fear (especially amongst women) of being exposed, that you don’t deserve your success, aren’t as good as others – and could be “found out” at any moment. Even Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has said: ‘‘There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’’

Glass Digital MediaWith a long list of happy clients and new business coming in – we’re certainly not imposters. But one of the biggest hurdles is having the self-confidence to believe in our work. The PR industry is changing and we feel our new way of thinking gives Glass its USP and gives our clients a breath of fresh air.

A recent PR Fraternity talk with Robert Phillips, author of the book ‘PR is Dead’ really resonated and inspired.

He spoke of how the traditional model of PR is dead and we are moving towards a new model of truth, placing radical honesty and transparency at the heart of business, social media has had a big impact on this change.

He had a prominent role at a traditional PR agency and described himself as one of the ‘pale, male, stale elites’ – explaining that to create an exciting communications industry that reflects society we need to employ people who give a truer representation of society.

We all need to be social activists in order to change the PR and social media industry. Glass is different from other agencies, but we need to remember that’s why we’re great, not why we are frauds!

We are currently looking for an intern (of any gender!) so if you share our passion for social then please apply.

Joanna Ayre is chief content strategist at Glass Digital Media.