Meet Beth Williams, Head of Performance Media at Merkle
Beth joined Merkle as an Associate at the beginning of her career in 2014. During her time at Merkle, she has held leadership positions across three of the Merkle offices – London, Melbourne, and now Dubai.
Starting out her career in paid search, Beth later specialized in ad-tech platforms, building London’s search platforms team. She moved to Melbourne for a year to take an Account Director role, working across some of Merkle’s largest accounts in APAC, and then moved to Dubai two years ago.
Beth is now Head of Performance Media, leading a team of 30 people.
Why did you join this industry?
After finishing my Master’s degree in Chemistry and Molecular Physics, I realized that working in a lab wasn’t for me. Whilst I loved the analytical side of science, the quietness of writing code in a silent computer lab for 40 hours a week wasn’t how I saw my career panning out. Once I found performance media, I knew it was the right mix of analytical and creative work.
How did you land your first job?
After a lot of research into different career paths and many failed interviews in sectors like banking and consultancy, I met a recruiter who worked with Merkle (then called Periscopix). She put me forward for the three-stage recruitment process and I prepared for the interviews for two weeks straight. A fresh grad, I didn’t know anyone in the industry so it was a lot of research, which paid off!
Who do you look up to?
We’re lucky within Dentsu to have many strong female leaders to look up to. Wendy Clark was the first female CEO to be appointed within a global agency network. Very inspiring!
I’m also inspired every day by the people in my team. It’s been a challenging year and to see them still pushing themselves, achieving, and innovating, is amazing.
What’s the best advice you have received so far?
To remember the importance of work/life balance. Especially since the pandemic began, it’s been easy for people to over-work and take less time for themselves. Over-working without taking breaks actually leads to you becoming less productive, which is something I have to remind myself of frequently.
What’s the best advice you have given so far?
When it comes to career path, focus on what you enjoy rather than where you think you’ll see quicker career advancement or a higher salary in the short term. There is a lot of pressure on young people to quickly find a career path and start progressing. If you aren’t working in an area you’re passionate about, it’s really difficult to stay motivated and therefore harder to achieve the progression you’re looking for.
How do you feel about the stigma sometimes associated with Millennials and Gen Z?
Every new generation has different experiences and therefore reacts to the world differently. Some of the traits often described in a negative way when thinking of Millennials or Gen Z can actually be seen as positive. For example, being a snowflake could instead be seen as being emotionally intuitive and genuine.
What do you think you specifically bring to the organization you work for?
I’ve had the chance to work with both local and global clients within Europe, Australia, and MENA. Having this diverse platform and strategic overview is very useful when it comes to working in an agency that services all client sizes and industries. The experience you gain working and living locally is different from working with a client remotely from another country.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at work?
That a good company is made up of multiple individuals each playing their own part. No one individual or role is more important than the other. Having a strong foundation of efficient processes to enable these individuals is equally important.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
Seeing my team develop! One of the best parts of my role is helping them get a promotion, seeing them win an award or master a new platform skill.
What’s the most frustrating thing about your job?
A recent frustration is the fact that, since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been less face-to-face time with both colleagues and clients. Whilst social distancing is of course a necessary measure, I definitely miss building relationships with my clients and the team outside of video calls. We’ve opened two new office locations over the past year and it’s been a big challenge for both us and newer team members to not be able to build those real-life connections.
If not this, what would you be doing?
I would have loved to have trained as a therapist. I find psychology fascinating – there is so much going on behind people’s thoughts and actions.
Would you start your own venture in the future?
If I were to set something up on my own, it would be something very different. I’d love to own holiday homes back in North Wales where I grew up one day, as a side business.