Insights: Lasharna Turner, Head of Marketing at Skylark Platform
Continuing our celebration of female leaders for International Women’s Day 2022, we caught up with Lasharna Turner about her journey from fashion to tech and advice for other women in male dominated industries.
1. What do you see as the challenges facing today’s business leaders and do you think there are any additional or different ones for females?
The most prominent business challenge in my mind has to be changing consumer behaviours.
Customers have never been so connected, and the pandemic has only amplified the importance of a compelling digital experience. In many cases, the experience is proving to be just as important as the product or service itself. Customer centricity isn’t a new concept but right now, tackling this in an engaging way is challenging. I would also add that redefining customer centricity for this age of hyper-connectivity will require new and different approaches by businesses which will need to be iterative as expectations evolve.
For women who are business leaders, there is a substantial challenge in recovering from the impact of the pandemic which hit women’s careers the hardest. Indeed, Mckinsey’s reported that “One in four women are considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers versus one in five men”*.
I find this statistic very discouraging, but it makes sense when you consider how many women have had to cope with the dual responsibilities of the household management as well as their paid employment. Many have simply felt burnt out by the last two years.
2. How did you get into your career?
I was always passionate about media and communication and studied Marketing and PR at University. I began my career producing online and print content in the fashion sector but felt more passionate about strategic marketing. I soon recognised that fashion was not the best fit for me, and I was drawn to the innovation and pace of the tech sector. I also felt I had a natural affinity for technology, and my skills would be better leveraged in this space.
3. What words of advice would you give to women looking to accelerate their careers today – what are the three things you wish you’d known?
The three things I wish I had known are:
- Don’t waste your energy feeling inferior: anything you don’t know you can learn. Learning is the cheat code to instant confidence. If you feel insecure, think about what you need to understand, master or learn to help you feel more confident in your abilities.
- Everyone is working it out as they go, you can too!
- Learn as much about yourself as you can. The more you understand yourself, the more you can forge a harmonious career path. Work doesn’t have to be painful.
4. What does a typical day look like for you – or is every day different? If you could have an extra hour in the day what would you spend it on?
Firstly, I always review the structure of my day. This gives me a sense of control and order which I need to be productive. I make sure I have breakfast as working hungry turns my brain to mush! I’ll spend time in meetings that help me understand what’s happening in other parts of the business or collaborate and drive progress. I always carve out time to work on strategic frameworks and planning decks that I can follow and share with others to create alignment. I end my day with an empty inbox as this makes it easier for me to wind down.
If I had an extra hour in the day I would sleep more! I’ve found that not getting enough sleep increases anxious feelings, leads to poor diet choices and a general lack of focus. So now I work at getting 8 hours minimum a night.
5. Who do you most admire in business and why?
Bozoma Saint John, CMO of Netflix is an incredible example of a leader, woman and person of colour in the technology space. She is authentically and unapologetically herself, insightful and razor-sharp. She embodies leadership for me.
Secondly, Adam Grant, Organizational Psychologist and Author. His books have been transformational for me, especially Originals. I appreciate how he advocates for emotional and mental wellbeing in the workplace and his tweets often make me feel seen.
6. Where do you see your business or division in five years’ time?
I see our business securing significant market share whilst continuing to thrive as a leader in the video and streaming space. Specifically, I see us driving innovation as new streaming products move towards more customer-centric models, particularly with the financial and commercial support of the team at Puma Private Equity.
7. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about your business, what would it be?
If I could change one thing instantly it would have to be that we have greater market awareness and saliency amongst our target audience. At the moment we’re the streaming industry’s best kept secret. So my primary focus right now, is to build visibility and drive awareness of just how easy Skylark makes it to build and scale a video product that is not only competitive but can evolve and grow to meet changing consumer needs.
*‘COVID-19’s impact on women’s employment, Mckinsey, March 8th 2021