This week we go behind the selfie with Philippa Dods. She's full-time marketing coordinator at Meltwater IMA (India, Middle East and Africa) and a core member at Future Females after office-hours.
Dods says: “Lack of passion is fatal.”
1. Where do you live, work and play?
I live in a studio apartment in the heart of Cape Town, Green Point. I work about half a kilometre from my apartment, so get to walk to and from the office every day, a la NYC. I play all over the city – from SUPing in Hout Bay to dancing on Loop Street.
2. What’s your claim to fame?
My parents are mates with Johnny Buckland, lead guitarist of Coldplay, as well as his wife and kids. So when Coldplay was in town, we got rock star treatment – backstage and after party passes. They came over for dinner and drinks and I visited their place in London when I was there.
3. Describe your career so far.
My career so far has been like flying down a highway at high speed, with the windows down and music on full blast.
It’s been the most exciting experience. It started with a bang, as my first day at Meltwater was exactly one week after my final exam at UCT. I’m still learning so many new things every day, I’m obsessed with the work I do, and I get to learn so much from the people I surround myself with every day.
At Meltwater, it’s especially Wes Mathew, who I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to learn from, and at Future Females, it’s the amazing women I work with, who never fail to bewilder me with their intelligence, talent and determination.
4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.
Learning something new every day, working with dynamic people, challenging myself. Trail running. Drinking Nespresso by day and red wine by night, eating a good steak and anything chocolate, anytime. Music that makes me want to sing and dance. Reading the biographies of the greats – Musk, Knight, Branson. Sunday braais.
5. What do you love about your industry?
I love being part of an innovative, fast-paced, digitally focused tech industry.
Meltwater is heavily invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and we’re pioneers in using these technologies to help companies make better business decisions. The options seem endless with regards to what the future of tech holds. It’s an incredibly exciting space.
At Future Females, we have our physical monthly events in each city, but other than that, we’re completely digitised. We have a rapidly expanding online community and our online resources all focus on educating and empowering.
I love that we’re a global community, operating in cities all around Africa and the world. Again, it’s technology that is enabling global connection and collaboration. The tech industry is also continually evolving and developing, which inspires me – there’s never a dull moment.
The thing I love most about being in the tech industry is that I get to be a part of the future.
6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.
Between 8am and 5pm at the Meltwater office, I’m working on anything from planning webinars and events, to compiling reports based on Meltwater’s analytics, content writing, organising leads and inbounds, or coordinating the PR for the IMA region.
After work, I’m off to either a Future Females meeting – this is where the team and I brainstorm, plan and organise our events, sponsorships and partnerships – or I’m off to a Heavy Chef, Startup Grind or other business and networking event.
Gym sessions are squeezed in either late at night or early morning.
7. What are the tools of your trade?
My network and the Meltwater suite.
8. Who is getting it right in your industry?
Rapelang Rabana: What a powerful woman in tech. She started her entrepreneurial journey as founder and CEO of Yeigo, a company that developed some of the world’s earliest mobile VoIP applications.
Today, she is the founder of Rekindle, an innovative learning tech company, as well as chief digital officer at BCX (Business Connexion Group).
Justin Spratt: The head of business for sub-Saharan Africa at Uber, the company that’s synonymous with innovation, Justin also co-founded ISLabs webtech incubator and helps at TechStars.
He’s an incredible businessman who I’ve been lucky enough to meet, have admired since the first time I heard him speak on stage, is in a different African city every week and is also a devoted family man. I don’t know how he does it!
9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.
76% of technical jobs are held by men and 95% of the tech industry is white. Of the Fortune 500 companies, only 5 are women-owned. Last year, female entrepreneurs received just 2,5% of VC funding and globally, women own just 1% of the world’s wealth.
We’re making some progress, but in the last two years, in more than 50% of countries, female participation in entrepreneurship declined.
This needs to change.
10. What are you working on right now?
Obviously, my two loves: Meltwater and Future Females.
But I’ve also recently discovered a new interest in video marketing. I think the shift from static text and visuals to online video is revolutionary, as it adds a new dimension to engagement – I’m working on getting more involved in this space.
I’m also working on some marketing strategies for Smashed, a new tech startup specialising in smartphone repairs and accessories. The owners are young, ambitious, risk-taking entrepreneurs so it’s really fun to express my creativity there and see how often the risks translate into business success.
11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.
Media intelligence, artificial intelligence, big data, tech incubation, seed funding, social influencers.
12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?
When running on a mountain – my favourite thing to do in the world.
13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?
My party trick is without a doubt my rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody… although my neighbours, family and friends will probably disagree!
My secret talent is, naturally, having 'Bok colours' in air guitar.
14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?
15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?
Poetry in my Notes app, unread WhatsApps, photos of chocolate cakes.
16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?
- Be a sponge: speak to people who are where you want to be, listen to their stories and their advice, soak it all up. Inspiration is everywhere.
- Have a “there’s nothing to lose” attitude. Just do the thing.
Simple as that. Visit the Meltwater press office on Bizcommunity and their blog and events page for the latest updates. You can also visit the Future Females website and join the Future Females community on Facebook; and click through to the Smashed Facebook and Smashed Instagram profiles.
Lastly, follow Dods herself on the following social media platforms:
LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.