Susie Piggott | Operations Manager
Fear of failure can often be a reason that people don’t go through with certain ideas, regardless of gender. However, for women embarking on a career in a male-dominated field like the tech industry, this fear can often feel magnified, But here's the truth: failure is not a gender-specific challenge, and it certainly should not be a deterrent for women pursuing their dreams in technology.
And if the world of tech makes you nervous - what about standing up in front of a room full of people, waiting for you to make them laugh? TERRIFYING! And that is exactly why this week's Women Rocker, Susie Piggott is the perfect person to talk to us about courage. Not only has Susie been working in the vibrant world of tech, but she also does a spot of stand-up comedy in NY and she is full of advice on facing your fears.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPEAKING WITH ME TODAY, TO START US OFF, WOULD YOU MIND TELLING US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR STORY SO FAR?
I worked for OVO for 8 years, most recently as Ops Manager, took redundancy and travelled solo to Thailand and America. After many adventures, I returned to Bristol and volunteered at St Paul’s Carnival, connecting to my community and celebrating the wonderfully diverse cultures.
Passionate about mental health, I live with depression myself, and I'm in the process of developing a new project collaborating with my accountabilibuddy from across the pond, focussed on female perspective getting back into work, and the importance of laughter in the most difficult moments!
I enjoy flexing my creative side by performing stand-up comedy and I'm now looking for a new role that promotes my values of sustainability, technology and DEI.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND USING YOUR SKILLS AS A FORCE FOR GOOD?
I remember when I was 16 making a promise to myself, whatever I do, I want to make a positive difference. It can be so easy to get caught up in your own path that you forget that the most rewarding path to walk is the one we build together. I’m passionate about building teams that make positive changes to the world we live in - accountable to one another, small things make a big difference.
SO FAR, WHAT ARE YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS? (BOTH PROFESSIONALLY & PERSONALLY)
It sounds cheesy but seeing individuals I’ve worked with develop and progress in their lives (not just their careers). Personally – I’m proud of some of the courageous decisions I’ve made in my life, taking redundancy was not an easy decision, but 2023 has been full of new experiences, and growth, and opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there.
DO YOU FEEL MORE COULD BE DONE TO SUPPORT WOMEN IN THE TECH INDUSTRY?
Yes definitely - for me, one of the things I reflect on is the lack of insight into tech I had throughout my education, yes it was the 90s and computers were massive, but it was very gender stereotyped in school, and this can have a huge impact - we had no women teaching IT or science, girls can have the message reinforced to them ‘you won’t understand this, this isn’t for you’ - I’m hopeful this isn’t the case now, but I still believe that women can be put off working in tech fields due to incorrect stereotypes that are set in stone from an early age. We must continue to challenge these!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNG WOMEN WANTING TO GET INTO THE INDUSTRY?
- Stay true to yourself.
- Utilize your strengths.
- Seek out a mentor/work experience
- Be courageous, what’s the worst that can happen? Fear of Failure can often be a reason that people don’t go through with certain ideas.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A STRONG MINDSET AND HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE FEAR OF FAILURE?
It can be so debilitating, but you have to cut through all the anxieties in your mind and ask yourself simply, what's the worst that can happen? And who deems things a failure? It's learning, part of the journey. SMEs are often the most worried about getting something wrong, like to have all the knowledge before jumping in, but there’s not always time, we have to try, experiment, and get stuck in, after all, if you don’t try, you’ll never know! A collaborative team and the best leaders will still be there to support you whatever the outcome.
Last year I started stand-up comedy, did a spot in NY in the summer, and asked myself, what's the worst that can happen? No one will laugh, but that in itself would still make me laugh!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR YOUNGER WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY TO CREATE A STRONG AND RESILIENT MINDSET?
One of the best pieces of advice I was given was ‘It's your race Susie, no one else’s’ – again it’s so easy to compare journeys with peers but everyone’s experience is unique and individual with different highs and lows - focus on what you want.
Importance of work-life balance - you don't want high stress = low resilience, if you’ve got a good balance, you'll have the energy and resilience to handle those tough situations!
PLEASE GIVE US A QUOTE OR A MANTRA THAT YOU LIVE BY OR JUST LIKE.
‘We can do hard things’ - taken from Glennon Doyle ‘Untamed’. It’s an amazing book that I go back to and have quotes from it all around my apartment! This quote affirms that although life can be full of hard things, we can get through it, the ‘we’ makes it collective and inclusive, a positive affirmation that we are doing hard things all the time and we’re not alone in our journeys.
Thanks Susie, you rock!
Interview by Jake Ramsay