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Spotlight Series: Sophie Brown, Commercial Director, Flowlio

Sophie Brown, Flowlio

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Get to know Sophie Brown, Commercial Director at Flowlio! Flowlio is a cloud solution that redefines change management and project delivery. Sophie sat down with us to chat about her squiggly career, working for a start-up and her advice for other women in tech.

Sophie has worked for over 8 years in the tech industry in varying roles, dropping out of university  at 18 and pursuing a career.

Sophie knew she wanted to enter a dynamic industry and to work her way up, learning as much as possible. She became an integral part of the team and was heavily involved in advocating for Women in Tech and a member of their internal group, providing sessions on salary negotiation and promoting confidence to give everyone the best chance of success.

Sophie now works as the Commercial Director for Flowlio, a tech start up in Manchester. It’s a project management software and training offering, and it’s allowed her to take her background in tech and skillset in sales, building relationships and marketing to go on an incredibly exciting journey. It’s just the beginning!

How did you land your current role? Was it planned? 

I actually put a LinkedIn post out looking for work as I have a great network on there, it got over 100,000 impressions and I was inundated with responses. Steve popped up and funnily enough we had met at a tech event I put on the previous year, crazy how things come back around!  I joined working as a freelance consultant for Steve as a part of the consultancy business, our time was always split between the consulting and a new avenue he had been working on which was the training and software. There came a point where we pivoted towards Flowlio and moved away from the traditional consultancy. At that point he asked if I would like to be on the board and come along for this journey and I said, absolutely!!!

Sophie Brown

What are the key roles in your field of work, and why did you choose your current expertise? 

I think adaptability is key when working in tech, it’s a fast moving industry and you must wear many hats. No two days are the same and you find yourself working across different roles! There’s so many job titles within tech spanning from the more technical roles like coding, solution architects, engineers and so many more. There are also the more commercial roles, sales, account management, partnerships, which is where I have built my experience from, and learnt a great deal of tech along the way.

Did you (or do you) have a role model in tech or business in general?

I always preach about having a role model! It’s so important to highlight those in your circle and beyond that you look up to. I say identify someone in your business to aim towards and ask if you can shadow them or straight up build a mentor relationship, people love to share their knowledge, I for one love doing so and always up for helping others. It’s also important to have someone outside your workplace or circle so you can speak freely and get an outsiders perspective. There are also amazing mentor programmes available, Manchester Young Professionals do an incredible one, and it’s free. I look up to multiple people, but Isobelle Panton and Katy Leeson are amazing women who talk naturally and honestly about their experiences.

What are you most proud of in your career, so far? 

I have been able to achieve some amazing things in my career so far, some highlights would be putting on an event in Manchester myself and it was a huge success. I have also been able to speak in colleges to young people to inspire them to pursue careers in areas they may not have considered or felt they had the skillset to go for. I was diagnosed with ADHD at 26 so I speak freely about this on my own social platforms to help break stigmas and create a space to talk about how it affects so many people. I hosted a huge Housing Conference which was a great achievement for me as I was extremely new to the industry. Working with some huge brands has also been incredible, presenting for RaceDay TV (part of Racing TV) is something I am very proud of and love doing.

What does an average work day look like for you? 

My role varies day to day, as we are at the beginning of our journey with Flowlio there is so much to do, and I sit across so many areas of the business. I will be developing a sales strategy one moment, to planning the launch party, to drafting legal agreements, to writing copy for a social post! I love the diversity and thrive on the pressure, but sometimes I need to take a moment to catch my breath!! We just secured office space as part of the Barclays Eagle Lab programme in Manchester at DishMCR, so I am excited to move back into an office environment and network with the other businesses there, everyone loves a beer Friday!

Are there any specific skills or traits that you notice companies look for when you’re searching for roles in your field? 

I think the ability to be adaptable and spontaneous is important, pursuing a role in tech can look like a lot of things and it’s important you can pick up different areas to give some versatility. Companies want to grow with you and this industry is an incredible outline of that, you see young people go in at apprentice level and work their way right up. I saw something a while ago that I loved, ‘We need to hire a new apprentice, our previous one became CEO!’.

Has anyone ever tried to stop you from learning and developing in your professional life, or have you found the tech sector supportive? 

I think when I first entered the industry at 18, it was even more male dominated and it was tough. I had to get used to it fast and I noticed times when I felt I wasn’t heard as much and had to keep pushing for my voice to be there. This is why speaking with women working their way up is so important to me, as we cannot allow their voices to be dulled down. We have a long way to go but it is getting better. The tech sector is incredibly supportive and there are opportunities to develop your own skills through programmes and education.

Have you ever faced insecurities and anxieties during your career, and how did you overcome them?

Imposter syndrome is mentioned a lot, especially by women, so it’s very important to talk about. I go through stages of feeling super confident in myself and my ability but we can all have moments where that just disappears and need the reassurance we are doing a good job, and to believe that in ourselves. When I first entered the world of work I had a lot of issues with dealing with difficult people and understanding how it all worked, but you get through that and it’s important to reach out for help if you need it.

Entering the world of work can be daunting. Do you have any words of advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed? 

It won’t be easy but it will absolutely be worth it. Align yourself with people who inspire you and you look up to, you are who you spend time with, that’s so important. Seek advice and help when needed and build that confidence from within. You are your own worst critic!

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology? 

Keep going!! Keep making a name for yourself and other women. Speak up and take up space and make sure you give your peers the space to make themselves heard too. Find a great mentor and build out your network, you never know when you may need it. Don’t stay stagnant, be learning or earning and put yourself first. The tech industry is an incredible place to be.

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