LIFE & CULTURE

Get Connected: Michelle Battersby On Mentors, Milestones And Trusting Your Gut

"You can have it all, but not all at once."

In 2019 marie claire is launching the inaugural marie claire x Bumble Glass Ceiling Awards, a celebration of game-changing companies and trailblazing women who are smashing gender boundaries in the workplace. It’s also an opportunity to recognise those at the forefront of this movement including one of the awards’ judges, Michelle Battersby, Associate Marketing Director APAC for Bumble, a social connections app with modes for dating, friend-finding and business networking. We asked Michelle to share her advice on building a successful network and the best career advice she’s been given.

MC: Who are the women who inspire you professionally?

MB: I am lucky enough to work in a company full of amazing, strong, creative women so I have many successful and inspirational women in my life. The most obvious first answer is our CEO and Founder, Whitney Wolfe Herd, who has shown the world how you can take a negative experience and turn it into a company that is a global powerhouse that makes a genuine difference to people’s lives. Aside from Whitney, I have two managers within the company who inspire me daily; Louise Troen is Bumble’s VP of International Marketing and is astoundingly creative, and Sarah Jones Simmer is Bumble’s Chief Operating Officer and blows me away with her leadership and strategic thinking.

Outside of Bumble, there are a list of women I’m inspired by, who have built incredible brands – women like Lorna Jane, Zoe Foster Blake, Jo Horgan, Emily Weiss. The list goes on!

 MC: What do you think are the keys to success?

MB: My number one tip is to trust your gut. I’ve been asked this question a few times, and every time it comes up, I think back to the early days at Bumble with a tiny team and remember how it felt like I was taking shots in the dark, just praying it would work out. But I backed myself and trusted my instincts and it paid off in spades. There were a few times I can remember when I went along with something I wasn’t comfortable with, and it invariably didn’t work, and that just hammered home to me that you are responsible for your decisions, so only do things you believe in.

Aside from that, I would say it’s really important to find a mentor who can provide you with perspective on issues you might not consider yourself. I found a mentor in my first year at Bumble and her advice was invaluable to me.

MC: What advice would you give to women wanting to climb the corporate ladder in a predominantly male environment?

MB: If you’re focusing on the demographics of your colleagues, whether they are men, or whatever the case may be, then you are probably focusing on the wrong things. It is important to build strong relationships with your colleagues. Overall though, what you need to focus on is yourself, and your work, and delivering your key messages confidently in conversations or presentations – your results will speak for themselves.

MC: What are you most proud of in your working career?

MB: In January of this year, we hit two million registered users for Bumble in Australia, which was both a personal and professional milestone for me. It showed how far we’ve come in the last two years, and that all the hard work has paid off. On top of that, moments, like sponsoring the Melbourne Cup and seeing Bumble on the front page of a major newspaper, are those pinch-me moments where you really get to stop and take stock of the extraordinary work we have done.

MC: What’s the best bit of career advice you’ve ever received?

MB: When we launched Bumble Bizz in Australia, I had the immense pleasure of working with Jackie Frank, who was the founding editor of marie claire in Australia and throughout her career has been a champion for women’s issues. Jackie said to me “you can have it all, but not all at once” – that struck a chord with me and I have repeated it many times since. As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to have a successful career, a stable relationship, a fit body, a happy mindset, the perfect balanced diet (but also still treat yourself), and we literally have the expectation on ourselves that we have to do all of this at once. It actually isn’t always possible, and we need to give ourselves permission to take time out when needed. There will be stages of your life where your career takes priority over your family and friends – that is a hard one to admit sometimes. But there are other times when your personal life will be your main focus.

Both options are okay, and it is not always realistic to think every ball can be in the air at the same time.

MC: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced or a moment of failure that you have learnt from?

MB: When Bumble first launched in Australia not many people had heard of the brand, and dating apps had a very negative stigma attached to them. People had a lot of reservations about using dating apps and I even found it hard to hire people. While Bumble launched as a dating app with a mission to empower women worldwide, we have grown to become much more than just a dating app. We’re now a social networking app that connects you to new people in friendship, business and dating. It’s been exciting to see the growth that we’ve had since, but I’ll never forget how many ‘nos’ I received before people started saying yes!

Celebrate success

Do you know a powerhouse female who’s smashing the glass ceiling in her industry or making positive change in her community? Celebrate her achievements by nominating her for the “Making Moves Award” at the marie claire + Bumble Glass Ceiling Awards, supported by Estée Lauder, held on June 19 in Sydney.

Nominating someone is easy. Simply download the Bumble app and match with the marie claire x Bumble Glass Ceiling Awards in-app card.

Nominations open at 9am AEST Monday, 20 May 2019, and close at 5pm AEST Thursday, 6 June 2019. Winner to be advised on Thursday, 13 June 2019, and publicly announced on Wednesday, 19 June 2019. Only women aged 18 and over who reside in Australia can be nominated for this award. For full terms and conditions go to marieclaire.com.au.

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