You have been with disguise for just over a year and have achieved amazing things. Tell us about your career journey?
Wow, where do I start! It has been exciting, exhilarating and challenging all at the same time.
I came from the live events industry before I moved over to the world of extended reality and virtual production so there was an extremely steep learning curve. What I have begun to realise, is that curve never ends! disguise is constantly innovating and developing and I’m always learning. That potential for growth is what gets me out of bed in the morning!
I started in a Business Development role which allowed me to learn about the industry directly from potential customers. As their first point of contact from disguise, I wanted to make sure I could help customers overcome any technical or creative challenges they were facing. My current, new role as Regional Sales Manager is a dream come true. Speaking to clients about what they need to advance their ideas and supporting them throughout the process is such an exciting prospect!
What drew you to disguise in the first place?
Two of my main loves are music and film. When you work for disguise: one minute you’re talking to someone about Billie Eilish’s concert and the next you are on a call about a Star Wars production. I can honestly say there isn’t a single project I’ve spoken to someone about that I haven’t found interesting. Who wouldn’t want that from their job? I also felt so connected with disguise’s values and vision and I couldn’t wait to be part of it.
How did the Regional Sales Manager Role for Oceania come about?
For my first year at disguise, I worked as a Business Development Executive and ended up playing a key role in many deals throughout the year for Oceania. This allowed me to play an integral role in the disguise Oceania team’s commercial successes in 2021. Management has always been aware of how much further I wanted to take my career and how excited I would be for any opportunity to grow and develop.
My new Regional Sales Manager role now allows me to connect with more people in the industry while also motivating others to meet disguise’s vision and attain positive results. I am so proud that I work for a company that wants its staff to do well.
You are the first Regional Sales Manager for the Oceania region. What excites you the most about this new opportunity?
In the Oceania region, with the help of our fantastic partners, disguise has already powered so many amazing projects mainly in concert touring and fixed installations. These include productions like The Voice Australia as well as brilliant VIVID Sydney and White Night Melbourne lighting festivals, and New Years Eve in Sydney Harbour, where projectors and disguise servers were scattered all around the harbour, whilst running them all from a central location. disguise Oceania now has big plans to expand further into extended reality (xR) and Virtual Production.
disguise’s Oceania team is also smashing the bias in the mostly male-dominated tech industry. Women make up 50% of the New Zealand team. We are a group of creative technologists, project management and solutions experts with a pipeline of interns being trained on Unreal Engine and disguise workflows. Apart from doing great work, we are helping to build a female creative tech workforce that will change the world of tech.
What will be your number one mission in your new role?
disguise is a platform with a purpose to create possibilities, connection and inclusion. Backed by the disguise Oceania Support team, our Training department and our new, Sydney-based Head of Training for APAC, I want to help even more people throughout the region access the advantages of disguise technology so they can create amazing projects.
In essence, this translates to an ambitious outlook: creating opportunities, looking for possibilities to grow and develop the business. Making connections is what the world is all about. Together we aim to seek positive outcomes and build trust with other companies so that they know disguise is synonymous with quality.
I also want disguise Oceania to grow and develop as a team. I have always worked hard to be part of an inclusive team, where everyone's views are valued and decisions are made ethically - for the right reasons. I could not think of a better team to be part of!
We regularly see women in positions of power within disguise and it’s incredibly inspirational for anyone starting out in the industry. We also couldn’t have a more engaging and inclusive CEO. Our CEO Fernando Küfer has made me feel like I could achieve anything in this industry and his values radiate throughout the entire company."
Kate Watson, Regional Sales Manager for Oceania
As this year’s IWD theme was #breakthebias, what particular biases in the workplace would you like to break?
On International Women’s Day people often talk about strength and resilience, which women certainly have, but I often feel that gives little room for vulnerability. It can sometimes make us feel like if we have a problem or a difficult situation to face, we’re not allowed to feel it or show that we’re struggling. Especially in the Sales field, which is male-dominated, admitting you’re struggling can feel like a challenge. But it’s ok to not always be ok and to ask for help. I think there’s so much power that can come from being vulnerable and being true.
How has disguise supported you in your new role?
From the top down the support has been overwhelming. I've never felt more encouraged and championed in the workplace. The prospect of moving from London to Australia for the role is daunting at times but with positive encouragement underpinning this move I’m beyond excited for this new chapter.
Tech can be a daunting area to work in for women. In what way do you think disguise supports women who work here?
We regularly see women in positions of power within disguise and it’s incredibly inspirational for anyone starting out in the industry. We also couldn’t have a more engaging and inclusive CEO. Our CEO Fernando Küfer has made me feel like I could achieve anything in this industry and his values radiate throughout the entire company.
What advice do you have for other women who want to make their mark in the tech industry?
Only 19% of the tech workforce is currently female and often, when you look around, you won’t see anyone like you or anyone you can relate to in the room (or the Zoom call).
What I have learned is that, if you don’t see anyone who can be your role model you need to be your own. There is a long history of females who were the first at something… and this can be you!
Often your resilience will be tested but just always know that you deserve a seat at the table.
I’m regularly the only woman in a meeting but I don’t even notice this anymore because I’ve earned the right to be there and I know that, based on my experience, I am able to add value to the conversation.
I also highly recommend getting involved in mentorship opportunities. I am excited to be part of Rise’s mentorship programme in Australia and I can’t wait to see what I will learn from that.
What advice do you have for workplaces when it comes to creating an inclusive place for women?
My male counterparts at work can have vastly different experiences to me on a day-to-day basis and their journey to their positions may look very different from mine.
Acknowledgement of that from my workplace and support is essential. There has to be a safe space for women to talk about how they are treated and how it can make them feel and this needs to be followed by positive action. Being an ally to women in the workplace means advocating and speaking up if you hear of any form of discrimination. No matter who we are or what our gender is, we should all aim to do this.