Claire Ferreira – I know not to underestimate women!

Claire Ferreira runs a community called Mums In Marketing. In this #YesSheCan blog, she talks about her career journey, her motivations and juggling being a parent with work!

My journey

I have been lucky enough to work in marketing roles that have had a strong focus on people, partnerships -and making stuff happen!

One of my key roles was Event Marketing Manager for a large regional radio station (part of the former Guardian Media group) I secured major events and branding rights across the county.  It was also ‘hands-on’ in every way. I had one headline -artist perform through a sickness bug – and I had the glamorous job of holding the sick bag at the side of the stage. Thankfully she made it through the two songs!

I also looked after the communications and engagement for the fantastic Children’s Sleep Charity. This included a national partnership with a major parenting site that gained media coverage on all channels. I was also part of securing a BBC Panorama documentary on sleep – which was nerve wracking and amazing in equal measures!

Now I am proud to be the Founder of ‘Mums in Marketing’ brand-new online community. We share tips, kick imposter syndrome’s arse and back each other up.

I wanted to create a place where it was ok to ask absolutely anything about marketing or family stuff-  but more importantly, to just be yourself.

Our members are come from every element of the marketing spectrum – so when a question is asked, someone will usually have the answer. Because we are mum’s, we get that side of it as well.

We go from emotional family stuff to strategic marketing questions in a heartbeat. The way everyone looks out for each other is magical!

I have been blown away by the response. It has surpassed my expectations. I think it’s because we recognise that as a working mum, you have a bit of a ‘split personality’ and all aspects need some attention (especially the wine/coffee/ chocolate side…OK that is just me)

A day in the life of….

My days are very varied and pretty bonkers – and I absolutely love it!  I spend my time between community management and supporting our member’s.

I am also building brand awareness of course, spreading the word and looking at some very exciting future opportunities to support ‘MiM’s’ even more!

I am really excited at our latest initiative founded on the ethos of our group – supporting each other. We are launching ‘lunchtime live training’ where one of our ‘MiM’ community members deliver’s a free training segment in their area of expertise to share with the whole community. Free of charge and no pitching – just to help.

‘Mum’s in Marketing is not for the faint hearted. We are very real, quite sweary and focused as hell It’s a place where creative marketing mums can get support and be supported by each other. On any subject.

My motivation

When I returned to work after my first child, it felt like marketing had moved onto digital overnight! (or at least that is how it seemed after no sleep for a couple of years).

I really struggled with settling back in and feeling confident enough to enjoy my job.  I was not ‘digital’ but that seemed to be all the focus and I expected to know the answers. Lack of confidence and imposter syndrome really shook me up and impacted me outside of work as well. I was tired, trying to do the mummy-gig.

The hardest thing was feeling like I had no wider community to ask. I freelanced and when I was employed, I was remote working – so it a lonely place.  I was desperate to ASK someone what all the terminology meant (I was too tired for bloody google) but

I felt like I couldn’t just post in the regular marketing groups – because THOSE women all looked super confident

I became obsessed with creating a place you could ask the things that might make you feel embarrassed to tackle confidence and imposter syndrome head on – but also to have a good time!

I couldn’t bear the thought of another mum, worrying about not being ‘good enough’ or not having ‘all the answers’.

THAT is why I started ‘Mums In Marketing’ to build an amazing army of ‘go-to’ people for anyone who needed it.  And they ARE!!

I am passionate about ‘Mum’s in Marketing knowing their worth and knowing they are not alone Messages like this are my motivation.

I’m sat here giving my 11-month-old a bottle for my 3rd attempt to get her to nap and just read your post on mama guilt. I just wanted to message to say thank you. I went back to work from maternity at the start of lockdown, I’m in the middle of launching a new brand and have launched 2 new product lines since lockdown began, slowly losing my mind and trying to look after my daughter at the same time. She’s starting nursery in 2 weeks and it’s been eating me up. And now I’ve read your post. And I feel so much better. So, from one mama to another, thank you

I love having somewhere safe and judgement-free to ask for help and advice from the most like-minded people there could be in this world. We all have slightly different experiences and specialties, so you’ll get a variety of answers that help you shape what works best for you!

It’s not all about work and marketing sometimes it’s nice to have a rant with others who are trying to be super at everything but feel like they’re shit at everything, but those rants help us realise we are all in this together!

I didn’t realise how much I needed to have somewhere safe to ask questions and share my knowledge with likeminded people. I love how it’s helpful yet we can have great fun and a glass of vino! I really feel like I’ve found a group that gets me.

How did you overcome setbacks?

Wow, that is a question.

I worked really hard to learn to let things go.. I am the one who can support everyone else – but I had to practice what I preach because I can be  a  cracking self critic  But I look at what I HAVE achieved and focus on that – I never let my ‘lack of’ get me down. Those days are GONE!

And Professionally – I found my niche, supporting the Mum’s in Marketing community is my home. I am a coach, cheerleader and mischief instigator – what is not to love!!?

Overwhelm and lack of confidence are very rare where you are in the right place for you.

I have also declared a personal war on mummy-guilt I realised my kids are ok if they have more than the recommended screen time occasionally.! Saying I am a decent parent STILL feels very weird but I am determined to lead by example. SO many women I know beat themselves up doing too much or too little. But it’s enough now. WE are enough!

I have also learned NOT to care as much about what people thought.

Having a baby rocked me for a while, but I have rediscovered who I am. The label’s and stereotyping I have encountered for my gigantic Yorkshire accent, and for being an older mum, I now embrace.

What continues to drive you on?

Seeing ‘Mums in Marketing’ grow as we share our experience and humour (and talk about wine – a lot!)

They make me laugh so much!  I am absolutely on fire about creating change, but I don’t think that should limit the amount of fun we have!

Most importantly, to I would like ‘Mums in Marketing to recognise success, and in a way that works for each individual.  – if it’s by the skin of their teeth and with too much coffee, then the ‘MiM’s will be celebrating the fact that we have teeth and can buy coffee!

I am an eternal optimist. Whilst I love a good cry (I am actually famous for it!)  I get back on track and kick ass very quickly because I have kids and I want to work. Some days I am a mess, but it’s made much easier being part of a community.

Finally, I know not to underestimate women! ‘Mum’s in Marketing’ is full of absolute warriors! Despite their own circumstances, their family commitments, professional demands and day to day ‘stuff’ they show up to help and support each other. They absolutely rock my world! (I am filling up writing this – see I told you I was gold standard at crying!)

What is your biggest achievement in life?

Raising my kids of course! Equally amazing and hard in a way you cannot comprehend until you do it!

My daughter (who is 9) is a budding Greta Thunberg who constantly tells me off for not recycling enough, and my two-year old son is a fearless adventurer who has to be dragged off window ledges.

Has your gender ever been a barrier?

For me it has been the big 3 …Gender, motherhood, age

When I was younger inappropriate and lewd comments were considered acceptable, later as a mother looking for work, I was told by recruiters that I would ‘never find’ part time senior marketing roles.  As an older (fun!) mum the interviews simply dried up. I was advised to change maternity break to career break on my CV.  That is a reality for many women.

Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?

Eating crisps, drinking coffee and wishing I had time to actually make a phone call!  We have a mad Australian labradoodle who makes us all walk a bit more.

What advice would you give to young females starting their careers?

PLEASE Be yourself. You ARE enough, and the only person whose’ opinion really matters is your own

Don’t be afraid to change direction if you need to it is NEVER too late

Find people who share your values and surround yourself with them.

Have a laugh as often as you can, honestly if you can do that, I promise even the rubbish times will be OK.

ONLY take on what you can manage. It’s ok if it is not for right now and saying NO is liberating

Be the leader that you are – in any sense. When you can support a team by your nature, you will excel as a leader by profession

A mantra I live by is “Honesty all the way”.

The best piece of advice that I have been given is ‘Think about the worst that can happen? As a natural ‘over-thinker, this helped to just check myself….and at the end of the day, as long as my family are all safe/healthy then the world will not stop turning if I screw something up.

Be yourself! The minute you stray away from who you really are, it can lead to it all ‘feeling too much’

Who are your inspirations, most notably female ones?

Michelle Gyimah – who is a powerhouse on equality. Her workshops to encourage conversations around racism and allyship are groundbreaking and courageous.

Vicki Dawson, CEO of The Children’s Sleep Charity.  She is tireless is in her commitment to seeing the importance of sleep on the agenda. She has achieved so much!

Do you think enough is being done to address gender imbalance?

I definitely think there are in-road’s being made, but it’s a journey that is for sure. Sometimes, I think there is a fear of even raising it. Personally, I would applaud any organisation who held their hands up and said…nope we are just not nailing this.


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