IWD 2021: Choose to Challenge My Own Career Path

Belinda Chin, our Digital Marketing Communications Executive, spoke to us about her journey into digital marketing, challenging gender norms with intersectionality and her experience with labels.

In honour of International Women’s Day 2021, we have been speaking with some of the women in our organisation about the ways in which they #ChooseToChallenge the status quo every day. These brilliant women are all at different points in their careers and lives, and work across different roles.

Could you tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today

I have always wanted to work in Marketing but growing up in a Chinese Malaysian family there was an expectation for me to pursue a career in either law, medicine or engineering. I worked hard to meet this expectation, and in 2016 I moved to the UK from Malaysia, to study Law at the University of East Anglia. I was incredibly fortunate to have received a partial scholarship to support my studies.

Even though I couldn’t see myself as a Barrister, studying law definitely gave me a very wide range of career options, along with a myriad of transferable skills. I loved it in Norwich, and I decided to stay on at UEA to do an MSc in Marketing and Management. I landed a job after university at an SEO company in Norwich as an Outreach Executive which gave me my first step into the digital marketing world, and I knew even more that this was the industry I wanted to be in. 

Last month, I joined JBP as a Digital Marketing Communications Executive. It’s been fantastic continuing to grow my digital marketing skills and knowledge base with the team here. I am excited to see what the future holds. 

What challenges did you face or overcome to get where you are today, and have you encountered any obstacles that are specific to being a woman?

One of the biggest challenges I have encountered is that, even as a little girl, I was always known as “the bossy one”. When we’re growing up it is a label that often goes unnoticed, or even used fondly, by the adults in our lives, but it is one that my male counterparts have never had to experience. Boys are rarely “bossy”, instead they are often just “head-strong” or “leaders”. 

This has followed me into my adult life. For some, I am “too loud”, “too opinionated” and “too difficult”. What I’ve learnt is that people of all genders can be intimidated by an assertive and confident woman. I challenge those people to question their thoughts, feelings and reactions when they are faced with a woman who is sure of herself and her voice. I believe that my tenacity and determination are what got to where I am today.

The theme of IWD this year is #ChooseToChallenge – forging an inclusive world by challenging bias and inequality. Can you tell us about a time that you chose to challenge?

I chose to challenge and take charge of my own career path, it wasn’t easy, but despite all the obstacles, I chose to stay focused on my goals and pursue my dreams.

Moreover, as a woman of colour, there is definitely an added dimension to the inequality and bias that I face. But I also recognise the privilege that I possess and every single day, I choose to challenge gender norms with an intersectional approach. I acknowledge that the systemic discrimination women face differs based on race, skin colour, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status and other aspects of identity. I think it is very important that as a society, we must empower all the different types of womxn in our lives.

What achievement are you most proud of?

Ever since I was young, my plan has always been to continue living in the UK after completing my studies. When the pandemic hit, this goal started to seem almost impossible, especially with the additional obstacle of needing visa sponsorship. With these challenges to overcome, I knew I had to work extra hard to achieve my dream. My parents have made a lot of sacrifices for me to be able to forge a career and life here. So, the achievement that I am most proud of is landing my current job! It is my dream role within an amazing company that believes in me and will go the extra mile to support me.

Looking back, what piece of advice do you have for your younger self?

My best advice would be to stop stressing because everything always works out exactly the way it’s supposed to. Know your worth, remember who you are, and never allow anyone or anything to get in the way of your goals!

Belinda Chin
Digital Marketing Communications Executive

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