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Why I hid behind my brand name

Why I hid behind my brand name

I am the owner of a marketing and technology (IT) business named MarkIT Space. I came up with the business name back in 2015, and in 2022, seven years later, I feel like I've somewhat just come out of the closet, so to speak. By that, I mean I've built up my confidence enough to reveal that MarkIT Space is owned by a woman and not some guy named Mark!

MarkIT Space by Kellie Watson

I never seemed to fit into any kind of stereotype: I'm an outlier. 

I'm a programmer, yet creative with a bubbly personality, always smiling and laughing and love to chat with anyone. 

I love singing, dancing, and performing on stage in musical theatre productions. 

But I can also spend hours absorbed in programming code and mathematical equations, researching, and strategising, and working in complete silence. 

I'm educated (with a double degree in Business and Science, and I continue to study), I've worked hard for more than 20 years, and I'm 'cautiously' confident that I'm great at what I do. 

But I bet if I were born male, I would be absolutely confident in my skills and who I was. 

Though I wouldn't have spent my life trying to prove it, so I probably wouldn't have ended up as skilled, but I'm sure I would have been paid more and offered more opportunities.

By no means am I hating on men. 

I'm married to a beautiful man, a Mum to two brilliant and active young boys, and I'm all for men having opportunities. But I do think that gender shouldn't be a factor in jobs and wages.

Perhaps it comes down to the generation I was born into or the generation my parents, educators, and mentors were born into, the ones who passed their wisdom down to me. I have had many encounters where I felt discriminated against for being born female and working in a so-called man's world. For instance, in one of my ICT (Information Communication and Technology) subjects at university, I was the only girl in my class, and I overheard a couple of guys talking about me. They said, "She won't get very far. I bet she doesn't last long." Well, I thought, 'they don't know anything about me whatsoever, and I'll prove them wrong!' I came top of that class.

Throughout my career, I was aware of the starting salaries of the men hired who either joined my team as equal team members to me or replaced my old role when I was promoted. (I used to sit next to the HR manager in a cubicle, so it was hard not to hear). And 100% of those times, the new guy started on a salary that was tens of thousands a year more than me, and there was one guy who even earned double my salary. I did give the new guys the benefit of the doubt, and each time I thought maybe he is really clever and experienced. I did query HR and asked why my salary was so much lower. They responded with, "you can't really compare." So, I got to know the new guy each time, thinking, 'perhaps I'll learn something from them.' It turned out that 100% of the time, they were less educated, less experienced, less skilled, and always came to me for help.

So, throughout my life, it kept getting drilled into me that females don't get very far in my field of work. 

But I love what I do, and I had a burning desire to start my own company and be a boss who truly values fairness and inclusiveness.

Since the very beginning of my career, I have always worked in a range of marketing and IT roles. So that's a big reason for coming up with the name "MarkIT". But I also secretly thought that perhaps people might think it was owned by a man named Mark and give the business a chance.

Kellie Watson

MarkIT Space


Kellie Watson

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