In our second instalment of celebrating the women at Eljays44 for IWD, today we caught up with our head of content, Nina Mason.
Nina is a head of content for all B2B publications produced by Eljays44 and leads a fantastic team of writers, subeditors and designers. Most of Nina’s role is delegation and management, but she still loves to get her teeth into features writing.
What does IWD mean to you?
Many people, myself included, would probably say IWD is about celebrating well-known and widely influential females across the globe – and it is. But it’s also about celebrating those who make small yet substantial steps every day to achieve gender equality. And for me personally, it’s also about celebrating women who support and encourage other women, whether that’s to achieve their goals or simply to have a healthier mindset.
How did you get to where you are in your career?
My first editorial role was at Eljays44 – they took a chance on me. I left to work for another B2B publisher after three years or so, but my passion for Pro Landscaper never left me and I ended up returning after less than a year to take on my current role.
What’s your career highlight?
This is a tough question. There have been plenty of times when I’ve felt a sense of pride but leading the Pro Landscaper redesign in 2019 definitely stands out. We completely overhauled the look of the magazine and switched up the content. Also, whilst it would be difficult to describe this as a highlight, I’m so proud of myself and my team for how we pulled through the last year too. The pandemic changed the way we work and the way we communicate, but we still managed to print every publication we set out to throughout 2020. That’s a huge achievement, and I’m so pleased to have led us through that.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman at the very start of her career?
To change the way you talk to yourself and about yourself. One of the influencers I follow on Instagram has a saying which is for workouts, but I think applies to so much more – “I can do hard things.” If we can tell ourselves this, and other mantras, more often, we’ll try things we’re scared to do, like pitching a new idea or going for a promotion or a new job. Even if it doesn’t work out, we can dust ourselves off and try again.
What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women in management roles?
It might not be the biggest issue, but we need to change the way women are sometimes described compared to men. Sheryl Sandberg talks about this in her book, ‘Lean In’. Women are ‘bossy’ but men are ‘assertive’, and that can sometimes impact whether we put forward an idea or how we delegate tasks.
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does this mean to you?
This is hugely important to me. It can be so easy to feel envious when we compare ourselves to other women and to have a negative mindset because of this, where we put others down to make ourselves feel better (and it’s hardly surprising when we live in a world where the media constantly compares women to each other). We’re all different, though, and we should celebrate those differences and celebrate other women’s achievements. Their success does not equal your failure.
Which woman inspires you most and why?
There are so many inspirational women, and I’d struggled to name just one. I mentioned Sheryl Sandberg earlier – she had a huge influence on me and the way I think about women in the workplace. I also follow so many women on Instagram who use their platform to lift up other women, such as Chessie King and personal trainer Alice Liveing.
What barriers have you faced as a woman in becoming successful in your field, & how did you overcome them?
I’m not sure this is directly because I’m a woman, but my shyness was a huge barrier for me. To a certain degree, boys are encouraged to be boisterous and girls are encouraged to be quiet and polite, so I never felt like I needed to address my shyness until university. I was undertaking a journalism module and couldn’t avoid ‘voxpops’. My tutor said something which stuck with me, though – if you’re not confident, fake it until you are. And I did, and now I am!
Finally, we know that work isn’t your whole life! So, what are your hobbies outside of work?
It’s a little bit difficult to answer this in lockdown, when my hobbies have become walking, jigsaw puzzles and houseplant carer. But I’m also the proud new owner of a Peloton and have been following Instagram workouts while the gyms are closed, which have been keeping me sane!
Can I have ‘food’ as a hobby too? There’s nothing I love more on the weekend than strolling through a street food market and trying as much as possible (and grabbing a few drinks on the way too).
The next in our IWD feature will see us speak with Jess McCabe, head of sales at Eljays44. Jess will speak about what IWD means to her.