Women in Tech – Janou Kessels

Here at Emark, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our team – it’s what makes us a culturally rich and interesting company to work for. In this series of "Women in Tech" blogs, we’ll be talking to some of the awesome women that work at Emark.

This time, we talk to Janou Kessels – Data Management Platform (DMP) Consultant, keen runner, and mother of two.

When did you join Emark, and what drew you to the company?

I joined in April 2019 and instantly liked the culture here, as it’s really laid back and friendly. Everyone chats while they grab a coffee in the kitchen. I felt at home right from the beginning.

What’s your role at Emark, and what does it involve on a day-to-day basis?

My job title is Data Management Platform (DMP) Consultant, but my role is much broader than that. I work a lot with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, particularly Advertising Studio and Social Studio. I’m the main contact between clients and the development team that builds their solutions, so I help clients define their goals and analyse user needs in order to turn them into requirements for the technical team. I manage the relationship with the client throughout the project, and provide the training at the end of it. It’s really satisfying being able to see a project through from start to finish.

What are the most important qualities and skills for someone in your role?

Definitely communication skills – the ability to listen to all different kinds of people and act as the bridge between them. Only by listening carefully and asking the right questions can you understand what the client really wants to achieve, and translate those business needs to technical requirements.

Is there a project that you’re particularly proud of?

On my first day at Emark, I joined a kick-off meeting with a major publisher, and I’ve been working closely with the client ever since. The implementation is now completed, but we’re still helping the client roll out use cases. Having seen the project through to the end, I’ve been able to see first-hand all the benefits it’s brought to the client. When I think about how I’ve contributed to the success of the project, it makes me really proud.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced at work?

For me, working in a second language has been hard at times, particularly when I first started at Emark. Unlike me, many of my clients are native English-speakers, and I have to be able to talk about complex topics with them, which could be intimidating. I’m more comfortable now though – Emark sent me on a business English course which has helped boost my confidence.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Emark?

The Christmas party! I work on really interesting and satisfying projects, but I also really appreciate the social side, and Emark holds the best parties.

Why do you think diversity is important in tech?

A diverse team makes working together so much more interesting, and can mean better results – people from different backgrounds see situations in different ways, ask different questions and come up with a wider variety of solutions.


How would you encourage more women to step into tech-based roles?

I think that now almost all marketing jobs are about technical tools and data. While always keeping the client’s goal in mind, it’s interesting to see how technology can help you achieve these goals more easily – it’s not so much about the technology itself, but the process and the benefits that it can deliver. It’s also important to understand that the tech industry isn’t all about 0s and 1s. I think technology is often portrayed as much more complex than it actually is, and nobody expects you to know everything anyway. Good communication is the basis of every successful project, so if you’re good at listening to people, you’re probably well-suited to a job in the industry. Give it a go!