Behind the Scenes - Meet Bianca, the creative talent responsible for our NEW Website!
7th February 2019
Behind the Scenes - Meet Bianca, the creative talent responsible for our NEW Website.
The WASH House is so proud of our new look website, we really wanted to shine a light on the amazing woman behind it all.
Bianca Freedman is a Digital Advisor & Business Development Manager for Be Media, but created our new website as a freelancer, volunteering her time, talent, creativity, expertise and know-how.
Tell us a little about yourself & How did you get to where you are now?
I was adopted at 3 days old from Thailand and moved to Australia with Australian parents. After my parents split when I was still very young, I lived overseas in a few different countries for much of my childhood before returning to Australia in 2002.
I was a quiet & only child, however really started to find my voice when I was taken away from my mum at the age of 14 due to a long standing history of alcohol abuse and violence towards me.
I went through the system, I got bounced from around refuge to refuge, found myself involved in bad situations & came to realise the very real possibility of how life could quickly go downhill without the right attitude, motivation & belief in ones self. No one else was going to do this for me. So I got out of the refuges, took myself out of school when I was almost 17, just before my HSC, and went to work.
My first full time job – the much-hated commission based Door2Door salesperson. After 2 weeks with this company, having made zero sales, no income & having a super deflated sense of self, I quit. I went to my next job interview not knowing much about what was involved, sat down, got chatting with the manager & much to my dismay, realised it was another Door2Door role.
After debating with myself if I could go on with another 2 weeks of no income should I fail again, I decided I’d give it another red hot crack. It was after all, a different service & a product I believed in, I already had gained some skills from my previous experience & the pros outweighed the cons at that point.
The next 9 months was a crash course in how to work with many different backgrounds of people from every level of socio economic demographic, a deep dive into exploring the boundaries within myself, I travelled around NSW and VIC, trained new teams and… I was surprisingly good at it.
Fast forward 12 years, I now have an extensive background in sales, experiential & digital marketing, have worked at both of the big Tier one media companies in Sydney & have a solid background in the gaming industry working with the worlds biggest video gaming brands.
I have my tenacity and go-forward-no-matter-how-scary-it-is attitude to thank as I wouldn’t be here without it.
You work in IT and Digital Media, a very competitive and male dominated industry. What are some of the challenges you have faced and how have you navigated through them in your career?
Working within this space has always been very male dominated especially when you are on the sales & business development side of the business. The gender pay gap is also more prominent. I have always worked in male dominated teams and have even been the only female in the entire business at one point in my career.
Being female in any male dominated industry tends to put you on the backfoot without even getting through the door first. Should you make it through the door, you then have to negotiate what you are worth to the business.
On a personal level (as well as the above) looking young & being smaller of stature at the pint-size height of 5ft 1, the biggest challenge I have faced is initially being viewed as the “young, little girl” within the workplace and in front of clients. This has resulted in not being taken seriously & sexism within the workplace. With workplaces I have walked into I have had to navigate this is by earning my stripes, letting my reputation & numbers speak for themselves, believing & knowing the success I bring to my company & it’s clients, and not being afraid to negotiate, be assertive & straightforward. No one defines me, but me.
What drives you to do what you do?
Disrupting the norm. I got told “No” a lot when I when I was in my first few years of my career. I enjoy proving the nay-sayers wrong and showing how successful you can be when all signs point to disappointment or big fat “NO’s”. I have also found that not fully absorbing others negativity or unfavourable advice has helped drive me to find out, experience things for myself & make up my own mind” as everyone experiences things differently.
I got told I would never find my birth mum, in Thailand. After a few years of trying – I found her. I then got told that to be prepared for a disappointing meeting and don’t expect it to go well. Of course, I was prepared for this & tucked away the negativity surrounding our meeting & was ready to take each step as it came. Meeting my birth mum was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and am in regular contact with her now, growing our relationship as mother and daughter.
Little things like that not only drives me to do what I do, but it helps me grow on a personal level and helps those around me grow also. Whether it’s family / friends, the business I work I work for, or the clients I work with – I love being part of something that drives growth, whatever that may look like.
Belief in myself and others has always been a core value & there are loads of ways to implement this into your daily routine.
How did you come across the WASH House and how have you been involved with the organisation?
I found WASH House after reading an article and wanted to see what organisations where close to me. I used to volunteer at an animal shelter a few years back, however they closed down and was curious to see if there is was anything I could get involved with that I was passionate about.
I then found WASH House! I first approached WASH House to see if I could help with donated self-care gift boxes for women who were about to attend a self-care workshop. I remember when I was in refuges, I needed basic things like a hairbrush that wasn’t on its last legs, hair ties that weren’t falling apart, shampoo and conditioner that I didn’t have to ridiculously ration with every wash. The boxes were received very well & was I was truly grateful to be given the opportunity to help make a small difference to the women that attended.
After sitting down with Debra after the event, I got to know the organisation more, realised how time poor the staff were at WASH House & that resources were needed to help grow WASH House so that the WASH House could continue its wonderful work with women in the community. The website was in dire need of an update & at that point, did not reflect the way WASH House has grown & evolved over the years. Building a new website for WASH House was a no-brainer for me.
In your opinion, why is volunteering and giving back to community so important?
I feel that If you have the capacity, know-how, knowledge or expertise to volunteer, you help better your community, better yourself as an individual, you feel good about making a difference no matter how big or small &, you create amazing & deep connections, all the while helping make a positive impact in whichever cause you are passionate about and get involved with.
Technology is rapidly changing and we are more and more dependent on it in our daily lives. Have you got any tips for women about how to use technology safely?
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!! If you feel something is not quite right, you are probably onto something.
Think twice before sharing pictures of you or your family. People can and have stolen photos for their own use.
Avoid your name, DOB or any other personal information as your password. I like to think of my favourite quote and set my passwords as every first letter of each word. EG “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” would be “Tqbfjotld” – super random, add some numbers at the end & voila, good luck to anyone trying to guess!
Don’t share sensitive information on the internet, especially via email. If a company asks you to share info over email – do your due diligence & call them to verify the email & confirm the email address actually belongs to them.
Most of us have more than one device. Protect your devices and information by setting up login notifications for apps or sites you regularly use. This will tell you when someone else is trying to gain access to your account from another device.
Be social media smart. There are plenty of security features across our most loved social media accounts, however if not set up properly, this leaves us venerable to harassment & hackers. Always be conscious of the information you share with the world & who can access your information or get in touch with you through these platforms.
Our vision of feminism includes challenging the myths that some careers are women-only and some careers are men-only. As a woman working in a male dominated industry, what are your tips for other women considering a career in technology, and digital media?
I find this is a bit of a catch-22 in any male dominated industry. Should you be assertive & straightforward, this can come across as you being “bitchy”. However if you are the opposite, you are seen as a pushover and not taken as seriously. My advice to believe in what you do, believe in what you say & back yourself up!
I also recommend researching companies that you aspire to work with, get to know the structure of the business & the people & be sure that the company’s values mirror your own. I have been lucky enough to find aligned values within my current role at Be Media.
There is nothing in the IT and digital media industry that women cannot do. If you are thinking of getting into this industry there are tonnes of networking events for women in digital & I highly recommend going along to some of the events and meet ups. You will be surrounded by likeminded successful women who they are more than happy for you to pick their brain with any questions you may have.
When it’s time to wind-down after a busy day, where will we find you and what do you do for self-care?
Self care is a daily ritual for me. I like to take time out of everyday, catching up with friends and family, I LOVE food so cooking something delicious & experimenting with new things is a big love of mine, going to the gym and reading which is great for switching off and leaving the days thoughts behind.
Finally, If anyone is interesting in touching base with you professionally, where can they reach you?
Please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org