Advice on work and life from two career women

StoriesCategory
6 min read
Cate Barker

We thought we’d celebrated International Women’s Day 2021 on 8 March by profiling two of GoDaddy Australia’s leading women:

  • Tamara Oppen, Managing Director, GoDaddy Australia (pictured above with her son)
  • Suzanne Mitchell, Sr. Director of Marketing, GoDaddy Australia

We asked each a series of questions about their work life and experiences — here are their answers. 

1. What was your first paying job?

Tam: I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. My first, non-official paying job was aged 10, baking cakes and sweet treats to sell to my neighbours.

Let’s just say I didn’t make a lot of money; the merchandise was often too tempting!

Suzanne Mitchell headshot

My first official paying role, while studying at University, was working in a contact centre. It was the best training in understanding customer needs — even today, I still like to regularly connect with our amazing customer care team and speak directly to our customers at GoDaddy.

Suz (at right): I worked in my parents’ small retail business, serving customers and re-stocking shelves. I was first paid with strawberry Freddo Frogs based on the rule of 20 for the shelf and one for my tummy!

I was very young, but quickly learnt the importance of fast mental maths, and the ability to connect with a wide range of people from all walks of life.

2. Are you in the same industry now? If not, how did you get from there to here?

Tam Oppen headshot

Tam (at left): No I am not. If I reflect on my career, it is clearly split in two. The first, when I worked in the media industry, was fired by ambition and a love of news and content.

The second half, working in the tech sector, is fired by purpose and love of seeing how technology can make a difference in people’s lives. Being driven by purpose has taken me on an incredible journey to get me to where I am today at GoDaddy, helping everyday Australian entrepreneurs thrive online.

Suz: No, though the importance of customer service and appealing to a diverse audience has never left me. During University I started my own thing, running Under 18 nightclub parties for teens who wanted to go out and dance and see their friends in a safe nightclub space with juice bars.

It was pretty amateur, but taught me a lot about the fundamentals of marketing in the real world.

We even had our own influencer marketing team that promoted the events with flyers and through word of mouth in schools around Sydney! So I guess you could say marketing and entrepreneurship has always been in my bones.

3. What’s your favourite part of your work day?

Tam: Connecting with people. GoDaddy has so many talented individuals working across the globe who I have an opportunity to connect with every day. I love the intellectual and cultural diversity at GoDaddy and the people who constantly teach me and help me expand my thinking and perspective.

Suz: Easily my catch up meetings with my team. At GoDaddy, we have such a smart, committed and fun bunch of Australians (in both Sydney and Melbourne) working in partnership to help empower everyday Australian entrepreneurs.

During lockdown last year, we reached out to Aussie customers so we could help their small businesses by profiling them in our GoDaddy marketing. It is truly rewarding working for a global business with over 20 million customers that truly lives and breathes the ethos that by helping our customers succeed in their online business, GoDaddy succeeds.

4. In your opinion, what are the most pressing issues facing Australian women in the workplace today?

Tam: Aside from the big, important issues around the gender pay gap and lack of representation of women in mid management, C-suite and board positions, an ongoing challenge, is the constant struggle women face trying to do it all!

It took me a long time to realise that I should be working towards work-life ‘harmony’ rather than balance, and that it’s OK to say no to people.

Suz: I often see women challenged by juggling all of life’s priorities — their family, career and personal health and fulfillment. Often the latter gets put on hold while they focus on family commitments. There shouldn’t have to be a choice when, in reality, we are at our best when all three are met.

Suz Mitchell and family

One of the values at GoDaddy is to live passionately, and it's great to have the personal dimension of your life woven into a company’s core beliefs.

This in itself provides permission for women and men to be the best they can be, and dedicate time to the things that are important to them.

5. What’s the smartest move you ever made, career-wise?

Tam: Being brave enough to walk away from a great corporate role to lead a startup in the disability sector, an industry I am very passionate about, and co-founding my own business.

Suz:  Without a doubt my smartest move was focussing my energy on the internet industry (rather than jumping around consumer brands) and working for eBay, when it was unknown in Australia.

Getting in early provided me the experience and skills in the online space to move across big brands, including MySpace, RottenTomatoes, IGN and now GoDaddy. I also have, intentionally, never specialised in a media channel, instead working on all and understanding the dynamics between them, as well as their usage from audience segments.

Recently, I have consciously worked in startup businesses to experience the different styles of working and culture. I’ve been lucky enough to experience both agile entrepreneurial environments alongside the amazing experience of working in large global corporations.

6. Looking back, what one thing would you have done differently if you could?

Tam: There is very little I would change. I realise that the mistakes or poor decisions I made along the way have helped shape the leader and person I am today. It’s about keeping a growth mindset and always being open to learn.

Suz: In order to gain a different perspective both professionally and culturally, I definitely would have worked and lived in other international regions before having children. A holiday can never truly provide the same richness as living there.

7. Do you have any advice to share with other women on how to advance in the workplace?

Tam: Always be true to your values and what you stand for…the rest will fall into place.

Suz: Continue to use your emotional intelligence to connect, build relationships and inspire others. For me it is all about the people — that is the most rewarding part of every day.

8. What’s your favourite way to unwind after a long day?

Tam Oppen and family

Tam: Spending time with my two kids and husband, it is always the perfect reset after a long day!

Suz: I flip flop between relaxing on the couch and snuggling my kids with training at the gym or in the local park. Both rejuvenate me.

Think you might like to join Tam and Suz at GoDaddy? Check out our open roles here.