Young, Female and Effective - One of London’s youngest, female digital masterminds is impressing boardroom executives at some of the UK’s largest consumer brands.
According to the global data company BoardEx, in 2020, a whopping 63.8% of boardroom roles were held by caucasian, middle-aged males. In 2022, The Fawcett Society, a charity campaigning for women’s rights, released their own research in the Sex & Power Index which shows that less than one third of the UK’s top jobs (or positions of power) are filled by women.
With these sorts of statistics still making headlines, it’s no surprise that when a young female confidently presents data science and technical marketing strategies to boardrooms full of Directors and CEOs of the largest brands in the UK, jaws drop.
Graduating from Bournemouth University with a Honours Degree in Business & Marketing - 25-year-old, Shannon Osborne, the Head of Digital at Osaka Labs
, says that her young age and gender means she has had to prove herself ‘much more than her male counterparts.’
“As a young female in a senior role, I feel that when I walk into a boardroom meeting, there’s added pressure to navigate the meeting differently”, says Shannon, “I have to work harder to prove to others that I fully understand the industry and can effectively undertake the technical, decision-making leadership roles that are most commonly held by older men”.
Osborne, who previously worked in PR for a London agency, is no stranger to big personalities. She’s come face to face with some of the world’s biggest names in entertainment marketing, such as Lady Gaga and Kate Spade. After deciding that PR was not for her, Shannon’s ability to ‘shift focus and learn quickly’ proved one of her best assets. She taught herself Spanish and worked remotely for a marketing agency located in Spain whilst she, through countless online causes and hours of self-study, mastered the art of digital marketing and advertising.
Whilst she might not look how most people expect the Head of Digital at a leading London Agency should look, Shannon’s exceptional skills were immediately recognised by Shoreditch Activation Studio, Osaka Labs. Founder of Osaka Labs, Sam Gormely, notes that Shannon has, “consistently dropped jaws in boardroom meetings with some of the UK’s largest brands.” He continues, “Shannon’s effective strategies have cemented her as a leader in the digital marketing revolution, where she encourages people to have more trust in technology.”
Shannon believes that in some cases, those from older generations are limited by a lack of mental elasticity when it comes to navigating the always-evolving digital space. She explains, "As times and trends change, boundaries need to be pushed, and new technologies need to be trusted and implemented. Old-fashioned marketing ideas like events, magazine ads and tv commercials are almost always a waste of money. Instead, we know that people look at their phone for about eight hours a day, and that this is the globally dominant method that people now interact with purchasing so brands need a marketing strategy that understands this space and can shift with it as it changes, sometimes as quickly as overnight.”
Rather than shying away from the pressure of trying to educate a room full of Directors (who are usually set in their ways) on the importance of using data science, Shannon says she now feels empowered walking into boardroom meetings as it gives her an opportunity to prove herself as an effective Gen-Z professional; an invigorating confidence that she encourages other women to embrace, given the opportunity.
“I used to find presenting to a room full of powerful, older-men intimidating but now I see it as a challenge and opportunity to be an outlier”, says Shannon. “I feel confident as I think I hold a competitive advantage as a Gen-Z; Having grown up with social media, the internet and technology, my knowledge is almost second nature - I can adapt to the constant industry changes quickly and this gives me a huge advantage.”
About Osaka Labs: Founded in 2017, Osaka Labs is a Content Activation Studio based in Shoreditch built for future-thinking businesses. They develop remarkable and trackable digital brand experiences from social to purchase. Osaka Labs have worked with some of the nation’s most well-known and trusted household brands such as Pedigree, Wrigleys Extra and Mars.
For more information or to speak with Shannon, please contact Renae Smith at The Atticism PR.