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A Day in the Life of... Olivia Hughes, EMEA Marketing Director at Dell Technologies

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 21 August 2019
Updated: Friday 16 August 2019

Olivia Hughes Dell

What does an EMEA Marketing Director at Dell Technologies do? 

I head up EMEA marketing for the OEM and IoT multi-billion-dollar division of Dell Technologies. The EMEA marketing director leads a team of marketers around EMEA who deliver high quality demand generation, awareness and leads for our sales team. We also ensure our sales team are trained and enabled to sell our solutions. 

We are part of a wider global marketing team with many team members all over the globe. 



What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

All of my experience has been in marketing with some sales experience early on in my career. Many of my roles have been in Telecommunications and IT companies, where I have always found there are plenty of jobs as these are such fast growing industry sectors.  I have worked in a lot of different marketing roles including PR, communications, channel marketing product management, events, program management, social and digital marketing and I think this has really helped me understand all aspects of marketing and be a better overall marketing manager.

I worked in various companies in a few countries, including 7 years in Australia, and this international experience has proved invaluable for my current role. My last 13 years have been spent in Dell where I have progressed from a product manager and online role in the Ireland business to my current role managing the marketing of a region for a large division within Dell. 

What is the biggest challenge you face in your role? 

The biggest challenge for me personally would be the amount of travel I need to do as part of my role. I have 3 children and they are always my first priority so sometimes I struggle to juggle everything, but I’m fortunate that I have a great husband and childminder. And when I’m not travelling, I work from home 2 days a week and also make sure that every spare moment I have in the evenings and all weekends are spent with family. My children are older now but when they were really young I worked a 3-day week in a non-demanding job for 5 years which was the right thing at the time for our family.

The biggest challenge professionally would be that Dell Technologies is such a huge company with over 140,000 employees so it is a very matrixed organisation with a lot of stakeholders – to get results you certainly need to be persuasive and able to influence in a matrixed structure like this.

What key skills do you need to be effective in your role? 

Some of the key skills to be effective in my role would be relationship building, drive for results, collaboration, presenting on stage at events and communications skills. Another key skill is strategy as I am part of 3 senior management teams and need to regularly give ideas and input into direction and strategy for our division. People leadership skills are very important as you can’t achieve anything unless you inspire and lead your team to success - I am very fortunate that I have a fantastic group of highly talented marketers in my team.

Describe a typical working day.

I am not sure there is such a thing as a typical working day . I could be doing anything from presenting at an event and meeting customers in Moscow, doing 1:1 calls all day with my team, management team meetings in our Austin, Texas headquarters working on strategy and planning, budget management, meeting other marketing teams to collaborate on key events and programs and of course spending a lot of time talking to our sales team on their priorities and how marketing can help grow our business in EMEA. 

Even my working hours are not typical. When I’m in Dublin I usually start work at 9.30am so I can bring the children to school, but then I work extra hours at weird times and days to ensure I get my work done.



What do you love most about your role? 

I love how fast paced and dynamic it is. No two days are the same. Dell really is a great company to work for and the people here are fantastic – I have made some great friends over the years. I really enjoy people management and am very fortunate to have a lovely team of people working for me at the moment. My favourite part of people management is career development and seeing people flourish and grow. I also mentor quite a few people outside of my own team, particularly younger females who I try to encourage to grow into management positions. 

The other area I love is work travel as I get to visit a lot of amazing locations around the world. I’ve always loved travel, however unfortunately it can be very tiring and disruptive to family life.

Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next? 

 I could continue my career within Dell as it’s such a great company to work for and with 140,000 employees there are plenty of career opportunities. However, I may also look outside of Dell as Ireland has a very buoyant work market, particularly for people with experience in the tech sector and with international experience. I’ve always had an interest in tourism and travel so would also be interesting to work in that industry.

To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role? 

 I’ve been very fortunate to work for some amazing leaders in Dell, including one of our current Dell Technologies Presidents, Joyce Mullen, who has been a big inspiration and guiding force for me. My current manager Ethan Wood is very strong at marketing strategy and I am learning a lot from him and my previous manager Dermot O’Connell has had a big impact on my confidence and growth as a leader. I also really respect and admire our CEO Michael Dell for his leadership around doing what is right for the environment and also equal rights and opportunities for everybody. Outside of Dell I’ve always liked Richard Branson and was inspired by him when I heard him talk at the Pendulum Summit. He has obviously built an amazing empire but has stayed down to earth, really cares about people and somehow still manages to build plenty of free time, exercise, family time and fun into his life.

 

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