09 Mar 2023
I am Lisa Goodchild, chief troublemaker at Digilearning and I’m also a founder of a digital consultancy called Digiwoo which I’ve had for about 14 years now which is where I met Melina many years ago. My main profession is my Digilearning charity, a charity for underserved and marginalised young people, we upskill them and give them the skills they need in today’s market. We ensure they have experiences and opportunities to build their career and help them land amazing jobs.
I have been in the digital world for a long time now, starting off many years ago by completing a bachelor of science in digital media, which I feel very blessed to have done a bachelor of science in digital media because it was a time when internet wasn’t as big and CD roms and coding still existed. My daughter now tells me that coding is not a thing anymore, but I remind her that’s where the foundations started. I can actually code – which not everyone in the industry can anymore so I come from very humble beginnings, not the greatest start, massive poverty but I was lucky enough to have a person in my life who encouraged me to go to university, my best friends mum, who’s also my co-founder at digilearning. And that is where I got into digital and digital just changed the game for me and gave me so many opportunities. I had my own website design agency, and then I went and worked for a really cool guy called Dan Wagner who created an eCommerce platform called Vendor and we were taking the first people to market like Mothercare, Ted Baker and Panasonic.
It was really exciting times, because it was a time when people were saying ‘no, everyones going to buy online!’ And then I found myself getting investment from Dan for a shopping portal, a beauty comparison website. I then walked away from that and created my digital agency Digiwoo, and I also took part in an amazing programme called the Marketing Academy, where you did a whole year of learning with fellow marketeers which was really life changing for me as a leveller, because of where I came from, giving me the confidence and getting over that imposter syndrome. But it was also me realising yes of course I should be here, we need more diversity in the room and they are all just wicked human beings.
That was the game changer for me and that’s where I started to know I wanted to help young people, particularly women. I’d been supporting women already at events globally but it was then myself and my friend Sarah had our little ones and that’s where Digilearning was born. Its gone strength to strength – helping 16 to 30 and helping young people in other countries.
I think I’ve come across this my whole life, particularly because of my accent coming from southeast London, I definitely sound like a Londoner. There was actually a documentary on the BBC recently on classism and it really is significant how much it holds you back and I think how I’ve overcome that is facing it head-on and not giving a s**t, people either like me or they don’t, if people think I’m stupid based on my accent then more fool them. It is really interesting that society still holds those values I think there is amazing piece out at the moment in the times that the ad industry that equality and diversity and equity is better and actually it doesn’t need any work, but that’s so damaging to read. In particular when we still have so much to do in that space in terms of making things more balanced for each and every one of us and particularly in journalism, I think its 80% of journalist parents come the top ten professions and around 80% are privately educated, which lacks diversity. What I’m saying is let’s make sure the table is a balanced representation of our current society. Having a really thick skin has also given me really good resilience, coming from poverty and making my way up has allowed me to have thick skin. When you look at people who are successful and who have also come from poverty it shows it doesn’t matter where you come from, there is opportunity there.
The divide is getting so big all across the world and as a person in poverty you can be black, gay, disabled etc and have no route to the market. 70% of young people get their first job from friends and family. If you don’t know anyone who has a job then you don’t have that route to market. Having this route to market is super important. Poverty is the real issue and the thing that we as organizations need to focus on. If you’re wealthy/ middle class you have the links and the pathways into organizations. My daughter, for example, lives a really fabulous life, I did too but it was a bit harder and we learnt a lot more. She has just landed a degree- apprenticeship with EY. She is very lucky that she has had people around her to encourage and guide her. We believe all young people deserve this, no matter their demographic, they deserve a root in the market and to be inspired to have a root into the market.
Years ago I was at the hospital club, June Sarpong had an event on for International Women’s day called ‘Women, Inspiration and Enterprise’, and she asked me to do a session. This was probably 11 years ago. I was really nervous and I used to be really bad at public speaking with no confidence. I was taking my daughter and niece, who were both 8, to watch me doing a workshop, so I had to be brave. Also, June had put me on a bit of a pedestal, my name was on the window in big writing next to some huge names and I really felt the pressure. Going forward, it gave me a lot of confidence and seeing my niece and daughter in the audience made me feel like I was able to do anything in life. That was a big turning point in terms of confidence and public speaking. Also, Bareness Scotland approached me to tell me how well I did, which again gave me a lot of confidence.
Loads of my best friends were in the audience supporting me and cheering me on. I’ve been very lucky to have the most phenomenal woman, including Melina in my life. Women lifting women is very powerful. Realizing how many women I had in my life at that time was so inspiring, it’s been a mega journey since then. Both my daughter and niece now know they can do anything because of that experience because you can’t be what you can’t see and that’s something we shout about at Digi Learning. Young people need to see leaders that represent them and why shouldn’t they, we know it makes more money for businesses.
For one you can always get in touch with me, I would be happy to meet for coffee or just say hello and point you in the right direction.
Secondly, surround yourself with really good people, I’ve been lucky enough to have a phenomenal group of women called ‘Digital Leading Ladies’. It started as a WhatsApp group with myself, Julia, Ellie Edwards-Scott and Mel and now it’s progressed and there are over 300 digital leading ladies that support, lift and help each other, its game-changing stuff having that support around you. Try and involve yourself in those types of groups.
Finally, I would say it’s important to put yourself in situations you are scared of. There have been loads of rooms that I have had to walk into during my career, knowing nobody and coming from a different type of background, but I pushed myself and owned it. So, put yourself in situations you don’t want to be in and face your fears.
– Lisa Goodchild, Chief Troublemaker and Founder of Digiwoo
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