Unique Insights

Some space, a little push, and a whole lot of intention

Written by Emily Fang Published on 

In times of important decision making (even in the earlier parts of Janette’s life), her mother had actively chosen to give her space so that she would make critical decisions on her own.

With ten years of experience in digital marketing and seven years focused on programmatic, Janette has built a solid career in the adtech community, serving as an educator of programmatic advertising for buyers and using her consultative approach to align with customer needs. Janette began her career in journalism before entering the world of digital sales, where she worked for companies like Linkedin, iCumulus, and Yahoo 7. In 2018, she joined Index Exchange — the world’s largest, independent advertising exchange — where she leads all buy-side business endeavors across APAC.

Janette Higginson is a skilled adtech practitioner, beginning her career in journalism before joining the world of digital sales. With ten years of experience in digital marketing and seven years focused on programmatic, she has carved out a space for herself in adtech.

Looking back at specific, monumental periods in her life, Janette recalls how her own mother, Margaret, has been her number one fan and ally. In times of important decision making (even in the earlier parts of Janette’s life), her mother had actively chosen to give her space so that she would make critical decisions on her own.

“At times where I expected my mother to hover, coach, or be critical about my approach to important decisions: she did the opposite, on purpose. We have an extremely close relationship but I can think of several examples where, instead of directing me as I half-expected her to, my mother actively chose to give me some space,” she said.

While some may view this as an unconventional approach, Janette believes making important decisions at a young age has helped her develop professionally over her career.

“My mum taught me how to take risks and guided me through challenges, and occasionally failure,  in order to show me how to build resilience,” she remembers.

Janette highlights this particular aspect, which was her mother’s ability to intrinsically know when to give space and only guide when she knew it was necessary. This results in “thinking for yourself” and creating a stronger sense of self when it comes to making important decisions.

“It has guided me throughout my career path and afforded me the ambition, focus, and resilience I embody today,” she states.

Margaret, Janette’s mother, has been her number one fan and ally. Courtesy of Janette.

Because of her mother’s way of giving “some space, a little push, and a whole lot of intention,” Janette says this has changed the way she generates confidence when feeling unprepared. “I imagine it would have been so hard for her to do, but each of the decisions my mum made,  has contributed to who I am today. It’s helped me overcome feelings of imposter-syndrome, and reminds me that I have all the tools I need to push myself through my insecurities.”

Now the Head of Buyer Development at Index Exchange, APAC, Janette runs her own team in a similar manner.

Noting the success of her mother’s strategy, she wants to pass these certain characteristics to her own team to help them grow into more strategic thinkers and confident decision makers. “I can’t think of more important traits that young women need to excel, especially when finding their purpose in high-pressure industries such as tech,” she says.

She says her mother’s influence has led her to lead high-performing teams and on a personal level, how she chooses to parent.

Autonomy in a workplace is crucial–employees who are free to make their own decisions about how they go about their responsibilities are normally better performers, more committed, and productive. Autonomy at a young age teaches responsibility and consequences of those actions.

When we touch upon the topic of mentoring young women and their growth, Janette said, “There is an undeniable connection between the success of people who know they have allies in their ‘corners’ and those pushing without that external encouragement. However, I feel very passionately about women having male allies when it comes to careers.”

I ask why she feels so passionate about that in particular.

“I think women often feel that to build a deep connection with a mentor – it needs to be with another woman but when I look at the people who have consistently been in my corner,I can think of many current and previous male managers and senior industry leaders. It was their confidence in me, and their ambition for me that inspired me to take the risks I did. When it comes to gender parity and equal opportunities in male-dominated industries, we need men supporting women just as much as we need women supporting women.”

Janette ends with some introspection. “I am much like my mother. I’ve learned that for me, action holds more gravity than words, and that is reflected in how I make the commitment to my parents and in my personal life. It’s also a reflection of how I lead the people around me,” she reflected.


Emily Fang

Emily is a Community Lead based in Singapore, connecting SE Asia's tech scene to the rest of the world. Originally from Silicon Valley, she's worked in community building, event marketing, and developer relations for MNCs and startups. Most recently, she made the move to Asia to do her own self-guided global MBA.


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