Jill Holtz is co-founder of www.Mykidstime.com, an information website for parents, that has grown from a local Galway directory to a global website and one of the most trusted online brands for parents. Jill also co-founded a spin-off online payments services company Clearbookings, and more recently www.Digital4Sales.com, a resource website and community for businesses who market to parents.
Prior to founding Mykidstime, Jill Holtz worked for 15 years in CRM and Marketing Support managing projects for British Gas, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, AIB, as well as holding product management and communication roles in several technology companies. Jill holds a BSc in Mathematics from University of Glasgow, an MSc in Operational Research from University of Strathclyde and a 1st class honours Executive MBA from NUI Galway. Jill was included on Technology Voice’s 2014 list of Ireland’s Talented Technology Women.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Not everyone is a natural leader so it’s about learning key skills for leadership: empowering employees, motivating them, how to delegate, etc. I think any prospective leader should grab any opportunity available to get leadership training whether that’s a formal course or working with a mentor.
If you could wind back the clock to when you were starting your career what advice would you give yourself?
To be more vocal about my achievements to my bosses. I just assumed they knew what I had done! Women are not as good as men at saying hey look I did this extra work, but if you don’t tell people how will they know?
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
I look for a couple of things: firstly are they prepared to be flexible? Working in a technology company means constant evolution. Secondly I listen to how they talk about other colleagues they have worked with. If the respect is there, then colleagues will trust and follow them so being respectful about others is key.
If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?
I’d ask them to keep working on our focus and our goals despite my absence, not to get sidetracked or distracted. I’d ask them to trust themselves to deliver, because after all, I do.
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years’ time.
I’m constantly looking at how technology is changing and what we offer our customers and what we should offer our customers in the future.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
I admire Norah Casey, she’s really doing a great job in a tough industry (publishing). And as I should be fair and pick a male leader, I’m a big fan of Fergus Finlay, Chief Executive of the charity Barnardos in Ireland, also in a tough sector.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
Definitely Whitney Johnston, author of Disrupt Yourself, she’s got a great podcast also called Disrupt Yourself http://whitneyjohnson.com/