Linktree’s Head of Growth, Jess Box, sits down to chat about building a global team, leading with empathy and her role at Girls in Tech.
Jess Box has more than one role in her professional life.
At Linktree, Jess heads up growth, overseeing everything to do with user acquisition and retention. But on the side she’s also the Managing Director of Girls in Tech Australia, a global non-profit that aims to educate, engage and inspire women into technology roles.
It’s passion that motivates Jess to do both. She’s worked in tech for around ten years, building ventures like Melbourne’s Silicon Block Party, growing VC-funded start-ups like Finch and devising the marketing for brands like Slack, Braintree, Optimise.ly. In that time, she’s learned firsthand how important it is for women in technology to have a support network.
“When I was in my first tech role, the company was maybe eight percent women and the rest were men. So I very much had the experience of what that’s like in an organisation,” she explains. “Not being a technical person myself, I was very cognizant of the fact that all types of roles in a tech company are important and each person’s voice deserves to be heard.”
“I found Girls in Tech during that time and it was very supportive in terms of the community. And I wanted to pass on the baton and share that with other women coming up.”
To learn more about her work at both Linktree and Girls in Tech, we called Jess with a few questions.
Can you tell me a bit more about what Girls in Tech does?
So there’s 54 chapters of Girls in Tech around the world and the Australian chapter started about four years ago. I jumped on board pretty soon after it started and supported it in building out all its programs.
We have volunteers across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We run everything from a hackathon through to a bootcamp and then smaller scale community events.
One of our events is called Girl Boss Night, where we aim to have really awesome high-energy speakers that share their learnings. Attendees can ask questions, like ‘how do I ask for the right salary for my experience?’ Or, ‘I’m having a tough time asserting myself in meetings, how do I change that?’
So it’s about really creating safe spaces for women to feel supported and like they can share their stories with each other.
Does Linktree share your ethos around the importance of diversity?
Yeah, definitely. It was very clear when I was in conversations about coming on board that diversity of all types, not just gender, is a passion for Linktree.
So at the moment, I’m leading up a diversity and inclusion council within Linktree, where we’re establishing initiatives across all different minority groups.
An example of that is we’re running a session next week around interview skills and unconscious bias. We’re making sure that everyone in the company who goes through the recruitment process is able to check themselves along the way. We’re really excited to expand this training as we continue building our global team.
"Diversity of all types, not just gender, is a passion for Linktree"
As a manager, do you encourage your staff to have their own passion projects outside of work?
Definitely. I think a passion project also helps you learn more outside of work and keeps you engaged in the industry as a whole, even if it’s not in exactly the same realm as Linktree.
You’re hiring staff all around the world right now. How do you approach leading a global team?
The most important part is having empathy. I think it’s a skillset that’s always crucial in leadership, but particularly in a remote world.
We’re all operating at different times of the day, so being really considered and thoughtful even in just the times you put meetings in is really important. For instance, we have a team in the US and the election was just on, so I was being conscious that they needed some time for that.
That’s one part and the other is really clear communication. It’s super crucial for being remote, regardless, but even more crucial when you’re on different time zones.
Why should someone consider joining the team at Linktree?
I think Linktree has one of the most supportive cultures I’ve seen in an organization. You feel like you’re around people that are fully behind you in whatever you do, and who doesn’t want that?
It’s definitely the place to be. And I’m working with some of the smartest people I ever have. We go guns blazing at everything that we do.