Getting to know…Veon Watson
On the road to Grace Hopper 2017, get to know PwC’s women in tech
Name: Veon Watson
Title: PwC Advisory, Senior Associate
Alma Mater: University of South Florida
Getting to Know…
- Favorite part of living in South Florida: It’s a tie — going to the beach on Christmas Day, and the diverse culture. I’m from the Caribbean, so it’s great to live in a place where I can go down the street and find a piece of home.
- Most prized personal possession: An Egyptian cartouche. A trip to Egypt about 18 months ago was my first solo vacation. I was afraid of traveling internationally by myself, so it was a real moment of independence. I wear the cartouche every day as a reminder of my big step forward.
- Favorite way to unwind outside work: Family keeps me grounded, so I spent a lot of time with my mom and younger sister. I really work hard to inspire her, especially if she pursues a career in technology.
- Dream vacation: Fiji — the epitome of a relaxing vacation. Total disconnectedness!
Tell us about your career path so far. When did you decide technology was a field you were interested in?
I actually began my career in advertising and social media strategy, but I quickly became fascinated with the analytics for my clients’ campaigns. I eventually found myself at an agency, which PwC acquired, and my team listened and helped me get the training I needed to work on the analytics side of things. I feel like I’ve come full-circle; where I was once doing social strategy, I’m now using analytics to develop the insights that drive that strategy development process.
How do you describe your work? Why is it so valuable to your clients?
My work gives clients a better look at their customers and who they really are. Television, social media and digital analytics give tangible insights that, when used correctly, can drive smarter business decisions to help you reach the right customers in the right way. Out of all of these, digital is the most valuable from my perspective because it’s a two-way communications channel; I can see exactly what someone is doing on my client’s site, how they’re getting there and how long they’re staying.
What excites you most at work? What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I love unearthing insights and opportunities a client isn’t aware of. I recently helped a client discover thousands of conversations about their brand on social media, which opened up a real need to build out a new strategy for customer care and engagement. Having the opportunity to go above and beyond for a client is really fulfilling.
I’m most proud of the fact I’m now leading an entire work stream and deliverable on my own. It’s related to internal relations and employees, which is different for me — so much of my work relates to my clients’ customers. It’s really exciting to work on something with a different audience.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
It can be overwhelming to harness insights about a client’s digital traffic when you do the initial data pull — it’s so huge! To whittle that down and identify what’s of greatest interest to a client’s audience can be a lot of work, but it’s crucial — that intelligence will affect all the strategy and planning moving forward. I usually do this by identifying my client’s self-identified pain points, plus insights from stakeholder interviews, and cross-reference them with the data. Data analytics gives me some direction in narrowing it down, but it’s definitely challenging when the hypotheses don’t match.
How do you contribute to PwC’s support of women in technology
Unconscious bias is an issue I think most women have experienced at some point in their careers, and I wrote a piece about it based on a personal experience I had a few years ago. I also actively participate in PwC’s Women in Technology (WIT) group. I attend the chapter here in Hallandale, Florida, and I love listening to our female leaders talk about their experiences, especially when they discuss gender issues at work. Being able to relate to their personal experiences and see how they’re navigating issues is really helpful.
What do you love most about your job? What motivates or inspires you?
I love that my job is always evolving — the description changes as tech progresses. As customers, platforms and client needs evolve, everything shifts, so it’s a constant progression.
I love participating in PwC’s WIT; it’s really inspiring to see the strides some of our female directors are making. I also get inspired by being a consumer myself — every time I shop online or visit a site, I look at what they’re doing and how they’re interacting with their customers.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your career?
It’s okay to ask for help or admit when you don’t know the answer. I’m my own worst critic and hold myself to the highest standard, but you have to learn humility. Being open and honest early in your career is much better than making yourself vulnerable out of pride or fear.
What advice do you want to give other women in or entering the tech field?
Don’t let the world’s biases impact you. Through my participation in WIT, I’ve learned that biases never quite go away, but don’t second-guess your voice or impact. You are your biggest advocate, and don’t put too much stock in what others think.