Master of business: As the Guardian’s chief digital officer, Tanya Cordrey oversees a digital team of 150
Master of business: As the Guardian’s chief digital officer, Tanya Cordrey oversees a digital team of 150
A view from Tanya Cordrey

'The tech sector needs more diversity, it should be easier for women' - Guardian digital boss

Tanya Cordrey, chief digital officer at Guardian News & Media, speaks to Marketing about being a women in a still-male-dominated department - as part of...

Cordrey heads up the organisation's 150-strong product, engineering and data and analytics teams. She oversees all of the Guardian's digital products, as well as its ecommerce sites and its commercial digital agency.

"I started my career as a journalist funnily enough. I got into working in digital at the start of the dotcom boom after doing an MBA at London Business School.

I’ve experienced the highs of working for one of the world’s most successful online businesses as a senior exec at eBay UK. I started when it was still small, unprofitable and nobody was sure whether auctions would work outside the US.

But I have also experienced the lows of the dotcom bubble bursting when I worked at eToys on the European management team. When the business closed, the closure of the UK site was on BBC News.

All my experiences during this time have helped reinforce my love for everything digital – it’s a world that is fast-paced, user-driven and technology is constantly changing everything. It keeps you on your toes.

Joining the Guardian

Never be frightened to hire people who are better than you. I’m a strong believer that great staff are people who are talented at what they do – but also love what they do

It’s an incredibly exciting time to be leading the Guardian’s digital team at such a dynamic brand and an honour to belong to the news organisation responsible for breaking some of the biggest news stories of our decade – from Wikileaks through to Snowden.

The world in which we operate is in a state of flux, and here at the Guardian, we have been at the forefront of creating cutting edge digital platforms and products that delight our readers and exceed their expectations.

We work very hard to keep on top of all the latest trends to ensure we’re delivering what our readers want. It is our job to showcase the Guardian’s journalism in new and exciting ways to ensure more people read our journalism more often.

Our strategy is "digital first" and this shapes our approach as we expand internationally and tap into new audiences around the world. This approach has been very successful as we now have more than 90m unique browsers every month – and only a third of these readers are from the UK.

A woman in a male dominated team

My insider tip for women in business is recruiting a great team around you – people who are passionate and curious, feed off each other and are continually learning and developing.

I try not to dwell on the fact that I work in a male-dominated sector – it’s just what I do. But in some ways, it should be easier to be a woman in digital than many other sectors

You have to set them up for success, and never be frightened to hire people who are better than you. That is one of the most common mistakes that I see managers do. I’m a strong believer that great staff are people who are talented at what they do – but also love what they do. You need both elements for success – not just one.

At the moment, I look after a team of about 150 in product, engineering and data. They’re all incredibly talented and bright and I absolutely trust them in finding solutions for the challenges we face. I’m very proud of their achievements.

I try not to dwell on the fact that I work in a male-dominated sector – it’s just what I do. This is not to say that the digital and tech sectors don’t need more diversity. They absolutely do. In some ways, it should be easier to be a woman in digital than many other sectors.

Where performance and having an impact can be demonstrated and measured in a very tangible way, it should be easier for women to get the recognition they deserve. However, I know this does not always follow.

I’ve worked with some truly inspirational women in my career. Judy Gibbons, a non-exec director at the Guardian, is someone who has really inspired me and has been a great mentor.

The Guardian has a very unique culture which is very supportive of women. We have worked hard to build a workplace where family comes first and this philosophy holds true for everyone who works here.  I suspect this is one of the very few places where we insist you go to every school concert and parent/teacher event."