Saturday 10 December 2016

Think about your personal brand before you post online, Airbnb boss tells teenagers

Published 09/03/2016 | 02:30

Aisling Hassell
Aisling Hassell

The head of Airbnb in Ireland has warned teenagers about the digital footprint they leave online whenever they use social media.

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Aisling Hassell, who heads the company's Dublin office, was speaking to more than 60 teenage girls yesterday for International Women's Day.

"You probably don't even think of your personal brand - but you should because you're starting your personal brand now," she told them.

"Thank God Facebook and Twitter and Instagram were not around when I was growing up.

"So remember that that's your personal brand, because that's the place that your future employers are going to look as well, about what kind of person you are. So be thinking about that when you're posting away."

Ms Hassell was a guest speaker at the Irish headquarters of the data storage firm Veritas, which employs 300 people here, 41pc of whom are female.

Veritas was launching the European chapter of its WAVE (Women At Veritas Empowerment) programme, which is aimed at achieving gender parity in its workforce.

Ms Hassell also told the teenagers of how she bought a boat and sailed it 6,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean, to encourage them to follow their dreams.

"Before I left the dock, people were saying: 'Do you know what you're doing?' And I was like, 'No, not really but do you know what? I know as much as that guy and I saw he made it, so I'm going to give it a shot.'

"So don't ever let anybody tell you because you're a woman you can't do things."

Ms Hassell joined Airbnb two years ago in Ireland, when it had a staff of 50. It now employs 500 people here, 58pc of whom are female.

As a vice president of Airbnb and head of its global customer experience team, she said she never thinks about her gender.

"I actually don't think of my gender for one second in my work, it just doesn't even enter my brain. I don't think of myself as a woman at work. I just think of myself as somebody leading a team, of about 2,500 now, and trying to do the best," she said.

Ms Hassell said she hopes we won't need International Women's Day in the future.

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"It's great to celebrate women on International Women's Day but I also look forward to when we don't need one.

I think it will be great when women are just people who do great stuff and we don't have to call them out just once a year," she said.

Both Airbnb and Veritas are leading the way when it comes to the employment of women in the technology sector. The best practice standard is a 30pc female employment rate in the industry. In Ireland both firms buck this trend with 41pc of Veritas staff being female, and 58pc in Airbnb.

Irish Independent

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