Inspirational Woman: Sandra Witzel | Chief Marketing Officer, SkedGo

Sandra WitzelSandra Witzel is Chief Marketing Officer at SkedGo, a company that provides the technological building blocks enabling governments, leading start-ups and corporations to develop their own tailored mobility solutions, quickly and cost-effectively.

Based in London, Sandra has worked remotely for several years.

Sandra began her tech career in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), moving on to marketing roles in online gaming and fintech, before taking up her position at SkedGo, where she helped the team transition from a B2C company to a well-known B2B technology operator.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I grew up in Germany, in a small village in Lower Saxony and moved around a lot from my twenties onwards. I have lived in Berlin, Sydney, Malta, San Francisco and am now based in London with my English/Aussie husband and our Californian rescue dog. I joined SkedGo six years ago, when it was still a small B2C trip planner app and helped transition the company into the successful global B2B business and leader in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) that it is now. Essentially, we provide the technology to companies and governments to create their own, tailored mobility solutions, quickly and cost effectively.

As SkedGo’s CMO, my role is to ensure we reach our target audience, with the means at our disposal, and support business growth. While the general public has probably never heard of us, within the highly specialised MaaS sector we are now seen as an industry-leading technology enabler and are staffed across Australia, London, Argentina, Vietnam and Germany. I am very enthusiastic about the solutions we create, as they are a crucial tool for lowering carbon emissions in transport and also making it more user-friendly and accessible.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My career has been a combination of opportunities, chances and challenges. For example, I quit my university studies in Berlin to pursue a career in advertising in my twenties. Years later, after suffering from burn-out, I packed my bags and moved to Australia. Initially everything was focused on getting any job, in any industry, so I could get a sponsorship and stay. I really only found my career purpose in my forties, with SkedGo. It was worth the wait though, as SkedGo is a great workplace and I have thrived here.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Along with the burn-out, trying to get a work visa in Australia and a very frustrating stint working in online gaming, I developed severe chronic health problems. Managing my health has been a constant challenge in the past two decades. On a positive note, I am now a bit of a health nut and enjoy researching and applying nutrition and lifestyle hacks to optimise my energy levels, mental and physical health.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Living with physical disabilities and being a woman in tech makes me a minority twice over. Yet, I have achieved a successful, fulfilling career with SkedGo as CMO and I joined the board of directors in February this year.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I don’t sweat the small stuff and I can’t stand office politics. I am terrible at it in fact. So much time and productivity in our work environment is wasted by big egos and hidden agendas. Being rather ‘no-nonsense’ and quite blind to reading between the lines, I used to feel very uncomfortable in a lot of previous workplaces, like I was the odd one out.

Then I landed at SkedGo and it was a real lightbulb moment – because pretty much everyone here is like that. I am surrounded by a team of smart, straight talking people, who all have the same goal: making transport more sustainable and connected and creating great tech to achieve that. We lift each other up and I have never been more motivated and more productive. It’s incredibly energising to find your work ‘home’ and this has been a big contributing factor to getting me where I amtoday .

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think mentoring is brilliant and I have signed up as a mentee at WomenTechNetwork. Feel free to get in touch if you think I can support you.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

For industries and organisations where equality just doesn’t seem to happen, I am very much in favour of quotas. I know it’s a controversial topic, but I am tired of waiting for women to break through the glass ceiling and for the gender pay gap to disappear. So why not set targets, for example a five-year deadline to achieve equality and if that hasn’t happened there will be a mandatory quota. Self-regulation doesn’t seem to work, and it’s time we try other measures.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Network with other women! This seems so basic, yet many women still struggle ahead by themselves, which can be hard on mental health. Once you start connecting, you soon realise you are not alone with your challenges and other women will be happy to listen and support you. So, get started and find networking groups that relate to your interests and aspirations. Or if you can’t find any, start your own. You’ll be surprised to see how many women are keen to participate.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I have co-launched the Women in Mobility London Hub, together with Annie Reddaway and Olga Anapryanka, and we have big plans for the near future. Watch this space!

Apart from that, I am very excited about SkedGo’s growth plans, we are currently in a Series B funding round, which is our focus at the moment.

WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

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