Roundtable discussion for the occasion of International Women’s day!

March 8, 2023

7StarsPartners’ Ally Shelepko, a Senior Affiliate Manager, and affiliate managers; Katarzyna Banach and Anna Revto participated in a new roundtable discussion which centred around the importance of including more women in the affiliate marketing side of the iGaming industry. They draw from their own experience, highlighting the vital role women continue to play in this flourishing sector.

1. How and when did you get started, and what were some of the challenges you faced as a woman in affiliate marketing, in the iGaming industry?

Ally - Success starts with the professionals you hire, not with gender. Since I started my journey, there have been discussions around ways to get more women into industries that are predominantly dominated by men. iGaming is no exception. We can clearly see that the percentage of women in the industry is significantly higher now than it was a few years ago. 

When it comes to affiliation, the most vital element is having a customer-first approach, and this is championed when there is a balanced structure which incorporates both men and women. 

LinkedIn statistics indicate that women represent 41% of the active sales workforce — and this number continues to grow.

Katarzyna - I have been working in the gambling industry for 14 years already. Previously I was working in an offline gambling niche. I was lucky enough to be given a chance to move into the iGaming sector where I have been working for almost 4 years. 

As for the biggest challenges - there are so many! The only constant is change, which inevitably can be a challenge on so many levels. But if you expect and embrace change, even anticipate it to an extent, then you will be in the best position to react effectively.

- I started my career in iGaming affiliation about two years ago as an Affiliate Manager and I found that it is an exciting and fast-paced field that offered many opportunities for growth and development.

My experience as a woman in this industry has been a great one overall. Of course, like any field, there are challenges that we face. One of the biggest challenges I have encountered is the need to build strong relationships with partners, which requires excellent communication skills and the ability to build trust and rapport. However, I have found that working with a diverse group of affiliates, both men and women, has allowed me to learn and grow as a professional. 

2. How do you create your own success as a woman in the Affiliate World / What are the most important personal qualities to being successful?

Katarzyna - Working in this field has taught me some key qualities that have made me the professional I am today. These include;

✅ Excellent Organisational skills: This is crucial as affiliate management involves juggling a lot of different projects, people, and priorities. We need to manage a huge number of relationships with publishers, influencers, merchants, and third-parties.

✅ Good Social Skills: Interacting with people forms a large part of an affiliate manager’s day-to-day work. Whether it is often done through email, phone, or in face-to-face meetings, we need to have good social skills and build relationships easily.

✅ Customer Service Orientated: You might not think of affiliate marketing as a customer service role but much of the job requires these skills, particularly as we need to deal with publisher queries in a quick and effective manner.

Anna - In my experience, the most important personal qualities to being successful as a woman in affiliate marketing are resilience, adaptability, and the ability to build strong relationships. Affiliate marketing is a constantly evolving industry, and adapting to changes requires a level of resilience that allows you to stay focused and motivated even in the face of obstacles.

Additionally, building and maintaining strong relationships with affiliates, colleagues, and partners is crucial and this requires strong communication skills and emotional intelligence. 

3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the affiliate marketing industry, specifically in the iGaming sector?

Katarzyna - Women are increasingly praised for having excellent skills for leadership. However, it is more difficult for women to become leaders and to succeed in male-dominated leadership roles. But this is slowly changing, which very much reflects the considerable progress toward gender equality.

Anna - There can be a perception that this is a male-dominated field, I found that being a woman in a male environment can offer unique advantages when it comes to building relationships and negotiating deals.

Specifically, I believe that women can use their feminine qualities and emotional intelligence to connect with male affiliates on a deeper level, which can help to build trust and establish long-term partnerships. By being empathetic, communicative, and collaborative, I have been able to create a positive working relationship with my affiliates that benefits both parties.

One of the disadvantages of being a woman in the iGaming sector is that there may be some outdated attitudes or biases that still exist. However, overall, I believe that with hard work, determination, and a supportive network, women can overcome any challenges they may face in the affiliate marketing industry and succeed in this exciting and fast-paced field. 

4. How do you balance your personal and professional life as a woman in affiliate marketing, especially considering the fast-paced and demanding nature of the industry?

- Like with any other job, working in affiliate marketing requires that staff strike a good work-life balance. On one hand, it is vital to be able to not only maintain, but also to enhance the ongoing connections and relationships with one’s affiliates and partners. On the other hand, taking the time to recharge after many busy days at work is important to one’s self-care. This can be a challenge in every job but finding this balance is truly worthwhile.

-  Usually I give 110% of myself from Monday to Friday, which means that it is often necessary to work longer hours than the standard office hours, however on the weekends I try to disconnect from the job as much as possible.

Anna - In the fast-paced and demanding nature of the affiliate marketing industry, it is important to always be available and responsive to partners when important matters arise. However, it is also vital to prioritise personal time and self-care to prevent burnout and to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It is about finding the right balance between being available and present for work when needed, while also allowing oneself to disconnect and recharge when necessary. This can be achieved through setting boundaries, delegating tasks, and learning to manage time effectively.

5. What do you think the future holds for women in the affiliate marketing industry, particularly in the iGaming sector, and what advice do you have for women just starting out in this field?

Ally - I would definitely advise women starting out in the industry to be confident but let your work speak for you. Be curious, be ready to learn new things, work hard and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Katarzyna - My advice for women who are just starting out is - be organised, don't take everything personally, and make it a priority to build relationships, not just business partnerships. 

- I believe that the future is bright for women in this field. The industry is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive, and I've already seen more women entering the field and taking on leadership roles.

For women just starting out in affiliate marketing, my advice would be to stay curious, keep learning and develop new skills, and be confident in your abilities. Do not be afraid to ask questions, seek mentorship and support. And above all, do not let any perceived barriers hold you back from achieving your goals.