Kestra is one of our Senior SEO Specialists, who joined us in November 2020 and has worked with clients like Silver Cross, Hallmark, Medline and Brandon Hire Station. Find Kestra on LinkedIn.

Four years ago, almost to the month in fact as I’m sure we all cannot forget, a rather colossal world event occurred… and then continued to take place for quite a while.

During that time, I got put on furlough. I’m sure it seemed like a holiday for many, but truth be told, I was a ball of anxiety each and every day during what was already a rather terrifying time. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and for me to be let go from my job… and I was, in autumn of that year.

That summer was immensely stressful, so I turned to creating my own structure every day. I would wake up and try to teach myself Python in the mornings, leaving the afternoons to improve my SEO skills. I had worked primarily in content and had only dabbled in SEO at the time, but I found it fascinating. Working through a technical issue and finding the cause was highly satisfying.

A rather delicious vegan cookie from WTSFest 2024.

I joined the Women in Tech SEO group around that year, and of course, the group had been very active in these “unprecedented times”, with the incredible community helping to bolster each other. Then, they announced their mentor scheme, wherein women in the industry would take on a mentee, aiming to improve their skills and confidence.

Of course, I applied.

And I got in.

I was paired with the incredible Ruth Everett, who is now working at Search Pilot in Technical SEO & Testing. Over six weeks, we would call and chat, and she helped me realise that not only did I know a lot more about SEO than I thought, but I could actually do it as a career. Ruth transformed my confidence in the workplace during that time, and I owe a lot to her and the scheme for where I am today.

As we already know, I lost my job that autumn. Which turned into several weeks of constant applications and interviews, during which Ruth continued to be kind and helpful. Furthermore, the WTS Slack group helped me to keep an eye on available positions.

Eventually, I got in contact with Simon Wharton here at PushON, and 3.5 years later, I am a Senior SEO Specialist working with some fantastic clients.

All that is to say, attending the Women in Tech SEO Fest on March 8th felt like a wonderful full-circle experience, on International Women’s Day no less. Here I was, surrounded by incredible people from all over the world in the industry. Here I was, participating in the community that helped change my life and bring me stability in a volatile time.

Areej AbuAli on stage at Women in Tech SEO Fest 2024

Areej AbuAli, closing the WTS Fest 2024.

The speakers at the event were inspiring, leaving me with many new ideas to bring home to PushON and start to disperse into our strategies, like Rasida Begum, Emma Russell and Sophie Gibson who had me furiously scribbling down notes. Talia Loderick reshaped my views on personal finance, and Joyann Boyce helped me see how we can combat bias in AI.

Listening to Areej Abu Ali speak about the incredible community she has built almost brought tears to my eyes. If my experience is anything to go by, she has changed many people’s lives.

If you can, make sure to join the Women in Tech SEO community today, you will not regret it: