Exceptional Women of the World: Tamara Littleton, The Social Element

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To say that Tamara Littleton, chief executive officer of The Social Element, was ahead of her time would be an understatement. Founding her global agency 16 years ago, social media was but a blip on the radar and not even close to the marketing and societal force it is today. “My dad thinks that I invented social media,” she said. “I genuinely haven’t told him that’s not the case.” A generous, tenacious and compassionate leader, Littleton has evolved her style, which came executive team feedback that she was not direct enough and averse to conflict. “It was a bit hard to hear at the time, but I took it onboard, and I’ve changed the way I communicate,” she said. “I allow for healthy conflict that has helped us as a team.” Continuously learning, Littleton places a great deal of stock in not only understanding the path of the internet and social interaction online but participating with those who are shaping its future. To that end, she serves on the board of an LGBTQ entrepreneurs group in London and is part of The Supper Club, a community of founders and chief executives on high-growth businesses. Change is a constant, positive theme for Littleton and the development of Polpeo, a social media crisis tool for brands, four years ago, is part of the work she finds particularly exciting and game-changing. The platform is indicative of her drive, fearlessness and ability to use risk to her advantage. “What’s the worst that could happen? I’ve said it to myself when I started the agency, and I’ve used that phrase to inspire other people to start their own companies,” she said. “Life is very short, and sometimes you just have to go for it.” A serious devotee of the arts and especially music, Littleton is part of a choir and a big fan of karaoke, not only because of the fun, but she sees it as a healthy way to build teams. All in all, Littleton’s work and life is all about authenticity, something that she not only cares about but believes in strongly. “To me, it’s about being your true self at work, with your peers, but also with your clients as well,” she said. “I’ve always worked in media and communications, so I’ve been able to bring my true self of work.”

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