Inspiring Reigatian: Emma Bates
In October 2021, Emma Bates (RGS 2005-2012) launched Diem, an alternative social network for women and gender non-binary individuals. Emma, who is passionate about building solutions for underrepresented communities, recently made it onto Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Tell us a bit about your journey from RGS to starting Diem
After leaving RGS I attended King’s College London to study War Studies. While I was there I created a blog that grew to a readership of over 100k and generated thousands in revenue – this was my introduction to community building and marketing. After graduating, I joined tech-creator platform, Whalar before being recruited by D2C (direct-to-consumer) travel brand, Away to lead partnerships for the first three years of the business. It was for this job I immigrated to New York in 2016. I met my Diem Co-founder while working at Away and we decided to start building the future of knowledge sharing, designed first for women, aka Diem!
What was your impetus for starting Diem?
It was after a personal experience searching for the side effects of taking the morning after pill and realising I had absolutely nowhere to turn to find information – I ended up crowdsourcing from friends, colleagues and online forums. After this experience I realised this behaviour exists in almost every area of our lives as women and non-binary people because of the gender information gap. With Diem we are building a scalable, personalised solution for people to share what they know and discover the wisdom of others without spending hours trawling for it on the internet.
What would you say is your greatest achievement to date?
Moving to New York and navigating the immigration system was a pretty monumental feat.
ow do you split your time and still maintain a work life balance?
I am very militant about taking time to exercise and try to eat well as often as I can. I also make sure I have no-screen time on the weekends. But also I try to go easy on myself, if some weeks I really just have to commit time to work and don’t have time for other things, I don’t think much about it – I know the down time will come.
What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome thus far?
Fundraising! Only 2.7% of all investor dollars (in the US) went to women founders last year. I don’t let it deter me, but there’s a lot of grit behind the fluffy press articles that celebrate how much money people have raised, so don’t let them fool you.
What three tips would you give to someone wanting to turn their passion into a business?
Tell everyone you know, they’ll hold you accountable and help make it happen.
What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
Embrace your ambition!
If you were castaway on a desert island, which luxury item would you want with you and why?
Honestly probably just sun cream and a Kindle.