Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Tech in Georgia


At just 26 years old, Nuka Mikhelidze has already spent half her life working in the digital world. From her very first job at age 13 to her current roles as the founder of the marketing and technology platform, and Head of the Digital Department at Digital Communication Agency Kraken, Nuka has always seen - and harnessed - the potential of the digital world, both for personal and professional growth.

Martech is an online platform that aims to bring together a vibrant community of professionals, marketers, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts to keep up with trends and stay ahead of the digital curve by bringing together marketing and technology. Nuka joined us to share her journey as a digital marketing expert and entrepreneur, and her thoughts on how digital transformation continues to shape the world - and us with it.

Welcome, Nuka. You got your start in the digital world as a young teenager. Can you tell us how you first became interested in getting involved in content creation and share what you enjoyed about such work?

When I was 13 years old, I would talk with my friends about different lifestyles, but there were only several websites we could look at online to learn more about the world. Georgia is still a developing country, and at that time, our entry into the digital world had barely begun. It was difficult to buy digital devices, there was no social media. But I was able to connect with the founder of one of those available websites, and she was so helpful; she offered me my very first job. I got to write content for her website, and I was able to learn so much about diverse content from all over the world. This was my first time working in the digital world; I stayed in this role for nine months. It was also my first time negotiating a salary.

Can you share what digital marketing means, for those who might be exploring new careers or unfamiliar with the term?

Digital marketing is a huge part of the modern world. Both in Georgia, and internationally, it’s an extremely important part of business growth. It can use traditional marketing to grow brands and images, but in a modern way, by adding more diverse goals and tools to achieve key performance indicators (KPIs) faster than traditional marketing techniques. It is truly a modern profession, and a great place to start for young people thinking about entering this industry, because there are so many directions you can go. It’s a perfect place to start learning, and to find your favorite field and test it out as a career. I have more than seven years in the field now, and there is still so much more to learn and explore and do in this industry.

How did your family feel about your decision to pursue digital work? Did you have any role models you looked up to or had as mentors?

I have many friends in my field who joke that their parents have no idea what they do, or how they earn a salary. In this way, I am lucky that my family is supportive, and always encourages me to do more in my career of choice.

I can’t say that I had one role model really at that time, but there have been many people who helped me learn different tools and skills. They have all played a big part in my life and my career progression, in particular in creating an enabling environment for me in the digital industry. Without such a supportive network and environment, it would have been extremely difficult to explore this as a career, but this amazing community has helped me to grow and gain experience and expertise.

How did you decide to move towards digital marketing as a career? What kind of education have you needed to succeed in your digital journey? Do you think a university degree is necessary to do this kind of work?

I started my career with zero theoretical knowledge about this field - I was 13! There are always new trends and new practices emerging; theory is important, but things change so quickly in the digital landscape that practical skills are most needed. While universities offer various advantages, such as creating valuable networks and studying particular success stories, I believe that individuals at the initial stages can also acquire knowledge from freely available online sources. When I graduated from secondary school, I enrolled in a bachelor’s program in International Relations. It’s hard to choose one path at such a young age, and even harder to get information about all the opportunities out there. So I took this opportunity to explore, and continued working in digital marketing in parallel to my degree.

It seems like you’ve successfully married business and digital marketing, indeed! Can you share with us what Martech is? How did you develop the idea, and how is the platform developing so far?

I aimed to address a gap I identified by merging marketing and technology. Initially, I undertook this endeavor solo, but now I lead a small team dedicated to content development. The core concept of the platform revolves around creating a Martech community, and delivering updates and resources relevant to the digital industries. My vision includes establishing a podcast series, forming a global network, and coordinating educational training. My main goal centers on uniting professionals within my field to foster connections, collaboration, and mutual support across the region.

In addition to founding Martech, you’ve also recently delivered training courses to young entrepreneurs and students on Social Media and Digital Marketing - how do you see youth being impacted by these sectors?

I had my first mentoring experience in 2020, when I gave a course for youth in Georgia sponsored by the Georgia's Innovation and Technology Agency. We had a diverse class of young entrepreneurs learning to become digital professionals. It was a really interesting experience for me, being able to help them grow in this sphere.

In 2021, I taught an online course on digital marketing and social media for ethnic minorities in Georgia. I had a class of about 8 students - mostly girls. After this course, we selected 3 of the students to take part in internships, and it was great to be able to provide them with real world experiences after the training finished. All of the students had an obvious interest in the field and clearly wanted to learn more. We even had one set of siblings, a brother and sister, who shared a computer to be able to participate, as they only had one computer for their household.

Over the last three years, I have also been working as a mentor for the Academy of Digital Industries, where I deliver Social Media courses. We have new students every month, usually women and girls who want to transform their careers, and some entrepreneurs who want to grow or start their businesses. I see so many driven women and girls in these programs, most of whom are working on their start ups, and want to do their own social media and marketing. Most are also students who want to have a job in this field and grow professionally.

How do you see challenges in entering digital careers for youth vs older adults? Have you experienced or seen sexism, ageism, etc in the sector?

It’s a young field; most people have joined in the last decade. Entering this career requires dedication and practice. If you can dedicate your time to practicing and gaining the right knowledge, then you can reach your goals - regardless of age.

As a professional in this industry, you have to have many different skills - digital marketing is a lot more than just creating and managing content. You need business acumen, marketing knowledge, the right tools, and knowledge of emerging trends - among other things! I try to explain to my students that it's not just using social media - it’s a whole industry.

From my perspective, there are opportunities we could be taking to keep up to date as a country, but this takes time and resources.

The digital world and the tech sector have already undergone major shifts and changes in your life, and now things are changing rapidly once again. How do you see the role of emerging technologies, like AI, in your work?

The pace of change is incredibly swift. In a few years, we might witness diverse marketing approaches and tools, and it's important to observe how AI and virtual reality will be integrated into our roles as digital marketers. In Georgia, these tools aren't actively utilized yet, but I'm aware of their potential to enhance our tasks, automate processes, and optimize our daily activities. This will also significantly influence marketing campaigns and the overall field of marketing in the near future. Changes occur daily, and I'm confident that substantial shifts and effects, particularly in areas like marketing, will emerge.

Have you faced challenges in achieving your goals thus far, as a woman, or as a young professional? How have you overcome these challenges?

In my daily life, I encounter various challenges. The most significant initial challenge arose when I began to lead a team, yet this experience has contributed greatly to my personal growth.

In creating Martech, I have also tried to create something new and by myself, where I am fully in charge. This drive and enthusiasm guided me to take gradual steps in building the platform. Sustaining this motivation, acknowledging minor achievements, and seeking ongoing inspiration have proven crucial. While this leans more towards a personal endeavor, these personal challenges contribute to my professional advancement and bolster my confidence in that realm as well.

What advice would you give to young women who want to enter STEM fields, especially to work in the digital world?

I believe in general, that if someone has the interest, dedication, and motivation, then they can succeed in their field of choice - especially in the digital world. However, we must actively engage in what we prioritize and allocate our time for. It's essential for each person to set aside time for personal growth beyond their current responsibilities.

What opportunities do you see in your community, and in Georgia more broadly? What are the trends you’re seeing in digital careers, especially for women? How is the ability to work remotely impacting these opportunities?

Nowadays, when we have opportunities for remote work, or courses, or other opportunities, this all helps to join and become part of different communities. On the international level, digital careers require different skills and strengths, and some move in different directions - for example, directors compared to tech and ICT experts, compared to advertisers, etc. I think the best approach is to gain as much knowledge as possible about all of these components. All of my business acumen is helping me to grow professionally in all directions, and I'm able to use that knowledge in being part of these global networks that open doors that so many of us would never be able to access otherwise.

Remote opportunities are so important to our local communities - they enable learning and growth through international experience. It’s so important for small countries like Georgia to keep up with the rest of the world and maintain exposure to different digital communities and learn about emerging technologies. As people are exposed to more knowledge, they have more opportunities, can network more - it’s important to know the right people - and then we find the right ideas.

Nuka Mikhelidze is a member of the STEM4ALL STEMinist network. You can read more inspiring stories, find employment and education opportunities, and discover useful resources by exploring the STEM4ALL platform.