International Women’s day 2022: 5 leading women take the stage to share their thoughts and ideas on how we can collectively break the bias
International Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year’s motto is #BreakTheBias and it highlights the importance of a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. This is very close to our hearts and runs deep within our company culture. Since the day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality we decided to take action by putting 5 successful leading women within the ad tech industry on the spot to share their experiences and ideas on how we can collectively break the bias.
Chiara D’Ambra – Sr. Director International Mobile Growth at Clearpier
Why is gender balance and having a more diverse workforce important, especially in senior management teams?
Having gender balance and a diverse workforce is important, because the more diverse the group is, the more wisdom it contains. (“The wisdom of the crowd”) Different cultures, experiences, and points of view contribute to a rich and harmonic environment, where ideas thrive and problem-solving is enabled. Productivity increases as a result.
Do you recall any biases or assumptions made about you?
Everyone has assumptions and biases, it is human nature. Unfortunately, they are not healthy and helpful. That’s why awareness is so important. Whenever I get caught in a bias, I try to switch perspectives and have a rational view of things. Whenever someone is having a bias about me, I’m trying to not take it personally.
Could you name a woman who’s inspired you the most and why?
The woman who has inspired me the most is my mother. Despite working full-time and having a long commute, she managed to have different side projects while building a family and taking care of us children. She taught me that the combination of commitment, focus, and ambition can lead to great results.
Alina Dobrzinsky – General Manager at Spyke Media GmbH
“No guts no glory?” Is this still what it takes to champion as a woman in the marketing arena?
Clearly – Yes! Initially, my biggest barrier was being accepted but after 9 years at Spyke, I can say I am able to maintain my authenticity and self-confidence. If you stand behind your work with passion and creativity you can achieve anything. Always follow your goals. When we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses we can adapt better to different circumstances and positions. We can only fully exploit our potential if we dare and aren’t afraid to take on responsibility.
In my career at Spyke Media I have gone through every position from being an Account Manager to Head of Marketing and can now proudly say that I have risen to every challenge. As General Manager, I am one of the few female executives in the company. Without this experience, I would not have become the leader I am today. My ambition and assertiveness have proven that women can achieve anything if they only dare. So women, put more trust and confidence in yourself!
What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring female business leaders reading this?
Every woman should actively influence her career instead of waiting for others to do so. We do not have to be perfect as long as we do our best. Don’t let setbacks or bad decisions lower your self-esteem. Everyone makes mistakes, including men. Stand by your decisions and show passion for the job. Be self-confident and open to learning new things, because, to continue to be successful in marketing, you should consider that technical understanding is increasingly required. Always create an overview and stay “on top of things”, don’t be afraid of confrontation.
Name another woman in the digital marketing space that other women should look out for and why?
Keren Flis – one of the strongest and most intelligent power women I know, my best friend and soulmate. Keren has Masters in Geophysics, Marine Civilizations and worked as a geoscientist, but quickly found her passion in digital marketing. Everything started as she was a supply Partner of Spyke Media. I was amazed by her professional work, her authenticity, and her way of communicating that we became friends from day one. I was able (thank God!) to convince her to join my team. I’ve learned so much from Keren, on a personal and professional level. Keren has always been ambitious and goal-oriented. She is incredibly confident, smart, and not afraid of challenges.
At the peak of her career at Outbrain, she received the Melia Award (quarterly peer-nominated recognition for outstanding work) in 2019. In 2020 she switched to Pinterest, the brand of her dreams, where she holds a senior position. I’m excited to see what goal she achieves next. Keren, what about Google?
Iuliana Popa – Co-Founder and CEO at Ads and More
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known before entering the tech arena?
Start as soon as possible. Be flexible and do the best you can. Chase your idea no matter what and seek advice from people who started something similar or from those who achieved what you want to achieve. And always remember nothing is perfect and you should not be too: problems happen, good things too. Having someone who knows tech on your side is always a clever idea: it can be a tech person you hire, a good tech solution, or a tech advisor. This is the industry of the present and because of that, it is very volatile.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken as a professional?
To start a business in the same industry I was working in before because I was misjudged, and it was difficult to prove to myself that I am on the right path. Business is still a man’s world.
Do you have a female role model? And if yes – what makes her a role model? Anyone in our space?
My mom will remain my number 1 role model for life but related to the business area I would say Yogeeta (the CEO & Founder of Swaarm) is the woman that I now cherish and respect the most, for her way of managing people and situations, for how smart and kind she is. For how she makes you feel when you speak to her, she is really an amazing woman to me. Another female leader I really like is Denisa Tanase (CEO & Founder at My Geisha) for how inspiring she is when she talks and of course for what she achieved.
Oleksandra Gipsh – COO at Apptrust
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I believe the best advice I could have given to my younger self is – don’t be afraid to speak up. So often our fears of being judged or misunderstood stop us from contributing with our opinion. I think this advice comes along with “don’t doubt yourself” as well. All ideas are valuable and all ideas are worth hearing – and if your work environment doesn’t appreciate your input – you probably are in the wrong place. I am happy & proud to be working in an environment where ideas are welcome – processes are there to be changed and developed. I believe we, at Apptrust, benefited a lot from the fresh ideas from our employees.
What energizes you about work?
People. Definitely, my source of energy at work is people. Seeing our team succeed, seeing our interns growing professionally – is what gives me joy at work. I believe the main priority for me was building a true team and I love seeing how people connect and create true bonds at work.
What advice would you like to give to women that aspire to become leaders?
Confidence and self trust is a key quality that I would attribute to success in any industry. Women can be held back for a variety of reasons, including a lack of recognition and trust from colleagues and peers but also by their self doubt. My most important piece of advice to them would be to shatter the glass ceiling of social norms and mindsets and to flaunt their self-assurance. No one else will believe in them if they do not believe in themselves.
Could you name another leading woman within the digital marketing space that you drew inspiration from?
My product journey in Berlin began with my manager Orietta Mendez (former COO of the company where I started), who introduced me to startup life and said, “you like building tech products, go ahead and do that.” She provided me with the liberty, the mentorship, and the visibility that helped me get recognized. Her guidance has inspired me to believe in myself which opened up several opportunities for me.
We would like to thank all of the women above for their participation in this campaign and for forging inclusive work cultures where women’s careers thrive and their achievements are celebrated. Let’s continue to take action for equality on International Women’s Day and on every other day. Let’s break the bias!
If you can’t get enough on this topic, we suggest that you check out the article in Search Engine Journal featuring the women in this blog post including Swaarm’s Co-founder and CEO, Yogeeta Chainani.