Many women are now building a strong industry presence and taking leadership roles as the gender gap in tech industry leadership roles decreases.
To acknowledge and recognize their contribution and get to know them better, we continue our blog series featuring women game changers in the mobile industry.
Director, Global Advertising Sales, Unity Technologies
I run our ad sales and programmatic teams at Unity - the most widely used real-time 3D development platform powering over 50% of the world’s new mobile games. Prior to joining Unity, I was at Zynga where in addition to running client services, I started a creative studio, Studio E, that builds interactive ads for brand advertisers. I’ve worked in game advertising for over a decade and most recently was elected as a co-chair on the IAB Games Committee.
- What drove you to the mobile marketing industry?
I studied marketing in college and was interviewing for a full-time job right before the crash of 2008. The market in New York was already shifting and I knew my options were somewhat limited. I ended up having a sliding doors moment where I could have either taken a job in market research or as a sales coordinator for a start-up powering advertising around PC-downloadable games. The latter seemed more fun. Once in gaming and advertising, I could never imagine leaving. When gaming went mobile, so did I. The always-changing marketing space coupled with the excitement of new mediums - like mobile overall but now AR and VR - continues to keep me happy and busy.
- What is your greatest career achievement?
The most exciting moment of my career was when Crystal Light decided to sponsor the first-ever live Words With Friends game. I had the privilege of working very closely with one of Zynga’s co-founders to build the tech to run the event. That experience exposed me to all sorts of marketing that I had never worked with before, and it came together at the last minute with a skeleton team. I’m not sure if this would be my greatest career achievement though. When it comes to achievements, I usually think about the ways I’ve helped my teammates or my company - i.e. when I’m able to grow someone into a career they love, or build a team around a specific goal. Through that lens, my greatest career achievement is what I do every day for Unity - build a third party brand and programmatic business with a team of people that inspire me every day.
- How do you make sure your clients are satisfied?
Usually, clients are pretty vocal if they are unsatisfied, so the goal is always to ensure any issues are addressed as promptly as possible with lots of empathy. Otherwise, scheduled communication is the best method. I attend almost all quarterly business reviews with my team to hear feedback first-hand and do a gut check on satisfaction with the relationship. But honestly, this is something that gets harder as you have more clients because that personal connection is harder to maintain. I try to find the right balance between that and relying on my team to address day-to-day concerns.
- What is something you wish somebody would’ve told you before going into this field?
This is something someone told me a while into my career that I wish I had heard at the beginning - “We’re not saving lives. It’ll be ok.” I’m naturally a perfectionist and in mobile marketing and advertising, nothing is ever perfect. The tech is always changing and something is usually broken. When I first started, I would full-on panic when I couldn’t deliver on any aspect of a client need - and set all the engineers on our team into a panic too. It was unnecessary. Figuring out the right balance of fixing issues and caring about your work, but not stressing out your teammates is hard.
- Tell us about the most fulfilling partnership you had and your greatest takeaway from it.
We had an upfront advertiser in a previous role of mine that was a great learning experience for me. They do all their advertising in-house, so I was exposed to how they handle everything from creative to buying strategy to data and reporting. They were very well-educated and always looking to innovate. But everything was easily tracked. It was a fulfilling partnership because it really felt like it went both ways. They cared about what my company and I were able to bring to their marketing strategy and we cared about delivering on their objectives. And we were both willing to think outside of the box and try things for the first time together. My greatest takeaway was that when you consult and not sell - in other words saying no sometimes to things that won’t work - the partnership is a lot stronger. You might end up with fewer partners, but they’ll be more fulfilling.
- What are your personal interests/hobbies and how does your job satisfy those?
I love to travel and recently took up snowboarding. I actually have a travel quite a bit for my job, so I’m able to combine work and pleasure sometimes doing stopovers at different places on weekends. Working in tech also means you can work remotely every once in a while, so I’ll take a work-from-Tahoe Friday here or there during snowboarding season.
- How do you push through your worst times?
In my career, my worst times were usually related to chaos somehow - layoffs, reorgs, etc. I realized after enough of those kinds of situations that there is always opportunity in chaos. Even in the worst case, where you lose your manager and team to a layoff (which happened to me!), there is an opportunity to reorganize in a way that’s better than before and work with new people in deeper and exciting ways. So now I try to remember that. Even if something feels awful right now, there is always opportunity. And I’m a solutions-oriented person so focusing on the opportunity usually makes me feel better pretty quickly. I’ve been pretty lucky in my personal life that other than a break-up or two, I haven’t had many bad times. Even in those, like my mom having cancer, focusing on the solution really helps me think about what I can control instead of being caught in a circle of worry.
- What was the toughest decision you ever had to make?
Every decision I thought was tough at the time (moving coasts, changing jobs, committing to a partner) ended up feeling like the most obvious one ever after it was done. So while I’ve definitely spent weeks making pro and con charts, usually I end up going with my gut. Because of that, I can’t say I’ve really made any hard decisions. No matter how big, they always somehow fell into place.
- What’s the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
“Your greatest strength is always tied to your greatest weakness.” I like to work on my weaknesses, so it’s less for me about following this advice for my personal growth, as much as it’s a great way to look at the world. If someone is displaying a behavior that’s frustrating or upsetting, I remind myself that usually, that behavior is the opposite of something I love or admire about them. I find that’s also true of company culture, team dynamics, etc. If you can’t change the negative aspects, remind yourself of the positive ones associated with them. But if you can change them - i.e. giving feedback to someone on your team or a friend - you can use this advice as a way to deliver the feedback in a much more positive way.
- What do you want to be remembered for?
Making the lives of the people around me better. And my brilliant sense of humor.