The gender gap in tech is gradually closing, and the mobile tech industry is doing its part to offer more leadership roles to women. Aarki is passionate about strengthening women’s leadership and influence. Here we continue our series highlighting women in the mobile industry.
Head of Strategic Publisher Partnerships, Americas, (MoPub) at Twitter
"There just aren’t enough of us (women) in leadership positions."
Kavitha is currently Head of Strategic Publisher Partnerships at MoPub, a division of Twitter. She leads the Americas Business Development and Client Services teams, responsible for identifying and developing key mobile app partnerships. Prior to joining MoPub over 7 years ago, she worked at several tech giants, including Google, Yahoo!, and AOL making her a veteran of 15 years in the space. She holds a BA in Economics and Psychology from Rutgers University and is based in San Francisco. You can follow her @kavitha.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue this career?
I was lucky enough to get an internship at Google in 2005 during my senior year of college. It was the first year they accepted interns, so it was a really exciting time to get into the digital ad tech world. I worked with a sales team focused on tech & telco partners advertising on Google search. I got to help build campaigns, hear from clients their goals and objectives, and really learn the ins and outs of digital advertising. Needless to say, I loved it and continued pursuing this career path, which led me to a digital ad ops role at Yahoo! and all my subsequent roles after.
Q: What are the three most important skills needed for a partnerships manager to build and sustain strategic relationships?
Inherently, I’m a social person! I love meeting new people and getting to know them. So, sales/partnerships became a natural fit for me. I get excited to meet clients, learn from them, but most importantly understand how to help them solve their business needs. I’d say 3 important skills to have are: 1. Trustworthiness; I aim to build solid partnerships through trust, transparency, and authenticity. 2. Listening; people often want to be heard and look to others that will allow them to share and discuss their needs. 3. Expertise; it’s important to be knowledgeable in your space. People want to work with the best of the best, so it’s always good to position yourself as an expert.
Q: How do you motivate your team members?
I create common goals and ensure we track against them. It’s important to celebrate wins and understand failures and learn from them. I also think it’s really important to create an open and accepting work environment; when people feel they have a safe place to express their ideas, be creative and challenge the status quo, they feel motivated to do their best.
Q: What are the greatest challenges for women in your line of work?
There just aren’t enough of us in leadership positions.
We need to continue to advocate for ourselves by standing out (doing great work!) and going after not only what we want, but what we deserve.
Q: What are your thoughts on Apple’s IDFA changes? How will the industry adapt to the new reality?
I wish I had a crystal ball to be able to tell our partners what to expect, but no one does. This is probably the biggest industry disruption we’ve seen in some time, at least since I’ve been in ad tech. While I don’t have all the answers, the one thing I’m confident about is that the industry, clients, partners, companies, alike are all invested in working together to solve this evolution in advertising. On the surface, we know advertising won’t stop and that there will be a renewed acceptance of contextual advertising, in addition to a new, more creative personal experience.
Q: What is your hidden talent?
Not so sure it’s a talent but I’m a self-proclaimed DJ. I love music and have quickly become the go-to amongst friends for a fun playlist, new music or road trip tunes.
Q: What causes are important to you?
A few come to mind, but lately, these are top of the list: any D&I initiatives (within my company or externally), climate change, and supporting women-led organizations. I’ve also been thinking about more ways to give back time and have thought more about mentorship and how to share my experiences in hope they can help someone else.
Q: How would you describe yourself to people who don’t know you?
I would say I’m a curious and thoughtful person; love to travel, experience new cultures/food/wine, and ensure those closest to me are happy. Currently obsessed with my nephew and niece who make me smile daily. And, of course, always looking for my next adventure!
Q: Tell us about the coolest innovation you have seen and why you like it.
So many great things, but to keep it in our space — the iPhone is an incredible piece of technology (well, any smartphone in general) — you can literally do anything and it gets better with time. For me personally, I love a good facetime!
Q: If you could have a meal with anyone (living or dead), who would you like to invite the most?