Breaking the Bias in Ad Tech - DoubleVerify

Women’s History Month is a chance for our community to celebrate how women’s contributions have changed the world, and is also a time to acknowledge the work that remains in order to guarantee equal treatment and opportunity in the workplace.

At DoubleVerify (DV), some of the ways we are focused on supporting women include sponsored memberships with organizations like She Runs It, Bloom UK and Chief. We also recently launched our first ERG, which aims to cultivate an inclusive environment that equips women to thrive in all areas at all levels. Through these and other targeted actions our goal is to further the development, advancement and empowerment of Women at DV.

On March 8th, we recognized International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness of bias and take action against inequities.

This year’s theme was #BreakTheBias. And, at DV, we are committed to cultivating equitable, inclusive work environments that empower and equip women to thrive in all areas at all levels. In fact, we must all continue to do our part to BreakTheBias and develop a culture that demonstrates women are valued and equality is a priority.

With that in mind, we spoke to several trailblazers at DV, who embody the qualities of this year’s theme and are a vital part of our organization. Meet the women below and read what they have to say about breaking the bias and succeeding at the highest level of our industry.

 

Julie Eddleman
EVP, Chief Commercial Officer
Julie leads DV’s commercial organization worldwide, driving integration and alignment between all revenue-related functions, including sales, customer support, pricing and revenue management. Julie brings more than 25 years of experience building strong business cultures and developing growth strategies and long-term strategic partnerships with leading global brands.

 

Kris Smith
VP, People Experience, DEI and Belonging
Kris is responsible for DV’s Global People Experience and DEIB strategy. This includes working closely with the executive leadership team to embed our values and DEI as core components of our business strategy, build a culture of belonging and enhance people experience globally. Kris brings over 15 years of expertise and leadership in employee experience and engagement, culture and change management, as well as strategy and operations across a variety of industries including financial services, information services and CPG.

 

Lauren Gonzalez
SVP, Commercial Center of Excellence 
Lauren is responsible for DV’s Commercial Center of Excellence strategy. This includes creating standards, improving processes, identifying solutions and enabling best practices to ensure a scalable support structure across DV’s sales organization. Lauren brings more than 12 years of experience building and scaling high-performing global teams in client services, sales and account management across a variety of industries including information services and ad tech.

 

Marissa McArdle
SVP, Programmatic & Social
Marissa is responsible for the strategic vision and roadmap for DoubleVerify’s social, programmatic and platform verification, brand suitability and performance products and integrations. She brings more than 12 years of experience and leadership in the digital and cross-platform media measurement space.

 

Rose Velez-Smith
EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer
Rose is responsible for all aspects of DV’s human resources strategy and people functions, globally, including talent management, leadership development, total rewards and people experience. She brings more than 20 years of experience managing, executing and evolving large-scale global employee acquisition, development and engagement programs for high-growth companies.

 

Tejal Engman
SVP, Investor Relations
Tejal is responsible for financial communications related to DV’s strategies, performance and initiatives, and serves as the primary point of contact for investors and analysts. She brings more than 15 years of experience in finance, business development and transforming Investor Relations functions across a variety of industries including real estate, financial services and consulting.

 

Are there women in our industry that inspire you? 

Julie: There are several leaders who have impacted me throughout my career. One example is a former C-suite executive who I worked with when I was in the CPG industry. She is now Chair of the Board at a well-known multinational entertainment and media company. She would always say, “Take care of the people, and the business will take care of itself.” This stuck with me and has heavily influenced my approach as a leader. If someone who is managing billions of dollars in revenue prioritizes putting people first, why wouldn’t I?

 

What does this year’s theme of “breaking the bias” mean to you?

Julie: In a way, when I think of breaking the bias, I think of it as breaking the barrier. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias creates a barrier to women’s advancement. Gender stereotypes or assumptions are just one example of a bias – a barrier I want to break.

Kris: I equate “breaking the bias” to disruption. It starts with acknowledging that whether deliberate or unconscious, bias is harmful. Full stop. It is critical that acknowledgment is followed by action – interrupt practices or behaviors that fuel bias through targeted, measurable actions around intentional inclusion and belonging. This includes demonstrating the value of embracing and celebrating differences and setting expectations that others will do the same – in both words and action.

Tejal: What resonates with me is that it creates awareness. Many decisions are rooted in bias and I choose to believe that by acknowledging this and reminding people to be aware and introspective, we can start to shift behavior. One bias I want to be aware of and break is one of my own biases. I often believe people expect me to behave a certain way because of my gender. Think of it as self-created perceptions from the tapes we play in our head that prevent us from being ourselves. These tapes, often from past experiences, stick with us. One thing I can focus on to break this is to embrace being my authentic self and not defer to behaving the way I think people expect a woman to behave.

 

What advice do you have for the next generation of leaders in advertising/technology on how they can help “break the bias”?

Rose: Recognize that we all have biases, and embrace teachable moments. Words matter. If something does not sit right with you, speak up. Speak up for yourself and others. Encourage a culture where we can have meaningful and courageous conversations when we hear or see bias in action, including microaggressions. If you want to be a leader, you need to be able to successfully lead groups of people with different identities, from different backgrounds, and with different experiences and ways of thinking. If you want to be a strong leader, you need to celebrate these differences and seek out perspectives and experiences that add to what you have, instead of providing more of the same.

 

Why is it important for everyone to take action to “break the bias” and champion women’s equality, including those who are not directly impacted? 

Kris: At DV, collaboration is one of our core values. This goes beyond the concept of working together – it’s about being there for one another and delivering better together. What matters most is demonstrating this through our actions. We have to be all in on identifying and addressing bias, whether we are the recipient or bystander. In many ways, if left unsupported, women cannot successfully champion for equity and equality alone. In order to break the bias and break barriers, we need allies and advocates of all genders and identities, especially those in positions of power to step up and do their part.

 

In your role at DV, what are some examples of how you champion women at DV or within the overall industry?

Lauren: As a leader at DV, I am always thinking about how I can manage equitably. One of the main ways I champion women is by making sure their ideas are heard and that they are able to speak in meetings; sometimes redirecting the conversation back when someone has been cut off or spoken over. I encourage women to go after opportunities – even if they do not meet all of the qualifications – when they know they can complete a project or take on a role successfully. I mentor other women and always provide direct and clear feedback.

 

What is one piece of advice you would share with your younger self to prepare you for a career in ad tech?

Marissa: Everyone that you work with, up or down the chain, but especially up, is human and subject to bad days, bias/misinformation and having too much on their plate. The reason that you did not get the reaction that you’re hoping for may have nothing to do with you or your idea. The other person could just be having a bad day or isn’t in the day-to-day enough to have the background that you have to understand the point you’re driving at. Just try again from another angle. Context is key, both in terms of the project you’re working on and your audience.

 

Is there an example of gender bias you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you take action to break it?

Marissa: A bias that I continue to deal with today is that because I am female I’m probably the secretary or the admin rather than the technical expert. To combat this I have two tips:

  1. Immediately and consistently redirect any requests for an administrative task back to the correct person/team.
  2. Always use specific real-world examples when explaining a technical concept.

 

What is one example of a bias you want to break?

Lauren: One bias that I want to break is the motherhood bias. When women become mothers, statistically they are offered fewer jobs, lower-paying jobs and often face fewer promotions. The assumption is that women are less able to take on complex roles. As I mother, I find this crazy. Becoming a mother made me better at prioritizing, multitasking, and made me more efficient in every area of my life, including at work!

 

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