Being able to roll with the punches during the evolution of your company can be very difficult, especially in an industry as fast-paced as AdTech. The newest installment of our ongoing series of Lota-Ladies interviews is with two members of the Client Success team, Kelly Johnson and Jamie McConville. Both have been with the company for more than 8 years, and have helped Lotame grow and change exponentially, especially for women. (If you missed the first installment of this interview with the ladies of our executive team, check it out here.)
The success of Lotame’s clients is directly tied to the performance of our Client Success (CS) team. Jamie and Kelly are both an integral part, ensuring that our clients are making the most of the DMP. Let’s learn a bit more about Jamie & Kelly’s experiences at Lotame.
Haley: What is your role at Lotame?
Kelly: I am the Senior Manager of Client Success Management. In my role I manage our US Client Success Managers and serve as the Client Success Manager for about 12-15 of our clients. As a Client Success Manager, I am introduced to clients shortly after they sign with Lotame and will remain with them, as their main point of contact, throughout their partnership with us. I learn their business, goals, organization, help train them on the platform, advise on use-cases and best practices, and help them think creatively about ways they can use our tools to see success.
Jamie: I am the Client Success Operations and Training Director. With the Operations piece, I manage our software that facilitates CSM Ops activities as well as collaborate with CS management to come up with the best tools and processes to help the CSMs manage our clients. The training piece encompasses both internal Lotame employee training as well as external client training. I’ve recently implemented a learning management system for internal Lotame employees, and am preparing to launch Lotame Academy Online to our external clients in the coming weeks.
Haley: What brought you to Lotame and where were you prior?
Kelly: I began working for Lotame right out of college, about nine years ago and a month after I graduated from college. I found out about the job through a friend who was working here at the time. He gave me a background about the company and shared my resume and I was, soon after, hired my last semester of college. While in college, I was an English Major, with a minor in technical and scientific communication. I had never heard about the AdTech industry, and didn’t really know what it entailed, but I was really eager to learn and begin working. I felt that my little background in technical and scientific communication gave me a bit of an edge and helped me during the learning process.
Jamie: Prior to joining Lotame, I was working in data analytics for a non-profit organization that created solutions to improve healthcare in our state. Specifically I worked on a government contract where I created reporting from data that I analyzed which was gathered from all hospitals in Maryland and DC.
Haley: What are some key differences that you see between men and women in the workplace, if any, on a day to day basis here at Lotame?
Kelly: I don’t think that I see a lot of differences as it relates to communication styles. The one thing I do notice between men and women here, at least when I started there were not a lot of women. I have seen that change a lot throughout the years. We definitely have a lot more women in the company than we did 5-6 years ago, which I think is a great thing, but in terms of communication, I wouldn’t say that I notice a lot of huge differences, especially here at Lotame.
Jamie: I agree with Kelly. I also don’t see many differences between male and female communication styles around the company. I do see a gender difference in roles here. As an example, technology and engineering roles are more often filled by men, whereas the client-facing and finance roles are more often held by women. Currently, my manager is a male, and I love his style of communication. He is very laid back and open minded. He is a problem solver and trusts in the work that I do for the company. I appreciate his managing style because he doesn’t micromanage me, but he will immediately step in and help me when I need help problem solving.
Haley: Can you explain your style of management?
Kelly: My management style, I would say is scoped to who the person is that I am managing, because each person tends to have different work styles and responses and ways they would be successful with how things are delivered. But overall, I would say that I tend to have a coaching style, focusing on long-term professional development.
Haley: Have you adopted management styles from past managers?
Kelly: Over the years here I have had a number of different managers, and there were some that I felt were more successful and easy to work with than others. I think that when I started managing I tried to review or take stock in the different managers I had; what I liked and didn’t like, worked and didn’t work for me. I just tried to mimic the things that I liked, and as long as they seemed to be effective in certain situations, I made sure to put them to practice.
Haley: What would you say is the biggest obstacle that you have met head on in the tech industry and in your role here at Lotame?
Kelly: Learning the industry and the space. I say this a lot, but AdTech wasn’t a course you could take in college. Anybody coming into this industry didn’t have any background or formal education on the industry, and so we were all learning as we go. That learning curve, in such a fast pace and changing industry was a real obstacle for me, and something that I really needed to stay on top of, especially when speaking with clients. They look to me to answer important questions and lead them through a successful DMP journey, so I always have to be mindful of the way that I communicate with them, and to make sure that I am up to date with our solutions as well as the ad-tech trends.
Jamie: The biggest obstacle for me personally is keeping up with the changes in technology. Because the industry is constantly changing, I have to make sure I am always ahead of the game, especially as a member of the Client Success team. The way that I deal with that is by asking a lot of questions; more importantly, asking questions to a lot of different people, because different people explain things in different ways. I will go to one person and they will explain things a certain way and then to another who will explain it a complete different way, so that I know each side and find the missing pieces. I like being able to hit the technical side while also knowing the high level, marketing approach as well.
Haley: What piece of advice would you give someone new to the AdTech industry?
Kelly: Look for a company with a collaborative, open environment. A place like this will likely help you familiarize yourself with the business quickly, allow you to learn from people in various departments for different points of view, provide an opportunity for growth and allow you to be a big contributor.
Jamie: Read, read, read! Keep up with the times because the industry changes week to week. And ask questions! When you don’t understand something, don’t let it slide, ask more questions! If you don’t, that one nugget of knowledge can impact so many other things down the line and you will be lost.
Haley: How do you balance your work and family life?
Jamie: Balancing work and family can certainly be tough. I’d say one thing that has helped me is staying unplugged from work from the time I leave the office, until I get the kids down to bed. I only have about 45 minutes of time from after dinner until bedtime routine begins so I make sure to soak up every moment I can. My boys are (almost) 3 and 5 years old so that time is really important to them as well. My husband gets home and joins the fun around that time as well.
I also work from home a few days a month. This is helpful as I’m extremely productive at home because I don’t have interruptions, and at the same time, I’m able to catch up on quick house chores like laundry, throughout the day.
I’d say the last thing that I’ve learned to do, or at least try and do is to strip myself of the mommy-guilt. It’s hard not being able to spend considerable time with my kids during the week. This is the toughest one for sure but I’m part of an online ‘Working Moms’ group that has really helped. We vent, support each other, share tips, and even share super quick dinner recipes for those crazy weeknights. It’s been super helpful. It helps that hours and time off are flexible at Lotame. If my child is sick, has a doctor’s appointment, or has a school event I’d like to attend, I go! If I’ve been traveling, or just feel I haven’t had enough time with my boys, I take a day off.
Kelly: This is a tough one. I don’t know if anyone has it figured out. The best piece of advice I’ve been given – something I admittedly struggle with sometimes but, strive to do – is to be present. When you are at work, be there. Be 100% in, focused and participating. And be the same at home. Whether it is a meeting, a project, cleaning out your inbox, reading a book or playing outside with your children, or having dinner with your parents. Give it all your attention and make that moment important and count.
Haley: Do you view the technology industry as being “male dominated”?
Kelly: If you would ask me this 5-7 years ago, I would have absolutely said yes. But now I would say not as much. In the space as a whole, and my day to day interactions with clients, we are seeing more and more women as our main points of contacts, decision makers, executives, etc. So using that as a marker for the space as a whole, I would say it is not male dominated, and women are definitely working to have more of a presence.
Jamie: Male dominated is a strong term and I do believe there are more and more women entering and making a name for themselves in the AdTech space. Eventually, I do believe it is going to come close to balancing out. Equal opportunity is huge at Lotame and gender has never been a factor in how high a person can go.
Check out the first installment of our Lota-Ladies interviews with the ladies of our executive team, Megan McKenna & Tiffany Morris here.