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Women in Tech: Dawn Valandra and Lana Warner

Confident. Respected. Fearless.  Three words that describe Dawn Valandra and Lana Warner, two incredibly smart members of Lotames Client Success team. Learn more about Dawn and Lana, their day to day ad-tech adventures, and where they see the industry headed in the next couple of years.

What is your role at Lotame?

Dawn- I’m on the Client Success team in the Americas as a Manager in Client Strategy & Engagement.  I work with our DMP clients to help them get the most benefit out of the platform and strategize with them to ensure they get the most ROI out of the partnership.

Lana- Same as Dawn, I am on the Client Success team providing strategic consultation to help our clients achieve their business goals, and increase ROI.       

What brought you to Lotame and where were you prior?  

Dawn – I’ve been in Adtech for over 10 years and have built many relationships with partners in the marketplace.  I was at AOL for the majority of my adtech career but most recently came from V12. I knew a couple of folks here at Lotame and found out about the position where I would be working with DMP clients and one thing led to another and now I’m a lotamite!  

Lana- Data was the next logical step in my career. I started in TV & research, moved to broadcast, digital and Out-of-Home media buying, then realized digital was the future of this industry (and I loved it). I transitioned to ad tech, and worked in the B2B space helping develop a first-class ABM platform and realized that data, and the successful utilization of a business’ data is the linchpin of success. Now, I am a very happy Lotamite.

What are some key differences, if any, that you see between men and women in the workplace, on a day to day basis here at Lotame?

Dawn – I think one amazing thing here at Lotame is the equality between men and women.  We have such strong women in upper management who are leading some of our teams, so I don’t feel a disconnect in that aspect.  Everyone is a team player and supports one another.

Lana- Lotame is one of the first companies I’ve worked for with so many women in upper management. In the NY office, we outnumber the men! Definitely a first for the ad-tech space in my career. The great thing about Lotame is that the men are incredibly supportive, and there is a strong culture of respect and giving women the space to be heard and take lead.

Do you report to a male or female? How would you describe his or her style of management?

Dawn – I report into a female, who reports into a female 🙂  The client success team has predominantly been females, so coming into a team with strong, valuable, smart female leaders is super empowering.  My manager is very laid back and doesn’t micromanage (thank god), she’s a great leader and pushes us to be the best.

Lana- All women. From my direct manager to her boss, we are lead by incredibly smart and supportive women. Their leadership style invites you to develop your own path and work on the projects and clients that interest you the most. There is no micromanaging, every individual is given the respect and support to be the best version of themselves.

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?

Dawn- I love being in the role I am here at Lotame because it gives me the opportunity to work through problems with clients and work to solutions. Client Success is a very important position because you are constantly faced with new and innovative changes to the industry and have to be able to stay ahead to drive the success for your clients.

Lana- In regards to Women in Tech, I’ve experienced environments where women’s opinions and work aren’t respected, and where upper management is the typical “boys club” of the tech industry, not looking to advance women based on their contributions and hard work. I, and many women, have had to play into the politics of working in these environments; having ideas that aren’t validated until a man suggests the same thing, enduring countless hours of mansplaining, or having to work twice as hard for half the career opportunities. Many of these obstacles are not unique to the tech industry, but as women, we learn to work within these impediments. The thing I love about Lotame is that we are all treated with the respect we deserve.   

What piece of advice would you give to a woman who is new to the ad-tech industry?

Dawn – Ask questions, Don’t give up, Accept change, Be you!  We need strong tech women to represent us so dive right into things, keep your head held high and who knows, maybe you’ll be the next CEO someplace!

Lana- Be curious. Keep learning, ask questions, speak up. Women have a voice that should be heard. Women are responsible for some of the most meaningful discoveries and innovations of the 21st century. Never be less than what you are capable of to appease the male ego!

Do you view the technology industry as being male dominated?

Dawn – I think there is a strong male presence in some aspects of our industry, I think historically men have predominantly been leaders in technology but I think we have evolved so much throughout the years that females are making their mark and pushing their way to the top.  

Lana- Thinking back to the 2015 report “The Elephant in the Valley,” where 66% of female respondents felt they were excluded from key social/networking opportunities because of their gender, or the Fenwick study that highlighted the mere 11% (ELEVEN%!) of women that made up executive positions in the Silicon Valley, the technology industry being male-dominated isn’t a “viewpoint” it’s a fact. Even today, when looking at Google’s 2018 diversity report, leadership is 74.5% male! Statistics can get even more disheartening when considering race and ethnicity. There is a well-known pipeline problem, we know the industry has continued to grow while female talent and opportunities have not. However, I firmly believe there is hope. I believe companies and institutions are making more of a conscious effort to address these disparities, but it can not stop there. As professionals (both female and male), we need to do our part in encouraging minorities in tech and mentoring women and people of color, especially if you are in a position of leadership. If you look around you and see a lack of diversity, do something about it.

Where do you see the ad-tech/mar-tech industry headed in the next 5 years?

Dawn – This industry is constantly evolving and changing with time.  I think TV will still largely impact digital, I think more companies will merge and be part of more acquisitions, Amazon will  be a key competitor/player with the duopoly. There is never a dull moment in adtech/martech and I’m excited to see what’s to come!

Lana- I agree. More mergers, more acquisitions- the lumascape will continue to consolidate, with Amazon definitely becoming a larger player. I see the next five years as an exciting time for data with more of a universal move towards data quality, personalization, and transparency, as well as a higher level of consumer digital literacy that will impact the way adtech/martech companies transact on their data. For women/POC/femmes (let’s not forget our LGBTQIA+ community), I believe the future is ours. I hope to see more outspoken, powerful women in positions of leadership. I don’t know if that will happen in the next five years, but I believe that the next decade will be pivotal in changing the tides of history.