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Women in Tech: Melissa Gonzalez and Sam Hill

June 24, 2017

You may have already had a chance to check out our first and second round of interviews with our executive and CS teams here at Lotame, but kicking off our third round are two lovely women from the Data Team, Melissa Gonzalez and Sam Hill! The success of the Lotame Data Exchange and the clients who decide to partner with us lie heavily on the members of the LDX team, Sam and Melissa being very vital parts of it.

What is your role at Lotame?

Melissa: I am a Senior Account Manager on Lotame’s Data Team.

Sam: I am the Associate Director, Data Operations on Lotame’s Data Team.

What brought you to Lotame and where were you prior?  

Melissa: An interest in Ad Tech and a deep love for Account Managing and Client Relations landed me a position with Lotame. I was previously employed at a company called Rightster (a digital video marketing company).

Sam: I was working remotely in Maryland for an NYC based ad tech company called Appssavvy. Unfortunately the company went bankrupt, so I was in need of a new job now living in Maryland and in the ad tech industry as that is where majority of my experience was from. Fortunately, it all worked out because I found Lotame.  

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?

Melissa: Generally speaking, I believe men and women differ in just about every way. In the workplace it’s easy to spot differences in communication styles and problem solving practices — because of that I truly believe gender in the workplace isn’t a numbers game where you should have a 50/50 split. Some departments may benefit from having more men on the team, as some may benefit from having more women. Lotame understands strengths of each gender and manages in a curated way, and that is why I believe we have been so successful.

Sam: There are no distinct differences, in my opinion, between men and women in our office. There are both men and women in all different roles, at all different levels. Lotame does a great job of giving all employees, regardless of gender, age, race, job title, etc, equal opportunities. I think that is why Lotame is so well-known for it’s environment. Year after year we are receiving more and more rewards for “best workplace environment” or “best client success team” and I without a doubt believe it is because of how diverse we are as a company.

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

Melissa: I report to a smart, energetic and hilarious male named Ryan Rolf. I’d say his style of management is a mix of coaching and affiliative. He’s very motivating and constantly looking to provide positive reinforcement to the team. He’s also not one of those managers who simply assigns work and points the finger… he gets down in the trenches too! All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better team leader and hope to employ many of his management tactics one day.

Sam: I report to a male. He has a very laid back style of doing business, which is extremely appreciated working in such a fast paced, high stress industry. Working in Operations, we stumble upon more issues than we would like, and in a perfect world, all issues would be resolved ASAP. With that comes a lot of high intensity and stressed out employees… but not from my manager; he is calm, cool and collected, always. It’s a pleasure to work with him, be managed by him, and have him as a role model.

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?

Melissa: No two days in ad-tech are the same! The industry is constantly evolving; companies are getting acquired, new technologies continue to emerge, fresh start-ups developing left and right…  It’s a job in and of itself to keep up with all the changes! As far as an obstacle pertaining to my role at Lotame, I’d say it can be challenging to keep up momentum at times.

Sam: You never know what is going to happen on any given day. This industry is constantly changing, companies getting acquired, go bankrupt, new companies arise, new products and tools are created, etc etc. We work in a forever growing state, which is pretty awesome. But, that can be an obstacle for some. Keeping up with all these changes is a job in itself. Working in Operations, I don’t necessary need to be able to speak to clients about industry changes, so finding time to read up on what’s new can be tough for me.

My biggest obstacle at Lotame would have to be, keeping up with work load. Because this industry is always growing, there is always new business to conquer. New projects can come on real fast and at times it can be very overwhelming. It’s all about knowing how to manage your time and prioritizing your to-do list.    

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

Melissa: This industry is simultaneously huge with big players like Google and Oracle and tiny to the point where you’ll constantly run into the same people at events.

Three pieces of advice for a fellow lady are: 1. Definitely learn the business and stay up-to-date with trends and changes in ad-tech and mar-tech! I would suggest subscribing to newsletters and digital advertising news resources like Ad Age , Ad Exchanger, Tech Crunch, and Ad Tech Daily. 2. Exhaust all your available resources like trainings, seminars, and certifications. “The willingness to learn is a choice”. 3. Attend conferences and events! They are all great ways to learn more about the industry and connect with like-minded people who you’ll likely run into later on in your career.

Sam: Do not be intimidated! There are a ton of different positions and career paths in the industry, so you will find your way. Take advantage of anything that is offered to you, joining a client meeting, signing up for a training, sitting in a seminar, asking questions in a meeting, etc. This industry has room for all types of workers, overachievers and those that like to do the bare minimum, choose which type of person you would like to be, and get after it!

Do you view the technology industry as being male dominated?

Melissa: When I first started at Lotame 2 years ago I did view the technology industry as being male dominated. Now, definitely not the case! More often than not I’ll attend a meeting with media planners, buyers and programmatic teams where majority of attendees in the room are women. Girl Power!

Sam: I used to view almost all business oriented industries as male dominated. That’s just the way it started out, back to the original advertising days in the 60s. Males were the bosses and females were the assistants. We have come a very long way since then, you see females running their own companies all over the place. It’s so awesome to see such powerful women! I believe the technology industry was male dominated when it first came about, now, not so much.