“Put yourself out there”
The last few years have been different, and we all had to keep a distance from others, working from home, joining meetings via Zoom instead of sitting in a conference room with the team present. Now most of us are returning to the office (at least partly) and have to adjust once again to something that no longer feels normal to us. With these changes back to ‘normal’ also comes new opportunities – events, networking, and more. With March being Women’s History Month, we want to highlight the amazing women around us.
In the eleventh episode of our Identity Architects podcast our Director of Business Development Valerie Mercurio sat down with Piper Heitzler, Head of Growth EMEA at Amobee, to discuss International Women’s History Month, empowering the next generation of women in the advertising industry, as well as trends around identity, collaboration opportunities of the future, and more.
“Just empowering people around you and being a good human that really cares about others. I think we have a great opportunity as we all reenter the office to really come back to why we partner with each other and just being empathetic, honest individuals that want to help each other out. […] I think we’ve all become maybe creatures of habit over the past couple years of being inside and as the world allows us to go out and reconnect, do so with an open heart and open mind because a lot of partnerships and collaborations are to come.”
Piper herself has had an amazing career so far and we wanted to learn more about her developments, and how she got to where she is now.
“Just a handful of years ago I was on the solutions engineering side, so very much technical-minded and a male-dominated environment. And even with working with clients and executive teams and at brands and agencies and with product people, they're all a very male- dominated environment. And it's not necessarily just being in a male-dominated environment and seeing a woman. But really being inspired by someone that you see and for me when I joined Amobee I was incredibly charmed by our female CEO at the time Kim Perell who was the epitome of proof that there was no glass ceiling at this company. You know if a female can be the CEO any female could do anything they want.”
This is exactly the kind of inspiration women need, to empower the next generation. And it not only needs women in those roles but also people from all genders to empower women in the workplace as well as outside of work.
“It's not just having that pinnacle but also that sense of empowerment that comes underneath and into the organization at large. If I think about how to empower the next generation of women, it also comes down to being in those male-dominated environments and working with males who also make sure to give the opportunities to women. I was incredibly lucky that I worked with two incredible managers, our former Chief Strategy Officer Philip Smolin as well as the SVP of Global Solutions Engineering Alex Knudsen.”
Having those mentors and people looking out for you is truly a blessing, just like it was for Piper.
“There was an opportunity a few years ago which was to go to Singapore to work on a project with the telecommunications companies that sat underneath SingTel's umbrella and we had recently lost our solutions engineer out in APAC at the time and I kind of raised my hand-ish thinking that I might be interested in doing it. And Alex at the time just absolutely gave it to me and empowered me and pushed me to go and I ended up living in Singapore part-time for a couple years having this amazing experience to learn about that culture and to interact with new teams and agencies I never would have been exposed to. So, it not only takes a bit of motivation yourself to put your hand up even just a little bit but also maybe a big kick in the butt when someone knows that you can do something and if you're in a structure that has males doing that right now that's still perfectly great because I think that's just diversity and seeing beyond the idea of just women. But it's just giving opportunity to those that deserve it independent of their race gender ethnicity, you name it, and just being a mentor.”
So, how do we get more of what Piper experienced? How do we empower future and present generations of women to strive for more?
“Get more involved in empowering other women of the generation. There's an incredible organization called Digital Learning and they have some master classes and programs that they provide to local children which helps them with different digital skills. And that's just a really cool way if you want to get involved and you happen to be in the local London area. ”
"You can actually make a difference and empower somebody as opposed to taking action after listening to this podcast so they have a program called Girl Rise."
A big part of the business world – not only for women – is networking which was quite limited during the last years, but we are all looking forward to getting out again, and meeting new people at in-person events. Which is why we wanted to hear from Piper on how networking has impacted her career.
“Networking is just a combination of making friends and learning about others and I like to do both of those. I actually completely remember the day that I was here in our fantastic Kings Cross office. We went up to the third floor to meet InfoSum […] and this was a couple years ago now so it was very new.”
Long story short: Piper met our CRO Richard Foster and our SVP Sales Northern Europe & Italy Stu Colman, and after a great meeting they decided to collaborate, announcing the partnership in 2020.
“In this case, we ended up deciding that we would create the very first DSP plus data clean room infrastructure architecture partnership. It was tremendous feedback being a literal industry first. It was great. And that's the power of networking and learning people enrich still to this day obviously yourselves. You know there's such a small circle in this world of adtech and martech and inventory and data. You just got to get yourself out there. Here in London I just went to this international women and programmatic network event last week which was fantastic. Wonderful guest speakers, actually the very first fighter jet pilot female in the royal air force which was so cool. So I would say just get involved, get involved in networking, go make some friends, you'll probably learn some really great things when you do.”
Not everyone is so open and likes networking. Any advice?
“At any networking event I will say to myself just two more people and once you meet two more people you can leave and you can go home. And usually if you make the commitment to make two just outright, you'll probably end up meeting 10 or more but sometimes you just need to give yourself that little nudge of minimum.”
Such a great advice for everyone returning to in-person events. Just put yourself out there and push yourself a little further.
Thanks, Piper Heitzler, for the chat.