“If you’re just starting your career, consider working at a start-up, even if it means less pay in the beginning—the opportunities you’ll have will be way above your experience level so you’ll learn quickly.”
Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.
As a mom of a toddler, my day starts much earlier than it used to. I’m up at 6am getting her ready for Montessori school before I head into work. Each work day starts with an executive meeting to discuss roadblocks and challenges. The rest of my day is spent architecting creative concepts and strategies for experiential marketing projects (which have ranged from an AI-powered concert performance with the Flaming Lips at Google I/O to an “It’s a Small World”-style roller coaster ride for Google Assistant at CES to a pair of DIY socks that pause your show when you fall asleep for Netflix). While I’m on our leadership team, I’m very hands-on, which is a necessity for me.
When I’m not pitching creative concepts to clients, I’m mentoring my team, working on PR and marketing in service of Deeplocal, running interviews for potential new hires, or working on something completely unexpected. When I leave work, I’m back in mom mode—lately that has meant potty-training, negotiating with my daughter to eat one more pea, voice acting for her Strawberry Shortcake doll, and giving her “one more hug”, “one more kiss” before bed.
How do you stay passionate in your career?
I’ve stayed passionate over the course of my career by constantly challenging myself to take on work that I’ve never done before. Working for start-up companies has provided the space and permission for me to do that and to learn quickly and independently. Deeplocal epitomizes this type of risk-taking, figure-it-out environment. I joined the team when there were four others, so in those early days we were a tight-knit family with an underdog mentality, constantly surprising much bigger companies with the projects we were able to pull off. Our very first project in the advertising industry, Nike Chalkbot, won the most prestigious industry awards (Grand Prix at Cannes Lions) and was named one of the top ten campaigns of the decade in The New York Times. I simultaneously felt the high of being wildly successful and the fear of not leveraging the opportunity. Overnight, my job became to make sure that our then-tiny tech company wasn’t written out of PR stories and to secure meetings with every agency I could.
We spent a few years working as a production company for ad agencies and then made the leap to working 100% directly with brands—which meant I needed to learn how to be a better “creative” and strategist than those who had 10 or 20+years of experience. I think the next defining moment in my career was becoming a Creative Director. Working with the amazing tech talent around me in Matthew, our now VP of Engineering and Patrick, our Chief Innovation Officer, we beat out about 10 other agencies to win Netflix as a client.
Now we’re a team of 65+ humble, talented people and I think what keeps me passionate is in line with what keeps many of them excited: inventing experiences and products that we’re proud of and not settling for good enough.
Did you have a traditional path into tech (i.e.: CS/IT degree transitioned into tech job)?
My path into a technology-oriented company actually started with a degree in Marketing and English. When I joined Deeplocal, the other four people at the company were (male) engineers. In the beginning, what I didn’t know made me nervous and less confident but over time I began to really appreciate how much I was able to rapidly learn every day by working with them. That learning through osmosis environment is even more present today with a team that has super diverse skill sets (art, electrical, mechanical, robotics, software, industrial design, environmental design, etc.).
Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?
Communication tools like Google Hangouts and Slack would top the list for me since nearly all of our clients are west coast-based.
It’s common knowledge that women and femmes often face obstacles in the tech industry based on their gender. Have you ever had to deal with this type of experience and if so how did you handle it?
I’ve worked at two Carnegie Mellon spin-out companies in the tech space—College Prowler (now Niche) and Deeplocal. I feel fortunate that in both places, I’ve been treated with respect and reviewed based on my skills and contributions.
What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the #womenintech community?
I love being able to advocate for and mentor younger women who are just getting started in their careers. I get really excited when I have someone on my team who has passion, the potential to be incredible, and a strong voice.
If applicable, how have you given back to the WIT community?
Right now, I’m really excited about Deeplocal’s new program for high schoolers in tech who identify as female; it’s called STEAM Academy. The program is aimed at narrowing the gender gap in tech by empowering high school girls to explore careers in creative tech through hands-on experience during a week-long summer internship at Deeplocal. We’re about to announce our first group of girls in the program.
What is a piece of advice you would give to others wanting to or currently pursuing a career in tech?
If you’re just starting your career, consider working at a start-up, even if it means less pay in the beginning—the opportunities you’ll have will be way above your experience level so you’ll learn quickly.
The other piece of advice I would give is to always be a voice and have a presence in the room. When you have an opinion, share it confidently.
Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past year.
This year, working with our Chief Innovation Officer, Patrick (also my long-time creative partner who is as talented as he is nice) I helped to come up with the concept for the Google Assistant Ride at CES. It was a major success for Google and heralded by press who featured it. It felt good to have played a small part in bringing it to life, but what felt even better was watching our team of designers, engineers, and producers make the project real—sacrificing sleep and their holiday plans to make an actual roller coaster ride in weeks.
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