Support
Menu
Support
Free Trial

Ad Ops All Stars: Lila Hunt, System1

by Kathleen Booth, on Jun 30, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Lila HuntLila Hunt is Head of Digital Ad Strategy at System1 where she heads the team that owns the company's programmatic ad revenue strategy.

From teaching ballet and preschool, to getting a degree in multimedia, to working in ad ops, Lila explains how her career led to leadership roles in ad ops, and why she thinks ad ops should be renamed "monetization."

She also digs into what her experience has been like as a woman in the ad ops industry, including the challenges she's faced, and how she's preparing to go out on maternity leave in just a few months.

Listen to or watch the full episode, or read the transcript below, to hear Lila's story.

Resources from this episode:

-- Article Continues Below --

Read the Case Study

How cleanAD Completely Eliminated Malicious Redirects, Freeing up 60 Hours of AdOps Effort per Week, for Venatus Media

Read the Case Study

  -- Article Continues Below --

Listen:

Watch:

 

Transcript:

Kathleen: Welcome to the Ad Ops All-Stars podcast, I'm your host, Kathleen Booth. And today my guest is Lila Hunt, who is the Head of Digital Ad Strategy for System1. Welcome to the podcast, Lila.

Lila: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Kathleen: I am really excited to have you because, in full disclosure, I ask all of the guests on the show who I should talk to. And a bunch of them have mentioned your name. In fact, I think it was Catherine Beattie who specifically wrote me afterwards and said I should talk to you because you're really good at holding partners accountable in the weeds with Prebid. So, I feel like we're going to get into all of that in a few minutes, but before we do that I'm going to ask you to answer the question that I ask all of my guests, which is kind of a fun one, and that is if you had to explain what you do for a living to a five-year-old, how would you do that?

Lila: I put the annoying boxes on the web pages.

Kathleen: I love it.

Lila: My mother asks all the time, she's like, "What do you do again?" She's an EA, so she works in schools with special needs kids, so totally no corporate context. And I'm like, "Well, I do this thing with ads, and there's lots ... It's not simple though." And I always get the, "So, you do the marketing?" And I'm like, "No, I don't do marketing." "So, you do the ...", whatever. And I'm like, "No, no. I do technology. That's what I do, and there's ..." It's really complicated. It sounds like oh, you do advertising, but actually there's a lot to it.

Kathleen: And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't you actually work with kids at one point early-

Lila: Yeah. I did. So, I was a ballet dancer when I was younger, and I taught ballet for 10 years, right from three-year-olds up to adults. And then I also taught preschool as my university hustle. So, that was amazing, and fun.

Kathleen: And that was why I was particularly excited to hear your answer to how would you explain it to a five-year-old, because I feel like you actually have spoken to a lot of five-year-olds in your career. And so, you kind of have a leg up on that, more so than most of my guests.

Lila: Well, and I can say from working with kids, they would probably explain what I do better than I can simplify it, or distill it down, because kids just have this beautiful way of putting things in such a simple, straight lens view. And so, they'd probably be like, "Oh, so you put the commercials on." And I'd be like, "Yeah. I put the commercials on."

Kathleen: Nice. So, how did you go from teaching ballet and preschool, to working in ad ops? What did that progression look like?

Lila: Oh yeah, it was convoluted. So, I went to university for, what was called at the time, and this is going to date myself, multimedia, which you think overhead projectors and stuff like that. It was one of the first digital media programs in Canada, so I studied a mix of communications, digital theory, I did a course on video games, which was really fun-

Kathleen: Oh, fun.

Lila: ... I learned how to make HTML sites, I learned Ruby on Rails. Just a whole mish-mash of everything kind of digital media at the time. And I had a kind of affinity for coding that I uncovered in high school. I did really well, I got like 98% in programming, and didn't really understand how I did that. But it was a thing. So, I came out of school and I was like, "Well, I have this mish-mash degree, I'm not really a web developer, I'm not really an anything." And I got a job at a small startup for an old C sharp programmer, very rigid programming. And I started making web 1.0 websites, but I was really not a good developer. I wasn't a really great designer. I did okay for a junior, probably.

Lila: And so, I moved around the country a bit, and ended up different jobs. I worked for the government for a while doing communications, and then I came back and I got the job with The Weather Network in ad ops. I was like, "Oh, this is so exciting. It's a national brand. For all you Americans, The Weather Network is like our Canadian weather channel. And I was like, "Wow. This is a real job, and I have so much room to go, and I could do all these amazing things." I was young and naïve. And my boss at the time was like, "You know this is a data entry job, right?" I'm like, "Yeah, it's okay. It's okay. I got this. It's advertising, this sounds super neat." And he's like, "Okay, but it's really boring. I'm a little worried that you're going to be bored." And I'm like, "No, no. Just give me a job-

Kathleen: Man, he was not trying to sell it, was he?

Lila: ... I need one." Within The Weather Network, I moved around quite a bit. And I ended up at a startup, which was like a travel app within The Weather Network that really struggled to compete against Waves, and Google. And so, I kind of was sitting there, I was working on these broadcast systems, actually. And I got into physical tech of machines that run TV. And I was like, "What am I doing here? This is horrible, I'm not going to have a job in five years because these systems aren't going to exist." I was right. I was like, "Forget it, I'm going back to ad tech, I liked it, it was interesting. So, it was kind of funny because we all muse about getting out of ad ops once we get in, and it's like oh yeah, that's it, I'm getting out. I'm going to go change. And I was out, and I was like, "No, it's not better. The grass is not greener on the other side. I'm going back."

Kathleen: That's so interesting that you said that. Why do you think so many people in ad ops talk about getting out of it?

Lila: Oh, boy. I think a lot is asked of an ad ops person, and to be honest, and people internally at System1 hear this all the time, I hate being called ad ops because that isn't ... If you think of what ad ops is, it's like trafficking. It's the data entry that I started doing years, and years, and years ago. And that's not what I do anymore. Trafficking is like this big in the grand scheme of how we make money, and if you look at it I'm a technologist, I am a revenue strategist, I am a product and creative person, sometimes I'm a marketer. I'm a legal, not illegal, a legal person. Privacy and compliance, user experience. I have to be so dynamic in order to do my job, and this is true, I know, of all of my peers who do jobs similar to me within their respective companies. And to be honest, throwing it back to my antiquated multimedia degree, I don't know that I would've been able to do that had I not had a really broad, generalist exposure to media in general.

Lila: So, we look at it a little bit like well, what would I do? I'm not really a thing. I know I definitely had that narrative, I'm not really a thing. How do I tell a company what I should do for them, because what I do is so abstract? And the best thing that's worked for me is generally when a company starts talking to me, they don't even know they're looking for somebody like me. And we create a position. And that position evolves into something they didn't necessarily know they needed, but it drives revenue. I think we're all kind of in that same lane, but then when we look at it we go, "Well, I do a lot of a whole bunch of different things, but I'm not the thing." I'm not a thing that is-

Kathleen: Yeah, you're not a lawyer, a dentist, a doctor-

Lila: Yeah.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Lila: I mean, when I was a kid I wanted to be a sitcom writer. So, I'm not a sitcom writer, I'm a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

Kathleen: So, it's funny that you said that you don't like being called ad ops. If you could reinvent a name for this, or a title for what you do, what do you think it would be?

Lila: I generally call our team internally the monetization team, because that is fundamentally, right now, what we do. We strategize on how to make more money, and that is what every ad ops function, I think, modern ad ops function does. The challenge is we actually have multiple monetization teams at System1, because we have buy side, and sell side, and search, and all ... The company does so many different things, that our monetization might be confusing against other monetizations. So, we get called ad ops. Sometimes I call us ad ops just because at least, especially when dealing externally, people will know what I'm talking about. They know what I do, and it comes back down to being that thing, what do you do? I do ad ops. What does that mean? I can not explain it to you like you're five.

Kathleen: I put those annoying boxes on the website.

Lila: I put the annoying boxes on the website, but those annoying boxes make a lot of money.

Kathleen: Yes. So, I think you kind of answered this question already, but I just want to make sure we come at it super directly. Where does your team, the ad ops, or the monetization, or whatever we want to call it, where does it fit strategically within System1's overall business strategy? What's the value it brings to the company?

Lila: Well, that's a good question, because where I think it sits, and where everyone else sees it we might not be 100%.

Kathleen: Tell me about both sides.

Lila: So, I think generally we are viewed as the team that makes sure we make display revenue, across the business. I've structured our team as an internal service provider. Because System1 has done a lot of acquisitions, we have different collections of sites through the business, and different scopes for where display may support our revenue goals. And so, especially coming from a vendor background for part of my career, I'm like, "Okay, our internal business lines, all these different websites who may leverage display, we're their service provider, we're their vendor." And then, it's super extensible where we're standardizing the approach for integrating display as a concept across any site internally, that is in, or may come into our portfolio. And so, we treat our business stakeholders, generally speaking, like clients. Very close clients.

Lila: And then, where I would like our team direction to continue evolving is as an incubator. There's a lot of what we are doing, that because of our proximity to change, and the effect of that change directly on our ability to generate revenue, we know what's going on, we know what ... Again, we know all the little pieces, and how they fit together maybe a little more holistically than some other functions. And so, we are a great team for incubating, just change in general, or new ideas in general. And that's generally what I like to be doing. Anyone who knows me knows that I kind of start something and then I find a home for it. And then I start something else. And I mean, that would be a testament to my craft projects. I have a million unfinished craft projects.

Kathleen: I feel like you're the kind of person who would love the show How Stuff Works.

Lila: The show How Stuff Works?

Kathleen: You just seem really curious, as an individual.

Lila: What is the show?

Kathleen: Oh, oh my gosh. It's this show where they literally will take a product, it'll be like hot dogs. And then they'll dive into how its made.

Lila: Oh, okay. Like how Netflix is, or something?

Kathleen: I don't even know, maybe it's Discovery. I don't even know, but-

Lila: Oh, the Discovery one. Yes, okay. So, we own the website How Stuff Works, but it's all complicated because we own the digital property, and then iHeartRadio owns the podcast, and then Discovery had a TV component of that I didn't know was still going. But yeah.

Kathleen: I think of that when I hear you talk about this, because you just seem like very innately curious, and really wanting to dig in, and understand, and pick apart literally how things work, and how they're made. So, anyway.

Lila: Oh yeah, yeah.

Kathleen: Observation.

Lila: Yes, yes. 100%.

Kathleen: So, how big is your team?

Lila: Three people. It's very small, that's including myself. And I don't think this is necessarily uncommon in our industry to be on the light side of resourcing. Generally my approach to resourcing is to keep it light, but not burdensome, because then there's lots of ways for people to cross-function, and get involved. So, we have Aaron Thai, who works in Venice, California, and Rob Meyers, who works out of Guelph. And they're my shotgun homies on this whirlwind adventure of web 3.0.

Kathleen: Now, are you small because you're ... Are you all programmatic?

Lila: Yes.

Kathleen: Okay. Okay.

Lila: Mostly programmatic.

Kathleen: Oh, because I heard you say buy side, and sell side earlier, but I was going to say how are you doing all that with a three-person team?

Lila: So yeah, the resourcing for other buy side and issues within System1 are resourced differently.

Kathleen: Okay, got it. That makes sense, because otherwise I was going to be like, "What kind of magic are you wielding to get all this work done?"

Lila: No, probably the most exciting and challenging facet right now is that we're trying to ramp up some more PNP PNP sales, and PNP relationships. And it's going really well in terms of what we've done, but again we're balancing this three-person team across are stabilizing revenue, integrating new business lines, growing our technology and our systems, and evolving the products, and then doing sales, too.

Kathleen: So, I feel like that's the perfect segue to my next question, because you're doing a lot of different things, you have a small team, and you are going out on maternity leave.

Lila: Yeah.

Kathleen: Not too long from now. So, talk me through how you're going to handle that with your team, how you're going to make sure no balls drop, because ... And you're in Canada, which means you're going out for a while.

Lila: Yeah.

Kathleen: Yeah.

Lila: Yes, I'm going out for a year.

Kathleen: Which I'm so jealous of. I wish that that was an option when I had my kids.

Lila: I am so excited for it. Yeah, it's exciting, it's also kind of scary. But we have a plan, like all things we do in our team we have a plan for how we're going to cover. And we are going to grow the team, not only because I'm going on maternity leave, and this was really important to me, come back from maternity leave. So, I need a job to do when I get back. But because we have this growing need for, I think, product and tech support within our team, so we have a posting right now open, that I encourage every product person to go check out for a TPM, technical product manager, for our ad tech stack. It reports into our product department, but does not ... It will directly work with our team, because we are like the main end user, or stakeholder for it.

Lila: So, we will hire a product person who can help bridge some of the technical gaps, and then we have ... I have a list of all the things I do, and where they go in the short-term while I'm away. And that's it. I mean, it's the culture of our industry is everybody just kind of does what needs to be done, and pulls their weight. And we've been preparing for a long time, or at least I have. I mean, when I first let System1 know I was going on mat leave, I was like, "Okay, I know this is six months from now, but we need to start doing some work now because when I go on mat leave I very well may miss the Cookiepocalypse. So, we're going to have to have some fundamentals worked out, or at least roadmap so that we know what we need to cover.

Lila: So, some of those initiatives, we've done the Google PPID, we're working on extending our taxonomy so that our taxonomy can be extensible to any system that wants to consume it in any way. Some of that work that will help, I think, prep. And then, I mean, documentation. I've been doing documentation-

Kathleen: Fun stuff, right?

Lila: Yeah.

Kathleen: So, I love that you brought up that the ... One of the characteristics of the industry is that everybody pitches in, and helps out where it's needed, because I have heard that. What, we're only a few episodes in, but it's starting to become a recurring theme in these conversations. And I always love this about podcasting, when you interview people in similar roles you do start to see these threads that come through. And this is one of them. And so, I'd love to have you talk a little bit more about your team, how ... It's only three people so I can't imagine there's lots of silos there, but how do you divvy up responsibilities, and how do you help your team manage striking the balance of home, and work life, and preventing stress, and burnout, and all of that?

Lila: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I would say the first most important thing, is playing to somebody's strengths and interests. So, we are a team that was kind of, again ... assembled from different acquisitions, or different phases of the hiring, different initial support focus. And I was actually, I think, one of the first employees to be hired to span the scope of System1 as a holistic concept. So, those resources that have pulled together, they all have, again, like agnostic of us all being a little bit of a Jack-of-all-trades. We have things that we either like doing, or we're really good at doing, and I would say that's the first home for people to take on day-to-day responsibilities. The next is where does that person need to grow, and how do they want to grow, is another area.

Lila: And I will use a personal example, that really hits home to me. When I was younger in my career, because I was technical or operational, I got told repeatedly, by many, many leaders, that oh, well I'm a good ops person, but I'm not strategic. And for a really long time, I didn't know what that meant. And I remember saying to one of them, "That doesn't help me. I don't know what that means. What am I not enough of that I can't be this thing? Because when I show up, I seem to be able to carry a conversation that's happening on, so what am I missing?" And they said to me, literally, "I don't know. It's like you just don't get it." And I'm like-

Kathleen: That's not helpful.

Lila: ... "I can't get it if you're not going to tell me what I'm missing." I figured out later on what I didn't get, which is I just wasn't part of the club.

Kathleen: So, what do you mean by that?

Lila: I don't know, there's the ad ops folks who are like ... They're nerdy, like me, maybe a little quirky. Really technical, they know how shit works, and then ... Or, how stuff works. And then there are the ones who are more on the business side, and they do the deals, and the schmoozing, and the this, and the that. And so, when you show up to a room full of people who are not like you, because they're older, they're generally male, and they are pure play business focused, they look at you and they go, "You're not like us. You're over here, you come in when you do your thing." And so, that was fine for a while, and then I realized that I actually was strategic.

Lila: And I was showing up in other contexts and being like, "Okay, well every time I have a hypothesis of how something's going to play out, I'm generally right. And I'm right because I know how things work. So, how is that not strategic? If I can plan a year out, two years out, three years out, I honestly don't think these other people, who are telling me I'm not it, are more it than I am. And so, I broke down that as a first barrier, and one of my mentorship strategies is breaking that down for other people where I see it starting to surface, and I see it surface for ad ops people all the time where it's like, oh yeah, well, they're a great ops person. They're really technical. Or they can do product. And it's like but how are they ever going to grow in a different way that you expect of them, or would like of somebody else if you don't show them how?

Kathleen: That's a great point. And you mentioned this part of that, this ... That a lot of those folks were ... Tended to be male. Obviously you're a woman in the industry, what role do you think gender played in some of that specifically? And then more broadly in your career, and how it evolved?

Lila: Oh man, being a woman in tech is hard. It's really hard. And people say this, and I think, again, the men on the other side of it, I don't know that they know what it means. I remember early in my career when I was propagating header bidding, all these strategic dudes could show up and do a deal, and they could close the business people and be like, "Yeah, do the header bidding thing. It makes so much money." And then we would get to the CTOs, the product VPs, et cetera, who are like, "There is no way in hell I'm putting code on my page. Ever. This is a hard no. Not doing it." And I was the one who had to convince them how, or to do it. And so, I have an analogy. I was thinking really hard of how do I describe this challenge that I'm faced with, that I'm sure it's even harder, more pronounced for other types of minorities in the industry?

Lila: And I'm going to equate it to race car driving, even though I know nothing about race cars. So, everyone shows up to the race and they have the same car, and they have a top-of-the-line race car, and they're gassed up, and they're ready to go. And they're all like, "Ha-ha, yeah. We all got the car, best driver's going to win." And it's a competition. I show up in my Mazda3. So, how is everybody in these hot race cars going to look at me in my Mazda3? They go, "Oh, that's cute. Have fun, don't get hurt. But just let us have our race. Don't get in the way." So, that's early what the experiences very much were like, and what they don't see is that under the hood I actually have a better engine, I have better tires, and I have a better crew. And when I start driving, I know how to drive, and people start going, "Who are you? Where did you come from? What's going on? Why is this Mazda3 holding pace at my race?" And the answer is my engine is my technical background.

Lila: I actually know how things work, I know enough about the systems to design how to make money. My tires are my work ethic. When you are a minority, like in a professional context, you have to work harder because you don't have a choice not to. And sometimes working harder doesn't even help you get ahead. And then, my crew are these random people through my career who said, "You know what? Rooting for the underdog. I like the payout on these odds. And I think I'm going to put my money there." So, all these things come together, and you have somebody who's super scrappy, super ... just ... at the table now, who ... I'm like, "Go-go-go." And I don't know, again, many prominent women in the industry who have not used grit, or assertiveness, or not being afraid to stand out a little bit to try and, again, make gains in that race.

Lila: The challenge from that is not just like oh, I show up, I win the race with my Mazda, and everybody's like, "Oh, bravo." That doesn't happen. When the underdog starts winning, it's shocking, it's exciting, but it's also threatening. And so, there is an equal reaction to that when something that doesn't fit in comes in and starts being present with a discourse that doesn't necessarily fit the discourse of the way things have been done. And I don't know if in another industry I would've made it, to be totally honest. I think one of the advantages of ad ops for, again, anyone who doesn't fit the token image, is that there's a lot of misfits, generally speaking. I think we're all kind of like we came from backgrounds where I know people who didn't graduate high school because they quit, because they made so much money putting ads on the internet back in 1999. You know?

Kathleen: Yeah.

Lila: Or people who are like, they're kind of technical, or they're kind of ops-y, and they were the underdog of their traditional media company, told, "You're the bottom of the barrel. We don't care about the display stuff. Let the big boys do the TV, or the magazines," or whatever. And then all the digital just started going ... Up. And everyone started going, "Oh, who are you?" So, as a woman who's that underdog in this race, there are men who are also the underdog in the race. They just maybe don't visually stand out as much, or their social behaviors fit in more easily.

Kathleen: Yeah. For somebody who doesn't race cars, I think that was as spot-on analogy. And I mean, it really helped me to understand, I think, what your experience was, and what you were trying to say there. So, well done.

Lila: I don't race cars either, so for any race car fans, I apologize.

Kathleen: So, obviously some of that, those preconceived notions, I would say, that was a challenge that you've had to overcome. Today, when you fast forward to today, what would you say the biggest challenge is that you face on your job?

Lila: That's tough. Question and answer. I don't, to be totally honest. And it's probably one of the first times in my career where I don't feel some pressure or challenge to have to prove myself. I'm in an environment right now where I am rewarded for being intelligent, and for ... And respected for doing a good job, which I believe is a culture that should exist in every work environment for every person. But that just wasn't my ... A lot of my experience, to be totally honest. And I don't want it to sound like I worked for bad companies, because I didn't necessarily, but there are always going to be people within companies that you might not mesh with, or that, again, create a friction, or conflict. And how many of those people, and how much power do they hold, and how do they target you to make your job better or worse?

Lila: So, I don't have any work problems, which is why I'm having a baby.

Kathleen: That's amazing. Yeah, your biggest problem will be lack of sleep in a few months, I think.

Lila: My biggest problem is I'm going on mat leave for a year, and that is terrifying.

Kathleen: Oh, you're going to crush it. I have a feeling. You talked about people rooting for the underdog, and the people that have been on your team. Is there a particular person, or one or two people, that have really had a big impact on your career? Whether that be a mentor, a coworker, a family member, a friend? Somebody who stands out?

Lila: Oh boy, yeah. So, it's hard for me to answer this question without leaving someone out. And probably-

Kathleen: What's your Oscars acceptance speech?

Lila: Yeah. I have to say one of the biggest influences on my success is probably Darren from The Weather Network, who hired me into this crazy world. Thanks, Darren.

Kathleen: Wait, is he the one who kept telling you you were going to be bored?

Lila: Yeah.

Kathleen: I love it.

Lila: Yeah. So, he's definitely someone who helps me, in some respects, keep a level head when I'm experiencing challenges in the industry. In terms of who helps me be successful, we have such a strong community of people helping each other, again, because we all know little bits of little things. I think maybe people who don't get call-outs as actively as they should, I would say Jen Castillo is always really helpful. Tracy Yeung has been really helpful, she's at Bloomberg. I have quite frequent sessions with Taylor Coulis, got to call out a fellow Canadian making it in an American market. And oh gosh, honestly there's so many people that I can't make a list without leaving someone out. I didn't just get here by brute force. I often refer to myself as a bull in a china shop.

Lila: There are people who helped me. They, at the very least, make sure that I'm thinking about things, like validating my thought. I'd also say Rob Beeler is really important advocate for all kinds of people in the industry on the pub side. I think AdMonsters as well gives a platform for people to star having a voice, where, again, they may not have had a voice. And AdMonsters may be one of the key drivers in my confidence as a speaker, my confidence in sharing ideas.

Kathleen: And I'm going to come back to this in a minute in terms of having to narrow down people. So, the ad ops world has changed a lot, and you mentioned the cookie apocalypse. We've actually touched on a couple things that are really rocking the world of ad ops right now. How do you and your team stay on top of all of this? All the changing regulations, and platform changes, and tech changes?

Lila: Yeah. I mean, honestly it's my job. It's literally what I'm paid to do.

Kathleen: Any particular sources that you find are really good to keep on top of it, and stay educated?

Lila: Yeah. I follow all the major blogs, and the articles. I generally take them with a grain of salt. I rely on my vendors a lot, and again I don't always agree with their path or the information they're sharing. This is part of the holding the vendors accountable piece. But what they have to say, and the direction they're going, is important because they will set a trend that I can then respond to. We have really, really strong support. Oh, this is another call-out. We have really strong support from Amazon, and the ladies on my Amazon team are some of the smartest women in tech that I've come across. And then we also have really good Google support. And Google has been great at sharing information with us, specifically.

Lila: So, it's a culmination of where are my partners going? Because where my partners go ultimately depends on how I'm going to make money since we're so co-dependent. And then, separately from that I try and have conversations with individuals through the industry, like meetings, and we talk about what we're doing. I always tell my vendors, "You know we all talk, right?" We do, we all talk. We all kind of want to make sure we're sharing ideas, and doing the right thing. And it's mutually beneficial. When I share an idea with you, and it makes you money, it may mean you share an idea with me later on that helps make money. I try and have close connections. One thing about being a Canadian is that I'm not on the ground in these ... I don't go to all the New York bars and hang out-

Kathleen: Yeah, the Beers and Ad Ops.

Lila: ... with people. Yeah. I can't, because I'm in Canada. And I used to have to travel so much in order to keep up with the Jones', and just be relevant. And that was really hard. And people, they talk about the struggles of COVID, it's been great for me. Everybody works at home now, everybody's on Zoom, everybody's comfortable with a remote environment, and for me, again, being in a whole different country that's not even allowed to enter your country right now-

Kathleen: And vice versa.

Lila: Yeah, it's really important to staying connected, and I'm happy that we've become closer remotely, because it puts less pressure on me to show up.

Kathleen: I feel the same way, and I hope that some of that really lasts when all of this is over. Hopefully it is over some day, but I really hope that we take some of that with us into the future world.

Lila: I think so. There's a lot of important conversations that happen in these social contexts. And again, that has been a big part of my success, and all those one-on-one ... If I've ever had a one-on-one late night AdMonsters sesh with you, you're part of this. Whatever that means. So, it's really helpful, but not super, super practical, or pragmatic, and it does, again, create disproportionate opportunity for people when they can't travel for whatever reason, or they can't be there.

Kathleen: Yeah. And it's one of the things that's interesting that you brought it up about the community, because it's one of the things that I've really noticed and come to appreciate since I've started working in this world, is that it is a very tight-knit community. And you're right, just even from what I've seen, everybody does talk, and they're really supportive of each other. It seems like one of the more friendly communities I've ever been a part of. And so, building on that, and given that you do know a lot of people in the industry, I would love to know who you think is doing really outstanding work, and who I should invite to be our next guest? And you can name more than one person if you want to, because it's hard.

Lila: I know. Well, I was going to say, in terms of guests, Jen Castillo definitely. Tracy. I like talking to them, generally speaking. I have interesting conversations with them, and they're very helpful to me. I mean, you already did Catherine. I talk to Kyle Green a lot. I don't know if he would do a podcast, but we're definitely tight. Then he's going to come on and be like, "I don't know her." I like Lia Sur from Business Insider. Again, I'm bigging up the ladies of ad tech because, I mean, I'm biased. What can I say? Now it's reverse bias.

Kathleen: I love it. It's okay. I'm down for it.

Lila: Yeah. Well, there's so few of us, but there's more. It's growing. There's more women now than there certainly was when I started out in this. But yeah, it's like there's not a lot. So, you got to-

Kathleen: Got to support each other.

Lila: Yep.

Kathleen: Definitely. Well, thank you so much for joining me, this has been a ton of fun. Really, really interesting just to hear about your career journey, and some of your perspectives. If you are listening, and you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review on Apple Podcasts, or the podcast platform of your choice. And to hear more interviews with other leading ad ops experts, head to clean.io, and while you're there, check out our resource center to learn more about protecting your user experience and your revenue. That is it for this week, thank you so much for joining me, Lila.

Lila: Thanks. I had a lot of fun.

Kathleen: I did, too.

New call-to-action

Topics:AdOps StrategyAd Ops All Stars

Our blog

Where businesses come to learn more about protecting the points of digital engagement with their customers, audiences and users.

Subscribe to Updates