#PressingforProgress this International Women’s Day
March 8, 2018
International Women’s Day is one of our favorite opportunities to celebrate the incredible minds making magic behind the scenes at Taptica. With women comprising 50% of our top-level management team and 47% of our company as a whole, we’ve got a lot celebrate!
Why should a mobile ad tech company be part of the conversation on gender equality?
Because we know that people are the biggest asset fueling tech development, and we believe wholeheartedly in their empowerment – inside and outside the workplace, and above and beyond the world of advertising. Equally importantly, we recognize that gender parity still lags in even the most progressive of STEM-related industries, and we refuse to accept that as the status quo.
The theme for this year’s IWD is #PressforProgress, which represents a call to motivate and unite communities around the world to think and act from a gender inclusive mindset.
To get an inside look at the industry and what it means to press for progress, we sat down with three accomplished women of Taptica: Director of Client Growth Libi Saban, APAC Marketing Manager Nora Stark, and US Head of Client Success Liron Yaacov Shabtay.
1. Tell us a little about your position at Taptica, and how you got to where you are today.
Libi: My position is Director of Client Growth, which puts me in charge of supervising Taptica’s client success management (CSM) department. In the 5 years that I’ve been at Taptica, my secrets to success have been simply putting in the work and keeping watch for opportunities to move up vertically, not just laterally. Always know where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there – then just communicate that and put it in action.
Nora: In my current position as APAC Marketing Manager, I am responsible for developing Taptica’s brand presence and growth in the Asia Pacific region. My background in psychology and my interest in writing initially led me to pursue marketing as a career path. Some of my previous roles have also included content management for an eCommerce startup, and marketing communications for a financial firm. But as an expat with a passion for traveling, I have always had an interest in learning about other cultures and expanding my horizons, which has led me to where I am today.
Liron: Currently I’m the Head of Client Success in the US. Being in this position means that I manage Client Success Managers in both San Francisco and New York. I started at Taptica as a CSM myself and eventually moved into a role where I was able to open up a new team on the media side. After that, I finally made the move from Tel Aviv to San Francisco to start up my next challenge in this new and exciting position.
2. This year’s IWD theme is #PressForProgress. How will you press for progress in 2018?
Libi: 2018 will be all about maintaining a gender parity mindset. In all my years at Taptica, I have never felt that being a woman changed any part of my impact within the company. I strive to keep educating my teams that this is indeed the case, and to continue ensuring that we are all reviewed by our performance objectively, in a fair and equal way.
Nora: I think that the best way to press for progress in 2018 is to speak up for ourselves and for other women. The #MeToo movement has demonstrated that there is power in numbers and it’s really showed the importance of using our voices. Only together can we challenge the status quo and push for real, lasting change.
Liron: Fortunately, Taptica is a living example of a workplace that offers the same growth opportunities to everyone. As a result, a fair share of the managers among our teams are women. I truly believe that this pushes us to challenge the social stereotypes and biases that surround us, and to move toward a state of equilibrium. As a woman in a managerial position, I’m fully committed to promoting and achieving this balance within my teams as well.
3. Where/how do you feel you’ve been driven to press for progress as a woman in STEM?
Libi: One of my biggest goals starting out as a woman in STEM has been to relocate abroad and bring my expertise to a new market. When the opportunity presented itself at Taptica, I actively voiced my desire to take on that position. In return, I was given the opportunity – with two weeks to pick up and move across the world. And I did!
At this time, it came as a surprise to others in both my personal and professional life, that a single woman would “take the risk” of moving to a new country without a husband or relationship to lean on. This is when it dawned on me that we need to change the conversation. Instead of women being told to question, “why am I taking that risk?” they should be encouraged to ask, “why shouldn’t I take that opportunity?!” There are certain perceived risks that just should not be part of the conversation when it comes to growth opportunities for women.
Nora: In both my personal life and my career I’ve seen powerful examples of strong women supporting each other and lifting one other up. In Taptica specifically, women make up 47% of the company and many women hold senior management positions. These women serve as role models, often inspiring and advocating for other women to follow in their footsteps.
Liron: I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by supportive communities throughout my professional career, but I can certainly recall situations where my emotions have been mistaken for weakness. The over-sensitive or overly-emotional woman is a tired stereotype, and to this day emotional intelligence can be looked down upon in professional environments because it’s interpreted as “too feminine.”
4. How can different communities come together and support a stronger press for progress? (Inside or outside the workplace.)
Libi: It’s important to make sure that we’re actively and honestly reviewing the stereotypes and social paradigms facing women around the world. If we can pause and really look at our day-to-day discussions to ensure we’re not falling into these misconceptions, then progress will surely be made.
Nora: Communities and organizations need to make a shift in terms of prioritizing inclusivity and representation. They can come together to unite on this mission by collaborating and learning from each other with an open mind.
Liron: I believe that encouraging women to embrace and own their strong feminine characteristics will set social progress in motion. We should always turn to our unique strengths to help us conquer our goals, and traditionally feminine traits should be celebrated, not stifled. Differences and unique perspectives should be seen as strengths, not weaknesses.
5. Any advice for other women in tech who are striving to press for progress?
Libi: Be fearless and strong! It’s sounds like a slogan, but I find it to be the essence that has helped me (and still does) to this day. When I’m taking on new challenges, I always strive to set and meet new goals, and demand what I know I deserve. When things get uncertain, I remind myself that only those who dare can reach their dreams. So, dare! Worst comes to worst, you chalk it up to experience. Most successful people I know, men and women, believed they deserved it all along.
Nora: My advice to other women in tech is to make connections, find a mentor to learn from, and start advocating for yourself and others. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. One of my favorite quotes is, “she believed she could, so she did.” (R.S Grey)
Liron: As cliché as it sounds, always be the best version of yourself. Don’t be afraid to be sensitive, but also know when it’s time to put your game face on. This is relevant in every aspect of your life, not just career. The atmosphere you create in your surroundings and the way you see yourself is what makes you YOU! The power is in your hands.
Like most meaningful things in life, gender parity won’t happen overnight. But collectively we can all play a part in moving toward that reality each day.
Perhaps best explained by activist and journalist Gloria Steinem, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
Today and every day, Taptica is proud to press for progress and to celebrate the women around the world who motivate, support, and inspire us. Happy IWD!