Lucia Mastromauro (Adform) in Women’s Month Comments: Diversity is the key to innovation

As March is a month when women are celebrated, AdHugger asked a few professionals with a remarkable career to tell us their views on developing their career as women working in the technology industry and what were the challenges. And Lucia Mastromauro, Vice President, Global Agencies, at Adform, offered us her view over the matter.

Lucia Mastromauro joined Adform, one of the world’s leading independent advertising technology platforms, in 2018 as Vice President of Global Agencies. She arrived from her position as EMEA MD for Advertising at video game developer King, prior to which she had extensive experience as Head of Sales and Account Management – Network Agencies at Google’s DoubleClick, and was the Interactive Marketing Manager for EMEA at eBay.

  • How hard was to develop your career?

We, as women are used to sharing our usual huddles – but for me, having grown up in Brazil, needing to financially support myself and fund my education from a young age, coming to the UK to improve my language skills and further my academic education were big steps.

Then once I graduated, and before I felt I could truly start my career, there were a few more hurdles around visas, and the laws and processes around it. This meant the initial years were constantly uncertain, and that I had limited choices on whom I could work for and for how long – I also had to move countries a few times.

Although it was somewhat stressful and uncertain at times, these unorthodox experiences have given me unique perspectives, certainly made me more resilient, and saw my career take interesting turns.

I worked for some fantastic companies, gaining experience in various disciplines. One of the occasions, when I was trying to convince the UK Home Office to grant me another visa extension, I was offered the opportunity work for the United Nations (UN) in Geneva as a Digital Communications Consultant for the International Labour Office – and boy, did I appreciate that ‘Carte de Légitimation’.

With a few years and my varied experience – an intriguing mix of business, technology, digital, product management, and ecommerce – more and more companies started to take a shine to me. From there, I was truly privileged to work for some of the most innovative businesses in our industry.

From big and small firms, ranging from nonprofit to multinational conglomerates, to my current role: my experience in ecommerce and at the UN intrigued eBay, which caught Google’s eye, and then King’s, before I chose to join Adform with the goal of growing such an exciting independent adtech firm globally!

  • What were the main obstacles to surpass?

Thanks to a slightly wiggly career path, I found I could be very resourceful when I needed to be. That’s why today if someone tells me something cannot be done, they better sell me on why exactly it should be so. There is always another way, it may be a particularly challenging obstacle – but by overcoming so many odds, I have learned I’m unlikely to take ‘not possible’ for an answer at face value.

However, as a woman this approach can sometimes be seen as somewhat abrasive and at times has created some barriers. For women in business, this strength can often unnerve those who may have more traditional viewpoints on females climbing the corporate ladder. However this is no reason to give up, there will always be real highs and lows, but I believe that if you push through and apply yourself when times are difficult you can achieve great things in the face of huge challenges.

I would always say not to listen to those telling you ‘no’,  if you want to achieve something badly enough you’ll find a way.

  • How did you managed to achieve success?

I have been called ‘Pollyanna’ a few times in my life, and I don’t think it was entirely a compliment, but my default is to be positive, generous and giving – be that to my family, friends, colleagues, clients or acquaintances. Yes one can highlight the draw backs, but in my view, it might only take you five minutes or less if you approach something with an element of genuine generosity and can-do attitude. It takes minimal effort to make you and everyone involved feel more positive, trusting, and energized. Personally, I think this trait has been key to inadvertently help me get to this stage in my career.

I can see how this open approach is also appreciated by my clients and stakeholders. They know that if I come to them with an idea, it will be well thought through, and focused not on what there is in it for me – but focused on their benefit.

I am also passionate about helping charities maximize their impact. Be it through volunteering time, expertise, or fundraising. Many know I organize an annual fundraising BraiBQ – last year’s charity, the Marine Conservation Society awarded myself and the team behind the event the ‘Fundraiser of the year’ award. This is a fantastic validation of all the hard work for the 2018 event. Previously I have supported Amnesty International, Pennies, and Warchild on specific tech related projects. Even though these activities are difficult to manage given my busy travel schedule, my passion to help motivates me to ensure these efforts are still a priority – and I am very thankful that Adform has been great at supporting my charitable ventures at every stage.

  • What do you think today’s industry would need more of?

We need continue to champion diversity in the industry. This must come from a variety of places: women, minority groups, those that haven’t had the traditional education associated with the advertising industry, those that think differently to us, etc. By seeking out the hidden talent and attracting a more diverse thought process and outcome, we will enable innovation to continue. Otherwise we are headed towards a very narrow view from one of the most innovative industries out there and this would be a shame.

Anyone who brings innovation to the market should be welcomed. The smaller and medium size businesses are under pressure by the weight of global giants, we must support them to ensure diversity continues and innovation thrives. As an ecosystem we need to foster the environment that welcomes variation and breeds new ideas. We’ve done it before and saw Amazon disrupt the world of retail, and more recently startups like Airbnb, WeWork, Slack, Monzo, etc. So we can do it again, and continue to evolve and flourish.

  • Top 3 things to follow during the current year:
  1. Creativity and how it will continue to evolve as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies are integrated into our digital advertising processes. This will impact advertisers, creative agencies and media agencies also, as they shift towards increasingly data-driven storytelling and tap into the opportunities that is bringing.
  1. The walled gardens versus community gardens dynamics will play out. One may say that the winner takes it all, but if we are to champion and foster innovation, it is important to understand and advocate the community gardens of our industry. Especially those truly focusing on the individual needs of their customers – helping them to evolve, differentiate, and future-prove their businesses.
  1. The rise of cross-channel communications. Thanks to the popularity of mobile, plus fledging services via over the top (OTT) and out of home (OOH), and even audio, we are no longer just talking about desktop advertising. The landscape is more fragmented than ever, so expect to see key stakeholders move towards an integrated approach that delivers integrated digital advertising campaigns at scale, with real-time insights.
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