Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Julie Selman

Julie Selman is Managing Director UK & Nordics at Magnite, and has over 15 years of experience in the digital advertising industry. We asked who her digital hero is and why.

Who is your Digital Hero?

I’ve worked with so many brilliant and inspiring people over the past 15 years of my digital career but I wouldn’t really call any of them heroes as such (no offense to anyone!). It is ad tech after all. 

I am a passionate advocate for improving women’s and girls’ rights, from education, equality in the workplace, to ending violence against women and everything in between. I would love to see more women (founders, business owners, and women in leadership positions) in the industry and around me. 

Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble, is a great role model for women. I admire her vision and, most of all, her drive and execution of that vision. She created Bumble to provide a safe online dating space where women take the first step and successfully took the company public to make her the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire and the youngest woman to take a company public at age 31. 

Another inspiring woman in the realm of digital and media and women’s rights is Jamie Klingler, MD of Incite Global. She is an example of a real life hero who uses her digital, creative and event planning skills to bring awareness to the ongoing violence and harassment of women, spurred on by the Sarah Everard tragedy. 

What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

Whitney is a very visible and vocal role model in the larger business community as someone who overcame adversity (she resigned from Tinder after suffering unfair treatment, misogyny and sexual harassment) and then used her power and drive to create a business in line with her values and her own experiences. 

She stays close to her beliefs and is deeply invested in nurturing not only a safe space online but at the office too. She takes mental health for her staff seriously and has created a positive workspace for all, from how the office looks (bright and cosy) to truly flexible working hours, proper lactation rooms at work, daycare services, among other things. I was in awe when I saw her with her young son on her hip at the Nasdaq opening of Bumble. This sets such a great example to women all over the world. Women should never be made to feel sorry for having a child or less able or effective because they are a woman or have (or don’t have!) children.

Jamie is one of the organisers and spokespeople of the #ReclaimTheseStreets movement which started in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of Sarah Everard. She testified before the Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services who investigated the widely-criticised policing of the vigil that was organised in the wake of Sarah’s murder. Jamie’s work with Reclaim These Streets has accumulated in setting a precedent for protesters’ rights and her continued dedication to raising awareness, funds and her drive to create meaningful change makes her a hero in my eyes.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

In line with Bumble’s philosophy of creating a safer dating space for women Whitney also lobbies on related issues to actually change legislation around digital consent, abuse etc. She has successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to pass a bill that fines anyone who sends explicit images without consent. She is now pushing for laws to be created against online harassment, verbal abuse and the digital equivalent of catcalling.

Similarly, Jamie is using legal action, crowdfunding, Twitter and the media, to educate and to drive community action for the Reclaim These Street cause. She has been a vocal advocate and activist for the movement appearing in news articles and bulletins to raise awareness of the issues we are still facing every day as women when we are simply walking down the street.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

The internet has given us so much but it has also created a space where women and children can be and are easily exploited. We need better and stricter safekeeping tools and more education for women, young people, children and parents on how to stay safe.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital? 

I wouldn’t call any of my achievements in digital heroic! I’ve been incredibly lucky to have rolled into ad tech and digital when it was all quite new in the 2000s. The beauty of this industry is that everything changes very quickly and continuously which makes it exciting and new every day.  I’m mostly just grateful to have managed to keep up with the fast pace and changes. I have been lucky to work for some incredible companies, both start-ups and larger corporations and hope to be able to do so for a long time to come.