Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Catherine Lofthouse, Client Partner, Global Addressable Media, Dentsu

Catherine Lofthouse is Client Partner, Global Addressable Media, Dentsu. We asked who her digital hero is.

 Who is your digital hero?

Matthew Mcintyre, head of Global Programmatic at Essence and all round tech nerd*. 

*Using the phrase with the aim of taking the word ‘nerd’ back to its origins, empowering those with passion and interest:

 What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?

Matt is one of those rare people who has an encyclopedia of knowledge at their fingertips who can also translate the often abstract theory of digital tech into something that is accessible and useful to those around him.

Not only has Matt decoded some of the most complex digital changes in his career, he’s done it in a way that democratizes his wealth of knowledge. Always striving to make accessible what he knows, Matt never brings an ego to the room – and our industry is a much better place for the positive example that he sets.  

How has his heroism helped drive digital?

A true ally, Matt is someone who listens and cares intently. 

Always looking for the kindest route through challenges and has a people first approach – despite his wealth of technical knowledge. A rare combination in our industry, Matt has always proactively worked to create professional environments that are not just safe but also kind, ambitious, balanced and sustainable. Matt does not shy away from making changes that create a better place for all of those in it, and that makes him a hero in my eyes. 

A teacher who is always looking for practical ways to make things better for people, Matt is the kind of person who leads from the heart and makes a positive impact in the communities that he’s part of. Making space for marginalized groups and understanding perspectives of those different to his own can at times take a heroic personality like Matt’s.

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

There are so many, no one hero can take them all on at once! I think in order to make headway in these challenges we need to think less about single heroes and more about how to empower all peoples (within and outside of our industry) to feel like their actions can make a positive change in our world.

However large or small that contribution is understanding how the seizmik technological advances that are happening right now in AI, open source networks and the simplification of programming, can be used as a force for good to tackle the pressing issues of our day. Ethically using new technology is key to curating a brighter future.

Ethical: Retaining the value of truth in a post ‘fact’ world is a huge one. Social channels are such an important tool for democratizing voices, but they can be equally powerful as networks for disinformation. Proactively supporting quality journalistic partners in a sustainable way, and using our influence in the media ecosystem is important.Equally keeping our industry partners in check to use the cutting edge technology available to ensure that online spaces are healthy and kind places is an important challenge that needs to be kept at the top of our agenda as marketers. 

Community Based: Sustainability in all senses – taking ownership of DEI challenges and promoting opportunity. It’s crucial we create a diverse media community through creating equative working environments as well as opening new paths to people wanting to start a career in media from non-traditional backgrounds. Those wanting a career change, or those without a degree have potential to thrive in our dynamic landscape. It’s very important to promote accessible routes into our industry, and at Dentsu I’m proud to say that we have an ‘Early Pathways’ route that is open to all. This pathway runs every year, details of which can be found HERE.

Technical: Fractured ecosystems and a focus on bringing together the industry on a technical level to re-engage the landscape in a way that empowers the small-mid sized companies. While there’s great value in the ecosystems and tech propositions created by the dominant industry holding companies, ensuring that we as advisors are able to provide a range of viable solutions to our clients is hugely important. In order that small to medium business to thrive in an increasingly squeezed landscape, working collaboratively has never been so crucial to creating long term solutions to pressing problems such as identity, targeting and tracking. 

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

I’m certainly proud of a number of things that I’ve achieved in my 10+ years in the industry. I’m proud of my technical work on custom algorithms when they first became a proposition in the early 2020’s. I’m also personally proud of overcoming my fear of public speaking to be part of numerous industry panels. Putting myself in positions where I had to confront my anxiety of a room full of people, and nurturing my own authentic voice along the way, is an area of personal growth that has been a heroic undertaking.  

Really though what I’m most proud of is watching the thriving careers of those I’ve had the privilege to manage over the years. Seeing people grow as individuals, and subsequently the teams that they go on to manage in a way that is caring, sustainable and ambitious – this is the thing that makes me feel the most achieved.