Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Victoria Usher, GingerMay

Victoria Usher is the CEO and Founder of GingerMay. Prior to GingerMay, Victoria’s roles included a political researcher for two MPs at the Palace of Westminster, a data analyst, and CMO at one of the world’s leading agency networks. 

Who is your digital hero?

Joanna Burton, Chief Strategy Officer at ID5. 

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

When I first met Joanna, I was new to the digital space. At that time, Joanna was Marketing Director for some of the world’s leading digital companies and enjoyed a formidable reputation. However, as is typically Joanna, she took me under her wing and introduced me to some stellar contacts that would help build my agency and develop the reputation we enjoy today. 
Joanna is extraordinary because she is a brand in her own right – a powerhouse, investor, and advisor, respected universally across the sector due to her deep technical experience and influence. However, she is one of the most unassuming and modest people I’ve ever met, and is at her best making someone else famous or helping them to excel. 
Her values of integrity, authenticity, hard work and accountability are refreshing and unexpected in our industry that often has a reputation for self-aggrandizement.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Joanna was one of the first to bring advertising technology into the public arena. In 2011, she landed a piece in the Economist that shed light on programmatic and RTB, a significant turning point that helped bring ad tech to the attention of the national media. She also created countless opportunities for digital buyers and sellers to collaborate and share learnings, both on stage and behind closed doors, to help move the industry forward. In fact, over the last 25 years, Joanna helped drive the growth of many successful agencies, publishers, and media companies, while continuing to further industry innovation through her support for start-ups.
Joanna has also quietly championed the role of women in technology for many years, mentoring and promoting other women and doing her bit to ensure industry panels include diverse speakers. A highlight was seeing her win ExchangeWire’s Ad Tech Personality of the Year when she was up against a tough line-up of famous CEOs and personalities… Joanna was the outsider but won, a testament to her popularity as well as the impact she has made on so many people’s lives.

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

Our industry still needs to go some way to communicate the benefits of the value exchange that goes hand-in-hand with a free internet. Consumers are largely unaware of how the internet is funded and it’s frustrating that in 2020 we still haven’t progressed on this issue. We need to do a better job in educating consumers to help clarify misunderstandings and misinformation, and help rebuild the industry’s reputation.

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

My biggest personal achievement was to go from never-before winning a prize or award – not even the tombola at the school fete – to seeing GingerMay receive multiple industry accolades and recognition including Best B2B Agency, the third fastest-growing PR agency in the UK and the ninth in Europe, as well as receiving global awards for Entrepreneur of Year and Best Place to Work, all fuelled by our work securing brilliant coverage for our clients.
This growth also demonstrates that our core values of supporting work-life balance and particularly working parents delivers very strong commercial success – they go hand-in-hand and it’s ridiculous that outmoded principles still exist in some businesses. Our board comprises 65% working parents, and I’m proud that our dogged focus on supporting and improving this vital area – when the majority in our industry ignored it – created a benchmark to which many now aspire.