Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

“Even in 2022 there are too many males in senior positions who only know how to juggle two balls!” – Lisa Menaldo, The Advisory Collective

Lisa Menaldo is co-founder of the DLL (Digital Leading Ladies) and Co-founder of The Advisory Collective. She was among the first to see the arrival of the digital revolution. In the late nineties, joining 24/7: only the fourth employee outside the US and the first to lead the UK and EMEA commercial teams. Since then, she has spent 20 years at the head of the advertising and technology curve.  

Why did you launch the Digital Leading Ladies and what were you hoping to achieve?

The industry has notoriously had a male-heavy, work hard, play-harder culture – lots of camaraderie, drinking, parties etc and unless you are doing it with them you are relatively unnoticed. 

Women have different values – they walk the walk and get on with it. Women are very good at juggling balls without dropping them, many have busy lives so work much more efficiently as they have to! 

I hate to say it as I have many good male friends in the industry of whom I hold in high regard, but even in 2022 there are still too many males that are in senior positions and only know how to juggle two balls! 

We wanted to create a forum and voice that recognised the challenges that women face in the workplace but also an environment where we can share learnings and best practice, a place to collaborate and encourage. 

As the group has evolved it is very evident that no one is judged, everyone is supported, and the members are comfortable with talking openly.

We lift each-other up and should someone fall we are always there to catch them. 

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities for women in the digital industry today?

Being recognised for their capabilities and achievements and not overlooked in being considered for promotions etc when they also have a family life. 

The industry still has a way to go but it is improving although this is only because it has been called out. Women should start to capitalise on this where they can, although we are very aware a number of companies are playing lip service to the needs of women and not actually changing their inner viewpoint

On the flipside – women need to step up, be brave enough to jump out of their comfort zone for example stop pulling out of panels at the 11th hour.

What does the industry need to do to better champion women?

Recognise the importance of organisation and soft skills – be supportive and respectful. Understand that you may need time off for a smear test, pregnancy scan, little Charlie has fallen off a swing and mum needs to run or understand that the menopause does not turn you into a rabid dog – women have an incredible ability to take everything in their stride – it’s the male counterparts that fail to understand that!

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities overall for digital advertising this year?

Companies need stop ignoring and recognise that we are heading to a privacy first world regardless of what Google chooses to announce as it’s workaround. 

The green washers will be exposed, and real carbon neutral and sustainable technology will be at the forefront

There will be consolidation across the ecosystem, and it may be tougher for younger companies that are looking to raise, that said, as an industry we still adopt well planned and executed tech that provides real solutions to business challenges.  

As an industry we are losing young talent at lightning speed and not doing enough to encourage people into the industry. When we do get talent in, in general the training is inconsistent, haphazard and in too many cases an afterthought.

But the expectation is huge, and then we wonder why we cannot retain them – you have incredible initiatives from the likes of Digilearning and Brixton Finishing School that are bringing young people through robust training courses however these charities are quite often overlooked as a feeder of talent for the industry. 

What is your biggest achievement in digital to date?

I have had many achievements over the years that I have been proud of – some big and some small but in all honesty I feel that the work that myself and my colleague and co-founder Ellie Edwards-Scott currently do at The Advisory Collective is really satisfying as we have a constant eye on what is coming down the line in terms of tech and development, and we get to work with great clients – there is nothing more rewarding than helping a company achieve their goals.

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