Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Digital Women: Laura Chaibi, International Director of Ad Marketing & Insights, Roku

NDA’s Digital Women series is talking to leaders from across our industry to understand the particular issues faced by women. Next up is Laura Chaibi, International Director of Ad Marketing & Insights, Roku.

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

Be what you can see. The opportunity for women’s voices, opinions, expertise and experience to surface to the top and become more visible needs consistent effort. If you ask me who are the most prolific women within our industry, it’s hard to name as many women as men.  We need to get to a point where the names roll off our tongues – #sayhername, so young women know where to look for role models.

My own revelation came in my early 30s. I was a data girl, a bookworm for facts and figures driven by a love for information. I was getting passed over because I was giving all my knowledge away to others, who were using it to progress by copying my ‘homework’ or presenting it as their own and receiving the credit.

Young women need to understand the difference between work and school. While a good grade in school means recognition and a pat on the back, at work you need to translate that into a promotion or salary increase aligned with growing skills, experience and span of influence.

I wish someone had taught me this lesson sooner. At present, I actively spend time teaching younger people, especially women, how to navigate this. I’m hopeful we can craft environments where this does not feel like a fight to the top. For women, it is down to us to catch ourselves if we say, ‘this is not for me’. If not you, then who? And if not now, when?

We have to start somewhere, and it takes effort and being part of strong networks like DLL to make it happen.

Why did you join Digital Leading Ladies? What has being part of DLL meant to you?

Your net worth is your network.In digital, people are continually working towards building something new and setting precedents on things that are untested. The Digital Leading Ladies group allows women to engage with the best minds in the business to sense check ideas that are hot off the press.

Whether it is clarity on the changing zeitgeist of the day or how to implement role model policies, this is a group full of wisdom to tap into for opinions, recommendations, connections and introductions at speed; things that also make you more valuable to your employer.

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

The industry should work in synergy with the Government to better champion women. The Government provides useful insights on how gender diversity in top jobs can be improved and where women ‘fall off the path’. Industry leaders already know, or should know, the problems that need to be addressed to advocate the role of women in the digital industry. It’s a matter of moving from knowledge to action.     

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

2023 will be a year of continued change, from worldwide events through to the industry specific ones. I believe businesses in our industry need to optimise supply chain, build a strong talent pipeline and continuously adapt to the challenging macro-economic environment. It’s all about agility at this point. At Roku, we believe all TV will be streamed and therefore all TV advertising will be streamed. We are in the middle of this transition and it is an area of continued growth.

In the DLL group, you can ask things like: ‘Has anyone tried to solve this before? Has anyone seen this kind of issue before? Does anyone have a contact in the country on this topic?’ It can be about general business management through to industry relevant problems.

What is your biggest achievement in digital to date?

Mentioning one achievement is not enough if we want younger generations to understand that careers are not instant wins or quick fixes, but an accumulation of consistent sustained effort.

I will touch upon some of the milestones that are the building blocks to where I am today. When working at the BBC early in my career I pioneered digital media measurement, measuring the first of many technologies including the first smart phones PDAs, live streaming video simulcast on mobile with TV, and MP3 files.

At Orange, I moved into commercial media including the first online industry measurement JICIMS, later named UKOM. As the lead digital and mobile expert, I was a part of the team that launched IPA UK TouchPoints which is a study now in its 19th iteration. 

When I moved to Yahoo!, I expanded media measurement internationally, building teams to cover different regions across the globe. Together, we won numerous awards and I filed my first patent submission called ‘digital memories for advertising’, which looked at the future of advertising based on a user-centric engagement model.

Now at Roku, I have come back to build solutions for measuring streaming TV in a meaningful way to help advertisers achieve their goals. It will be a measurement hattrick building on the 20 years of digital media measurement experience: online, mobile and coming back full circle to TV where I started at the BBC.