We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.
Diane Perlman is CMO at mobile location data provider Blis. A true industry veteran, Perlman joined Blis from Unruly in 2018. She previously headed up UK marketing communications for Windows Phone at Microsoft and later created and ran the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator. She also worked at digital agencies AKQA, and Wheel, which became Digitas LBI.
Who is your digital hero?
Sarah Wood, Co-founder and Board Director of Unruly and Author of Stepping Up.
What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?
Sarah founded Unruly in 2006, tapping into the then-growing trend of video and built an exciting and innovative ad tech company.
She has incredible foresight and determination, not just with building her business but also for fostering such a unique culture at Unruly. She focussed on embracing change, diversity and a flat organisational structure, enabling people to come as they are, do what they love, have a voice and make an impact.
She is also a massive proponent and figurehead for female entrepreneurship, inspiring many women and young people in general to step up and lead. I think that’s so important and something I really admire and respect.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
She built Unruly with a purpose, to change advertising for the better and embedded that purpose into the fabric of the company, in the processes that keep it running and in the technology that moves the business and the industry forward.
She’s also a digital entrepreneur and diversity advocate. Her drive to make the advertising industry more inclusive, more digital focussed and more empathetic is helping to make the industry more accessible for all.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
The advertising industry has been having a crisis of trust for the past several years now — both with consumers and up and down the supply chain. I think one of the biggest challenges is accountability across the entire online ecosystem.
We need to revive trust in the industry, respect for consumer data privacy and increase accountability to each other.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
A personal achievement has been leading brand transformations for two top digital scale ups, first with Unruly and currently with Blis.
Before that I built and launched Microsoft’s first startup accelerator in the UK, nurturing and graduating over 30 digital/tech startups over two and a half years. It was hugely rewarding, building something from the ground up, getting to work with and help so many inspiring founders and mentors and learning from them every day.