Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Celebrating Women in programmatic: Felicity Cusack, Programmatic Media Director, Croud

The Women In Programmatic Network was set up to represent women in the programmatic industry. To celebrate its work and its members, NDA is running a series of interviews with its members. Next up is Felicity Cusack, Programmatic Media Director, Croud.

Why did you join the Women in Programmatic network and what do you hope to get out of it?

A male colleague shared the network with me – I think he was a little bit envious that there
was this amazing space for women to discuss all aspects of programmatic, meet up and learn from one another!

On joining even my first virtual session, I could already see this is going to be an incredible network to learn and share from all sides of programmatic that don’t form a part of my normal day. It’s been an open space to discuss challenges and advancements in tech, and hearing from those on the ground, rather than through normal routes of industry news, feels much more real.

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

Being listened to, and not just heard, can be a challenge sometimes.

It’s brilliant that women have been given a platform in a very male-dominated industry, but the change is only real when their views are listened to and questioned – just as anyone’s should be.

This very challenge does however present the opportunity to continue pushing in this area. We should keep striving to get more women writing articles, speaking on podcasts or on stage to empower the next generation.

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

Nurturing those who show a talent for tech is needed so that progression doesn’t fall into
people management, or soft skill roles.

Though these are equally as important and brilliant, with steps made already to ensure diversification in senior roles, there’s still a tendency for the female roles to sway towards people leadership, rather than technical innovation.

I see so many young, talented females coming through the doors of the adtech industry, so I believe having those senior, female role models at the top could really help inspire the next generation of tech innovators who are here to do good.

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

Brand safety and suitability, and not losing sight of this amongst the noise of cookies (the most obvious challenge as we enter 2022).

This means not forgetting that brand safety isn’t just about issues of fraud and unfortunate contextual placements (though this is still important), but ensuring advertisers also approach digital in a way that reflects their brand’s core values, whether this is sustainability, ethics or brand values.

It can be a challenge to open up these discussions, but an important one to initiate, as they can bring opportunities to re-align advertising and tech with these core values.

What is your biggest achievement in programmatic to date?

Being named Programmatic Trader of the Year at the 2019 Google Display and Video 360 awards was such a highlight for me and one that cemented some confidence in what I’d been doing all those years before!

Whilst it was fantastic to be recognised in this way, everything I’ve learnt has stemmed from working with my Croud team of incredibly smart, forward-thinking men and women who genuinely want to make a difference in the
programmatic world.