Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Rewarding the industry’s heroes: Lara Izlan, Director of Data Strategy, ITV

With the NDA Heroes Awards fast approaching, New Digital Age is running a series of interviews with the highly-respected names on the judging panel. First up is Lara Izlan, Director of Data Strategy, ITV.

Why did you agree to be a judge?

I love the idea of celebrating the heroes that are making a difference and pushing our industry forwards. And there are so many, from the unsung to those front and centre. I’d love to see these awards to shine a light on the many faces and voices contributing to the key opportunities and challenges in digital media.

How important is it to highlight the individuals doing great work, rather than just the businesses?

The digital media industry is all about change and transformation. While there are businesses and brands truly making a difference, I think change is driven by people – by the choices we make and the relationships we foster. By celebrating the heroes that live and breathe change, we make change more visible and more relatable, inspiring more people to believe that they can and push themselves forwards.

Different people are going to be inspired by different profiles and achievements, so it’s important that we celebrate and elevate relatable role models across all levels of seniority and from diverse backgrounds.

What are you looking for from the entries?

Individuals who are smashing it in their role and doing it by bringing others along on the journey, and making decisions that lift up the industry as a whole. You don’t have to be the CEO or a Director or a Manager to be an industry hero. I’ll be looking out for heroic leadership traits like empathy, generosity of time and spirit, and the ability to inspire – in addition to driving business value in a multi-dimensional way, encompassing people, process, products, and technology.

I, especially, love that the NDA Heroes are looking out for Collaborative Champions – recognising that real and lasting impact in our industry can only be driven by people and teams working together – across agency, media, brand and technology; and even across legacy competitive divides. I look forward to seeing great examples of our industry colleagues working collaboratively in new and bold ways.

Who has been your career hero?

Honestly, it’s too hard to pick just one – I am obviously going to have a hard time nominating one candidate for these awards! I constantly find inspiration all around me, from the people I work with, to the authors I’m reading, to the many women and men doing amazing things in our industry.

But, if I had to name one group of heroes, it would be individuals on my teams – the analysts, product managers, data and technology specialists, and other rockstars I have had the pleasure to work alongside over the years. Their energy, creativity, and collaborative spirit give me a reason to log on to Zoom each morning and continue to inspire me every day.