Presented by AdExchanger and AdMonsters, the Top Women in Media & Ad Tech Awards recognize, celebrate, inspire and bring together the women making an impact in our Publishing community. This year, the awards program is honoring over 130 leaders who have made a lasting impact on their brands, organizations, and markets.
Two of those leaders (who are also some of Blockthrough’s finest) were recognized as honorees this year.
Rikki Decker, Head of Partnerships, has been named an honoree in the “Up and Comers” category. Additionally, Jasmine Jia, Associate Director, Data Science, was named a “Data Demystifiers” honoree.
As they head out to the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City to be recognized among industry peers, we sat down for a quick chat to talk about their respective journeys in ad tech, their advice to others, and what they like to do in their downtime.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Q. As a role model for women in the media and publishing industry, what is your advice to those who aspire to be top achievers?
Rikki Decker: My advice to women aspiring to be top achievers would be to get involved in as many cross-functional initiatives as possible. Starting out in ad tech can be daunting because there are various facets: sales, product, engineering, data, etc. Understanding how other departments function and how their priorities may differ from your own is crucial to developing effective processes and cultivating a collaborative team environment.
Additionally, I would recommend getting involved in industry initiatives and standards groups. This is a great way to organically find mentors in the space as well as gain exposure to business challenges affecting other parts of the ad tech supply chain.
Jasmine Jia: Be natural and be yourself. Please don’t label and limit yourself to gender, ethnicity, or any other stereotypes. Every human being is unique, each with their own flaws and strengths. Your opportunities are unlimited if you light your inner fire and dream bigger.
Q: What excites you about the ad tech industry?
RD: What initially drew me to ad tech was the focus on macro-level consumer data. As a trader, I loved identifying trends in consumer behavior and leveraging those to drive ROI for an advertiser. Since then, I’ve leaned into the product side of ad tech and enjoyed learning how various companies within the supply chain interact with each other and react to industry-wide changes.
Basically, the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of ad tech is what gets me out of bed!
JJ: I am very intrigued with the complexity and opacity of ad tech. The massive volume of data, the millisecond timing of the bidding process, and the hidden data points all coalesce to create wonderfully challenging problems for Data Science.
Q: Can you walk us through your typical work day?
RD: One of my favorite things about my role at Blockthrough is that no two days are the same.
A typical week will likely include meetings with existing and prospective Tech, Demand, and Channel partners, ideating new product solutions with our Product and Demand leads, working with our Solutions Engineering and Publisher Success teams to help drive additional value for our publishers, and working with our Sales and Legal teams on negotiations and contract processing.
JJ: As the Associate Director of Data Science at Blockthrough, I have the honor of building our Data Science practice from the ground up. Of course, this means my typical work day is constantly evolving. Starting out, it was a lot of data exploration, POC development, and meetings to learn about Blockthrough’s role in advancing ad tech.
Now, after a few successful pilots and a great roadmap planned, we’re starting to grow the team. I’m excited to step into more of a mentorship role and develop a long-term strategy.
Q: How has your experience been working at Blockthrough?
RD: It has been incredibly inspiring working with so many creative, intelligent, and driven department leaders. The general culture at Blockthrough is collaborative and supportive and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
JJ: Blockthrough is extremely collaborative. I love sharing my thoughts regarding business problems from a Data Science perspective, and I am equally fascinated by everyone’s approach to their domain knowledge. Different perspectives of thinking can always inspire me with new ideas and insights.
Q: What do you like to do off-the-clock?
RD: I love all things food! I grew up eating Indo-Caribbean cuisine–chicken curry and roti–with one side of my family, and Italian–gnocchi and cannelloni–with the other.
Those memories have deep cultural and familial ties for me and now I welcome any opportunity to try cuisines from cultures less familiar to me. Living in the DC area provides plenty of options to do just that!
JJ: Enter goblin-mode after I log off. Lay in bed and play with my rabbit (Hunter) and cat (Lil 5).
Q: Can we see your pets?
RD and JJ: Of course!
Say hello to Lil 5 and Hunter!
While you're here...
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