A Clearwater marketing technology professional wants to make sure women’s contributions are recognized in the martech industry.
Kathy Bryan, chief marketing officer at Digital Media Solutions, is president of Women of March, a professional trade organization that launched in April. Digital Media Solutions is the founding sponsor and employs four other Women of Martech officers. Digital Media Solutions, headquartered in Clearwater and one of the largest and fastest-growing private firms in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, has signed a definitive business combination with Leo Holdings Corp. (NYSE: LHC) that will result in DMS becoming a publicly traded company once the deal closes, likely in July.
As of May 6, Women of Martech represented 200 women from 140 companies in 10 countries, according a Facebook post.
Women of Martech plans to promote the experiences, contributions, successes, achievements and innovations of women who work at marketing technology firms.
The group will use a strategy similar to one described in a 2016 Washington Post article about female amplification at the White House. In order to avoid women’s voices being overlooked, female staffers would repeat key points, crediting the woman who made the comments. That forced the men in the room to recognize the contributions and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own, the Post said.
In an email exchange, the St. Pete Catalyst asked Bryan how Women in Marketing plans to adopt the strategy and why it is needed.
Catalyst: What is meant by “amplification” and why do women in marketing need to do this?
Bryan: By amplification, we really mean to make louder and make sure more people hear. Women are known to be bad at self-promotion. It’s often just not in their nature to claim their successes as their own, and so too many women are sitting quietly after achieving something great. Unfortunately, this means women’s successes are not heard as prolifically as men’s successes. So the problem isn’t that people don’t think women can achieve great things – it’s that they’re hearing more about men’s successes and less about women’s successes. As a result, when people think about professionals who have achieved great things within the martech (or any) industry, they’re more likely to think of men. By amplifying the successes, achievements and innovations of women within marketing technology, we are confident we can make a difference in terms of the awareness of contributions women are making.
Catalyst: How does Women of Martech intend to give credit or call attention to women who make contributions in the industry?
Bryan: Women of Martech amplification will be focused on individuals. We plan to amplify the achievements, innovations and successes of individuals within the industry, calling attention to the specific women who made the contributions. Although the aggregated amplification will call attention to the significance of the combined contributions women make across the industry, all amplification efforts will be tied to promoting individual women, sharing details about the individual women, their careers, their current positions and companies and their successes.
Catalyst: Can you give me an example of overlooked contributions and why it matters that people know those contributions came from women?
Bryan: It’s hard to give a specific example of overlooked contributions because overlooked contributions are typically not reported. However, I can share that female contributions are often overlooked in the workplace – specifically in the conference room. Ideas from women are more likely to be appropriated than ideas from men, especially because women are more likely to be in support roles. During the Obama administration, to address this challenge, the women of the White House launched an amplification strategy in which women within meetings repeated ideas of other women, specifically giving credit to the woman who originated the idea. This tactic helped make it clear what contributions women were making and emphasized the importance of having those women at the table.
Catalyst: How does the organization plan to bring competitors together?
Bryan: Women of Martech is a nonprofit professional organization bringing together women from across the marketing industry. Because Women of Martech is focused on amplification, we also plan to amplify the value of other professional organizations that support Women of Martech members. We will be leading by example, showing women how to collaborate and support each other and encouraging women to work together to progress their careers and achieve their goals. Women of Martech is not about one woman gaining a seat at the table. We are collectively working together to help all women get the representation and recognition they deserve.
Catalyst: Why did you want to take this on and why is DMS backing it?
Who wouldn’t want to take this on? I am incredibly lucky to work for a company that supports the professional growth of everyone. I imagine a future in which gender is no longer part of the conversation, when women believe they can be themselves and still succeed at work. A future in which women hold leadership positions across all organizations – not because they’re women – but because they’re the best people for the job. The first step to making change happen is to imagine the change and believe it. But all change requires action. Digital Media Solutions is backing Women of Martech as the founding sponsor because DMS chooses to lead from the front, to design the future and take actions to make it happen. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to work alongside my peers at DMS and across the industry to make a long-term impact for women and for corporate America.
Note: Four other Women of Martech officers also work at Digital Media Solutions. Colleen Liguori is global senior vice president of people and HR operations. Taryn Lomas is executive vice president of insurance. Amber Paul is senior vice president of distribution. Lily Trevisanut is senior vice president of operations. Melissa Ledesma, director of content and communications at Digital Media Solutions, will be the executive director of Women of Martech.
Catalyst: How might this impact a broader range of industries outside of digital marketing?
Bryan: Women of Martech is engaging members within marketing technology companies and anyone who uses marketing technology. Since technology is an essential part of marketing nowadays, this means any woman in marketing can get involved, as long as they’re dedicated to collaborating and amplifying the voices of other women. We were broad with the Women of Martech member profile on purpose, because we know the amplification of female voices is needed across many industries – not just within martech or digital marketing. Already our membership base includes women from CPG, Travel, Technology, Advertising, Higher Education and Finance companies. We’re excited to see the Women of Martech influence grow and to see lasting positive impact for women across diverse industries.
Women of Martech’s membership is free and is open to women who work at marketing technology companies in any capacity; marketers of any company who regularly deploy technology; anyone committed to helping amplify women’s achievements in the martech industry; women with the desire to connect, engage, advance and lead the martech industry forward; and anyone in the martech industry who identifies as female.
For more information, the website is here.