Women Leaders on Taking Risks, Making an Impact, and Finding Balance

March 8, 2023

March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the women who have helped shape our society, history, and culture. This year we’re starting off by looking inward, highlighting the learnings and successes of our women leaders at Fluent and AdParlor. 

In the spirit of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, we aim to #embracequity by providing our female employees a platform to share their stories and advice to future women leaders. Learn more about the women who help to move our business forward below:

Jessica Batty

SVP, Marketing

What is one of your proudest career accomplishments? 

“Throughout my entire career, I’ve had a passion for event marketing – being able to bring a brand to life through an onsite activation would have to be on the shortlist for my career accomplishments. Top of the list would be planning events in foreign markets where we were looking to build a footprint; cities include Barcelona, Cannes, Cologne, London, Mexico City, and São Paulo. Through these activations, I helped my organizations to drive revenue growth and build brand equity in emerging or growth mode markets.” 

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

“I have learned that small actions and interactions can have a big impact. Decide early on what key takeaways you want others to observe from you, and be consistent. Those little indications of who you are add up and shape others’ perceptions of you – and can have a lasting impact on your career as you climb the ladder of success.”

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Andrea Bocchio

VP, Business Operations

What lessons have you learned that helped you grow in your career?

“Speak up and take risks. I think as women, we are often less likely to take big chances and are prone to overthinking vs. acting. Everyone makes mistakes regardless of gender. If we don’t put ourselves out there and in a position to take chances, we may never fail… but we also may never get big wins and will remain stagnant.”

Who is your biggest career influence, and what have you learned from them?

“My mom. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up with a powerhouse exec as a mom, who always taught me I was capable of doing anything and encouraged me to follow my passions. When I was young, I used to join her at work, and seeing how she commanded a room with strength and compassion showed me what great leadership looks like.”

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Cayla Gallo

AVP, Growth

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

“Be mindful of how you spend your time, where you spend your time, and what you give energy to. Associate with people who inspire you, challenge you to rise higher, and make you better (inside and outside of the workplace). Don’t waste time on people or things that don’t add to your growth plan – your destiny is too important!”

If you could meet any influential woman, who would you choose and why?

  • Casandra Berne Brown is a professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. She is well-known for her research on shame, vulnerability, and leadership. I was introduced to Berne years ago via her books Atlas of the Heart, You are the Best Thing, Dare to Lead, and many others. Her books, TED talks, and interviews left me feeling understood, inspired, and filled with the desire to live authentically.
  • Glennon Doyle is an author and activist most known for her New York Times bestseller, Untamed. Since reading Glennon’s memoir, I have been inspired to learn from the strength she found in her work and personal life through self-discovery and the will to start over.” 
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Michelle DeBusk

AVP, Performance Marketing

What is one of your proudest career accomplishments?

“Leveling up from a junior account manager at the start of my affiliate marketing career 13 years ago (yes, I’m dating myself) to the leader of an entire sales and account management team in just four short years. This accomplishment required many a late night, extreme dedication, and a laser focus on being the best at whatever task I was given. Being extremely organized and competitive certainly helped too. I ultimately achieved this goal by setting my own pace. I didn’t wait for a training session or task to fall into my lap. I proactively scheduled my own training sessions with a clear agenda and a list of questions to further propel my knowledge within the industry — and my career — in a short amount of time.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?

  • Go into your meetings with a clear agenda and end in mind. The end of every meeting should have set action items with specific stakeholders assigned to each. 
  • Surround yourself with innovative and well-organized colleagues you can collaborate with, learn from, and rely on to motivate you.
  • Don’t speak just to speak. Ensure that there is intention in what you say and how you deliver your message. Sometimes it’s ok not to contribute and actively listen and learn instead.
  • Don’t simply ask for the answer or solution when requesting assistance with a problem or seeking advice. Come to the table with a proposed solution/answer and do the same with junior reports. Avoid enabling colleagues and stunting their growth. 
  • Set a goal of where you want to be in 5 years and work diligently, efficiently, and aggressively to achieve that goal. It may sound cliché, but if you want it, work for it and be proactive in setting your own pace.
  • Insert your voice and choose your battles wisely.
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Stephanie McCarthy

Director, People

What lessons have you learned that helped you grow in your career?

“Feedback is truly a gift. Seek it out and accept both positive and constructive feedback with appreciation and gratitude. But remember — not all feedback is equal. It’s up to you to internalize and act on it, so be judicious about where it comes from and the person who delivers it. We are in control of using feedback to become the professionals we want to be.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

“Trust in your ability. I spent so much of my time worrying that the work I did wouldn’t be good enough, and it always was. If you care, take the time to know why the work is important, and put your full effort in, you’ll see success. When you do these three things, it doesn’t go unnoticed, and your manager, your company, your team, and your senior leaders will appreciate and recognize the value you bring.”

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Jessica Munch

Director, SEC Reporting

What is one of your proudest career accomplishments?

“It would be when I became a working mom. I’ve always focused on my career, but I did hope one day I would be a mom. Now that I have both – still being able to succeed in my career, learn, and grow, while also raising my daughter – I feel beyond accomplished.”

What lessons have you learned that helped you grow in your career?

“It sounds simple, but to do the right thing. Throughout my career, there have been times I came across situations that I disagreed with. While dissenting from the majority is not always easy, I ensured I kept true to what I thought was right. This has been important to my career, and I do not think I would be where I am today without it.”

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Alyson Salva

Managing Director, Operations

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders? 

“Play up your strengths. The sooner you identify and nurture the “superpowers” you bring to the table, the less time you’ll spend comparing yourself to others and harping on your own weaknesses. Identify strengths in others and lift them up.”

What lessons have you learned that helped you grow in your career?

“Listening can be more important than talking. Active listening creates a virtuous cycle and helps us learn about new things to become better problem-solvers.”

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Katie Short

Director, Design

What is one of your proudest career accomplishments?

“One of my proudest career accomplishments is successfully transitioning from an individual contributor to a design team manager after more than a decade in the industry. While I initially had doubts about my ability to lead others, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and am now fortunate to work with an exceptional and diverse group of designers who bring unique skill sets to the team. Their contributions have made a meaningful impact on our projects and the overall success of our organization.”

What lessons have you learned that helped you grow in your career?

“Collaboration, communication, and kindness are key. Diversity in thought is everything for moving the creative needle. I firmly believe that our unique experiences help build insightful and thoughtful narratives. Creating a safe environment for people to share ideas is the secret sauce to innovation.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?

  • Lead with empathy: Leaders who are empathetic can better understand the needs of their team members and stakeholders and create a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
  • Look for reasons to say yes rather than no: As a leader, it’s important to be solution-oriented rather than problem-focused.
  • Give direction and take responsibility: Providing clear direction and taking ownership of decisions and actions is crucial for effective leadership. Communicate your vision, goals, and expectations to your team members.

Want to leam more about the team at Fluent? Visit our careers page here.