“There’s Something Special About The Women Leading Tech Awards”: B&T Chats With Audience360’s WLT Finalists

“There’s Something Special About The Women Leading Tech Awards”: B&T Chats With Audience360’s WLT Finalists

First-party data is at the core of Audience360’s work. Through exclusive partnerships with trusted publisher brands, the team of audience data, advertising, and marketing experts helps brands define the right audience and reach them at the right moment while they’re actively in the market.

As leaders in the tech field, Audience360’s Sarita Parto, Jenny Parkes, Mansi Shukla, and Keely Harding have all been named finalists in the 2024 Women Leading Tech awards. B&T sat down with them before the winners are revealed tomorrow at Sydney Town Hall.

Table tickets close at midnight tonight, and individual tickets are still available until tomorrow morning. Don’t miss out—grab your tickets now!

B&T: Congratulations to all of you as finalists in the Women Leading Tech Awards. How does it feel?

Parkes: There’s something special about the Women Leading Tech awards. It’s not just the recognition of the work but a celebration of progress and evolution of the tech sector, too. Having four finalists across different categories in the WLT awards for a business our size is incredibly exciting for the entire Audience360 team, and while the job’s never done, it feels like we’re on the right path. There was definitely a buzz around the office when the shortlist was released.

Parto: Yes, it was a bit of a shock! I’m so honoured to be a finalist with my fellow Audience360 girls. I feel so grateful to be in a job I love, working for a company that allows so much flexibility and champions diversity. I can’t wait to celebrate our feat together in person.

Harding: For me, being recognised in this industry alongside women who are paving the way for diversity and inclusiveness excites me beyond anything. It’s a privilege to represent Audience360 as we strive to cement ourselves as the leading audience extension partner in the industry, as well as Australia’s leading first-party data provider.

Shukla: Being named a finalist in these awards is truly an honour and it’s humbling to be recognised with such a talented group of women in tech. It’s not just about the personal recognition, it’s also about the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the importance of diversity in the tech world. So, I’m feeling super grateful and motivated to continue pushing boundaries and making a positive impact.

B&T: Jenny, When you’ve spoken previously to B&T, we talked about the benefits of being a people-focused leader, playing to strengths, value-based decision-making, and the diversity of Audience360. Have you seen any impressive results since we last spoke?

Parkes: We’ve had further upside from our employee engagement scores with our people-based initiatives, and along with the strength, focus and talent of the team, we’ve been able to accelerate our growth plans. The result is a year of innovation and growth for Audience360 with a diversified product offering that has been well received by the market.

One of my favourite projects and a labour of love for our brilliant Head of Product, Shruneek Prasad, has been our new Athena Platform. Together with our recently released Audience Tag we can provide actionable insights into an advertiser’s audience, build campaign strategy, provide measurement and further optimise campaigns in real time.

We’ve also expanded our channels to include ConnectedTV and DOOH so brands can now reach our premium audiences across the entire digital ecosystem.

Our Audience360 Select product, which curates our exclusive branded intent audiences with premium video and high-impact inventory for trading desks to activate themselves, is gaining traction. We’re working with more publishers to help them extend their audiences off-network. We’re an ambitious team, so you could say it’s been a productive time.

B&T: Sarita, After a stint in London, you joined Audience360 nearly three years ago. How have you seen the business change and develop its approach to diversity and inclusion since then?

Parto: I’ve seen diversity and inclusion from the very start. During my interview process, I met with multiple stakeholders – to me it felt like they took me and my role very seriously – I wasn’t being underestimated. In my final interview with Jenny we spoke about “running toward the fire” essentially meaning to seek the unknown and how this was a shared value between myself and the company. My stint in London was exactly that, exploring new territories within my career and my personal life, and I wanted to continue that when I moved home, which is why Audience360 and I were a match from the very start.

I noticed straight away how diverse the company was. As a woman of colour, I pick up on this very quickly—“Are there others that look like me?” At Audience360, the answer was “very much so.” Working in a team with people who not only looked similar to me but also had similar values created a feeling of safety and ease in integrating into a new environment.

B&T: Mansi, You’ve said that the Audience360 team featured an “amazing bunch of women and supportive men.” How has the team supported you, and how have you supported them?

Shukla: I’ve found myself continuously uplifted and encouraged by the leadership team, comprised of both remarkable women and men. They not only fuel my passion for upskilling and learning but actively support the initiatives I have spearheaded in collaboration with industry tech partners. One such initiative, the Audience360 Masterclass series, is aimed at upskilling our broader team and fostering a culture of knowledge-sharing. Being able to contribute to these types of impactful initiatives has been a personal achievement that I’m incredibly proud of.

Transitioning from a decade-long career in media agency strategy and planning to the tech product domain wasn’t without its challenges, however I’ve been fully supported on this learning curve. Exploring the intricacies of identity and first-party data-led solutions while upholding the highest standards of data governance and privacy compliance has been immensely rewarding. I’m grateful for the trust and encouragement I’ve received to expand my skill set and push the boundaries of my comfort zone.

B&T: Keely, You joined Audience360 a little over two years ago after spending time with businesses outside the media industry. What have you noticed about how Audience360 supports its women?

Harding: What stands out for me is the gender diversity throughout all teams, transparency with regular company updates and trust in each of the leaders that professional development is always top of mind.

I have a team that supports me with every endeavour I embark on. We are confident and know that being open and honest is the best way to get results. Our managers take ideas onboard and empower you to put time and effort into making them a reality. “No” is not in the vocabulary at Audience360; you are encouraged to be curious, ask ‘why’ and ‘how’, and we’re encouraged to go beyond the norm to get to the core of the challenge.

A way that I’ve been supported first-hand is winning Employee of the Year, and I’ll be attending the DigiMarCom LA conference later this year. For someone two years into this industry, I’m pretty excited to have this experience. Additionally, I’ve been encouraged to complete outside training as I obtained my Cert I and II in Digital Foundations, which ensures I have relevant qualifications on paper as well as on-the-job learning for my future career.

B&T: What’s next for Audience360 from an employer proposition and business point of view?

Parkes: Ahead of the deprecation of the third-party cookie and with impending changes to privacy, we’ve successfully enabled cookieless targeting with our identity solution across 80+ campaigns, which is a great position to be in. And, while we’re fairly advanced we’ll continue to test alternate ID-based solutions. We’ve recently become a member of the IMAA, and we’ll be helping independent agencies navigate this space and reach well-targeted digital audiences post-cookie.

From a people perspective, we’ve been zeroing in on one of our important company values, ’We Are Curious,’ to elevate our learning & development across the business. With a focus on creating a culture of continuous improvement, there’s been a lot of internal sharing, external partners running sessions and masterclasses, as well as supporting the team with industry courses. When recruiting, we are open to hiring talent with transferable skills from outside our core industry, so we’re prepared to provide the development that goes along with that.

We also kicked off an emerging leaders’ program, which I’m very passionate about. I want everyone to have a great manager in our business. Leadership is an ongoing journey, so we’ll continue to invest in our people and our people managers.

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