Women In Media’s Juliette Stead: “Playing It Safe Isn’t An Option For Me”

Women In Media’s Juliette Stead: “Playing It Safe Isn’t An Option For Me”
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine
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For Julieette Stead, one of Women in Media’s nominated executives of the year, falling back on tropes is never a viable business approach. Playing it safe, she says, is never an option.

The Women in Media Awards, presented by Are Media, are just hours away, with the best of Australia’s media professionals set to be recognised and celebrated for their courage, innovation, and leadership.

The senior vice president of JAPAC at Magnite, Juliette Stead is a nominee at the Women in Media Awards for executive of the year, in one of the most competitive categories of the 2020 event.

A woman leader in what she describes as a male-dominated ad-tech industry, Stead believe it is her duty to draw attention to topics like gender equality, and the associated benefits of flexibility.

Speaking to B&T, she explained that removing the stigma attached to accommodating every day tasks, like school pick-ups, will allow professionals to thrive irrespective of their outside-of-work commitments.

Stead also reveals why the responsibility of effecting behavioural change in audiences must not be taken lightly.

Juliette, is being recognised as a professional working in the media important?

I’m not a big fan of showcasing myself and naturally prefer to focus on my team and our business success, but I must admit—it’s lovely to be recognised for hard work, commitment, and results!

How will you leverage your recognition as a Women in Media finalist as a force for good?

I’m passionate about the fact that having more women in senior roles—irrespective of the industry—will lead to greater business success and a more equal society, so you can expect to see me continue advocating for change.

Do you work for a living, or work because you love what you do?

There’s no question—I love what I do. I’m a serial career monogamist having worked with just four companies over the last twenty years. But despite having worked for the ‘same’ company for the last nine years, it’s actually been a period of constant change thanks to a series of acquisitions and mergers, most recently with Telaria and Rubicon Project becoming Magnite.

The old cliche of no two days being the same rings true and it’s one of the things that keeps me engaged.

What aspect of your industry, or your role, would you change for the better?

I’m a big advocate for equality, pushing for flexibility in the workplace that allows all to thrive irrespective of their outside-of-work commitments. I expect my team to fulfil their potential, strive for excellence, be ambitious, and work hard—but I don’t think they always need to be in an office to do that.

If businesses improve how they approach flexibility for every employee, then we can all just get on with our jobs without there being any stigma attached to accommodating school pick-ups, for example. I work hard to champion a very flexible workplace at Magnite in JAPAC and I’d love to see a more consistent approach across the industry.

Do we have a right, as media professionals, to advocate, to influence, and to change people’s behaviour?

I think we have the right, as humans, to an opinion. If we’re confident about those opinions, and share our views with honesty and integrity, then maybe we will create change and influence people.

But we are all different, and we’re all products of our own experience, so we can never expect everybody to agree with us. If that happened it would lead to a homogenous society, which would be terribly dull…

As a woman in a senior role in ad-tech, which is a male dominated industry, I believe it is my duty to draw attention to topics such as gender equality, and the associated benefits of flexibility.

In shaky and uncertain times of change, will playing it safe, and falling back on tropes, get businesses through?

I don’t believe that falling back on tropes is ever a viable business approach. I’m very proud of my team’s unrelenting commitment to prioritising the needs of our clients during these challenging times.

We approach our clients’ business needs with ambition and confidence, while ensuring that our publishers are best positioned to provide a strong audience and advertising experience.

It’s important that we help broadcasters understand the opportunities that our tech creates and advise them on how best to harness that technology to achieve growth for their business.

As the leading video SSP in the local market, Magnite facilitates the vast majority of the programmatic video trading in-market. And through the challenging market conditions of the last six months, we have solidified our position as the programmatic partner of choice for Australia’s major broadcasters and publishers.

Playing it safe isn’t an option for me. We have to strive for excellence and be the best, especially during times of uncertainty and change.

Where is your industry’s biggest opportunity? And where is your industry’s biggest danger?

One of the biggest opportunities is identity. The industry is going to have to move quickly in order to provide a comprehensive and sustainable solution to identity that protects users, allows publishers to monetise their inventory, and enables brands to reach their audiences effectively.

It’s going to take a significant investment of time, energy and resources to develop an industry-wide solution for identity, but it will be beneficial in the longer term. We’re heavily involved and invested in a collaborative solution. We also work closely with multiple broadcasters who have implemented universal IDs.

We partner closely with these partners who have embraced alternative solutions to grow audiences and create business success.

The biggest danger? The risk of the industry losing alternatives to walled gardens. It’s so important for the industry’s long term success for brands to continue to have the opportunity to engage with audiences in safe environments across a broad range of broadcasters and premium direct publishers, with transparent trading methods that enable effective ad spend that delivers excellent results.

The Women in Media Awards will be held virtually on Wednesday 28 October 2020.

If you’d like more information about the event, head to this website.

You can also check out who made this year’s shortlist, here.

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors for making the event possible!

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