Women To Watch: The Trade Desk’s Stephanie Famolaro

Women To Watch: The Trade Desk’s Stephanie Famolaro

At B&T, We are staunch believers that every woman and her achievements should be celebrated, every day and always.

However, unfortunately, the achievements of women often go unnoticed. That’s why we launched our annual B&T Women in Media Awards – to recognise the amazing accomplishments of women across the marketing, communications and advertising industry.

In honour of our WIM Awards, we’re chatting to industry powerhouses; women we should all be keeping an eye on — women to watch.

Today we’re hearing from The Trade Desk director of API agency sales APAC Stephanie Famolaro.


Forums such as B&T Women in Media Awards force the industry to collectively reflect on all the great things women are doing, which in turn plays a vital role in inspiring others. The WIM Awards are an opportunity to put a spotlight on so many wonderful stories and create strength in numbers when it comes to celebrating women. It is important to celebrate women because although we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go. With a gender pay gap that still exists, it is questionable that women are getting the gratitude or recognition they deserve. As an industry, we should be celebrating women who have played a major role in changing our current reality, as well as inspiring those who are going to shape our future.

One woman I believe should be celebrated is Peggy Johnson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development and a woman who is bridging the divide between what you might call the ‘old Microsoft’ and the new wave of technology. Peggy’s ambition was to change Microsoft from a ‘know-it-all culture’ to a ‘learn-it-all culture’ – an important concept when championing change for women in business. Her focus on diversity in thought and innovation – and the proven success she has had with this approach – is very inspiring to me and something I try to embody in my day to day, both personal and professional.

Reflecting on the biggest impediment to equality in the workforce, I believe it’s cognitive biases that sabotage gender diversity in hiring. This hasn’t been an issue at The Trade Desk but I feel that, as an industry, it’s an area that needs more awareness. This can include bias towards hiring people that are like us or based on gender stereotypes or what we feel would be a good ‘culture fit’. In a similar vein, women may have biases towards pursuing particular roles, with the lack of female representation in the technology space proof of this, especially in engineering and data science roles.

I love working at the Trade Desk for many reasons, but a major reason is because at no stage have I ever seen any signs of a culture – and in particular leadership – that would do anything other than support equality. Equality is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed in society and my experience at The Trade Desk highlights we need leaders who promote flexibility and positive change. Everything stems from culture.

I think something everyone can do today to make a change in the struggle for equality is lead through your own actions. Some women can be backwards in coming forward and I can’t stress enough that you shouldn’t wait to be asked to demonstrate your capabilities. I also believe the best way for women to overcome systemic hurdles such as unconscious bias is to form close bonds with other women and amplify each other. I continue to surround myself with women who are individually powerful and willing to band together to make impact.

Quickfire questions 

If you were PM, what law would you change/introduce right now to improve equality?

Increase paternity leave. It’s about balance and shows that both mothers and fathers are entitled to a professional environment that rewards both working and family. I believe a more equitable share of parental leave would make a huge difference to our ability to retain women in the workforce. Females also typically gain more responsibilities at work, as they do at home, and to eliminate this challenge, changing people’s perception of paternity leave – supported by the Government – is a good first step.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I appreciate the words of my colleague John Mandeville – ‘look for increments, not intervention’. You don’t need to wait for one person to put their hand on your shoulder and tell you which direction to go. It’s about looking to the people you deal with regularly who can give you gentle nudges towards where you need to go.


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