Denise Colella, CEO of digital ad tech firm Maxifier, was curious: How many female ad tech leaders are there?
Colella worked her way up the chain at Maxifier after joining the company in 2011 as chief revenue officer. She was later promoted to president before being named CEO in the fall of 2013.
As a female ad tech leader herself, she felt she didn’t run into too many others. So she dug up the LUMAscape chart and began looking up each company's leadership teams and board members (if they could be found).
What started as general curiosity turned into a full-on mini research report, informal though it was.
Colella and Maxifier found that roughly 10% of ad tech board seats are held by women. That’s below the 15% rate of Fortune 500 companies.
Colella acknowledged that the 10% rate may not be exact. She said they worked on the project several months ago (positions may have been filled in that time) and that lists of board members aren’t "always so easy" to find. But of board member names the company was able to track down, just 10% were women.
More women have been stepping into leadership positions, however. Last fall, for example, Real-Time Dailyinterviewed TheStreet’s Elisabeth DeMarse, when she joined AppNexus as a board member. Or, in the case of Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, women already in leadership positions are stepping further into the ad tech space.
Colella noted that she has seen more women joining boards and stepping into leadership roles, and that she hears companies actively looking for women, but it’s not as if a sea change has happened overnight.
“It’s one here or there,” she quipped. “[But] do I think it’s happening at a pace rapid enough to cause material change? Probably not -- at least not in the next year or two.”
Maxifier also notes that only 2.9% of ad tech CEOs are women, compared to 4.8% at Fortune 500 companies.
Ad tech appears to be lagging behind when it comes to putting women in leadership positions -- something that’s actually hard to do, considering the New York Times’ recent report that fewer women run big companies than men named John.