Managing Director, Technology, Huge
It's a long way from Siberia to Campaign’s "40 over 40" list, but here Gela Fridman is.
Huge’s managing director of technology came to the US in the early 1990s intent on studying at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (to the chagrin of her physicist mother and mathematics professor father). Yet, owing to either genetics or general predisposition, she discovered a natural affinity for programming during her final year, and transferred to New York University, where she earned a degree in computer science, which later led to jobs at LBi and Ogilvy & Mather. She joined Huge's Brooklyn headquarters in 2012 as VP, Technology.
Though much of Fridman’s work happens behind the scenes, creating platforms that host experiences for notable companies like Procter & Gamble, Pepsi and Lenovo, she has been a driving force behind Huge’s transformation from a design-centric shop to a true interdisciplinary practice in which technology is viewed as an equal partner to design. In doing so, she has turned Huge into a place that competes with the likes of Google, Facebook and Silicon Valley startups for staff.
And at a time when other agencies are struggling with female representation, Fridman has doubled the number of women in the agency’s technology departments (including installing three in leadership positions in Huge’s Brooklyn headquarters).
An avid fan of jazz, Fridman adheres to a philosophy that businesses could learn a lot from the genre’s improvisational style.