Are we there yet? Criteo's Mollie Spilman on female mentorship

Every week, we ask industry insiders across all job levels and titles to share personal stories about equality, diversity and inclusion in adland. We know we're not there yet, but we want to document the highs and lows as the industry slowly transforms for the better.

Mollie Spilman
Chief Operating Officer

Tell us one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem.

Although awareness of the necessity for equality in the workplace is gaining more attention, there’s still a disconnect. Someone said to me the other day, "you have had such a successful career in ad tech as a woman, I don’t know how you do it."

It’s not the first time I’ve heard that, but each time I do, it takes me aback. I mean, why even add that in? Why not just highlight the success of the company and the team that put the hard work and passion behind it? For me, success is not personal. I feel successful when everyone around me feels successful.

How about something that proves we’re making progress?

When I first came to Criteo almost five years ago, I wanted to make diversity part of the conversation. I was excited about creating programs around it and having a more diverse leadership group.

Our executive leadership team felt the same way and our CEO and Chairman of the Board acted on it last year by having 50 percent of the board be women. Now, Criteo is exploring diversity and inclusion in all forms. For International Women’s Day this year, Criteo encouraged its people to come together to discuss the most common ways gender bias plays out in the workplace, with concrete actions we can take to level the playing field.

In our Barcelona hub, we hosted panels, TED Talks, yoga classes, documentary screenings, volunteering initiatives and a book club with the theme "Balance For Better." Across the country, Criteo also celebrated Black History Month with tours of the African American Meeting house, a panel discussion on inclusivity, Capoeira dancing classes and more. We also invest in measurable programs across all levels of the company including Criteo Voyager, Criteo Future Leaders of the World, Women in Engineering and Women@Criteo.

What else needs to be done to get there?

Mentorship, communication and transparency. I believe that in my almost 30 years in the industry, the thing I have learned the most from, and taken the most pride from partaking in, is female mentorship.

Sharing advice, experiences and perspective can help female executives gain the self-confidence to reach their full potential. For more women to turn into strong role models, it is our responsibility to mentor the next generation. With a commitment to female empowerment and mentorship, companies can evolve in ways you’d never expect. And, you have to communicate all along this journey.

We know we have a long way to go in our industry, and at Criteo we’re committed to addressing this and serving as a role model. We know that we’re working hard to live our diversity strategy each and every day.

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