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Women at Cadent: Deepti Goyal, Senior Director of Quality Assurance

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in different fields and spheres of life. 

Deepti Goyal

Ad tech is still a mostly male industry, but there are more conversations than ever around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite; supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers; and helping women achieve a work-life balance.

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, approaches to growth and mentorship, and their philosophies on leading others. 

Deepti Goyal has more than 15 years of experience in quality assurance and business analysis of client-server and web-based applications, with strong domain knowledge of media and advertising.

Throughout her varied career, Deepti credits her ability to adapt with curiosity and a willingness to ask questions: “Keep an open mind and be ready to learn, and when you don’t understand something, keep asking questions,” she says, adding, “Then anything is possible.”

Read a Q&A with Deepti below. 

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

Did you always have a clear vision for your career?

I had a vision but the path to achieving my goal was not straightforward. I originally studied to become a pharmacist and decided to get an MBA in Marketing. My professional life began when I handled product management at a pharmaceutical company. I then made the leap into Quality Assurance and worked in multiple domains like mortgage, finance and access control that involved hardcore electrical engineering. Whatever field I was working in, my personality and way of dealing with people remained constant. I was always willing to discover something new and I was eager to ask questions. I focused on doing the best quality work possible, wherever I was.

After moving to the U.S., I had a break for a few years as I didn’t have a work permit. I essentially started from scratch in the software world. During this break, I put in a lot of time volunteering at libraries, a hospice, and at my kids’ schools. All those experiences, even cold calling, helped me so much in understanding American culture. Those experiences taught me not to underestimate what you can learn from any professional experience, however brief they might be. 

Whatever field I was working in, my personality and way of dealing with people remained constant. I was always willing to discover something new and I was eager to ask questions.”

Can you describe your average workday?

As part of quality engineering, we’re not merely simulating users and testing software manually. Our jobs require scripting, data verification and real engineering, and we have a lot of cool tools at our disposal. On a day-to-day basis, we serve all the teams, products, and applications at Cadent, whether it’s Cable, Broadcast, Media Hub, Data Engineering, or Business Intelligence. Any software that goes out to clients has to go through rigorous quality assurance.

We’re always working to improve our processes and technology, and we have daily meetings to discuss our progress and strategy.

How do you motivate your team?

When I started at Cadent, I was a one-person quality-assurance department, and I’ve since built a 13-person on-site team that has among the best retention rates in the company. I’m really proud of that, and one thing that has been key is that I still consider myself a team member, not just a leader.

I believe in trust-based leadership. I put a lot of faith in my team members and their work, and I consider their successes as mine and vice-versa. I present them with as many possibilities to grow as I can and let them know the sky’s the limit. They realize if I ask them to do something, there’s a good reason. I listen to them and learn their strengths and weaknesses, and that way I can place them in roles where they can be successful. That said, if there are problems, we identify them together and work on a plan to improve.

Basically, I treat them the way I want to be treated. You can call it trust-based leadership, but it’s pretty much just being human.

Women are still greatly underrepresented in the STEM fields. Has being a woman engineer posed particular challenges?

In many of my professional roles, I have been the first woman to hold that post, so when I got to Cadent and discovered that I was surrounded by men, that was OK. I was used to it. The men I partnered with were a little anxious; they wondered how to behave around me or whether they would have to change their manner of speaking.

I considered my unofficial first assignment being to build friendly relationships with them and prove to them that I was capable. It worked out fine because we have the best, brightest, and most supportive people here at Cadent. My managers put their faith in me, taught me about the domain, and gave me flexibility and independence.

Don’t forget that aside from being a woman, I was also the first Quality Assurance person, so there were challenges in that as well. I had to do a lot of explaining about what QA means, why it’s needed, and how it can be implemented effectively.

I realize challenges of all sorts will always come my way, but I don’t let them slow me down.

Basically, I treat [my team] the way I want to be treated. You can call it trust-based leadership, but it’s pretty much just being human.

As you built your department, what was your approach to convincing stakeholders that QA is important?

Talking doesn’t help much, right? I might preach to everyone “This is important,” but if they don’t believe it, they won’t believe it. Wherever I go, I always focus on explaining the process and value of QA to them. Your work eventually proves itself. I showed them the disadvantages or the cons of why the process being followed at that time needed improvement, and I pointed out the shortcomings. I demonstrated how solving issues a certain way is more efficient and productive than what had been done for years. There are many benefits to QA – it improves the quality of the product, increases clients’ confidence and the company’s goodwill, and it helps the team detect issues earlier on, which costs less than fixing them later.

Eventually, when people realize that you are honest and you have a shared goal in mind, they understand. It takes time. All along, I had support from my manager. He put so much trust and faith in me. He believed in my vision and gave me that flexibility and independence to execute it the way I wanted to.

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.

Women at Cadent: Nina Keinberger, Vice President of Research

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in different fields and spheres of life. 

Ad tech is still a mostly male industry, but there are more conversations than ever around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite; supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers; and helping women achieve a work-life balance.

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, approaches to growth and mentorship, and their philosophies on leading others. 

Nina Keinberger has broad-based expertise in digital and television sales, marketing, and research, as well as a solid track record of establishing long-term client relationships and a proven ability to adapt quickly to new technologies, processes, and procedures. She believes you can find much to enjoy in every stage of your career and says: “Using a travel analogy, it isn’t always the destination that matters, but more importantly, the journey to get there.”

Read a Q&A with Nina below.

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

What qualities are vital in a great leader?

A great leader leads by example: they roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, dig right in, and accept and embody change. Just because someone has a title doesn’t mean they can’t dive in and help the team when someone is overwhelmed. 

Even though a leader by nature acts as an authority figure in order to motivate and create a professional environment, they should first and foremost be a mentor. They must also remember to be inclusive, fun, and, most of all, human. We all come to the office with different life stories and no one wants to be treated like a machine, sitting there day after day churning out work; it’s crucial that leaders tap into the person behind that output and get to know their team on a more personal level.

I also think it’s important to encourage the team to take ownership of a project and either present it themselves or, if that’s not possible, they should get the credit, publicly, for their hard efforts.

Why is that credit important?

It’s empowering to let people present their work. It offers visibility and ownership, and really makes them part of the team and not just a worker bee behind the scenes. Of course, I give people time to find their comfort level for speaking in front of a group. For young women, it’s important for their voices to be heard. 

What has it been like watching the people who report to you become more comfortable in front of a group?

It must feel like what it’s like to be a mother. As a camp counselor, from age 16 onwards, I always enjoyed teaching, whether it was with volleyball, swimming, or a camp play. I’ve always enjoyed seeing people bloom and flourish.

Researchers tend to be more quiet, behind-the-scenes people, and I’m not that person. If my personableness can be infectious in building confidence in a junior Research team member, then my job is well done. 

It’s empowering to let people present their work. It offers visibility and ownership, and really makes them part of the team and not just a worker bee behind the scenes. For young women, it’s important for their voices to be heard.”

In your role, you do a lot of public speaking; how did you get comfortable with that?

As a kid, I wanted to be an actress or rock star like Debbie Harry of Blondie or Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. I was always a performer. That definitely helped with my comfort in public speaking, but a life changer was a mandatory course the sales team took while working at Viacom called Speakeasy. Everyone was videotaped, we all spoke in front of our peers, and received constructive feedback reviewing those tapes – the pointers of which I still use to this day!

What do you think of the opportunities available to women in media today?

Advertising media has a pretty good women-to-men ratio so there is something to praise there. We have come a long way since the days of Mad Men, but a “boys club” mentality can still occur occasionally.

Any business can help things improve by ensuring that women are given as much public praise as their male counterparts for their efforts; are able to speak and be heard as much as men in meetings; and earn equal pay for performing equal duties. Give women time to speak, and back up your words with action.

On an overall observational basis, if someone gets bullied, someone else needs to speak up in order to make change. It takes a lot of voices to create change. And it’s long overdue. 

Can you talk about the role of empathy in creating change?

I had a nontraditional upbringing. Having grown up in a multicultural environment, from my neighborhood to schools and summer camp, I’ve always rooted for the underdog. I also value taking your education into your own hands – as a history buff, I looked for information that wasn’t taught in schools about marginalized groups and overlooked events in history. That propelled my empathy as a human, fueled by being a sociology major in college. 

Are there any shows, books or otherwise you’ve found inspiring recently?

In recent years I have been obsessed with the Bravo show “Below Deck,” which goes behind the scenes of superyacht and sailing charters with a focus on the crew. That vessel is a microcosm of any work environment. There are strong female leaders on the show, my favorite being Kate, the Chief Steward. Seeing her manage her team is completely engaging and intriguing. The show exposes how experience, rank, respect, work ethic, and professionalism play out on the road to success. As the saying goes, “A good sailor never learned a lesson in calm seas.”

And you also personally enjoy sailing, right?

I sail with friends. My friend is a captain, and we all pitch in, whether it’s dropping anchor, making coffee, cleaning up, cooking or scrubbing the deck. It’s “all hands on deck,” literally. The fact that I can do this with my best friends in the world is amazing. Each person will pitch in for the greater good. 

That’s how I think about teams – we’re all trying to get from point A to point B. We all have to make sure the boat has enough water and gas and that we have enough food. Let’s all jump in and make it happen. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.

Women at Cadent: Camille Marcos Napa, Senior Counsel

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in different fields and spheres of life. 

Camille Marcos Napa

Ad tech is still a mostly male industry, but there are more conversations than ever around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite; supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers; and helping women achieve a work-life balance.

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, approaches to growth and mentorship, and their philosophies on leading others. 

With more than a decade of legal experience, Senior Counsel Camille Marcos Napa held public-service posts, advised tech start-ups, and taught Intro to Business Law at Bentley University before joining Cadent. Her legal background included representing people before a judge, an experience that many attorneys, even at large law firms, don’t always have in their backgrounds.

“That was a true growth opportunity, to represent cases and make arguments that had successful outcomes,” Camille said. “Now, when I have to deal with a multitude of issues that come across my desk, I have some point of reference, whether it’s in the litigation matter, a vendor issue or otherwise.”

With her varied background and willingness to try new areas of law, it’s no surprise that Camille believes in the importance of taking on new challenges in order to learn and grow. Read more about Camille’s career journey in a Q&A below. 

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

Can you describe your path to Cadent and the experiences that have helped you grow along the way?

It was definitely not linear. As a law student, I worked for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and in that capacity, I did a lot of the research and writing for the state’s Universal Health Care initiative. I’ve also worked for an advocacy group that represented employees in cases of wage and hour violations, done family law and immigration work, and consulted for various technology start-ups. 

I didn’t come from a media background, and I hadn’t worked at a media or advertising law firm, but when I approached Cadent, they saw I was driven and hungry for the opportunity. I had learned to be agile and handle a broad range of legal and business issues, and I did a lot of research on the ad industry. Chris Poindexter, General Counsel at Cadent, mentored me, taught me about the company, and introduced me to what the media industry was like. He also supported me in joining the Association of Corporate Counsel, a group for in-house attorneys, and that was really helpful to me to grow professionally.

Cadent has changed a lot since you joined the company; has that posed any challenges for you?

I had to evolve very quickly and become knowledgeable about brokering data in the ad tech ecosystem. Because my background is multidisciplinary, I was able to pivot quickly and adapt. So as the company has grown and evolved, I’ve grown and evolved right along with it.

As an example, in January 2020, the CPPA or California Privacy Act was enacted the same time, January of 2020, as we acquired 4INFO, a data activation company. Our team had to learn a lot and evolve very quickly.

What’s your approach to leadership?

I focus on being an effective communicator, understanding what people want and what motivates them. Transparency is also important; when you’re clear about your goals or the problems you’re trying to solve, that gives your team incentive and empowers them. 

I truly believe that showing you trust and value people and are empathetic to them makes for better leadership. Above all, as a leader, I focus on helping my team members develop into effective leaders themselves. 

At Cadent, you’re known as someone who makes an effort to mentor others and be available to junior employees and interns. Can you talk about why that’s important to you?

Absolutely. I love that I could have an impact on younger, just out-of-college or in-college people, because I feel like I’ve been in that place and I didn’t necessarily have that guidance when I started out. If there’s an opportunity to give back and be accessible and relatable to new employees, I welcome it. 

It can make a world of difference when you’re just starting out in an industry to have someone take an interest in you and provide you with guidance.

Do you have any favorite books on women’s leadership?

I would argue that all women should read about negotiation. My favorite book right now is Getting More: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life, by Stuart Diamond, a professor at the Wharton School of Business. I think women sometimes have a hard time negotiating for themselves, so having the set of common sense tools he describes is invaluable. As a parent, I often find myself negotiating with a five-year-old and a two-year-old, so I constantly use these skills.

How has being a parent had an impact on your perspective as a Legal professional?

I think it’s so valuable for people who read this to understand what it means to be a working parent or a working mother. It’s probably the biggest asset that I have, that I’m a working mother. It’s taught me to be more patient, understanding, and efficient; to get more things done in less time while keeping perspective on the bigger goal. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.

Women at Cadent: Alex Grier, Senior Director of Broadcast Media Buying

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in different fields and spheres of life. 

Ad tech is still a mostly male industry, but there are more conversations than ever around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite; supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers; and helping women achieve a work-life balance.

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, approaches to growth and mentorship, and their philosophies on leading others. 

Alex Grier, Senior Director of Broadcast Media Buying, has been with Cadent for nearly four years, and in that time, she has seen the department evolve and expand rapidly as a more strategic partner to the Cadent Sales team. 

As a manager, Alex advocates presenting your human side to employees and striking a balance of support with constructive criticism. “It’s important that people feel heard, whether you agree or not,” Alex said. 

In her role negotiating with Broadcast inventory partners, honesty is key, she said, adding, “All you have in this business is your word. Whether it’s with your team or your external partners, I strive to be fair so everyone involved knows they’re dealing with a person who is going to try to find a middle ground where we both win, as much as we possibly can.”

Read a Q&A with Alex below. 

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

What does your day-to-day look like?

On a daily basis, I lead a team of 11 amazing people. It’s a really great, trusting, “we all have each other’s back” type of team. 

I’m proud to come in every day and work with them. Every day, we’re securing media on a local level for our clients and trying to get the best deals out there for our business. 

My job is to be there for our internal and external partners, stakeholders and my team when they have questions and need answers. I encourage my team to be very solution-based. Like, “Here is the issue, and here are some suggestions I have to resolve this.” It’s always helpful, in business and in life, too, when people are more solution-based. 

What’s your approach to learning new skills?

At Cadent, the business has evolved so much since I started here. I basically had to bring in my whole medical kit when I came onboard, prepared to educate and create processes because the business had just been brought in-house at Cadent, but it was fun and I enjoyed it. Learning new things makes the day go fast, and I love teaching and showing people things if they really seem interested. Their interest is important – I don’t try to force knowledge on people if they don’t want to hear it.

Can you talk about your team and how you relate to each person?

There’s always more to learn. My team has said I’m relatable, and that’s because I’m still just me. Even with a title next to my name, I’m still just a person who wants to learn things the same as you, who wants to figure out how to build things together. If someone does something great, I want them to be acknowledged for that the same way as a person, I would want to be acknowledged for that.

Is there a particular person you’ve worked with in the past who had a big impact on you?

Yes, a previous manager. She was the person who mentored me and cultured me and helped me learn this media world. What I took from that experience is, if you see that people have talent or that they’re hard workers and they want to try and learn, you should definitely invest in them. It’s never a waste of time to invest.

To this day, when I hear someone say, “Oh my gosh, I remember when you taught me this,” it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world.

Do you have a favorite book, movie or piece of music that has inspired your journey as a leader?

I really loved “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” It’s about a Black woman in 1951 whose cells were taken, unbeknownst to her, and harvested in the lab. It created the HeLa cell line. HeLa, for Henrietta Lacks. It’s a beautiful and a sad story. 

It makes me think of the contributions of Black women – even when they don’t even realize they’re contributing – and just how difficult it can be as a person of color, just people not understanding or treating you the same. That’s what I love about the book, knowing her contributions and knowing that we have all these different cures for cancer, just based on studying her cells. 

What makes a successful leader?

If you can make someone else better, that shows you’re successful. Regardless of how people see you, envision you, whatever doubts they try to cast on you.

You’re not always going to get credit. Rely on knowing what you did was good or great. And don’t worry about naysayers or looking for that kind of outside gratitude. I don’t look for the accolades from the outside. If they come, I’m very appreciative because I know it’s hard for people to say, “Thank you, you did a great job.” That’s what makes me say thank you even more to my team. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.

Women at Cadent: Sarah Collie, Technical Project Manager

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in different fields and spheres of life. 

Sarah Collie, Technical Project Manager

Ad tech is still a mostly male industry, but there are more conversations than ever around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite; supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers; and helping women achieve a work-life balance.

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, approaches to growth and mentorship, and their philosophies on leading others. 

Sarah Collie, a Technical Project Manager based in the UK, has 20 years of experience  in the broadcast and advertising industries. As a PM, Sarah said she likes to help teams self-manage and lead themselves, providing frameworks and guidance for the groups she collaborates with, adding, “I like helping teams improve and identifying processes that can be made better.”

Read a conversation with Sarah below about her path to ad tech and Project Management, and a manager who made an impact on her journey.

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

What led you to Cadent? 

At university, I studied the History of Art, then began on the administration side of projects at BSkyB (which later merged with Sky), and progressed to Project Management roles. One of my managers from BSkyB led in a way which has really inspired me and has stuck with me. She knew her business area inside out, actually gave her team ownership and let people pave their own path. 

How did your manager influence your career path? 

She helped me find the confidence to become a Project Manager. One lesson from her leadership was that it pays to be open to any kind of commentary. There are always benefits from listening and communicating, just allowing people to empower themselves, run with ideas and learn from mistakes or from successes. She put a lot of faith in me, and she really set me on my career path. I wanted to learn a lot more about the business area I was working in rather than the administrative side. 

So it’s fair to say this manager enabled you to make this change. 

She was kind of the springboard. After making the shift away from administrative work, I had a wide variety of roles. I was a business analyst, worked in pre-sales and was a project manager. I don’t think I would have done any of that without having her support to make the initial change.

I felt that if I didn’t make the leap, then maybe I wouldn’t have the career I really wanted, and I wanted to have a career that I could really get involved in and find interesting. I wanted to understand the specifics as a Project Manager, and I wanted to transform the processes involved and be more involved with the stakeholders and clients.

How do you enable your teams today?

I work with three different teams, and they’re all very different. 

You have to understand your team, their work motivation, and then you also have to help them understand the external influences, the stakeholders and how the teams are working together. It’s quite dynamic. We do these retrospectives every two weeks, where we reflect on the previous sprints work, and look to identify improvements we can implement as part of the teams continued growth, and the next sprint-worth of work can therefore be entirely different.

Senior leaders in cross-functional roles often have to work hard to reach a consensus. How do you encourage people to follow your process?

I’m honest with my team. If I’m asking them to do something that I don’t think they would like to do, I explain the positives and the downsides of not doing it. I find clarity around what’s been asked, and then I’d probably just say “please.”

Can you name a few qualities that make a great Project Manager?

I appreciate honesty, patience and calmness. Humor is important. Being someone that people want to talk to and engage with is important, someone who encourages open dialogue. I want to communicate with others, and I want people to feel comfortable talking with me. I want to be able to listen.

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.

The Rising Tide of CTV, OTT and Addressable TV

Today, Cadent published a white paper exploring marketer sentiment around emerging television mediums called, “TV’s New Wave: Marketers Take on the Shift to OTT, CTV, & Addressable.” The report and research was done in partnership with Brand Innovators and TV[R]EV.

CTV, addressable, and advanced advertising are poised to play a major role in the next wave of growth in the TV advertising ecosystem, with 72% of respondents saying that in two to five years, CTV and other data-driven TV methods of advertising will be critical in reaching brand audiences. Sixty-six percent of respondents said an audience-first TV buying approach will be table stakes in the near future.

As consumers rapidly shift their viewing to streaming and increase their overall time with screens, marketers understand the need to make connected TV (CTV) and other advanced advertising techniques a greater part of their overall marketing strategies – if they haven’t already. Fifty-nine percent of marketers surveyed currently run CTV ads, with the top three reasons being wide audience reach, sophisticated targeting capabilities and “lighter ad loads keep audiences engaged.” 

Other highlights included: 

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents said they consider television, both traditional linear TV and CTV, to be a more premium advertising environment than web videos offering mid-roll or pre-roll advertising. The top two reasons these respondents saw CTV as superior to digital video were brand safety, saying “digital video could wind up on many sites that are not brand safe or next to content that is not brand safe,” and fraud, adding that “CTV has less ad fraud than online video.”
  • There’s confusion around terminology. Four out of ten respondents said OTT meant “ad-supported or subscription TV services delivered via an internet connection to any device”—through a TV, laptop, or mobile device. Fourteen percent said OTT referred to “any type or length of video programming,” and 5 percent said it meant “live and/or on-demand video content from cable companies delivered via an internet connection.” Thirty-five percent answered “all of the above,” and 5 percent said they weren’t sure what the term meant.
  • Cost was viewed as the key limitation to CTV advertising, with 32 percent of respondents flagging it as too expensive. Other challenges included too hard to buy at scale (27 percent) and too hard to measure (28 percent). Surprisingly, 32 percent of respondents said they were “unsure” as to what the key disadvantages of CTV advertising were.

This report is based on the results of a comprehensive survey undertaken by Brand Innovators and TV[R]EV that was sent out to over 15,000 leading brand marketers between June and August 2020.

Ready to take your TV advertising to the next level? Get in touch with us today.

Women at Cadent: Akhila Gourishetty, Product Manager, DSP

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements in different fields and spheres of life. 

Akhila Gourishetty, Product Manager, DSP

Ad tech is still a mostly male industry, but there are more conversations than ever around critical issues to the empowerment of women at work, including opening doors and access for women early in their careers so they can progress to C-suite; supporting women to choose and stay with STEM careers; and helping women achieve a work-life balance.

This month at Cadent, we’re profiling women who are leaders in their departments, asking about their career journeys, approaches to growth and mentorship, and their philosophies on leading others. 

Akhila Gourishetty, Product Manager-DSP, Cadent, started her career in medicine and later took a leap of faith into the tech space. These days, she applies her background in medicine to solving problems on Cadent’s Product team, collaborating cross-functionally to understand user and business requirements for the DSP and how to scale the product. 

“Using empathy to understand the voice of the customer is very similar to understanding the voice of a patient,” she says, adding, “I want to be able to understand problems without applying any stereotypes and bias, no matter the seniority, age, gender or background of a person, which is similar to how healthcare works.”

Read a Q&A with Akhila below. 

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Can you talk about your career transition from medicine to being part of a Product org?

Coming from a non-traditional background for tech, I want to be able to give others the same kind of open-minded, inclusive approach I’ve benefited from. My formal education in medicine doesn’t translate one-to-one, but I’ve found those experiences inform my perspective.

That’s also why I love working as part of a Product org. Having the opportunity to learn from those around you and synthesize a solution from all of these disparate sources of data reminds me of diagnosis in some ways. The fact it exists in a more ambiguous environment in a rapidly changing industry makes it all the more fun. 

Since I joined five months ago, I’ve been very supported with a great manager and a great engineering counterpart. I feel comfortable asking questions and saying, “Hey, can you answer this question for me?” My manager is very open to suggestions and vice versa for me.

Akhila participated in the #ChooseToChallenge.

What’s your approach to leadership at Cadent?

I’m very democratic in my approach. I like to encourage and empower the people I work with as stakeholders. Every single person is capable of offering a unique and valuable perspective on what we’re building and how to build it. I like to learn from other people in the room so I can concentrate on finding the most relevant piece of the puzzle we’re solving, and create space for us to collectively understand the “why” and the “how.”

Are there any resources you have found valuable to building your career?

What I’ve found most valuable is being able to learn about other industries, and how everyone else is building their own processes. There’s so much to learn, create, and share. 

What advice do you have for women starting their careers?

Young women starting out in their careers should try to understand where they’d like to be in the future and work backwards to find out exactly what they need to do to get there. Life can be overwhelming and it’s sometimes helpful to take a step back and start setting small, achievable goals. Accept your shortcomings, learn from them, and seek out feedback. Read a lot, surround yourself with people smarter than you, and take the time to really invest in yourself. Stepping into new opportunities will be difficult to adjust to at first, however these lead to the greatest growth. It’s always OK to say “Hey, I didn’t quite understand this,” or “Let me repeat what we just discussed.”

How have you found your voice in meetings where many or all people are men?

I was hesitant to speak up when I first started but I’m grateful to the leaders at Cadent who’ve built an environment that feels safe and have encouraged me to speak up. I suppose it started off by me offering a new perspective they hadn’t thought of before, or maybe posing a challenging question. From there, I’ve been finding that introducing a different way to frame things, or asking thoughtful questions is a very meaningful way to contribute. Speaking from a position of curiosity has not only helped me grow but also understand different perspectives.  

Life can be overwhelming and it’s sometimes helpful to take a step back and start setting small, achievable goals. Accept your shortcomings, learn from them, and seek out feedback. “

Can we talk about feedback – do you enjoy getting thoughtful criticism?

I love getting feedback. It allows me to reevaluate my approach and implement new strategies to my problem solving toolkit. 

When I have to give feedback to someone else, I try to balance the positives and negatives. The positive feedback builds confidence and helps you appreciate what has been done correctly, and the negative feedback helps to align expectations and facilitate improvement. 

Learn more about life at Cadent and see available roles on our Careers page.