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Life at Cadent: John Dragan, Senior Manager, AMO Operations

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed. 

John Dragan, Senior Manager, AMO Operations, has been with Cadent since before it was known as Cadent! Over the years, his role has ebbed and flowed as the company has grown. When John is not at work, you can find him pursuing two of his biggest passions in life: photography and botany. To learn more about John, check out our Q&A below. 

Tell us about your role. 

My role at Cadent has evolved over time. In January 2022, I will have been with the company for 9 years. I am in the AMO (Agile Management Office) as a Senior Manager, AMO Operations. Many hats are worn by me. 

I am a Scrum Master for the Data Science team – transitioning to a scrum master role for our Design team and an interim scrum master for the Broadcast team, as well as the administrator for Workfront for our time sheet application, in addition to numerous ad hoc projects. 

There is also a role I volunteered for at the beginning of the pandemic, that of the office plant caretaker. I have read many sad stories about office workers returning to their office spaces to find dried, dead plants. This will not be case at Cadent! I go into the office weekly to water, feed, re-pot, and groom the plants. Currently, I am trying to ramp up my work so that everything is ready for our return.  Along these same lines, I hold plant-focused events in the office for our annual Kid’s Day. During the last event, the participating kids took away a potted caladium tuber that soon sprouted beautiful foliage.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?  

Aside from caring for many plants, my passion in life is traditional gelatin silver photography. Soon after I moved to Florida in 1980, I had the opportunity to pursue an artform I had dabbled in my entire life. For some context, Sarasota has a notable art school, and I began taking photography courses. I had little interest in color photography, so black and white became my forte.  

In one of my classes, we were told to go out and photograph in as many styles as possible – sports photography, nature photography, portraiture, architecture, etc. We would then come back to class the next week and employing the skills we learned, process the film and print our images. Next to composing and capturing the image, traditional wet darkroom work is what I love. We then set out a “show and tell” for our professor to critique the images.  

Since plants have always been a part of my life, I shot many images of various wildflowers. However, when shot in black and white, plants render as an uninteresting gray. Around the same time, an acquaintance of mine said he would model for the portraiture shots. Given that the closest beach was a nude beach, the opportunity was too good to pass up. 

After reviewing the assignment’s shots, my professor stopped at my photos from the beach. She emphatically pointed and tapped the images stating: “This is it. This is what you understand.”  She was so right. From that day forward, I abandoned all other subjects to focus on the male form which defines my fine art photography genre. 

You’ve mentioned that in addition to being a photographer, you’re also an avid botanist. The plant community has grown in recent years, particularly as a result of lockdowns during the pandemic. Do you have any tips for new plant parents?  

I have a great interest in botany. My minor degree is in botany and if I could have made a living studying plants, I would have done so. But I’m afraid an PhD is required and then you spend your life chasing research grants. 

Caring for plants is a heavy responsibility. They are living things requiring even more attention than a pet. Plants cannot seek you out when attention is required; they are constrained to a pot or other growth substrate. In captivity, they are dependent on you for proper care. I tell people not to have plants, indoors or otherwise, if they cannot properly attend to them – even when away on vacation. I would hope no one would leash a dog to the corner of a dark room and slowly let it die from lack of care and feeding… 

If you are an apartment dweller, I recommend you carefully choose plants that will thrive in your environment. Do your research! Unless you are very skilled, it may be wise not to choose trees for an apartment.  When choosing a plant two things standout: what are the light requirements and what are the humidity needs? People tend to choose tropical plants for indoor gardens since our living environments, while dry, mimic the tropics. Side note: misting does next to nothing to increase humidity. Instead, place your plants on trays of pebbles filled with water to just below the pebble tops.  This is a way to provide a humidity cap around your plants. 

For me, I grow American tropicals (new world plants) and African arid condition plants (old world plants). I call it my African American garden.

I’ve also heard that you’re passionate about getting involved in your community. What are some of the ways you’ve been a leader in the communities you’ve lived in?  

It is unfortunate, but between my work at Cadent and my photography – I’m opening a show at a local gallery soon – I haven’t had as much time to volunteer. Still, I do hope that the opportunities will present themselves again. I have been on many organizations’ boards during my life, from street tree planting boards, to Toastmasters, to small town NAACP boards. I am convinced that literacy may be one of the most crucial skills for success. To that end, I would like to volunteer with a local literacy council. 

What is a movie or show you’ve recently watched, book you’ve recently read, piece of artwork you’ve seen, or album you’ve listened to that left a lasting impression?   

By now, it may be apparent that I do not have much free time for movies and the like. And to me, books, virtual or otherwise, have been a means to an end. I read to gain knowledge and skills in the pursuit of my interests, not entertainment.  

Having said this, there are a few classic sci-fi films that had an impact on me, especially during my childhood. My all-time favorite movie is the original version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still [Klaatu barada nikto].” It presented a future where hope truly exists, despite man’s folly.  

Any free time I may have during the week, you will find me watching one Brit sitcom or another. 

As someone who is creatively motivated, how do you think this has shaped your professional work?   

I am the sum of my parts. There is no instance where my personal evolution does not color my contemporary behavior. This shapes the people with whom I associate – or not – and the nature of my professional explorations. I am aware that logic alone can lead to a sterile perception and working method, so I attempt to employ a softer nature in what I do. And I am candid – if you couldn’t tell!  

What advice would you give to a younger colleague or a younger version of yourself?  Do not be persuaded by consensus or public opinion. Do what you innately feel is right and follow your own north star. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by philosophies that you know to be poorly defined and based in superstition. Be your own person first; the rest will follow.

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

John Tigg Joins Cadent as VP and Managing Director of EMEA

John Tigg, VP and Managing Director of EMEA, Cadent

Cadent is excited to share that European ad tech executive John Tigg will join Cadent as VP and Managing Director of EMEA. John will report to Keith Kryszczun, SVP of Global Platform Sales.

In his new role, John will lead sales and business development in EMEA, including managing all revenue streams across the region and working closely with the Cadent executive team. John will be based in London.

Previously, John served as Executive Director of TiggSystems, a specialist technology consultancy he founded focused on the addressable and programmatic television advertising ecosystem. Over the course of his 15 year career in the media industry, John has held a number of leadership roles, including most recently serving as SVP of Enterprise and Media Solutions, EMEA at Videology, and prior to that, as Head of Emerging Platforms at Yahoo! UK and Ireland.

For questions, reach out to [email protected]

Congrats to Cadent’s Angelica Rivera, a Cynopsis Rising Star

We are excited to share that Angelica Rivera, Senior Analyst, Platform Analytics, was named a Cynopsis Rising Star for her contributions building Cadent’s addressable analytics business, as well as the energy and enthusiasm she brings to taking on challenges and learning new skills.

This honor is given to outstanding innovators, hard workers and future leaders in all areas of the media industry.

Angelica Rivera, Senior Analyst, Platform Analytics

“Angelica made a major transition in the past year moving from Cadent’s operations team to an addressable analytics role. Addressable analytics is an exciting field to enter right now, but entering any emerging field comes with challenges and rapid changes. Angelica has proven she’s more than up to the task of keeping up, playing a key role in growing Cadent’s analytics business and finding opportunities to learn and grow her skillset in the process. Angelica has a warm personality and an infectious positive energy. She keeps an objective lens at all times, always while smiling and making work more enjoyable for the entire team.” – Rachel Herbstman, VP, Platform Analytics

Here’s a brief interview with Angelica on her approach to leadership, why curiosity is key and what comes next for her.

Why did you choose to move from an operations to an analytics role?
Being in operations, I was able to understand the components of managing a successful addressable campaign and naturally, I became more inquisitive about the key insights and what was driving the most meaningful results. How did different audience segments influence purchase intent? How can viewing environment affect sales lift? Did the creative messaging resonate with our target audience? I decided to become a part of the Analytics team because interpreting data and understanding its impact was challenging. I enjoyed being exposed to different methodologies and understanding different data cuts we can hone in on and how those relate to campaign performance. I’m inquisitive, and the role in Analytics was a perfect fit.

My passion for professional growth is fueled by my genuine interest about addressable data and understanding what drives results for our clients. My goal is to always find the key takeaways so we can optimize future campaigns. I attribute a lot of my success to my Cadent team. Although I didn’t have an analytics background, I wanted to diversify my career within the addressable media group at Cadent.

My goal is to always find the key takeaways so we can optimize future campaigns. I attribute a lot of my success to my Cadent team.

You’ve successfully recommended several new hires for Cadent. What makes you enthusiastic about working here?
I’ve worked at many places and formed friendships with colleagues along the way. If someone I know could be an asset to Cadent – whether it’s their work ethic, skillset or experience within the industry – I want them to be a part of this amazing and thriving organization. 

Cadent’s different groups are hyper-focused on driving results for our clients and making it easy for them to understand and interpret data. If my colleagues or referrals share the same drive and passion as I do, it encourages me to onboard great people to join our family at Cadent.

Describe your approach to working on a team.
I love to be part of a collaborative and proactive work environment. The common misconception about people in analytics is that we’re all introverted, and I want to change that. I’m someone who will speak up in a room full of people. If I’m confused, and others are too intimidated to ask a “silly” question, I’ll be the one to ask the question if it means my team and I will understand the concept better. 

I’m someone who will speak up in a room full of people. If I’m confused, and others are too intimidated to ask a “silly” question, I’ll be the one to ask the question if it means my team and I will understand the concept better. 

What’s your approach to leadership?
Being a leader is about understanding the strengths and weaknesses of those around you and empowering them to learn and continue to evolve. I always encourage communication around what’s working successfully and where we see an opportunity to improve. Being a leader is about offering continuous support, giving confidence and uplifting those around you. 

Leadership is also about being articulate and communicating with clarity. Leaders who are approachable and take time to share information create a great culture and promote growth. I’ve been fortunate to learn from some amazing leaders and mentors at Cadent.

One thing that sticks out about you is your positivity and enthusiasm in the workplace.
Energy is contagious. Working alongside people who bring positivity every morning, even when we work in such a high paced environment is key. Self-awareness is a powerful skill to possess. Those who approach challenging situations with a mile make a vital difference in resolving issues. It allows others to think clearly and logically. It’s important to surround myself with people who have the same approach in addressing issues head on.

What’s next for you?
I’m still honing in on my current goal of being able to present data insights to clients, making it digestible for all parties. Coding is another skillset that has piqued my interest. Taking on new skills has been important in proving to myself that I’m adaptable and flexible and can learn on the fly. My goal is to keep seeking out new skills and concepts to bring to my team and continue making valuable improvements to our current reporting workflow. This unique skillset will help elevate my career to the next level and provide me with a new challenge I know I can excel in.

See Cynopsis’ full list of Rising Stars and learn more about working at Cadent

Cadent Appoints TV Ad Tech Vet Les Carter as Chief Technology Officer

NEW YORK, Jan. 13, 2020 — Cadent, the advanced TV platform company, today named Les Carter as its new Chief Technology Officer. In his role as Chief Technology Officer, Carter will oversee all engineering and lead the development of Cadent’s data-driven advertising solutions across cable, broadcast, addressable set-top video, as well as the integration of the recently acquired 4INFO over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) video buying solutions into Cadent’s platform.

Les Carter, Chief Technology Officer, Cadent

An experienced executive in leading the development of carrier-grade applications and scalable high-frequency transaction architectures, Carter brings expertise in next-generation, cross-channel TV, and he holds four patents in advanced TV technology. 

Most recently, Carter was Vice President of Advertising Engineering at Hulu, where he led technology development for the over-the-top streaming company’s advertising solutions.  Before Hulu, Carter served as Chief Architect for Cadent, where he led technology strategy, design and implementation for advanced advertising solutions deployed across global MVPDs and their programming partners. Carter began his tenure at Cadent through BlackArrow, acquired by Cadent in 2015, where he built industry-first technologies leading to multiple patents, including Cadent’s addressable linear TV solution.

Prior to BlackArrow, Carter held software engineering and architecture roles at companies in the UK and U.S., including TNT UK, Chordiant, acquired by Pega; Siperian, acquired by Informatica; and On Command, acquired by Lodgenet. 

“Les has unmatched experience building traditional and next-generation TV ad technology, and he has the skills necessary to enable Cadent to continue to innovate in this dynamic, rapidly changing market,” said Nick Troiano, CEO of Cadent. “Under his leadership, Cadent will continue building the technology platform the TV ecosystem requires.” 

“After working with Cadent as a partner in the TV ecosystem, I saw firsthand the unique opportunity that a scaled independent like Cadent has to drive the adoption of advanced TV advertising,” Carter said. “I’m thrilled to rejoin Cadent at this exciting moment in its evolution, and I’m looking forward to building across our cable, broadcast, addressable and OTT properties to enable true cross-channel campaign orchestration for the TV ecosystem.”

See the press release.

Jes Santoro Joins Cadent Senior Sales Leadership

Jes Santoro, SVP, Advanced TV Sales, Cadent

Cadent is excited to share that proven sales leader Jes Santoro is joining Jim Tricarico’s Sales team as SVP, Advanced TV Sales.

Jes comes from Adobe TV Cloud, where he managed national sales and strategy for both brands and agencies across a product suite for campaign execution across data-driven linear TV, HH Addressable TV, CTV / OTT and cross-screen media.

Previously, he led Sales at Tubemogul (acquired by Adobe) for the Programmatic and Advanced TV team as well as the Enterprise Software sales team. Jes was EVP of Sales at enterprise ad tech platform Vindico, which he joined after 7 years at Comcast/NBCUniversal, where he was key to Comcast Programming’s linear TV, digital and emerging video ad sales.

Prior to Comcast/NBCU, Jes was co-founder and Vice President of Integrated Media at EarthQuake Media. He started his career at NBC and as a Media Buyer in the national TV and radio departments of BBDO.

For questions, reach out to [email protected]

Congrats to Cynopsis Rising Star Allison Smith

We’re excited to share that Allison Smith, Associate Media Director, Cadent entertainment, was honored with a Cynopsis Rising Star Award for her work at Cadent last year.

Allison Smith, Associate Media Director, Cadent Entertainment

The award is given to stand-out performers, innovators and emerging leaders in the media industry, and Allison couldn’t be more deserving. Her teammates said that along with dedicating herself to making sure the client feels prioritized, Allison is a great motivator and manager:

“She’s a real go getter, always willing to help out and problem solve. She shows patience and persistence with new hires, and one of her stand-out qualities is the underlying analytical tone she brings to problem-solving.”

Here’s a condensed interview with Allison on her approach to teamwork and her dedication to clients:

On developing a rapport with her team: My group tends to be very focused and mission-oriented, so making the time to create a culture was important. We really do have a super supportive group, with everyone willing to jump in and help. It says a lot about about the team culture.

On keeping up team morale: I send out a slide every Friday with random questions that I survey in the group, like, “What’s your Hogwarts House?” It keeps things light and helps everyone know more about each other.

On finding ways to innovate: I crave novelty and am always looking for ways to push forward. A lot of the inspiration for new strategies comes from asking questions. The Addressable team, our media partners and, of course, my team are great sounding boards.

For one client, I programmed pivot documents to automatically populate newly requested client asks using charts that the team was already managing. I worked on it during weekends, and it ended up cutting down on manual effort from the team and created efficiency and clarity for the client. We’re always looking to optimize what we have.

On moving from planning to an analytics role: Our system is set up in a way where you can clearly measure the effectiveness of what the team has done. I’m a curious person generally, and now, I can focus on those deeper questions. My new role is about long-term projects, daily diligence and ensuring progress. Because our clients are experts, I like to hear their questions and how they’re looking at their work. It pushes me and my thought processes forward.

On finding and providing mentorship: I have always been really motivated to network and seek mentorship opportunities on my own, but I feel like for every bit of my effort, I have received 10 times the support back. Not every company is dedicated to helping employees grow – and that’s a big part of why I’ve continued to work with Cadent.

People thrive on encouragement, so I make a point of looking for those opportunities to express genuine appreciation and praise for positive improvement and growth. Mentorship has been a big part of my own growth story. Offering equal opportunities for mentorship to my team has been vital to our success. To truly be successful, you need other people, and helping nurture talent in the people I rely on to do my job well has been key.

See the full list of 2018 Cynopsis Rising Star honorees.