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Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Lauren Koslov

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Observed annually on February 11th, this day was declared by the UN in 2015 in an effort to “achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” To celebrate, Cadent reached out to women in our engineering departments, asking about their career journeys and what advice they would give to other women interested in pursuing a role in STEM-related fields.  

Lauren Koslov, a Sr. Frontend Engineer on our IT Engineering team, has followed an unconventional professional journey. Beginning her career in business development after studying economics, Lauren later decided to switch careers and pursue her passion for coding. Since joining Cadent two and a half years ago, she’s continued to carve her own path as an engineer.  

Read our Q&A with Lauren below to learn more about her experiences as a woman in engineering and where she goes to build on her technical knowledge.  

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role – can you describe your average workday?  

As the Sr. Frontend Engineer on the Broadcast team, my day consists of several different tasks. Every day starts out with scrum (scrum is basically a meeting where you discuss what you worked on yesterday, what you will work on today, and if you have any blockers). After that, I spend time working on stories. Stories contain a feature that you code to spec based on acceptance criteria set by Product. I then have office hours to help other frontend engineers on the Broadcast team with anything they need. The rest of the day is pretty up in the air, ranging from meetings with Product and QA to planning and grooming. I also set aside at least one hour per week for online learning to continue to improve and keep up to date with the quickly ever-changing frontend. 

Did you always have a clear vision for your career?  

I have always wanted to be a software engineer, but for several reasons, I decided to go a different route in college. Post-college, and prior to being an engineer, I worked in sales, product, and business development. While I still wish I went straight into engineering, working in other departments allowed me to better understand the vision required in product and to be able to effectively communicate with others from sales. 

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

Being a woman engineer has posed challenges and I know I am not alone with stories that I could share. However, my passion for engineering has never wavered. I continuously work to improve my knowledge and skillset, and I’ve learned it is important to find peers, mentors, and a company that share that mentality. 

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

I attended a bootcamp (shout out to Flatiron School!) which gave me the skillset and knowledge to become an engineer. That bootcamp was the most valuable resource as I received my first contract role through their network. As a bootcamp grad, it can be difficult to apply for jobs because you lack a CS background. I highly recommend using sites like Codewars to prepare for technical interviews. To improve your knowledge in general, there are a ton of great courses on Udemy. 

What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role? 

My biggest piece of advice is to work hard and not give up – imposter syndrome is real. Never be afraid to ask questions, but ask them after you’ve done your research. With that, you’ll either solve your problem or collect enough information to accurately articulate what you know and what you are struggling to understand. 

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

Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Shubhra Goel

Today is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Observed annually on February 11th, this day was declared by the UN in 2015 in an effort to “achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further, achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” To celebrate, Cadent reached out to women in our engineering departments, asking about their career journeys and what advice they would give to other women interested in pursuing a role in STEM-related fields.  

Shubhra Goel, a Lead Software Engineer on our IT Engineering team, has had a deep interest in math and science since she was a child. After immigrating to the U.S. mid-degree, Shubhra ultimately earned her Master of Computer Science. As a software engineer, she finds herself always learning, eager to understand the latest technology or develop new skills.

Read our Q&A with Shubhra below to learn more about her path to software engineering and the ad tech space, as well as her recommendations for others hoping to enter a STEM profession.  

The following conversation has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role – can you describe your average workday? 

My role is Lead Software Engineer. This means that I focus on managing several software projects, collaborating with my team and across teams to provide technical solutions. For me, an average workday involves discussions with product owners, understanding the business, and providing architectural solutions. A good amount of my time is spent on technical discussions and development, which involves coding. I work with a team that includes Product, QA, developers, and managers. Our joint goal is to plan the project, set the deliverables, and deliver quality solutions on time. As a member of a very technical field, I need to continuously learn new technologies, implement them, and guide my team in utilizing them. 

Did you always have a clear vision for your career? 

Yes and no. I was always certain that I’d pursue a career in a STEM field, but my specific focus has changed over time. At a young age, I challenged myself by taking subjects that were traditionally considered difficult for girls. I made the deliberate decision to pursue STEM education in high school, and later I chose to focus on Physics for my Master’s degree. I was inspired by my father, who is a teacher, and started teaching Master’s level courses at the university. When I came to the USA, my visa status-imposed restrictions on my ability to continue that path, so I earned my Master of Computer Science and started my new career as a Software Developer. 

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

Yes, it has definitely posed challenges from time to time. There is still an underlying perception in society, even in this day and age, that women are more sensitive and emotional than men and consequently women cannot be as aggressive and analytical as men. Over the years, however, I have learned that the challenges women face are directly related to the corporate culture of the company in which they work, which starts at the top of the leadership chain and trickles down. I strongly believe that the company culture, values, and leadership matter most when creating a healthy environment for everyone. Being a part of Cadent, I feel like I have great support from both leadership and coworkers. I always feel that people listen to me as a human being and don’t judge me as a woman. 

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

Education and constant family support are my biggest resources. My parents always emphasized education, and I have the unconditional support of my husband and kids in my continued education and career choices. Mentoring is another valuable resource for me, and the support of my peers and friends continues to inspire and motivate me. 

What advice do you have for women starting out in a STEM role? 

The first thing that I would say is to stop focusing on gender and think of yourself only as a STEM professional, surrounded by other STEM peers. Act professionally, believe in your abilities, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Accept challenges and then follow through in facing and overcoming them. I constantly remind myself that gender does not define my skills, my thought process, and my values, and I will not give up learning and contributing, and exceeding expectations. 

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

Black History Month at Cadent: Shomar Lowe

February is Black History Month – a time dedicated to celebrating, recognizing, and remembering the achievements of the Black community in America. According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, this year’s theme, “Black Health and Wellness,” was selected because it “acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora.” 

This Black History Month is especially significant because it marks the first in which Cadent has the Black Employees Network to lead the way in planning and organizing events to commemorate the heritage of Black Americans. As a part of our celebrations, we spoke with some of our Black colleagues to learn more about who they are, their experiences in and out of the workplace, and what Black History Month means to them. 

Shomar Lowe, Linear Sales Planner, has been with Cadent for nearly three years, helping our Planning team develop efficient media plans for their cable and broadcast TV activations. An athlete and avid sports fan, when he’s not at work, you can often find him watching one of his favorite teams.  

To learn more about Shomar, check out our Q&A below.    

The following interview has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Tell us about your role 

I’m a Linear Sales Planner based out of the New York office. As a sales planner, I help build media plans to match our client’s requests – whether it’s based on CPM/CPP ratings, impressions goals, or both. I also coordinate with the Inventory team to ensure campaigns are delivering as planned.  

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?  

I like sports, so depending on the time of year, you’ll find me watching the Knicks, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, or the New York Giants. I also enjoy exploring new breweries, collecting vinyl records and sneakers, and checking out new music. 

Are there any mentors or experiences that shaped your career?  

Two people: one of my good friends from college and an account executive at my previous job. They each helped me learn how to navigate the sales industry, especially as a Black employee. Both taught me skills so that I could be successful in my role today as well as future roles.  

What does Black History Month mean to you and how are you planning to celebrate this year? 

This month is meant to highlight some of the greatness that Black people have contributed to society – everything from clothes to art, to social awareness. I will look to continue patronizing Black-owned businesses and increase my awareness of contemporary Black artists. 

Do you have any favorite movies, books, art, or music made by Black creators?  

There are many, but here are just a few:  

Books: Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like, Huey P. Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide, and Kobe Bryant’s The Mamba Mentality.  

Music: J Dilla’s Donuts, Nas’ Illmatic, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt, Isaac Hayes’s Black Moses, Robert Glasper’s In My Element, and Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall.  

Art: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitiled (Boxer), Kehinde Wiley’s Portrait of Barack Obama, and Anthony Akinbola’s Camouflage #005.  

Movies: Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Do the Right Thing, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, and John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood

This year, ASALH’s Black History Month theme is “Black Health and Wellness.” Can you tell us what “Black Health and Wellness” means to you?  

Take care of yourself in all aspects – mind, body, and soul. Keeping yourself organized, eating well and exercising, making time for friends and family, and indulging in hobbies or interests are each a part of your wellness. 

What do you feel helps to foster a culture of inclusion? How have you seen those behaviors and practices successfully put into action?  

It’s important to be open to everyone’s differences and show those differences, from C-level executives to entry-level employees. This is successfully put into action when collaboration is used to celebrate culture – no matter how big or small the group – allowing their voice to be heard and acknowledged in an authentic way, rather than using an idea of what it “should be” to move forward. 

If you could have dinner with any important Black figure – a civil rights pioneer, politician, musician, artist, author, activist, etc. – living or dead, who would it be and why?  

There are two people that come to mind. The first is Huey P. Newton, as it would be interesting to learn about how he focused on the formation and growth of the Black Panther Party, as well as working on its other programs, such as medical clinics and free food for kids. I would also ask if or how he sees remnants of the Party in any of today’s sociopolitical organizations. 

The second would be J Dilla, because it would be interesting to learn about how he was able to bring his ideas to life with – seemingly – such ease, and how he was able to stay motivated and focused, especially during the time of his declining health. 

What has been your proudest moment at Cadent?  

It has to be when I was recognized for my efforts with a Crushing It at Cadent award last summer! 

What advice would you give to a younger colleague or a younger version of yourself?  

Get a mentor and learn the ropes, apply yourself 100% to whatever you are doing – no matter how insignificant it may seem, and always have an opinion. 

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

Cadent Has a “Day On” To Remember MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been observed since the late 1980s. On this day, we pause to reflect upon the great contributions that he made as a servant leader and civil rights activist. In remembrance, Cadent was closed this past Monday.  

At Cadent, we think of MLK Day as “a day on, not a day off.” Accordingly, we encourage our staff to take this day as an opportunity to volunteer locally or engage with their community. 

This year, Cadent’s DiShawn Vance and Khadijah Freeman – who recently volunteered to lead and launch the Black Employee Network @ Cadent – participated in virtual events in honor of Dr. King. Read their key takeaways from the events below.  

The following has been lightly edited and condensed. 

Khadijah Freeman, Help Desk Analyst 

I was fortunate enough to be able to join two virtual MLK events! On Monday, I attended the “42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon” and “25th Annual MLK Virtual Celebration.” Overall, both events made me think about how I can keep MLK’s dream alive. I learned a lot from each session, so my family and I will look forward to participating every year in the future. These are some of the questions that I’m reflecting on: 

  • What are you doing to create change in your community? 
  • Are you reaching out to your Statesmen to protect voters’ rights? 
  • Moving forward, what can we do to keep MLK’s dream alive?  
  • Would he be disappointed looking at where we are today? 

Each session also referenced books that I thought were worth mentioning! In her memoir, Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken, and How to Change It, retired judge of the Superior Court of California, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell writes about her path to becoming a judge as a Black woman. The book, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs touches on the ways MLK was inspired by his mother.  

DiShawn Vance, Broadcast Ops Specialist 

Earlier this week, I participated in the University of Pennsylvania’s MLK Day of Service Virtual Kick-Off. Members of UPenn’s Black Associate Group organized an interactive class where attendees learned the moves of traditional dance, listened to powerful poetry, and heard from numerous speakers including Senator Bob Casey. Here are a few things that stood out to me: 

  • In her keynote speech, Jamie Gauthier challenged the audience with the question, “How would King’s values apply if he were here today?” This is something that resonated with me as I considered how without Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the world as we know it today would look very different.  
  • We should use this day and every day to understand that engagement makes a difference in our society. 
  • Dr. Charles Chaz Howard shared, “We are taking the baton to move forward and continue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work.”  

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