Director of Digital Sales, Futuretech Media
My journey in the ad tech industry started as a sales executive in 2014. I later joined Futuretech Media in 2016 as a senior solutions planner. In my initial years at the company, I learned to align with partners and clients to provide media excellence and achieve business growth. In 2021, I was promoted to Director of Digital Sales. In this role, I’m responsible for growing, leading, and offering digital strategies, executing campaigns, and providing digital solutions to multiple clients and agencies through the FutureTech platforms. I also lead our regional e-commerce practice.
I work with tech and media product partners to drive strategic digital advertising solutions across media agencies and brand clients, [aiming] to achieve revenue targets and inspire the team to keep evolving our own tech.
Building up the next generation of tech talent by diversifying technology, media & entertainment, and telecommunication (TMT) is the main goal for many organizations. [However,] the main challenge for a woman in my role, especially in this industry, is finding female talent. Following the pandemic, as they transitioned to other industries, it has been difficult to recruit qualified and talented teams of women.
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of an organization that embraces and supports women. Every year, the Futuretech Foundation hosts the “For Women by Women” event, which core objective is to highlight the fact that women belong in the rooms where the decisions are made. The foundation seeks to attract members who are pioneers and exemplary role models in the digital marketing industry; women who have paved the way, and continue to do so, for other females to make valuable contributions to the industry.
In my current role, I have learned to create my space in this industry and to take ownership of my talent and skills. I still encounter discrimination in the market but, instead of allowing it to bring me down, I make sure to claim the respect I deserve and still get the work done.
In addition to dismantling the notion of “women pinning against each other,” I support and empower my female peers within the industry and as a woman passionate about her role, I bring in different experiences and knowledge that impact decision-making. I incorporate creativity in solving customer problems and proactively create solutions through cross-functional collaboration.
There is growing evidence that gender equality is progressing, but the challenges fall in with lack of support in career break, gender stereotypes, and bias, according to PwC research. Implementing training and mentoring programs would help women embrace technology and would bring them back to the industry. The aim is to equip and empower women with the necessary confidence and skills to succeed in TMT career fields. I was fortunate enough to have a female mentor who has guided me through. That was an important factor for me; therefore, I would encourage other women to do the same. Other than hiring and mentoring, it’s also vital to apply a data-driven approach, [for example] by placing exit surveys that would help us understand why the talents are progressing or leaving and would drive promoting existing talents in TMT to leadership roles, as studies [indicate] that about half of the industry’s women drop out by mid-career.
Increasing women’s representation in the industry is important, not only to give opportunities to women but to raise innovation for the good of society. It’s essential to diversify the representation of women beyond their age, color, nationalities, physical appearances, and marital status.
Women make up more than 50% of the population worldwide and research has shown that involving them in decision-making leads to better outcomes. They are a target audience in the tech industry and have different experiences; they understand and can relate to the challenge. Therefore, having those voices and that diversity enables better decision-making and is an added value. Studies have also shown that women tend to work more collaboratively between multiple parties.
Having more women representation in the industry encourages other women to take part and be involved. To [that end], organizations should appoint a key person in the leadership team to keep track and be accountable for setting an inclusion agenda and ensure it sits in the heart and culture of the business.
In 2021, the UAE ranked first in the MENA region and 24th among 170 countries when it comes to increasing women’s representation and gender equality within STEM industries, according to the UAE Embassy. There were spikes in global unemployment and a reduction of labor when the pandemic began; however, many large tech companies were able to keep female representation upward.
I now see a shift in women finding their place in [TMT], with some taking high leadership roles in the past three years in our region. Women have proven to be vital players in this industry and, in the age of social media, corporations could get disregarded should they lack female representation. To see an increase in [the number of] women in tech, I recommend addressing retention gaps by having more female role models and fair workplace culture.
Hiring women from different backgrounds across all levels gives us access to diverse knowledge and backgrounds to add a human layer to our communications and advertising. For example, if we were to create a strategy for a campaign targeting females, a woman will be able to tackle the female audiences by integrating unique messaging that she draws from her own experiences. This will get the brand to reflect and connect with the female audiences as well as to attain valuable insights.
Women are the foundation of human evolution, and we have never stopped evolving. What we are seeing today is the result of the understanding of how vital for the organization’s [own] evolution it is to hire women. I think that today more than ever, the world has understood the importance of the female mind in creating a productive work culture and achieving high business outcomes.