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Sociomantic Women in Tech Series: Real Talk From Our Technical Account Managers

Venera and Chloé discuss the challenges they face as women in tech

While global companies are making strides towards having gender equality across industries and within leadership roles, it’s no secret that the tech industry as a whole is still heavily male-dominated. This is a result of the many barriers that women face when trying to enter the tech world as well as the gender biases they deal with in their positions. In this interview series, we speak candidly with women across different teams and offices at Sociomantic to learn more about the challenges they face as women in tech roles, and their recommendations for those interested in similar roles. To start, let’s hear from technical account managers Chloé Barreau, working for the French market and Venera Kozueva, working for the DACH market, both based in Berlin.

Chloé & Venera, what are your responsibilities at Sociomantic? Tell us about a typical working day for you.

Venera: At Sociomantic, we’re responsible for the technical setup and launch of our clients’ display campaigns, in regards to dynamic ad personalization and real-time performance optimization. So during a typical work day, we are busy analyzing client websites and integrating tracking codes, testing and importing client product data into our system, creating click and view tracking functionalities for banners and troubleshooting for the new and existing implementations.

Chloé: But it doesn’t stop there. To provide the best possible service, we also focus on optimizing the setup according to our client’s needs. This makes the TAM role more of a hybrid position since we have to be product experts to provide technical solutions for our sales teams. Building trust with all involved parties is crucial for success here.

Venera: Agreed. As the account management and design teams are also involved in this complex work process, my favorite part of the job is the teamwork involved and the daily learnings shared from everyone.

You both have quite different backgrounds and manage different markets. Chloé, what brought you into the digital advertising industry and what kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Chloé: I previously worked in the TV industry as a traffic manager for Viacom, and during that time I also worked on digital campaigns. I knew I had the technical knowledge necessary for digital and so I decided to explore this path more deeply, which is what brought me to Sociomantic.

To be effective in this role, you need to have good communication skills, ask a lot of questions, be a good listener and be detail-oriented. The more technical things gets, the clearer you have to be able to explain what you are doing.

Venera, what brings a woman from Kyrgyzstan to Berlin to work in tech and digital advertising?

Venera: Berlin is a knowledge hub and it’s a great place for education and networking. My background is in linguistics, and my professional interest in tech has largely been shaped through self-learning and the passion I have for multilingualism, both in human and computer programmed interactions. Throughout my studies, I worked with cloud computing and mobile app platforms at Salesforce, and cc digital is what eventually brought me to the advertising tech industry. Today, this role gives me the opportunity to bridge the gap between tech and non-tech communications.

Chloé, what are some of the challenges you face in technical account management in the French market and how do you overcome them?

France is an extremely fast-paced market, and the technical checks that we need to do for each client can be rather time-consuming. It’s important to have strong execution skills to be able to process the checks swiftly and accurately.

Venera, are the challenges in DACH different?

Venera:  The Sociomantic DACH market is larger in scope as it spans across three different countries, so we deal with a wider range of clients. Because some clients work with us through agencies, one of the challenges we often face during the setup is the absence of a direct technical contact on the client side. With limited access to information about the client’s technical capacities, it can be time-consuming to deliver our tracking requirements and find solutions for non-standard implementations.

How does it feel to work in a male-dominated environment? Has your gender ever affected your work experience?

Venera: We are fortunate to have a pretty equal gender ratio within our global TAM team. Plus, the company culture heavily prioritizes diversity and you can meet colleagues from various countries and from different backgrounds. But generally in the tech environment women are still underrepresented, and you can see clearly this at tech conferences, where most speakers are men. It is necessary that we make a conscious effort to get women into tech positions in order to build more female-friendly environments.

Chloé: Generally speaking, I do not have any issues working in a predominantly male work environment. However, the fact that female employees represent merely 20% of the tech workforce throughout major companies globally speaks volumes. A typical challenge that women in the tech space face is prejudice by male counterparts, either by men questioning women’s knowledge during client calls or by engaging in patronizing behavior like explaining step by step how to perform simple tasks.

Although the gravity of these cases differs, one example in particular stands out to me. After having spent a tremendous amount of time with a third party partner explaining which variables to utilize in a tracking implementation on a website and where to find the relevant information, my counterpart suddenly asked to speak to “someone technical.” Fortunately, I have supportive colleagues and friends with whom I am able share these experiences; this has helped me be more assertive and better respond when I find myself in these situations, and it has also helped them better understand the challenges that women in technical roles face.
 
Have you seen a change with more women working in the industry since you started? What advice do you have for any women who are looking to work in tech?

Venera: From my experience, women unfortunately still have to fight much harder than men to prove their intellectual capabilities when it comes to their IT skills. The normative gender perception is persistent, especially in the tech recruiting, hiring and negotiation processes, and honestly I haven’t seen a change on a large scale. For woman interested in tech, it should be a personal decision based on a strong dedication and deep learning regardless of job markets, global trends or degrees. This decision has helped me overcome prejudices in my career.

Chloé: I haven’t seen a change either, but it would be incredible if we manage to overcome the salary gap within a few years, right? For women interested in tech, I implore you to follow your instincts. Also, don’t forget to participate in tech events and remember that networking is key.