The 30 most powerful women in mobile advertising

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New York Times chief revenue officer Meredith Kopit Levien is in this year’s ranking.
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Monica Kopit Levien/Getty Images

Each year, Business Insider celebrates the best and the brightest women in the mobile advertising industry – a sector that has traditionally been dominated by men.

We ask readers and companies to nominate who they think are the most influential women in the business. We also asked that they nominate at least one other competitor to ensure that the list wasn’t self-serving.

In addition, we consulted again with Erin “Mack” McKelvey, CEO of SalientMG, whose knowledge of the mobile ad business exceeds our own.

This is, by no means, a complete list of all the influential women in the mobile advertising business. It is, however, a representation of some of the most powerful women out there, who are running big businesses with large client bases and sizeable revenues.

Hannah Roberts also contributed to this report.


30. Anne Frisbie, SVP of global brand and programmatic at InMobi

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LinkedIn

InMobi is an India-based mobile-only ad network that claims to reach more than 1.6 billion active users. It has around 1,000 employees and has raised $225.1 million in funding.

Frisbie has more than 6 years’ mobile ad experience and is currently responsible for leading InMobi’s demand-side platform relationship management program for the company’s ad exchange, which is powered by Rubicon Project.

That part of the business drives 30% of InMobi’s programmatic revenue and Frisbie says she expects this to reach 50% soon.


29. Maja Mikek, cofounder and CFO at Celtra

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LinkedIn

Mikek cofounded Celtra, a creative management platform for digital advertising, in 2006.

She became the company’s CFO in January 2015, having helped build its finance operations from the very beginning.

The Hudert, a Berlin-based startup project, named Mikek as one of the top 100 successful European founders this year.


28. Jana Kusick, global managing director at Plista

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LinkedIn

Kusick was promoted to the Germany, Switzerland, and Austria managing director position of Plista, a Germany-based digital media specialist, in 2013.

In 2014, the company was acquired by WPP for a reported €30 million. And in July this year, Kusick was promoted again to become Plista’s global managing director.

Plista now sits within WPP’s Xaxis programmatic unit and acts as its native ad specialist. This year it launched in major markets including the US and across Asia Pacific.


27. Samantha Skey, CRO at SheKnows

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LinkedIn

Skey was promoted to become president and chief revenue officer of SheKnows Media in February this year. She was previously chief marketing and revenue officer at the company, which claims more than 81 million unique users per month.

This year, Skey was instrumental in leading SheKnows Media’s acquisition of women’s health brand HelloFlo – a company made famous for its viral videos.


26. Kelly Andresen, VP and head of branded content at Gannett

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Twitter

Andresen has served as vice president and head of branded content at Gannett since October 2015.

This year, Gannett launched GET Creative, a branded content studio for the USA Today network, which includes VR and 360-degree specialists. In October, the studio created a weekly VR news show, partnering YouTube and Toyota.

Gannett claims to reach 100 million unique visitors across USA Today and its local media brands each month.


25. Tatyana Zlotsky, VP of digital acquisition marketing at American Express Open

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LinkedIn

Zlotsky joined American Express in 2010, working on its OPEN brand: a payment card issuer for small businesses in the US.

She leads teams that focus on digital marketing, mobile strategy, user experience, and design.

Zlotsky is a board member of the Mobile Marketing Association and she also sits on the IAB Executive Education Advisory Board.


24. Anna Bager, SVP and general manager of mobile and video at the Interactive Advertising Bureau

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IAB

The IAB represents the US digital advertising industry and Bager is responsible for the trade body’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and its Digital Video Center.

This year, Bager has been responsible for promoting virtual reality ads, she has been part of the team that released the IAB’s new Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definition (MRAID), and she helped release a location data guide for publishers.


23. Lizzie Black, VP of strategic partnerships and sales at Kargo

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Kargo

Black was hired by mobile ad tech company Kargo in July 2016 to lead its team of sales directors and to run partnerships with advertising holding companies.

In less than four months at Kargo, the company says Black has been integral in bringing in more than $1 million in new business, a 60% increase year-on-year.

Prior to joining Kargo, Black led the east coast advertising team at Federated Media.


22. Gladys Kong, CEO at UberMedia

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SiliconANGLE/YouTube

UberMedia began as a mobile ad platform that used social and location data to help advertisers target people on their smartphones, usually via in-app ads.

Now it is more of a big data company that uses that ad data to offer business intelligence solutions.

Kong became CEO in September last year.


21. Monica Ho, CMO at xAd

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xAd

xAd is one of the largest players in mobile location marketing.

The company said in May it had achieved a $250 million gross revenue run-rate, representing 100% year-on-year growth.

This year, Ho was awarded with one of the four inaugural “Impact Awards” from the Mobile Marketing Association and was named one of Hot Topics’ 100 most influential North American b2b tech marketers.


20. Maggie Mesa, vice president of mobile business development at OpenX

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LinkedIn

Mesa is responsible for helping build out publisher partnerships and guiding OpenX’s mobile strategy for new markets, formats, and technologies.

The company grew its mobile net revenue 139% year-over-year in 2015 and has seen its monthly mobile ad request volume grow from 5 billion in the third quarter of 2015 to more than 60 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

Another highlight for OpenX this year was ranking top in Pixalate’s global seller trust index.


19. Nicolle Pangis, mPlatform COO

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GroupM

Pangis was promoted to become COO of WPP’s programmatic media platform Xaxis in January.

In November this year, she took on more responsibilities as WPP launched its mPlatform business, combining together its various data and programmatic technology assets. Pangis is now on the mPlatform global leadership team.

Pangis spent almost her entire career at Xaxis and, in her previous role as global chief revenue officer, was responsible for around $750 million of its global P&L. MediaPost has described Pangis as “the most powerful woman in programmatic.”


18. Janae McDonough, VP of MoPub at Twitter

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MoPub

MoPub is Twitter’s mobile app ad network, ad server, and real-time bidding exchange.

The platform, which McDonough leads, recently began powering ads that appear in Twitter timelines displayed on third-party apps.

Highlights from this year include MoPub striking a partnership with ad fraud detection platform Forensiq to assure marketers their ads are being served in safe environments.


17. Jennifer Lum, cofounder at Adelphic

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Jennifer Lum / Twitter

Lum serves as the chief strategy officer of mobile DSP Adelphic, which works with brands including BMW and Samsung.

This year, Adelphic formed key partnerships with companies including Integral Ad Science, PushSpring, and Kargo.

AdAge named Lum one of the “10 digital marketing innovators you should know” in November.


16. Carrie Seifer, president of investments at Mediavest

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IAB

Seifer is a 25-year digital advertising industry veteran and currently leads Mediavest’s investment practice, which covers video, publishing, outdoor, mobile, search, social, programmatic, and local marketplaces.

Clients include Honda, Heineken, and Comcast.

Prior to joining Mediavest, Seifer was senior vice president of strategy at Millennial Media, the ad tech company acquired by AOL for $238 million in 2015.


15. Rachel Weiss, VP of innovation at L’Oréal

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LinkedIn

Weiss is responsible for creating L’Oréal USA’s digital marketing and innovation strategy, with a focus on mobile, social, and “disruptive” technologies. She also leads the beauty company’s relationships with VC firms and entrepreneurs to help it gain a first-mover advantage when it comes to new technologies.

This year, Weiss has helped L’Oréal launch a number of mobile-focused products and marketing including Beaumoji, a beauty emoji smartphone messaging keyboard.

Elsewhere, she also created L’Oréal’s Women in Digital initiative, which advocates digital and IT careers for women.


14. Petra Vorsteher, cofounder and chief alliances officer at Smaato

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Smaato

Smaato is a real-time mobile advertising platform that claims to manage 10 billion ad impressions per day across 1 billion mobile users worldwide.

Vorsteher was integral in negotiating Smaato’s $148 million sale to Bejing-based media and marketing group Spearhead. Smaato says the acquisition will help expand its presence in China and fuel its global growth.

She holds a number of board roles and in 2014 was appointed Hamburg Ambassador to Silicon Valley.


13. Kim Perell, CEO at Amobee

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Amobee

Amobee is an ad tech unit that sits within Asian telecommunications company Singtel, which has more than 595 million subscribers. Perell was promoted from her role as president to the CEO position in December.

This year, Amobee was announced as a Snapchat partner, allowing brands to buy full-screen vertical video ads on the Snap app through the Amobee platform. Amobee counts Kellogg’s, Red Bull, Airbnb, and Allstate among its clients.

Amobee shut down its supply-side platform and laid off 5% of staff in October this year as it looked to streamline its “operational efficiency and best serve our global brand and agency clients,” the company said in a statement to AdExchanger.


12. Laura Hagen, EVP of sales at iHeartMedia

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Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

Hagen has been responsible for leading the cross platform and digital sales teams for large advertisers across iHeartMedia’s assets since 2013. That includes its radio stations, apps, podcasts, and events such as the Jingle Ball 2016 Tour.

iHeartMedia has over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the US, giving it the largest reach of any radio and TV outlet in America.

In the most recent quarter, the company launched two new mobile-focused live radio subscription products: iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access, which are scheduled to launch in January.


11. Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, CEO and founder at Drawbridge

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Drawbridge

Sivaramakrishnan is one of the few female ad tech CEOs, although she would probably argue that Drawbridge is more than just ad tech: it has created an anonymized ID to help identify people as they switch across devices – which can be applied to everything from website personalization to fraud detection.

In May this year, Drawbridge raised $25 million in Series C funding that it plans to use to “invest aggressively” in building out its “global graph” of data.

In December, Drawbridge was awarded a patent for its probabilistic cross-device technology.


10. Mari Kim Novak, CMO at Rubicon Project

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LinkedIn

Novak has served as Rubicon Project’s chief marketing officer since 2014 and is responsible for driving adoption of its automated ad platform, for both buyers and sellers of online ad inventory.

This year, she was named as one of AdAge’s “Women to Watch 2016,” in which the trade title described her as a “well-connected industry vet known for her ability to make programmatic advertising approachable through client marketing and education initiatives.”

AdAge also credited Novak with helping build out Rubicon’s buy-side offering and expanding its product marketing and sales discipline.


9. Carrie Coffee, partnerships at Snapchat

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LinkedIn

Coffee joined Snapchat in January 2015, from ad tech company Adcade. She is responsible for building out partnerships with brands and helping marketers create advertising that is bespoke to the photo-sharing app.

Advertisers appear to have fallen in love with Snapchat’s priciest ad format, Sponsored Lenses, where Snapchat users taking a video selfie can overlay images from the brand – like characters from “The Peanuts Movie,” or turning their face into a giant taco from Taco Bell.

EMarketer predicts Snapchat is on track to hit $1 billion in revenue in 2017.


8. Ashwini Karandikar, global president at Amnet

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LinkedIn

Karandikar became global president of Dentsu Aegis’ trading desk Amnet in 2013, responsible for leading the company’s programmatic strategy.

Earlier this year, Dentsu Aegis acquired Brazil-based data strategy agency Navegg. The former CEO of Navegg, Luciano Juvinski, reports directly to Karandikar and Abel Reis, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Brazil.

Amnet also struck a number of partnership deals this year, including with RadiumOne to help brands understand dark social and a tie-up with LinkedIn on “premium programmatic”.


7. Danielle Lee, global head of partners solutions at Spotify

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LinkedIn

Lee joined Spotify in April this year from Vevo, where she was VP of global commercial marketing.

She’s already made a big impact, with Adweek naming her one of the “most indispensable executives in marketing, media, and tech” in 2016.

Spotify now reaches 100 million monthly users, 70 million of which take up its free ad-supported service. Adweek says Spotify has doubled ad sales revenue year-on-year for two years in a row.

Lee’s big pitch this year has been Spotify’s “Branded Moments” ad product, which gives users 30 minutes of ad-free music in exchange for watching a brand’s video.


6. Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP and CRO at The New York Times

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Monica Kopit Levien/Getty Images

Kopit Levien became The Times’ chief revenue officer in 2015, when she was promoted from her head of advertising position.

She is credited with bringing native advertising to The Times and helped launch the company’s T Brand Studio unit, which doubled revenue between 2014 and 2015. T Brand Studio’s output now represents 18% of the company’s digital revenue.

Digital ad revenue represents 36% of The Times’ overall advertising revenue and increased 21% in the third quarter of this year to $44 million.


5. Mollie Spilman, CRO at Criteo

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LinkedIn

Criteo works with retailers to target ads at users who are most likely to be in the market for buying products.

Spilman has been Criteo’s chief revenue officer since 2014, when she jumped ship from Millennial Media, an ad tech company that was acquired by AOL in 2015.

Criteo has had a fantastic year and reported a 32% increase in revenue ex-TAC [traffic acquisition costs] to $177 million in its latest quarter, surpassing analysts’ estimates. It also marked more than 20 quarters in a row of a 90% or higher retention rate.

Spilman was named as one of the “AWNY Working Mothers of the Year” and picked up the Stevie Women in Business “Female Executive of the Year” silver award in 2016. She also received the most number of competitor nominations from our reader-submitted entries this year.


4. Marne Levine, chief operating officer at Instagram

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Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Levine has been responsible for scaling Instagram’s nascent ads business into a platform that has more than 500,000 advertisers and meaningfully contributes to Facebook’s overall revenue.

One of Levine’s key roles has been managing the development of products for small-to-medium-sized businesses. The company launched Business Tools earlier this year and in just two months, more than 1.5 million businesses converted their profiles to a business profile.

UBS analyst Eric Sheridan predicted earlier this year that Instagram will generate $2.27 billion in revenue in 2016.


3. Susan Wojcicki, CEO at YouTube

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Mike Blake/Reuters

Wojcicki has run YouTube since 2014, having persuaded Google to buy the company eight years prior for $1.65 billion.

YouTube has over a billion users and more than half of YouTube views come from local devices. The company claims it has more viewers aged 18 to 49-years-old than any US cable TV network.

One big challenge for 2017 will be luring older viewers, with Wojcicki telling the Financial Times earlier this year YouTube’s big strength among the older demographic is its “how to” videos. Another area of focus is what she has described as making “TV work for the next generation” who have mini TVs in their pockets in the form of smartphones.


2. Carolyn Everson, VP of global marketing solutions at Facebook

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Facebook

Everson is responsible for Facebook’s relationships with marketers and agencies, overseeing a team of regional leaders, plus the teams focused on global partnerships and Facebook’s Creative Shop.

Since Everson joined Facebook in 2011, she has helped grow its annual revenues from around $3.7 billion in 2011 to $17.9 billion in 2015. Mobile revenue was up 70% year-on-year in its latest quarter and now represents 84% of the company’s total ad revenue.

The global solutions organization Everson leads has grown 17X since she first joined, having helped open offices across the globe.


1. Marni Walden, EVP and president of product innovation at Verizon

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Thomson Reuters

Walden was named into her current position in February 2015 and is in charge of evolving Verizon from an analog business into a firm that can battle with digital media giants and explore new technologies like the Internet of Things and telematics.

This year she was also given a big new task: Organizing the merger of Yahoo – which Verizon announced its plans to acquire for $4.83 billion in July – and AOL, which Verizon bought for $4.4 billion in 2015.

If the merger goes ahead – and there have been some doubts that might happen, thanks to Yahoo later revealing it had suffered two historic and catastrophic hacks – it will double the size of Verizon’s internet advertising business. In the US it is poised to hold an estimated 4.5% share of the digital ad market, behind Facebook (17%) and Google (36%), according to eMarketer estimates.

Walden is on a shortlist of candidates to replace Lowell McAdam as Verizon’s CEO, according to Bloomberg. It would make her the company’s first ever female CEO.