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New leaders helm Women in Wireless as growth agenda is set

Aurelie Guerrieri

Aurelie Guerrieri is founder/CEO of Akila One

New leadership takes charge of Women in Wireless, a 10,000-member nonprofit organization that seeks to empower and develop women leaders in mobile and digital media.

Aurelie Guerrieri, founder/CEO of boutique online and mobile consultancy Akila One, and Emily McInerney, director of marketing at mobile app-tech and monetization specialist Tapjoy, have been elected co-presidents of Women in Wireless. They succeed Diana Epstein, senior account executive at cross-device targeting and attribution specialist Drawbridge, and Kristine van Dillen Newman, senior vice president for mobile engagement at communications and public relations agency Cohn & Wolfe.

“We are taking the reins at a crucial time for Women in Wireless,” Ms. Guerrieri said. “The organization has grown extraordinarily rapidly from a seed to a real structure that is now ready to deepen and expand its impact on women in the mobile and digital space worldwide.”

Spurring growth seems to be the dominant theme for the new leaders.
 
“Three years ago, Women in Wireless was a 500-member upstart,” Ms. McInerney said. “Today, we have 10,000 members and nine active chapters in the U.S. and abroad. I feel really proud to have contributed to such an amazing expansion. 

“This year, under Kristine Newman's and Diana Epstein's leadership, we have also achieved financial stability, and have rolled out many processed and toolkits that will serve as foundation as we further scale,” she said. 

Street cred
The presidential duo won enough votes based on their credentials and achievements to raise the profile of women in mobile.

As CEO of Akila One, Ms. Guerrieri works with CEOs of online and mobile companies such as LoopUp, Madison-Reed, SimplyHired, MobPartner and Udacity. 

Ms. Guerrieri spent the past 12 years building digital businesses. Most recently, she was executive vice president for corporate development and chief marketing officer of SendMe, a $100 million-plus mobile entertainment company. 

Previously, she was a vice president and general manager at QuinStreet, a $300 million-plus online marketing company, helping the company grow from 50 to 500 employees in her six years there. She started her career in strategy management consulting with McKinsey & Co.  

Ms. Guerrieri has been involved with Women In Wireless for more than three years. She drove global expansion by helping start every single Chapter of Women In Wireless, and then nurturing them into mature outposts. 

Each year, she organizes a global networking event that engages more than 1,000 women worldwide around the Women In Wireless mission. 

Ms. McInerney is director of marketing at mobile app-tech and monetization specialist Tapjoy where she is responsible for the oversight of product marketing, direct marketing, and corporate brand awareness with marketers and developers. 

Prior to Tapjoy, Ms. McInerney was international associate communications director for Universal McCann, where she helped the ad agency launch the Windows Phone and Windows 8 campaign from its Australian office. She started her career as an associate media planner at Organic Inc. 

Ms. McInerney graduated with a B.A. in political science and history from the University of California, Davis.  

In this joint interview, Ms. Guerrieri and Ms. McInerney took questions on the structure of Women in Wireless, their plans for the organization, women’s role in mobile and challenges ahead for the players in mobile. Please read on.

The dual-president structure is unusual. Why?
Ms. Guerrieri: Given its size, it's easy to forget Women in Wireless is a 100 percent volunteer-supported organization. The co-presidency ensures the maximum and smoothest coverage despite demands of high-profile jobs and full lives. 

Besides, I look forward to being able to bounce ideas off of my future co-president, and enrich Women in Wireless' strategy with a broader viewpoint.

Ms. McInerney: This structure is essential to Women in Wireless. It provides the opportunity for each individual to play to their strengths and to distribute the workload in order to create a more efficient organization so that we can scale and grow at speed. 

How do you interpret your mandate? 
Ms. Guerrieri: We are taking the reins at a crucial time for Women in Wireless. 

The organization has grown extraordinarily rapidly from a seed to a real structure that is now ready to deepen and expand its impact on women in the mobile and digital space worldwide. 

I believe our mandate is to define and implement a sustainable strategy for this deepening and expansion, while not losing sight of our values and what makes women connect with our mission.

Ms. McInerney: The leadership team has done a great job building a foundation and developing the organization, and now what we need to do is to ensure that we are truly educating and empowering women. 

We need to be able to do that in a way that can translate across multiple cities and countries. We want to embrace our mission and make sure that we are able to help women at all levels succeed.

What will you bring to the table that will complement each other?
Ms. Guerrieri: I have 12 years’ experience growing mobile and digital businesses, and my sweet spot is to take proven models and make them scale, and Women in Wireless is exactly at that stage now. 

In my three years involvement with Women in Wireless, I have been the lynchpin between local chapters, such as the one Emily was co-heading in San Francisco, and global leadership. 

So I am very excited to complement this strategic and business perspective with Emily's fresh operational experience close to our members. 

Emily and I also share a strong international bent, with experiences in different parts of the world, and I am looking forward to leveraging this towards Women in Wireless' global expansion.

Ms. McInerney: While my background is focused in the media agency and marketing world, I’ve found that my passion and strengths are based on activating people and strong communication skills. 

It has been wonderful to partner with Chelsea Walker to manage the San Francisco Women in Wireless chapter, and to see what is working and where we can quickly improve on the organization at large. 

I’m incredibly excited to partner with Aurelie, who has been so successful in helping businesses develop and grow strategically, which is essential to take Women in Wireless to the next level.

What milestones did Women in Wireless achieve this year?
Ms. Guerrieri: Three years ago, Women in Wireless was a 500-member upstart. Today, we have 10,000 members and nine active chapters in the U.S. and abroad. I feel really proud to have contributed to such an amazing expansion. 

This year, under Kristine Newman's and Diana Epstein's leadership, we have also achieved financial stability, and have rolled out many processed and toolkits that will serve as foundation as we further scale. 

Ms. McInerney: Along with the explosive growth we have had from a membership perspective, we have successfully partnered with many local networking groups to cross-promote and support each other in order to help professional women succeed.  

We have also expanded our Web site to support the local chapters thanks to the hard work from Alison Vacovec at Celtra, so we will be able to provide more information and content to our member base and engage more frequently on a local level. 

With social networking via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, how can associations maintain relevance for networking and career advancement?
Ms. Guerrieri: At Women in Wireless, we leverage digital social networks extraordinarily well. We are talking to an extraordinarily savvy audience. 

That being said, nothing replaces face-to-face interactions. 

Our members rave about our networking events where they meet other smart women and make friends, find business partners and new hires. They also love our educational and mentoring curriculum. 

Besides online networks, as an association, we also compete with the many trade groups events that pile on already-busy schedules of our members, so we have to remain needle-sharp relevant and innovative to continue attracting members. 

I think the growth and activity of our membership base shows our teams have done a fantastic job in this arena.

Ms. McInerney: We are fortunate because the members of Women in Wireless are incredibly talented, motivated, successful women who value the opportunity we provide to create more than just a network. 

We create a forum and an environment where women are able to support each other, find jobs and provide guidance to take their careers to the next level. 
 
How does the United States compare with the rest of the world in recruiting women to mobile?
Ms. Guerrieri: Interestingly, mobile is one area where many other countries have historically been more advanced than the U.S., until the iPhone launched. 

So we have a small crop of old timers around the world, and these women have adapted amazingly to new mobile technologies. 

In terms of recruitment, I would venture to guess that the divide stands around profession rather than geography. 

There is a dearth of women developers around the world, although some European countries are doing a much better job than us at graduating women in STEM, but in the mobile advertising industry, it is generally easier to start as a woman around the world, although it will be harder to progress.

Ms. McInerney: According to eMarketer, the U.S. spends 48 percent of the total worldwide mobile ad spend. This has created a massive opportunity for people, and especially women in the U.S. to more easily get involved in the mobile space. 

There are many opportunities that will continue to appear worldwide especially in the developing world for women with the proliferation of mobile globally in the next couple of years. 

Our plan is to increase our global presence for women as a resource to make it easier to find out about opportunities and connect with women around the world to share knowledge in order to succeed. 

What's the biggest challenge in mobile today that women are best suited to address?
Ms. McInerney: The biggest challenge and opportunity in mobile is that everything changes so fast. 

In order to innovate quickly and be successful, you need to have leadership at your company with feminine traits such as collaboration, transparency, inclusivity, flexibility and the ability to focus on long-term thinking. 

Women inherently showcase more feminine traits at work, so they have an advantage there but more and more men are understanding the importance and value of embracing these traits which helps the industry as a whole move forward.

What do you think will be the biggest opportunities and challenges in the year ahead?
Ms. Guerrieri: I love mobile as an industry, as it is always pushing the edge. However, there is a lot of hype and it's important not to get lost in the buzzwords. 

Take wearables, for example. I am a big believer in the technology. However, this year I think it will be critical that we start seeing use cases that are truly relevant for the masses, and not for a handful of us geeks. 

As an industry, mobile advertising is still nascent. I am very excited to see all the unique experiences that traditional advertisers, in particular, retailers, are going to be able to deliver to their consumers next year, now that many of them are moving beyond simple ad buys and into designing full mobile-driven experiences, merging the digital and the physical worlds.

And those two challenges and opportunities are particularly opportune for women to solve, as not only do they represent the majority of the target consumers and can [also] empathize with them. We need to encourage and support female entrepreneurship so they can go after these opportunities.

Ms. McInerney: In terms of mobile, I think the biggest challenge is the ability to measure and track the performance of your app or of your mobile campaign. 

Going beyond that, another difficult challenge is the ability for marketers and developers to actually understand what is important to measure and then how to optimize once you have that information. 

Consolidation is happening in the market right now with companies who are strong in analytics and companies who are strong in taking action – marketing automation, live ops, advertising – to create integrated solutions to help developers and marketers become smarter about how they are spending their time and resources. 

There is a huge opportunity here and I think we will see a lot of traction in that area in the next year.

Complete the sentence: My favorite mobile personality is …
Ms. Guerrieri: Xiaomi. The anticipation they create before a launch rivals Apple launches. I will be very interested to see if they can replicate their success abroad.

Ms. McInerney: Cuff. I’m expanding the definition of mobile a bit to include wearables, but I had the opportunity recently to meet Deepa Sood, CEO of Cuff, and I was impressed with the fact that she is creating a company and product that is helping people stay connected and safe while being able to live their lives and stay present.
Emily McInerney

Emily McInerney is director of marketing at Tapjoy

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Editor in Chief Mickey Alam Khan covers advertising agencies, associations, research and mobile marketing issues, as well as column submissions. Reach him at mickey@napean.com.

 
Related content: Associations, Aurelie Guerrieri, Akila One, Emily McInerney, Tapjoy, Women in Wireless, Diana Epstein, Drawbridge, Kristine van Dillen Newman, Soli, mobile advertising, mobile marketing, mobile commerce, mobile

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