Insights

Before Anyone Else—Celebrating Women’s History Month with My TechBae

Sarah Foss SVP, Strategic Initiatives

It started over a glass of wine.  (Or two.)  Five of us gathered to catch-up and commiserate about the craziness of the industry, jobs, and life in generalWe had known each other—or in some cases had known of each other—for a very long time in the ad tech space. We had been colleagues, clients, partners, and vendors. When we paid the check that night, we realized that this small community we had cultivated was so rewarding and impactful that we wanted to bottle it up and sell it like the cabernet we had finished off. 

 

And thus, TechBae was created.   


B
ae, or the slang for “before all else,” represents what we found with each other—a support system for women in ad tech or media technology at all levels; and, after having participated in so many other groups previously, it was the technology part that bound us into similar situations more often than not.  With my fellow co-founders Brenda Salce-Garcia (Operative), Christina Villano (Spectrum Reach), Heather McCrea (Railroad19), and Seema Patel (Viacom)we’ve established our mission to advance equality by creating meaningful connections and developing opportunities for women across all levels within the atech & media landscape.  

 

TechBae
From Left to Right: Kerel Cooper, Seema Patel, Brenda Salce-Garcia, Keisha Sutton-James, Dennis Colon, Christina Villano, James Heighington, Lindsey Sheffield, Maria Weaver, Heather McCrea and Sarah Foss

 

 We believe in the power of a curated, informal network of women to promote empowerment and advocacy. TechBae creates opportunities for seasoned and junior professionals to meet at events centered around thought-provoking content.  We pride ourselves on having each event highlight authenticity and expertise—with a sprinkle of camaraderie and fun! (Makes personal and professional development much more engaging!) 

 

And not to brag, but we’re slaying it. In just one year we’ve:  

 

  • Hosted women from over 50+ organizations at TechBae events from companies such asFreeWheel, Comcast, NBCU, AT&T, Charter, Disney, Fox, Google, MediaOcean, Operative, SAS, & ViacomCBS. 
  • Held six events in NYC and a pop-up at NAB covering major topics in our industry like managing change, inclusion in the workforce, and building personal brand. 

 

Here in our second year, we recognize the importance of planning something special for Women’s History MonthWe’re celebrating the women that have positively impacted us every day. We kicked off the month by sharing our stories of the women who came before us who broke down barriers, created opportunities to lift us up, and showed how essential amazing female role models are. We’re engaging in various online forums to connect with fellow TechBae’s stories as well. It’s an important recognition of the incredible, indelible, and awesome women that each of us have known.  Please join in the conversation with us on LinkedInFacebook, and Instagram 

 

TechBae Cofounders: Sarah Foss (FreeWheel), Heather McCrea (Railroad19), Brenda Salce-Garcia (Operative), Christina Villano (Spectrum Reach), Seema Patel (Viacom)

 

I’m fortunate to be working at FreeWheel—which values diversity and inclusion as part of our core foundation. We talk about it, measure it, and embody it across our daily activities. The support that the company has provided from the start has been fantastic, whether hosting TechBae events in collaboration with the FreeWheel Women Group or providing organizational expertise. Special shout-out to my FreeWheel and Comcast Advertising colleagues who have participated in TechBae panel conversations in such meaningful ways: Kelly Perone, Effectv’s VP of product; Maria Weaver, Comcast Advertising’s CMO; and Misha Williams, VP of global services, FreeWheel.  Amongst other panelists, they’ve demonstrated the candor, experience and grace that makes TechBae—and FreeWheel—so amazing.

 

 

Panelists from a recent TechBae event hosted by FreeWheel: Misha Williams (Freewheel), Dina Weisberger (Google), Wendy Lee (Disney/Fox), Jamie Calundruccio (formerly Xander), Kelly Perone (Effectv, a Comcast Company)

 

And, while our purpose is to advance women—we appreciate our male colleagues too!  Men are invited to select events to network, participate, and be inspired 

 

I never considered myself an activist, but TechBae has already changed my life.  Whether with my mentees, my peers, or our panelists, it’s been an authentic way to connect in meaningful ways. I love that my daughter hears and sees me working on this labor of love.  I want her to see that surrounding myself with supportive, purposeful, passionate friends and colleagues is not only something worthy of my time and energy but also an amazing feeling.  If I could, I’d bottle-up and sell TechBae for everyone!   

For more information and details about upcoming events, email adtechbae@gmail.com.