Insights

Celebrating #WomenInTech at FreeWheel: Empowering the Next Generation of Women Leaders

Terra Mrkulic Social Media & Content Marketing Director

Our company has a long-standing commitment to supporting women in technology, as evidenced by the 34% of dynamic women engineers, product experts, sales leaders, services pros and marketers that comprise our global organization.  In celebration of Women’s History Month and today, International Day of the Woman, we honor this talented cast who are bound by their passion for our tech industry and the collective impact we have on powering the technology that drives growth and innovation across The New TV Ecosystem.

Having a gender diverse workforce isn’t about optics, it leads to better corporate performance, especially in the tech world. According to a report on gender equality in tech, Morgan Stanley found that “More gender equality, particularly in corporate settings, likely corresponds with increased productivity; greater innovation; higher employee retention and better risk management—all critical factors for improving a tech company’s odds of staying competitive.”

Three leaders at the heart of our company serve as catalysts to empower and elevate the next generation of women across our organization.

When FreeWheel was founded in 2007, fewer than 10% of tech founders were women. Our Co-Founder, Diane Yu, now CTO of the Comcast Cable Advertising Group, is truly an anomaly in the industry and the reason why many women have chosen FreeWheel over the years. When first building her teams, Diane says she felt that it was sufficient to simply treat women and men the same in the workplace. However, her perspective later evolved as she realized there’s more we can do to help women flourish within the organization by building office environments around the world in which a diverse group of employees can thrive and find success. FreeWheel’s products and solutions are stronger as a result of the diversity of people that build them. Today we are proud of the active support system between peers and FreeWheel’s family-friendly culture in offices around the globe.  As my friend and colleague Kathryn Doebler, Director, Product Operations recently shared, “FreeWheel is an amazing place to work. I really feel that FreeWheel is like a family—that’s a rare thing to find.”

Joy Baer, president, FreeWheel Advertisers (formerly Strata), is passionate about hiring and retaining a team of phenomenal women. “This is an excellent company on many levels with opportunities abound with FreeWheel and Comcast,” she shared. In fact, two leaders in Joy’s organization, Jeanette Williamson, VP, Client Account Services, and Joanne Miguel, VP, Product Strategy & Development, have been selected to participate in the Comcast Advertising Women in Leadership (WIL) program. This prestigious program is one of the premier events that Comcast sponsors to grow and enhance management skills among its top female leaders.

Not only is Joy enriching her teams with talented women, she is actively engaged with paving the way for future generations of women tech leaders through her support of several youth-focused organizations including TechGirlz. Last year she organized the first Chicago-based workshop for this group that aims to, “inspire middle school girls to explore the possibilities of technology to empower their future careers.” Her commitment to this organization has inspired us to make this an annual tradition.

As a student, Paige Bilins, SVP, Product Management, found math and science both interesting and easier than her more subjective liberal arts classes, so choosing a career in technology was an obvious choice. Today, she’s responsible for driving the product strategy and solutions that manage the end-to-end economics of the world’s leading media companies. “I have never worked with a stronger, more committed group of people and I don’t think I will ever find a more fulfilling place to work,” she says about her nearly eight-year tenure with FreeWheel. Paige’s advice for young women considering a role in tech is simple yet powerful, “Just because you are the only girl, doesn’t mean you aren’t the smartest person in the room.”

I recently surveyed my FreeWheel peers to get a deeper understanding of the global experience of FreeWheel women. Perhaps most illuminating: 93% responded they would recommend our company to a friend.  These inspiring results show that the foundations set in place by Diane, Joy, Paige and other leaders at the company continue to pay it forward for hundreds of women around the globe. The infographic below highlights some interesting insights about our women. Stay tuned all month as we showcase additional stories about our fabulous women in tech.

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