Are you a woman in NYC Tech and interested in participating in this series? Make sure to read the whole article…
Much has been said and written about the lack of women in the tech sector, be it as investors (or associates), founders, or in management positions at major companies. Is the problem the old boys network – or that success in technology is seen as a young man’s game? In this series, we speak with some of the top women in tech in New York as they discuss the challenges they face, the perceptions that need to be changed and the work that’s being done – or not – to help to promote women in tech.
Today we speak with the award winning marketer and CMO at Albert, Amy Inlow. Formerly the CMO at Tracx, Amy brought her talent to Albert and has successfully brought AI marketing to the forefront of the conversation while earning her company a spot on Deloitte’s Tech Fast 500 list, and a number of awards. Currently, Amy is working with 100+ brands and companies to make Albert possibly the most widely adopted business AI on the market. Active in the NYC Tech community, Amy seeks to lead by example as a women in tech and create a better tomorrow for everyone.
What’s your background and how did you develop your career as a female entrepreneur in the NYC tech ecosystem?
I’ve spent my entire career (over 20 years) in the technology sector as a marketing and communications professional. I’ve dabbled in different kinds of tech–from telecommunications, satellite communications and biotechnology to marketing and advertising technology, which is where I’ve spent the past eight years of my career. I’ve worked at agencies, established my own agency, and worked in-house at both start-ups and global, multi-billion dollar organizations.
I’m currently leading the marketing team at Albert (created by Adgorithms), a startup here in NYC, where I was employee number seven. I’m the highest ranking woman at Albert, and have played a large part in introducing AI to the business space as a whole.
In 2016, I was charged with getting our autonomous marketing platform to market ahead of our competitors (including Salesforce). I led an aggressive launch program in August 2016, when the market was still largely unfamiliar with the applications of AI in business, and in marketing specifically.
The NYC tech ecosystem has rapidly become a hotspot for innovation, yet was fairly apprehensive about what AI could actually do and if it would steal jobs from humans. So, before we could even get people to listen to anything about Albert, we had to go out and educate analysts, media and clients on what AI was and how it could be applied to marketing and advertising.
What are the advantages of being a woman in tech?
As a woman in tech, you are in the minority, which can be an unexpected advantage because it pushes you to work a little harder to prove yourself and change things. The good news is that you get to lead and drive that change. Women also have unique skills—as has been well studied and written about in almost every business publication. I’ll point to a 2016 Harvard Business Review study that found that companies that employ women in the C-Suite are more profitable. Having the opportunity to bring my unique perspective and skill set as a woman to an industry where women are in the minority—and witnessing first hand how we are changing the way this industry operates as a result—has been an amazing experience.
What can be done to further promote female entrepreneurs and women in tech in New York?
The VC community must recognize that women are a major asset and are delivering results. They should actively seek opportunities to invest in female-led organizations. This will set the stage for a shift in perspective and other industry players to take note. We also need to ensure that we are encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM and pushing employers to ensure diversity is core value of their businesses.
What is diversity to you and do you see it evolving in tech?
Diversity is not just gender based–it’s economic, social, educational, cultural, skills-based and more. The more we raise awareness about the benefits of diversity in the workforce, the more we’ll see it in tech. I do think tech companies tend to have diverse workforces, but women are dramatically underrepresented (TechCrunch reports only 30% of the tech workforce is female.) As the only female leader on the management team at Albert, I always try to make the team aware of the need to ensure we are bringing in different perspectives and skill sets onto our team, as diversity only serves to benefit us.
Why do you think it’s important that women retain, grow, and develop into senior roles within their organizations?
For me personally, it’s about creating change so that the world is better for future generations—and so that we as women have more personal freedom and opportunity than we do today. Companies who nurture women leaders are also more likely to grow, thrive and deliver shareholder value. The more women in the workforce who stay, grow and achieve leadership positions, the better it will be for all women—and all companies—down the road. Collectively we can break the old norms and create new ones that will allow us to utilize our unique skill sets and talents.
How do you see the future of teams and interactions in a diverse environment and what implications will this have?
I think a lot has changed in how teams interact because of technology. My company is diverse in many ways, the most obvious being that it was born in Israel and moved into the US market just 1.5 years ago.
On a practical, day-to-day level, the two teams work very closely together (two of my team members are based in Israel). Working cross-culturally and in different time zones is great in many ways – there’s already a ton of work completed or ready to review by the time I get in in the morning. Our New York team can get a leap on things because the Israeli team works on Sundays, while Fridays are generally quiet as they are offline. I’ve always worked for global companies, a few of which were based in other countries, and the only real issue I’ve encountered has sometimes been language barriers. But we’ve always acknowledged the benefits of the diverse cultures and experiences and how those differences help make us a better organization.
From a big-picture perspective, companies are microcosms of our society; so if we can learn to work within diverse environments within our day-to-day jobs, imagine how this could benefit our understanding of other people and cultures on a macro level.
How can women rise in the ecosystem and what are the unseen barriers?
Learn as much as you can and prove your value every step of the way. Insert yourself into meetings, projects and conversations where you feel you can add value, even if that’s outside of your comfort zone. Understand who all the players are, and, as a good friend advised me, “know which knife to use with which cheese.” Understanding the people who are around you and their perspectives and motivations can go along way towards helping you approach them and work with them.
As for unseen barriers, it’s easy to think that gender inequality is a thing of the past, but it’s so deeply ingrained (in all of us) that it sneaks up in unexpected ways on the day to day. Things that we’ve come to accept as normal are often revealed to have origins in gender bias when you look at them closely and evaluate them.
Please tell us about a few organizations that you are involved with or respect that are promoting women in tech.
I’m a new member of the Forrester B2B Marketing leadership board. Having a seat at the table on this Board gives me an opportunity to meet with and interact with other leaders in my space, both male and female. There are no gender biases on this board so it’s great for promoting female leaders and women in tech. I also collaborate with DMN (an industry trade news outlet), who does a lot to recognize female leaders, and specifically female marketers, many of whom are in technology.
What can men do to participate in this discussion?
Men can start by acknowledging that gender biases exist in the workplace as a whole, and within their own organizations, and can then work alongside us to change them. They can acknowledge the value that women in their organization bring to the table. They can look across their organizations, assess the diversity level, and put a plan in place to create a more diverse culture. I think we have to start by acknowledging when and where there is a problem though. If we can’t do that, there won’t be change.
The team at AlleyWatch believes it’s important to have an inclusive discussion around the challenges facing women in tech along with highlighting the work of the female entrepreneurs that have made NYC one of the best places for women in tech according to some recent studies. That’s why we are running this series that showcases women in tech in New York.
If you are a female founder in NYC working in tech and interested in participating in the series please visit this link or click on the image above.
Please feel free to pass this on to any women in NYC that you feel should be considered for the series. Thank you.