International Women’s Day 2020: Wisdom From the Incredible Women of Taboola

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Ask any company if they have the best employees, and they’re bound to say yes, so bear with our bias as we declare that we house some of the most talented, hardworking, and inspirational women in the tech industry (and—mega bias—the world).

Every day, across all departments, the brilliant minds of these women come together to help our advertisers find continued success, our publishers fuel quality journalism, and to keep the engine of Taboola running full steam ahead.

Today, and every day, we want to take a moment to highlight a few of them, and grab a few words of wisdom that anyone can carry with them in their careers and in life.

We asked a randomly selected handful of women at Taboola:

  • Who or what has inspired you the most in your career?
  • What’s one piece of advice you would share with a woman just getting started in your field?
  • What’s one thing you would tell your younger self?

Without further ado, meet just a few of the aforementioned women (there are many more at the company, too!) who make Taboola what it is.

Keren Corsia, Scale & Big Data Infrastructure Engineer

“My inspiration is knowing that it may be hard to fail, but failing is always better than never trying at all.

To women just getting started in my field, I say work hard! Explore and investigate things deeply. Be curious and eager to learn. Do not be afraid to ask questions and raise concerns. Dream big and remember: everything you dream you can achieve.

I would tell my younger self to smile and not to worry—everything will be OK :).”

Ran Tanaka, Marketing Specialist

“My mom has been an inspiration for my career. She has been a career-oriented woman for pretty much all of her life and was able to break through many barriers to get where she is today. She is currently a Director at a Japanese automotive parts company based in Bangkok. My mom is my role model and I want to be strong, intelligent, and driven like her.

My advice for a woman getting started in my field would be to always be kind and patient. Things won’t always go as planned, but that’s okay because it’s part of life. My advice is to hang in there, don’t ever be afraid to ask questions, be proactive, and don’t give up!
I would tell my younger self not to hold back, to live life, and to have fun!

I’ve spent too much time worrying. Now, I realize that life is short and what’s important is to just always surround yourself with good people.”

Casey Feinberg, Enterprise Publisher Account Manager

“The woman who has inspired me the most in my career has been my mom. She has always been a woman who has encouraged taking risks and failing because with failure comes new opportunities, knowledge and growth. There is no such thing as ‘too much knowledge’ and the more you know, the better resource you are to the people around you.

One piece of advice I would give to a woman just getting started is to take risks, challenge yourself and learn from your mistakes. Everyone loves their comfort zone, and straying away from it can be a daunting and scary task.

I encourage women who are just getting started in this field to embrace the discomfort. Do things that go beyond your job description.

Challenge yourself and speak up if something doesn’t make sense. Remember that it is okay to fall, as long as you fall forward.
One thing I would tell my younger self would be to not stress so much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in challenges that may or may not be in your control.

I would tell younger Casey to take a deep breath, remember that a challenge is just a hill that you will eventually get over and utilize the people around you for help/additional resources. There’s no reason why anyone should ever feel alone!”

Nneka Okoli, Growth Manager, US Media Sales

“I would say my biggest career inspiration is Oprah. I really admire the way she continuously inspires and uplifts women (and men) across the world by telling her story. I think it takes a lot of courage to be able to put yourself out there in the world and discuss the uncomfortable topics such as weight, child abuse, love, spirituality, etc.

While Oprah may not be in the digital advertising business, I think there is a lot we can learn from the way she has created an entertainment empire. I am constantly fascinated by women who dominate in a primarily male business.

From the Oprah Magazine, to the Oprah Winfrey Network, and to the latest (and my favorite iteration) the Super Soul Sunday podcast and interview series. In business, it’s common for people to think there has to be a “winner” and a “loser.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Oprah, it’s that you can create a wonderfully successful business without any losers at all. There are so many other women who inspire me—Mary Dillon, Rosanna Durruth, and Brooke Devard to name a few. But when it comes to overall impact, Oprah is my number one.

To someone just getting started, I would say to slow down and enjoy the climb.

My first internship was at a start-up fashion company designed with shapewear inside its garments. It catered to older women 40+ and only carried business and formal wear.

I spent my days cold calling and cold emailing boutiques, presenting the brand at numerous trade shows, and executing the brand’s social media strategy. I was one of three employees and made approximately $500 for 3 months of work.

None of my career opportunities after that would have been possible without my humble beginning. So don’t worry if what you’re doing now isn’t glamorous—it will pay off one day! To my younger self: Root yourself deeply in community.

My best opportunities have all come from a friend, or a friend of a friend. So lift your head up and look around! You can’t figure it all out by yourself, and you weren’t meant to. Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can.”

Susie Meloro, IT Administrator

“The women I have met in the technology field have been the most inspiring in my career. They are all, in their own ways, shaping and improving not only the specific fields but also those who work with them. It’s really inspiring to see that on a daily basis.

My one piece of advice to women entering into the technology field is to find female mentors.Mentors are great at not only helping with navigating a career path but also the challenges that come with being the only woman in a room most of the time.

Advice from someone who has been through what I may be experiencing for the first time is invaluable.
I would tell my younger self to remember the phrase ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys.’ I find it easy to try and take on fixing every issue and problem and not taking a step back to remember that not all things are mine to take on. It’s ok to say ‘no’ and set those boundaries. It goes a long way to managing expectations as well.”

Rocio Rodriguez, Media Sales Team Lead

“I have always been inspired by women who with effort and passion have reached the highest position within an organization, and particularly those with whom I have had the opportunity to collaborate at some point in my career. But the woman who inspired me the most to grow, to seize opportunities and to never settle, was my Mother.

To someone just getting started in my field, I would tell them to be curious, be interested in knowing more and never stop learning. Consider all the members of your team as your teachers, since we can always learn something from everyone, so be humble and thank them.

And most importantly, never be afraid and think that you will not be able to reach your professional goals. Fear can be the biggest obstacle to success.

For my younger self, I would say to not miss opportunities, to think big and to not be afraid. Do not think that others are more than you. You are big, powerful, capable, and you have qualities that make you unique.

Pay attention to your intuition in moments of doubt. Your wise part is never wrong. Accept yourself as you are, show confidence in yourself and you will see how a world of great opportunities will open immediately in front of you.”

Rachel Hellewell, Media Sales Planner

“In my career, I’ve been most inspired by my parents! They are both very hard workers and from a young age I’ve always looked up to their careers. They taught me that nothing comes easy and if you really want something you have to work for it.

To someone just getting started in my field, I would say to be creative! Don’t see the job description as a be all end all. Push yourself to reach out to other teams, side projects that have not been asked upon you, and get creative with your job duties. Starting out in a new field can be scary and I know I wasn’t exactly sure what I was good at; so don’t be afraid to do your job differently than the last. Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses.

I would tell my younger self ‘don’t be afraid to mess up’! Everybody is constantly learning so don’t feel dumb for asking questions––it’ll only help you in the future. Find really good mentors to look up to and help you when you have questions.”

Fernanda Sene, Publisher Account Manager

“I’ve been inspired by many people during my career. And mostly what these people have is the capability of creating and cultivating strong relationships, which is a characteristic that I admire a lot and consider very important to succeed in any field.

To a woman just getting started in my field, I would say to not let anyone think you are less than a man. And most importantly, don’t ever think you are less than a man. I would also tell them to never compare your beginning to anyone else’s middle.

I would definitely tell younger myself to breathe, be more patient and to have a strategy. To summarize that, I would say to myself ‘Fernanda, think before you act’.”

Meaghan Coffey, Product Marketing Manager

“I reported to a groundbreaking COO straight out of college, and she was surrounded by equally rockstar women. I’ll never forget walking into that first team meeting of my career, looking around a table of ~15 VPs+ where 1) women were the majority, and 2) all were genuinely interested in helping me contribute and learn the ropes.

When I think of the end state of my career, I don’t think of a title—I think of the kind of table I’d want to be at, and ways I can pay it forward. It’s one just like that. I credit that team with setting up a foundation I pull from daily.

To a woman getting started in my field, I would say that mentors are so important—you’ll never learn enough about your industry, your market value, skill development, and your own strengths and weaknesses without them. But advocates are way more rare, and essential—someone who recognizes your talent, values your voice, builds your confidence. They don’t just find a space for you, they help you make a space for yourself. Find yours, and be one for others.
To my younger self, I would say: Trust your instincts.”

Shivani Pant, Publisher Account Manager

“In my career, passion inspires me. It’s infectious and contagious. Whenever I meet someone truly passionate about something, which doesn’t necessarily have to be their work, their energy and excitement fills me up.

This energy continues to inspire me for months. These people are inspiring without even knowing it, and that’s the true beauty of it. One such constant in my life who has stirred up that inspiration in me is my mother and her pursuit to never stop learning, even at the age of 60. Having seen that drive to learn more and the happiness it brings to her is something that has inspired me on many occasions.

I would tell a woman getting started in my field, as I’m learning more every single day, that getting out of your comfort zone is probably the best thing you can do to make that magic happen. Thailand was never a place on my radar. It was two years ago that I decided to move to Bangkok without ever having visited this country and it has been one of the best decisions I ever made.

Take as many risks—calculated risks—as you can. Do more of it every opportunity you get. You might not always succeed, but the reward (if not short term, then definitely long term) is usually greater than the risk. Those setbacks will only build resilience. Last but not the least, never stop learning.

To my younger self, I would say to follow through! Follow through on that idea that popped in your head and you couldn’t sleep that night because you were so excited.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve had because of that one idea that was going to change what I was doing. Don’t just let the excitement die out. Something that took your sleep away is worth at least one shot.”

Dar Cohen, R&D Ops

“I have been privileged to work with many great and professional people, they are my inspiration. I try to pay attention and embrace the good skills I recognize in people around me.

One of the best ways to improve is to get feedback, but people will not always share their feedback with you.

My tip for a woman just getting started is to be active and ask for feedback. Choose colleagues you trust and catch them after a challenging meeting / presentation / project, and ask them for feedback. It might be hard for them at the beginning, but in your next interaction they will know you strive to improve and share their thoughts with you. You might be surprised at how much you can improve, and you will also get a deeper connection with your coworkers.

To my younger self, I would say trust yourself and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.”

Keep these words with you

To all the women at Taboola and beyond making a difference every day at work, at home, and in the world, we appreciate you. We hope you’ll walk away from reading this feeling inspired, and that you’ll keep these pieces of advice in your pocket for whenever you need them.

Take time today to think about what motivates you in your career, the advice you’d give to someone getting started, and the advice you’d give to your past self. And, of course, take time to appreciate the women in your life!

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