Industry Profile: AppNexus account director Erica Blakslee

By AdNews | 12 December 2017
Erica Blakslee

Our Industry Profile takes a weekly look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

Last week we met Integral Ad Science sales director in Australia and New Zealand, Jessica Miles, today we meet Sydney-based AppNexus account director Erica Blakslee.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Two years

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

AppNexus is an internet technology company that powers the real-time sale and purchase of digital advertising.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?

I help independent publishers monetise their inventory, which enables them to craft compelling creative content that their audiences love.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

AppNexus has made incredible strides both in product development and business partnerships. We’ve secured premium publishers globally as technology partners, delivered significant innovation on the buy-side, and led many industry initiatives as the one truly independent full stack platform. It’s inspiring to play a part in a thriving business that continues to stay true to its core values.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

For me personally, the collaboration with our partners who are equally passionate about building a better internet is incredibly rewarding. We work hard together to solve some of the industry’s biggest challenges and have a lot of fun along the way.

Previous industry related (ad land/ad tech) companies you have worked at:

I started out in the media planning team at Foote, Cone and Belding (a San Francisco agency giant back then), then moved publisher sales side with Fox Interactive Media (remember MySpace?), and helped to establish Criteo in Australia.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?

I’ve been fortunate to work amongst the pioneers of the ad technology space for over six years now, and can’t see myself being satisfied anywhere less dynamic.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

This topic is gaining momentum but still isn’t as widely acknowledged as it needs to be: there is still not enough gender diversity in ad tech. Technology companies are starting to address the imbalance, but change is slow and hard-won.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

My inner nerd does exist! I won a state science fair in 6th grade by exploring whether significant energy could be harnessed from exercise machines being used at gyms.

Top networking tip:

Take time to genuinely connect and interact with people around your common interests. Some of my dearest friends and career influences grew out of this closeness with clients and co-workers.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

The Butler in Potts Point. Even after 10 years living in Sydney, I’m still in awe of the beauty of the city skyline…while enjoying a cocktail from their balcony.

My favourite advert is:

“Not happy, Jan” from that old Yellow Pages ad. I never saw it air on live TV, but thanks to being introduced by Aussie friends, that line is now a go-to in my sarcasm repertoir.

My must-have gadget is:

Fitbit. A good step day benefits both me and my dog, Amber.

My favourite media is:

I’m still partial to the experience of cracking into a book (the old-fashioned, paper kind…note my Kindle didn’t make the “must-have gadget”).

My favourite TV show is:

I’m currently enjoying the cleverness of The Good Place on Netflix. Kristen Bell is hilarious, and I dream of the day we can be friends.

The last book I read:

I’m nearly finished with “Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less” by the women’s opportunity advovate, Tiffany Dufu. She was an inspiring speaker at this year’s AppNexus Women’s Leadership Forum, and I started her book the next day.

My mantra / philosophy is:

Follow the road less travelled. Even when it’s more difficult, it’s also more rewarding.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

After getting a marketing degree, an ad agency seemed like the best place to continue learning and build a career. I wanted to draw inspiration from passionate and creative people, but it took a few years to realise I could have that and also release my inner (science fair) nerd working by in ad tech.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

Travelling the world in the big red Land Cruiser my husband and I restored, pausing to lend a hand with the education of girls in remote communities.

In five years' time I'll be:

Still side-by-side with independent publishers, improving their ad-supported funding of quality journalism, and spending time with friends and family at my Jervis Bay getaway shack (which might just be almost renovated by then!).

Define your job in one word:

Guide

What's your poison:

I’ve never met a Mexican beer I didn’t like.

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