Industry Profile: GumGum director of operations APAC Annie Berntson

22 October 2019

Our Industry Profile takes a 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.

This week we speak to GumGum director of operations APAC Annie Berntson.

Time in current role/time at the company:
Close to six months in the role and just over three years with the company.

How would you describe what the company does?
GumGum is an AI company with deep expertise in computer vision and natural language processing. We use our proprietary technology to scan images and videos across multiple platforms and then place contextually relevant ads where users are most likely to see them. Say you’re looking at a health and beauty page and there’s ad editorial image of a woman with long brunette hair – we could server an ad for a specialist brunette conditioner.

What do you do day-to-day?
It’s a fast-paced role where I work closely with clients, sellers, engineers, creative, ad ops and account managers, not just in Australia, but in Japan and the US. My goal is to ensure operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Define your job in one word:
Dynamic.

I got into adtech because:
I had some friends in the digital space so was able to get a sneak peek as to what it involved. I instantly became fascinated by the rate of change in the industry. This made it incredibly exciting and is what makes it an ideal work environment for me. It’s certainly never boring and I love it. In addition, I feel I fit well into business such as GumGum, where you have to understand all parts of the business, rather than being pigeonholed into one area.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Even though working on a global level is an amazing perk with my role, the geography of being based on a big island in the Pacific and the time zone differences between here and Asia, UK, New York and California, can be tricky at times!

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Gender and salary equality.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
NinthDecimal in NYC and Nine Entertainment Co in Sydney.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
I haven’t really had one main mentor through the years, but Sarah Di Mento who I worked with during my first period with Nine Entertainment Co, was a great source of information and inspiration. I have also learnt so much from my current manager Travis ONeil and GumGum CEO Phil Schraeder – they are both so talented, motivating and have always been such great support - even from afar!

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Work hard, try to learn as much as possible and be vocal about your ambitions.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Running a yoga studio with a focus on nutrition.

My mantra is:
Life is short. You will never regret traveling. And step outside of that comfort zone if it feels right!

My favourite advert is:
Being a patriotic expat from Sweden, I love Ikea’s ThisAbles ad. It’s so clever and heart-warming.

Music and TV streaming habits:
Spotify, Netflix and a meditation app.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I am from Gränna, a tiny town in Sweden where candy canes “polkagrisar” originate from. Naturally, my first job was indeed in the candy cane sector.

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