Young Guns: The Trade Desk trading specialist Greer Lester

By AdNews | 6 July 2017
Trade Desk trading specialist Greer Lester

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

For our last Young Gun, we spoke to Ikon junior data scientist Annabelle Powell.

This time we chat to The Trade Desk trading specialist Greer Lester.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

I started at The Trade Desk in Sydney, direct from the world of finance. I was employee number three here. 

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

I was working in economic modeling and forecasting at one of the 'big four' banks in Sydney. The natural path was to then move into financial markets trading but luckily enough, the new world of media trading caught my eye in the form of an analyst position advertised on LinkedIn with The Trade Desk. I was intrigued to see that my experience and skills could be applied outside of finance so I took a chance and applied. I was excited to learn during my interview that this was to be the third member of the team and the prospect of making that level of impact in a new business became a big draw, especially coming from a large bank.

Define your job in one word:


What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

My background in finance meant I had little expectation of the digital media and advertising industry however, I did expect to see rapid changes and growth due to the industry still being in its infancy. Here is a cliché for you – Programmatic is like the stock market for ads on the internet.

How does the reality match up? 

The digital media and programmatic advertising industry is on the frontline of changes in the global marketing industry. New technologies, opportunities and buying mechanisms, intense competition, mixed with the demand for truly strategic thinking requires a commitment to learning something new everyday. In that environment, having a good culture is vital, and I think we have nailed that at The Trade Desk.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

The Trade Desk is an omnichannel demand side platform. We are an independent programmatic advertising company that provides the technology that powers media agencies, to run digital advertising on audio, video, native, mobile and display campaigns. A major element of my job is to educate clients on being the best traders in the Australian market by analysing and optimising data to reach and influence their audiences at every stage of their buyer journey.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

The ad tech industry is fast paced and constantly changing. At The Trade Desk we believe we’re only 2% done as a company as we envisage all advertising will eventually be traded programmatically.

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

Starting at The Trade Desk less than six months after it had opened in the Sydney market meant I had a lot to learn, very quickly. It was tough to begin with, but rewarding. The biggest lesson is that team work helps you find the best solutions.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

Account management/sales. I like the focus on client service.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

Being at the forefront of the industry; seeing it evolve and grow, particularly in the Australian market. I have witnessed new programmatic channels introduced onto our platform such as native and audio advertising.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

Walled gardens. Programmatic is a new concept to so many advertisers and because of this they’re not immediately aware of the limitations that can be posed by walled gardens. There is a misplaced trust given the lack of transparency, where trusted industry third parties are not in place to validate their metrics.

Who's your right hand person/who guides you day to day?

Lauren McPherson, one of our senior account managers. She is a wealth of knowledge on The Trade Desk platform and programmatic industry.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

David Godfrey, our director of trading, has a huge amount of passion for the industry and has taught me a lot. He is extremely humble and doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is trait that I want to embody throughout my career.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

Leading a team of passionate and hungry traders and helping The Trade Desk expand its product suite specific to the Australian/New Zealand market.

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

Demand side platforms working directly with brands. At The Trade Desk we believe that agencies will always play a pivotal role with managing brand marketing dollars. Agencies have the expertise, experience and power of negotiation with a vast range of vendors.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Talking to colleagues, family and friends. I also love listening to podcasts; hearing about the experiences in life and business of people around the world is inspirational.

Psst. AdNews has a podcast

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

I used to compete nationally in dance aerobics.

Favourite advert is:

The CBA Kaching app advertisement is quite funny.

What’s your personal motto?

Always make work a fun place to be. Don’t be afraid to look foolish in front of others for a laugh.

I got into the industry because:

I got into ad tech because it’s still an exciting, emerging industry that is experiencing constant change and growth.

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

Travelling the world. I love travelling and I still have so many places left to visit. Next on my list is Cuba.

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