It’s been awhile but we’re back with another installment of our Women to Watch series and this time we’re highlighting Senior Partnerships Manager, Cara Feeney! What makes this post extra-special is the fact that Cara was named a Cynopsis Rising Star! The Rising Star award is given to individuals under 30 that show extreme potential and dedication in their field. At Innovid, we’ve always known that Cara is a star; the rest of the world is just catching up ;)
We sat with Cara and talked a bit about her contributions in the video marketing universe, advice she’d give her younger self, and how she feels about being a badass woman in the tech industry. Check it out below!
Hey Cara! We’re really excited for you to win this award! How did it feel to find out that you won?
This seems like a trick question. During this process I’ve seen how humble I can be, to the point of debilitation, toeing the line of self-deprecating. It forced me to look at where I began this journey, just how far I’ve come, and where I want to go. Aside from the tremendous acknowledgement I’ve felt from both Cynopsis and Innovid, I’ve purposefully decided to embrace the award as something I deserve.
For sure. Feeling unworthy of recognition is a really common issue for many working women, but it’s great that you made that connection and feel confident in accepting an award that you clearly deserve! I’ve got a follow up question that relates, but first I want to ask about how you got into the advertising/tech industry, was it something you were always interested in or did you just happen to stumble into it?
Innovid was my first experience in both advertising and tech. Previously, I worked in fashion for a large company, but realized early in my career that I wanted to explore other fields and opportunities. If we’re being honest, the advertising industry has always intrigued me--I just always thought if I were going to join it I would be on the creative side of things. I hadn’t given tech much consideration, but can honestly say I’m glad I did. While I would still love to dip my toes into the creative side one day, I love my job and the fact that every day I learn something new and exciting about the tech that powers advertising and the planets biggest brands. Here’s a little pipe dream I have: building a social brand surrounding technology and maybe even promoting women in tech.
That’s great, and leads me perfectly to my next question – I think that for the most part, its commonly accepted that advertising AND tech are notorious boys clubs. Understandably you haven’t had the longest career – I mean, you did just win an award for being an UNDER 30 RISING STAR, but in your experience, have you felt like being a woman has put you at a disadvantage or limited your advancement?
Funny you should ask. I recently attended a wedding in Jamaica and was asked the same question by a woman who is studying to be a doctor--a field some people still consider to be “male-dominated”. Mind you I was floating in a pool on cloud 9, but I took a step back, tilted my head and thought, “No”. I’ve been judged on my work and on my contribution to growing the business. Have I seen a large portion of male management figures as well as perhaps a few more males in the development side in my 2.5 years? Yes. Have I been made to feel singled-out as a woman? No. Instead, I have been promoted – not just in title, but in exposure and respect, and made to feel valued, not as a woman, but as a contributing member of a growing company and industry. In addition, what does interest me is how we can encourage more young girls to explore the tech industry. Not because it would balance out the quotas, but because there are brilliant female minds out there who can have a positive impact on the technology world.
Totally, I agree. We’re really lucky at Innovid that we have a pretty equal ratio of men to women, including women in executive leadership, and there have even been times the women outnumbered the men! Alright, if you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
20 years younger: “you weren’t going to be a gold-medal gymnast, so it’s OK your mom stopped taking you to lessons.”
15 years younger: “keep writing, your life will revolve around it.”
10 years younger: “Focus on what you have, figure out what you really need, then work for what you want.”
5 years younger: “Work hard, but embrace the journey. There’s not one person who hasn’t struggled to understand every step of their life.”
I love that. Such great advice. It really does change as you get older! So, what do you love most about your job? The least?
I love that I am constantly challenged to understand new concepts. Whether it’s listening to our CTO talk about technology that isn’t even a thing yet or learning how to better communicate complicated tech to clients, I am always surprised by the difference I see in myself after each day ends. What I love least is probably the amount of snacks that taunt me every day in the kitchen.
Girl, I couldn’t agree more, those snacks are dangerous. In regards to challenges within the tech industry, what do you think is the biggest obstacle in tech/advertising?
Especially in tech, the biggest obstacle seems to be the unknown; whatever that may be. Whether it is making sure your clients are educated enough to understand the value you present or the general fickle nature of technology and the internet, taming the unknown of this field will continue to challenge every person in it for the foreseeable future. If we are going to overcome this we must continue to educate ourselves on the latest and most innovative solutions while constantly challenging ourselves to understand the various areas of this industry.
What’s beautiful about the marriage between tech and advertising is the freedom that comes with it. We should never take for granted the open-nature of the internet and what innovation we have at our fingertips with technology.
Aside from the usual things (family, friends, work) what is something you are passionate about?
Comedy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be involved in comedy; whether it was dreaming about writing for SNL, practicing stand-up as I clean my apartment, or spitting out a joke during a brief silence in a meeting. There are a few unfinished pages of books and episodes sitting somewhere in my bedroom waiting to be finished and maybe see the light of the same TV screens I serve ads to now.
Alright, lets end with something fun. Who would play you in the movie of your life, why?
What I hope people would say: Amanda Seifried, Malin Akerman, Kristen Wiig, Elizabeth Banks, Kate Bosworth.
What I know people would say: Amy Schumer