Wearing many hats in a role is not uncommon these days, especially in the tech world. Kerel Cooper, SVP of Global Marketing knows this first hand and is taking it in stride. Along with overseeing the Marketing team at LiveIntent, hosting a podcast, and being a father of two, Kerel manages to speak at many panels/events. He is even helping to bring Diversity and Inclusion to the forefront at LiveIntent by helping to lead the charge of our newest group, Belonging, Inclusion, and Diversity with Intent (BID with Intent).
If you want to learn more about Kerel’s journey and how he manages to juggle all of these different things, keep reading this edition of Meet a LiveIntenter.
What led you to LiveIntent?
Prior to LiveIntent, I had spent the majority of my career at content publishers leading Ad Operations teams. I was at the point in my career where I was looking for a change and a new challenge. At that time, I was also a client of LiveIntent. So I was very familiar with the company, people and products. LiveIntent presented that change and challenge that I was looking for in a number of different ways. For example: moving from content publisher to tech partner and career change from Ad Ops to Account Management (at the time). Furthermore, the uniqueness of the email space and the ability to help publishers from a different perspective was very interesting to me.
What drove you to start your podcast “Minority Report Podcast?” Can you give us some more details regarding the podcast?
In March 2018, my buddy Erik Requidan called me with an idea. The idea was to create a platform where underrepresented groups within advertising and marketing could tell their story. A platform where we can get to know people on a more personal and human level. A place for people to talk about their upbringing, cultural background, discuss how they got into advertising and marketing, thoughts on diversity and inclusion in our space and provide advice to anyone looking to enter our space. I immediately thought the idea was really cool and much needed.
Erik then asked me if I wanted to partner up with him on the idea. Which of course I said YES! We have since turned that idea into Minority Report Podcast which highlights people of color, diverse backgrounds, women & LGBTQ community within media, ad tech, advertising and marketing.
The feedback from people within our industry has been great. I am having a lot of fun doing the podcast. We have really interesting conversations that have given me a chance to get to know people on a different level.
Any advice for people of diverse backgrounds and how to break into the marketing/advertising industry?
I recently wrote some commentary that is published on MediaPost answering this question. Ad Operations is where I got my start in this industry. It’s where I learned real foundational skills which I’ve built my career on. This includes managing campaigns, learning the different yield optimization tactics and understanding the nuances of campaign performance. This is also where I learned networking skills and how to build professional relationships by working cross-functionally with people of varying responsibilities, skills and personalities. The foundation I built in Ad Operations has helped me throughout my career and continues to help me today while I lead our Marketing team. So my advice for people of diverse backgrounds on how to break into the industry is to give Ad Operations a shot.
Tips for professionals in fostering a diverse workplace?
I believe there are so many different things an individual can do. To that point I think it’s important for everyone to remember that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is not just for one particular group. It’s for everyone to get involved. That’s the only way to make the greatest impact. So no matter how big or small you effort is, it’s critical that you just do something. With the said, here are are a few tips to consider:
Bonds are built after hours
Socializing and getting to know your co-workers outside of the daily office grind is a great way to break down barriers and walls that have been built up due to unconscious biases which we all have.
Be vigilant even when it’s uncomfortable
Be careful with what you say, the jokes you make could be hurtful. Also, if you hear other people say something inappropriate it’s your duty to speak up and don’t let that pass without being address. Especially if you are a senior leader.
Make sure your panel is diverse
I do a lot of speaking at various industry conferences and events. Honestly, the only time when my panels are diverse is when the topic is diversity. This needs to change. I think if you are invited to be on a panel or speak at an event, one of the qualifications you should demand is a level of diversity.
Take people under your wing who might not otherwise get the chance. Step out of your comfort zone and provide guidance and support to someone who is different than you.
Put your money where your mouth is
All companies in our industry spend some level of money on really dumb things. Take some of those dollars and put towards a good cause related to diversity, workforce pipeline, etc… Do one less rooftop party. Instead invest in something productive because it’s the right thing to do.
Always hold yourself accountable as an individual. At the same time employees need to hold their company accountable as well. Look at your hiring practices and ask are we consistently getting a diverse pool of candidates? Is the makeup of the hiring committee diverse? How are the diversity numbers changing over time? Is there fair pay across the board for women and people of color?
What are you doing at LiveIntent to help with diversity initiatives?
My experience with Minority Report Podcast has created a passion within me to do more at LiveIntent. I’ve been speaking a lot at industry events to help do my part to bring awareness and action to Diversity and Inclusion. This has been a great way for me to network with others and share experiences.
I am in the process of working with others internally at LiveIntent to form a group that will be focused on instilling diversity, a sense of belonging, and empowerment into LiveIntent’s culture, core values, and vision. As a senior leader at LiveIntent and SVP of Marketing, we are using some resources to go towards closing the gap of access to STEM education for underprivileged youth. Specifically, we are working with Mouse.org.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned from your kids lately?
This is a fascinating one…I think my kids are my main focus group and case study for the latest in technology and marketing. My oldest daughter (currently 10) hates commercials. What’s interesting is the only time she pays attention to commercials is either Christmas or Birthday time. And that’s because she is looking for ideas on what to tell her mom and I what to get her. It’s also really interesting in watching how my kids consume content and communicate. TV = Netflix to my oldest daughter. And her main way of communicating with her friends is Google Hangout and Snap. My youngest daughter (currently 2) is super interested in voice. She is constantly trying to direct Alexa to play music.
What do you enjoy most about engaging in speaking opportunities?
I look at my speaking opportunities as a chance to sharing my experiences, start a conversation learning from others. So I really enjoy the networking aspect of it and my ability to represent LiveIntent in the marketplace.
We know you love cycling, what’s your favorite biking memory?
My LiveIntent co-workers (former and present) are the reason I got into cycling. One of my fav memories was representing LiveIntent in the Five Boro Bike Tour a couple years ago. I always enjoy riding with my LiveIntent fam!
Interested in working at LiveIntent? Check out our open positions here!