Tell us about Odopod.

Odopod is a digital design agency in San Francisco, specifically in the super up and coming area of Hayes Valley. I think it’s relatively safe to say that we’re well respected within the industry

Founded 15 years ago by three friends (Jacquie Moss, Tim Barber, David Bliss) who had all majored in architecture together in Texas.

Tell us about your professional background.

Among the founders, Jacquie Moss, in particular, played a key part in my career development and success here at Odopod. She played many roles over the years from creative lead, executive producer, and managing director. Jacquie wasn’t timid or afraid to tell you how she felt, and it was often direct and uncensored feedback. Today, Jacquie often tells me that she learned a lot from me in my approach and demeanor with clients andemployees which takes me by surprise given how tough she could be at times, and because I have a tremendous amount of respect for her. She’s a good friend and mentor.

My personal background is varied. I have a degree in Art History and French and following college, spent several years in Portland working in Art Galleries and also started my own small business as a landscape designer for a while. Yes, I might prefer to be gardening. Moved to San Francisco over 13 years ago to pursue a career in digital. I knew it was the place to be, the thing to pursue. And I appreciated the ephemeral creative. My tenure in digital has almost been entirely at Odopod (Anniversary is 10 years in March) – there hasn’t been a reason to leave given the multiple opportunities and challenges that have been offered to me but I’ve certainly entertained offers. I’m passionate about the place. Continually engaged by our ability to stay relevant and innovative, pioneers in the community. The people are top notch, incredibly talented and smart, perfectionists, and incredibly organized and processed. It’s right up my alley. And in many ways I played a role in developing, and maintaining, the culture of Odopod, which has been essential to retention of top talent in the Bay Area.

What is Odopod’s history working with women in digital?

Like with any field that has seen financial success and progress, you’ll absolutely find a lack of diversity within Digital. Digital and advertising isn’t immune to prejudice even if we’re better at looking “cool” while doing it.

In particular, we seek and hire women who understand how digital fuels the future of design as well as the future of connected spaces. As leaders within the studio, women (and of course men, too) use design thinking to extract ideas from the team – and most importantly, put them into motion.

What is your perspective on diversity in the digital advertising business? Where has it been and where is it going?

The more women can be highlighted in their own right as successful individuals within digital, the more it will become irrelevant to highlight that their diversity is the thing of interest. We’ve made good headway supporting creative women in digital, but less around those leading in business and client services and those within tech. It is hard to find them but perhaps we’re not looking in the right place. I suspect it’s actually a perception that women in tech aren’t as qualified – that they’re “new” to the field and therefore not as viable or trusted. It’s unspoken but there. I love what Lesbians in Tech are doing to advocate, as one example of digital communities. Tech is the place to push and support

Are there more women seeking developer, design or leadership positions at digital shops?

It leans toward design and leadership. I love what SheSays is doing for the digital creative community. I’ve heard and read that women can be catty or competitive, that we’re all vying for the top positions that are available to us, but that hasn’t been my experience. And I won’t stand for or participate in that ridiculous perception. I go the extra mile to support the careers of women within my office.

What advice can you give women to advance their career in digital?

Let’s face it, women have to work harder. There’s a perception that we need to be tough and smart and responsive and good listeners all while balancing home, children and busy careers. The advice I give to women in digital is to not be afraid to demand what you deserve. Do your research, be confident, ask questions, look for challenges and don’t be afraid of criticism. And if you’re not getting the value that you truly deserve, and you can prove it, then come and work with me…I’m serious.

The best I can do at the moment is go the extra mile to support and find opportunities for women at Odopod and for new hires; advocate for them and push them to see their potential. I won’t do it for the sake of it. Like anyone they need to meet our high standards but I’ve seen when women get passed up because they might not be as available (due to family obligations or perception) for a seemingly qualified, male counterpart. Bullshit.