Women in Business Q&A: Claudia Page, VP of Partner & Product Development, dailymotion

11/29/2017 06:04 am ET

Claudia Page is VP of Partner & Product Development at dailymotion, the leading destination for online video discovery. In this role, she serves as head of the Vivendi-owned company’s partner-facing products, product owners, marketing and engineers responsible for the relaunch of dailymotion’s partner experience and streaming, distribution and monetization tools.

A 13-year veteran in the advertising, technology and publishing world, Page is passionate about launching and scaling digital marketplaces and consumer web products. Prior to dailymotion, Page served as VP of Platform Growth and Creator Partnerships at Crowdtap, a leading influencer marketing and marketing intelligence platform. While at Crowdtap, she oversaw the evolution of Crowdtap’s expert influencer program and platform, bringing to fruition a new model that combined software and services to pair qualified content creators with the world's leading brands, such as Target, McDonald's and Absolut.

Before Crowdtap, Page was the first hire at Sulia.com, a subject-based social network (with 30MM monthly unique visitors) that raised over 11M in venture capital and monetized via an influencer marketplace and native sponsored ads. As Head of Product, she worked to connect leading publishers and brands with social influencers across Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Sulia's own platform to drive trusted endorsements, authentic sharing and engaged audiences back to their properties. She also grew relationships with brands and publishers, delivering strategic, integrated social media campaigns on Sulia and beyond.

Before Sulia, Page was an early employee on the product team at Gerson Lehrman Group, the world's largest professional learning platform that pairs leading professionals with independent subject-matter professionals.

A frequently published thought leader, Page has contributed her industry perspectives to publications like Adweek, iMedia, MediaPost, Social Media Week and more. In 2016 she was named to DM News’ prestigious ‘40 Under 40’ list.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

I was raised by two very ambitious, self-made people who taught me the value of hard work and instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in me from a very young age. Both of my parents traveled significantly, so we were always moving around. Without a true “home base” for some of my earlier years, I learned to embrace diverse cultures and cities that I could make my own. I still have that same passion for exploring new places.

My mother, a serial entrepreneur, was an especially significant influence on my own career--especially as she started and scaled several successful companies in the 1990s. My mother is also exceptionally creative, and she used her knack for finding unique solutions to complex problems to pioneer new ventures.

I parroted my mother’s work habits as a kid. I guess you can say I caught the bug early. As a pre-teen I helped her run the operations of her businesses outside of my schoolwork. On my own, I always had projects in rotation, and I loved tackling problems from a business perspective. At one point, my high school was having an issue with graffiti on campus, so I pitched the idea of a project that would allow students to express themselves within parameters. I also remember buying up vintage jeans all over town, upcycling them, and then reselling them to my classmates. This was before the days of Etsy, so everything was analog.

While many of my classmates were drawn to one or two specific passions (sports, art, dance, etc.), I was always drawn to a diverse and ever-shifting set of interests. I was curious about learning about different subjects, and I loved using creativity to solve big challenges.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at dailymotion?

My passion for tackling complex problems has been the connecting thread in my career thus far. It’s brought me to a lot of startups and growth-stage companies—places where there isn’t a defined blueprint for achieving the mission. I love operating in an environment where part of my job is to define and, ultimately, execute on a new strategic plan of which I’ve played a significant role in setting.

More specifically, I’ve been an early employee at a then-tiny startup (Sulia), and I’ve also held positions working with fortune 50 global brands (Crowdtap) and at global brands, such as my current post at dailymotion.

The current big challenge I’m helping to solve at dailymotion has to do with the ever-growing complexity of the digital publishing world. Publishers and creators are looking for new ways to reach and engage audiences at-scale. On the flip side, consumers express increasingly high standards when it comes to the content they choose to consume.

Of course, the third piece of this puzzle is the advertiser, who wants to ensure their brand messages are appearing in a brand-safe environment. From a technological standpoint, I’ve always been drawn to opportunities that allow me to help build an entirely new product or evolve a product to a new state. Clearly, I’m no fan of inertia!

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at dailymotion?

Since joining dailymotion, I come to work consistently inspired by the people that surround me. I lead a diverse team of engineers, product experts, technologists and marketers across several markets who are all aligned in our mission to build the single best destination for premium video content discovery on the web.

Together, we’re building a new paradigm for video—and, as you might expect, building something new isn’t possible without some elbow grease. Like any technology team, we face obstacles and challenges. The thing I love about this group, however, is the bounce-back and unparalleled support from Vivendi Group. We always learn from our challenges and emerge better for experiencing them.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?

As an industry, we need to prioritize action over conversation. Conversations about tough issues like gender equality are helpful, but those conversations need to be accompanied by action. We need to be more proactive. One way to do this is by providing strong mentorship and guidance earlier on in the career path.

For young women, a piece of advice I find myself sharing time and time again is to stop looking at job descriptions as road blocks. Studies show that women are more likely than men to read a job description and question their ability to be successful in that role. We need to keep in mind that job descriptions are fluid, and being 100 percent qualified for every bullet point is not the only way to find career success. Feel confident that even if you’re not a perfect match across every single line item, you can still help drive impact at a company and compete for that role.

To that end, young women should never be afraid to sell themselves and their ideas to prospective employers. Don’t be afraid to fail. There’s an art to testing your hypothesis and gathering feedback in order to validate or quickly pivot from your initial idea. The chaos of a startup (even mature companies and their products) breeds opportunity if you have the right attitude to take on the challenges that come with it.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?

Transparency and optimism will take you far. As an individual contributor or manager, it’s important to lead with positivity and be, as I like to say, painfully transparent, but also pragmatic with your approach. You should believe success is achievable, but also develop a game-plan for reaching your goals and hold yourself accountable along the way.

I’ve chosen to work at so many companies that are amid periods of rapid growth and change during my time there, which meant that things were not often templated and the path to success was not always clear. I love these kinds of challenges. I think you can look at these situations with pessimism, seeing only roadblocks and confusion—or, you can charge through the challenges and carve out your own strategy and pathway to success. I’ve learned that these circumstances are some of the most fulfilling I have encountered.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

I don’t think there a single formula for success that works for everyone. However, as a mother, wife and leader at a fast-growing business, I’ve learned to stop being afraid to ask for help. If you need support (at the office or at home), speak up. Businesses that help their employees with childcare cost or offer ways to make childcare more affordable, are really on to something. I am also fortunate to have a wonderful support structure from my husband, my mom, and the close friends and people around me who always have my back.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?

I’ve never set out to be a mentor, and I never asked anyone specifically to be my mentor. Instead, I focused on surfacing opportunities to learn by taking on the jobs, projects or tasks that others didn’t want. This allowed me to work with and learn from some incredibly accomplished professionals. With this approach in mind, I also learned to recognize other women like me and help mentor them by providing them with opportunities to go above and beyond the job description. I believe quite passionately that the single best way to promote more equality and gender diversity in the workplace—especially in tech—is to invest in educating and guiding women early in the careers, thereby putting them on the right track so that five, 10, 15 years down the line they are more than ready to assume the leadership positions they are qualified for.

Building on this, I feel a great deal of responsibility for doing my part in this grooming process and I know that many other senior women in leadership positions can relate to this sentiment. While it’s crucial to have important conversations on issues like gender diversity, it’s perhaps even more important for those of us in a position to educate the next generation to take action and raise our hands as mentors.

Which other leaders do you admire and why?

When I was a young girl and a teenager, I was curious and I had a diverse set of interests; that meant I didn’t always fit in. My husband has teased that I am a “myriad of contradictions,” and my career path has been unconventional too.

Gerson Lehrman Group was my first job I had where I really took the reins of the career. We were pioneering an entirely new industry; however, it was hard to get noticed. Everyone around me came from a storied media, finance or technology background. I had to work twice as hard as everyone to get opportunities to advance, but when I did, I met and worked with some incredible people. For example, Jonathan Glick, (Head of Product Development and Technology for The New York Times, CEO at Sulia) and Michael Rose (President and GM at Everyday Health, SVP of Products at GLG) are mentorship templates in their openness to share wisdom and provide actionable coaching to those around them.

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