For Amber’s new Women In Tech interview series, we speak with female thought leaders from around the world to hear their experience growing a career in tech and to get their advice on overcoming challenges and adversity during their career.
For this week’s interview, we caught up with Amanda Dorenberg, Chief Mar-Tech Officer at Centrys, to talk diversity and advice on how to build a career in blockchain.
Can you tell us a little about what you do and what a typical day looks like for you?
I’m the Chief Marketing Technology Officer for a blockchain development and consultation start-up, Centrys Inc. Since being founded in 2018 Centrys has emerged as a leader in the development of innovative technology solutions with a focus on the future of blockchain.
Being a start-up there isn’t really a “typical” day – we all wear multiple hats. I would say that on any given day you can find me working with our CEO on business strategy, developing unique marketing tactics that take the complexity of blockchain technology and simplifies it into something more accessible for the general public, working with our development team on the products and solutions we are building, attending client and vendor meetings, and speaking at conferences and events. I would say the most consistent part of my day to day is continually expanding my knowledge in new blockchain use-cases and in being an influencer in the wider adoption of blockchain technology.
To be perfectly honest, I kind of stumbled into a career in tech. Growing up I was always a bit of a nerdy overachiever, by the time I turned 16 I had graduated high school and moved out of my parents’ house. Having to pay for living expenses and college on my own at a young age, I decided to review college enrolment information for the highest paying jobs post-graduation. This research led me to enrol for a degree in Computer Programming and Systems Analysis.
After graduating I developed a profound interest in technology within the advertising sector which motivated me to enrol for a bachelor’s in Marketing, Media and Communications. I graduated with my BA at 21 and went on to get a job as an ‘Innovation Manager’ for a traditional media company. I worked to bring things like Augmented Reality into print advertising via embedding QR type scanning capabilities that allow brands to hide scannable codes in images like vehicles, skin care products, etc. Following this experience, I quickly moved into the online advertising space, working with national and international brands to develop digital advertising strategies to gain consumer insights and customer acquisition.
After gaining more hands-on experience in ad-tech, I then moved to a public company to focus on disruptive marketing tactics. Shortly after starting, the company sold off their Canadian assets and a new start-up was formed. During this time, I was responsible for both creating the new brand aesthetic and story for the company as well as overseeing all I.T. infrastructure development in order to break the new start-up away from its former parent company’s proprietary systems. This included implementing full end-to-end cloud infrastructure and ERP/CRM solutions to facilitate the success of the business. Again, I found myself keen to continue learning and exploring technology in various ways and with the agility of quick decision makers in a start-up environment, I was able to expand their business line with a new mobile advertising offering. Leveraging my prior experience in digital/online advertising techniques we were able to become the first company in Canada to successfully execute the layering of a new mobile ad-tech with a traditional outdoor media offering.
It was this experience that really brought me fully into the ad-tech world and quickly had me moving to another new start-up. Here I was immersed in mobile data, analytics and understanding how the digital/online market had evolved with regards to audience targeting. I was consumed with a need to understand and explore new approaches to ingesting and analyzing varying data sources to allow for use in other, more traditional media formats. I was able to work with a team of brilliant data scientists, mathematicians and developers to build out a first-to-market (Canada) audience profiling platform which ingested mobile application data such as geospatial analytics, usage patterns, home/origin details, patterns of movement etc. which was aggregated via algorithms to ensure anonymity of individuals. Simultaneously I was working with a couple of talented programmatic platforms to integrate programmatic advertising solutions to the digital out-of-home ad space. Both start-up companies sold to publicly traded companies for >$100m. I went from spending close to 10 years in ad-tech to the widely debated blockchain industry and I couldn’t be more pleased with what I have experienced and learned thus far.
Many women in the tech industry have felt their gender has affected the way they are treated in the workplace and industry. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How did you handle it?
I personally have not experienced any negativity in the workplace or industry as a result of being female, quite the opposite in fact. In my experience being a woman in tech has come with its advantages, there seems to be more opportunity for me to engage at conferences, panels and interviews, which for me is great because I can illustrate that gender has no bearing on talent.
I can certainly empathise with those women who have experienced negativity, however in my opinion, women in technology have a clear advantage to gain exposure. We already stand out as it is a male dominated industry, so let’s utilize this differentiator to showcase our personal skills and ability and let our knowledge speak for itself.
Stay focused on your goals and inspire others by speaking about this amazing industry of technology we get to work in. This is a fascinating time in tech and I think everyone, men and women alike, who work in the space should strive to illustrate the great advantages technology can bring to society and not focus too much on gender.
I think being a female leader in technology provides the opportunity to inspire others and to have an effect on both individual and organisational success. Being part of the technology industry means we get to contribute to the evolution of how people and businesses function using technology. There’s something incredibly rewarding about knowing the products we make or services and solutions we offer will have a lasting effect on someone’s day to day activity or a business’s efficiency.
What advice would you give to a woman starting her career in the tech industry? Is there any advice you wish you had known at the start of your career?
I would suggest to anyone looking to start a career in tech to find your inner confidence and do what you love, ignore the noise or potential negativity and just focus on learning as much as possible. Technology is an extremely competitive and fluid space, it’s always changing, so stay on top of emerging technology trends, competitors, new start-ups and tech influencers. Contribute to the industry by becoming a voice of positivity and insight, a thought leader, and someone who takes pride in leading by example.