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This is one way of being heard.

Thoughts on communication from senior techie Sarah O’Connor

Every Friday for the next five weeks, we’re going to be highlighting remarkable women in the startup and tech scene. In this first installment, we get the requisite Sheryl Sandberg reference out of the way as quickly as possible.

When Lean In, the women-in-the-workplace tome from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was published in March, it received a lot of well-deserved attention.

For the inevitable sequel, Sandberg might want to consider the title Speak Up.

When Sarah O’Connor was promoted to the management team at New York’s adMarketplace, she was the only woman in the room. That meant getting a bit loud.

“I used to speak rather aggressively when I wanted to be heard,” O’Connor admitted. “But after a couple years in a senior role… I had proven myself and could gain their attention by just being myself.”

As Vice President of Platform Optimization at adMarketplace, a search syndication advertising network, O’Connor uses her background in computer science to oversee both the client ad optimization team as well as the product development team.

“Going into college, I had no idea if I would be any good at CS,” O’Connor told us. “Thankfully, I was good at math, because if you’re not comfortable with math, most women tend to default to more traditional things like communications, marketing, and PR. But for me, it’s really cool to learn and work with all these other guys who have amazing tech experience.”

O’Connor’s advice to women in tech? “If you go up against other guys in meetings, you’ve gotta be prepared ahead of time and you can’t back down.”

Now go forth (and turn it up a notch).

Nitty Gritty:

1987: Year the MARRS acid house single Pump Up the Volumewas released

1990: Year the Christian Slater classic Pump Up the Volume was released

a*b*h: Formula to find the volume of a rectangular prism



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