Its Diversity and
Inclusion Efforts Globally By
PubMatic is a technology company that powers digital advertising transactions. It has 548 employees spanning 14 global offices.
As Chief Marketing Officer Johanna Bauman explained, ad tech is a “fast-paced, ever-changing” industry. To thrive in that type of environment, innovation is a must.
“Enabling and welcoming diversity of thought, diversity of experience, and different perspectives will really allow us to be a much more innovative company,” Johanna said. “That will be a major competitive advantage for PubMatic.”
But like many other ad tech companies, PubMatic faced a daunting challenge.
“I feel very comfortable as a senior member of this organization handing the reins over to Love because I trust her with our employee experience, with our culture, and with our company.” Lorrie Dougherty, SVP Human Resources
“The Ad Tech Industry is Very Homogenous.”
The technology sector—and ad tech in particular—has been
called out over the years as being homogenous. “Not only is the ad tech sector heavily Asian and heavily white, but it’s also
heavily male,” said Lorrie Dougherty, Senior Vice President of
Global Human Resources.
Having a homogenous workforce has presented challenges for PubMatic. It has affected the company’s ability to acquire top talent and make the most of its current talent.
In 2017, PubMatic committed to creating a workforce that is
diverse, inclusive, and equal. One piece of that commitment was inclusive hiring.
“We are very prescriptive about creating a diverse candidate pool and sourcing diverse candidates,” Lorrie said.
“We train managers and teams how to facilitate unbiased,
inclusive interviews.” On the back of those efforts, racial
diversity has grown, and more women have joined the company.
A data-driven company through and through, numbers inform
PubMatic’s approach to everything. Diversity and inclusion is no exception.
“We’ve analyzed and reported on our D+I efforts and metrics
since 2017,” Johanna said. Reports highlight racial and gender representation plus programs implemented to improve representation.
“We noticed there were still some apparent gaps in representation.”
While keeping a close eye on its global D+I statistics, PubMatic unearthed a problem.
“We’ve noticed that there are still some apparent gaps in
representation among our workforce,” Johanna said, “including the need for greater representation of minority identities and females at
all levels, including in senior leadership.”
2020’s difficult sociopolitical climate made taking swift action a must.
“The violent acts of systemic racism that happened last year with the death of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and everything that we were seeing, our employees were reacting to that,” Lorrie explained. “We felt the need to do more than we already were.”
Ivanna Herbert, Associate Manager of Human Resources, noted
that employees wanted to see PubMatic take more action:
“When it comes to diversity and inclusion, they wanted a space where they could feel safe and speak about any issues that they
“Being inclusive takes work, and we needed outside partnership in that.”
Lorrie pointed out that while PubMatic has committed to being diverse for a long time, inclusivity takes work. And they needed an expert outside partner to support the work they were doing.
“We needed outside partnership specifically when it came to rolling out unconscious bias training, and specifically when it comes to rolling out training regarding how to be better allies,” Lorrie explained.
She added: “There was always a will here, just we were lacking the knowledge we needed to be able to get there.”
Lorrie challenged Ivanna with finding the right DEI partner.
“Ivanna is so passionate about diversity, inclusion, and equity, and I trust her implicitly,” Lorrie explained. “So I said, ‘I’m going to allow you to make this choice. This is part of your career development here as a woman of color. This is what you want to focus on, now find the best resource for you to partner with, to make this the best company we can be.’”
“We wanted to bring long-term and systemic change to our company."
Ivanna discovered Unsiloed in a crowdsourced document shared among HR professionals. In the sea of names was Love Odih Kumuyi—Unsiloed’s founder.
After interviewing many consultants, she chose to partner with Unsiloed because of the firm’s approach.
“We wanted to make sure as a company that whatever work we were doing, it would not just be an immediate reaction, but really bring long-term and systemic change to our company,” Ivanna said. “What I appreciated about Unsiloed’s approach was that it was short-term, but it was also long-term.”
Ivanna felt that Love really heard all the things she said in their initial meeting. She listened and came back with an approach and an action document that was a great fit.
“The way our company works is extremely fast-paced,” Ivanna said. “I think that all of us probably came in with the approach of we’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that.’
But with Love, she’s really guided us in the sense that we’ve understood that what we’re doing right now is such important work, and it is cultural transformation and that’s not going to happen from one day to the next.”
“We've been focused on really building a foundation.”
With Unsiloed’s support, PubMatic put systems and structures
in place: a foundation. First, they stood up a DEI council
consisting of 13 employees including Ivanna, Lorrie, and
Johanna. Each council member leads a working group of a larger council of over 40 members.
The Up the Ladder working group is tackling the issue of gender equality.
“As we looked at our data, we said, ‘Why aren’t women
progressing as quickly as men in the organization to leadership positions?’ We’ve done a lot of work to bring women into the organization, but now what?” Lorrie said.
Now PubMatic will pilot a program for future female leaders to help influence retention and increase diversity at the top levels of the organization.
Unsiloed helped PubMatic uncover processes and programs that would work well with their organization and culture. But instead of micromanaging execution, Unsiloed left room for interpretation.
“They have not dictated how we need to structure our efforts,” Johanna said. “That has really been employee-led, which means that it is kind of true to who we are as a culture and as a company—and that allows us to sustain the efforts over the long term.”
“The team was really wonderful to work with. ”
PubMatic has done unconscious bias training for hiring managers in the past. But as Johanna noted, Unsiloed’s approach was different and “more impactful.”
Employees asked for a safe space where they could speak about issues that they were having. And through Unsiloed’s Courageous Conversations, PubMatic answered their ask.
“Love is extremely knowledgeable in her field, but her passion and her enthusiasm, and her love and her dedication, it’s very apparent in all she does,” Ivanna said. “Even in our first Courageous Conversations, we had a lot of feedback. ‘Hey, Love was great. The team was really wonderful to work with.’”
Because of time zone differences, employees in India had to participate late at night. As Ivanna explained, they still left the session feeling energized and uplifted: “Folks in India were writing to me at two in the morning: ‘We just finished up with Love and it was so wonderful!’”
“Unsiloed’s approach was different. ”
As Lorrie explained, she’s worked with consultants in the past and their approach was always the same: “I have all the answers. I can fix everything. Do what I do, and you’ll be fine.”
“There’s a natural tendency to be a little mistrustful of bringing outside facilitators in,” Lorrie said. “I think the stance of most employees is, well, who are you to tell me what to do? You don’t know my experience. You don’t know this company. You don’t know how we work.”
That’s not Love’s approach.
“She listens. She guides you to your best you. She guides you to your best company. And that’s why I think our employees feel comfortable working with her, and the different working groups within the D+I committee feel very comfortable with her,” Lorrie said.
“There were companies that failed miserably in creating safe spaces.”
Recently, PubMatic rolled out allyship training to all employees.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Lorrie said. “When we first started thinking about creating safe spaces and enabling employees to come together and talk about the way they were feeling, we were a little nervous. It was intimidating.”
The PubMatic team didn’t have to go it alone. As Lorrie
explained, “Love stepped in and said, ‘I’ve got this. There is a way to do this that is inclusive … where everyone will feel represented,’
Johanna pointed out that the concept of being an ally is not something new. We talk about it as a society all the time. But “it’s not often really explained in a tangible way.”
“The Unsiloed team with Love gave really tangible tips and takeaways that we can use in our everyday lives. And so it became a much more useful kind of actionable training rather than any other allyship conversations I’ve been a part of,” Johanna said.
“She’s guided us through the process, which has been invaluable.”
HR teams need allies throughout the organization to bring about sustained change. Lorrie hopes that as employees go through allyship training, they will learn to listen more and speak up more.
“We can’t address something unless we know about it,” Lorrie said.
Another part of PubMatic’s diversity initiative is supporting BIPOC and minority-owned businesses. “We are doing that
every time,” Lorrie explained. “HR is doing it, marketing is doing it. We’re looking to shift our procurement dollars to
minority-owned businesses. And I think that’s a way of creating socioeconomic change outside of your company.”
PubMatic has partnered with Unsiloed since the summer of 2020. For everyone, the relationship has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We really believe that what is measurable is actionable,” Lorrie said. “And these numbers and these changes over time have really led to a much more inclusive and prescriptive and
measurable diversity and inclusion action plan, and Unsiloed is a big part of that right now.”
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