We spoke to our longtime friend of the firm and rising superstar Christiana Cacciapuoti, VP of Partnerships and Platform Operations at MadHive, a blockchain-based ad tech platform, and Executive Director of AdLedger, the blockchain consortium for digital media. We asked Christiana to reflect on her career thus far, and share with us any advice she has for those looking to advance in their own careers.
Is there a moment in your career that has defined where you are today?
The most defining moment in my career was actually an internship I had in college. My boss was this amazing woman (of course!) who spoke four different languages, was incredibly knowledgeable and was always on top of her game.
She saw something in me during our time together, and she said on my last day of the internship, “Wherever I am, whatever company I’m with when you graduate, I’m going to hire you.” That was such a poignant moment for me. The first person who sees something in you is so important. And she was true to her word; she hired me (two levels above entry level!) for my first job out of school (and my entrée into programmatic advertising!).
What challenges have you faced in your career?
As a young, female leader, I often find myself in meetings with leaders who are incredibly smart, but often surprised to see someone like me having a seat at the table.
I was recently at a meeting where several executives were joking about how “these millennials have never even seen a floppy disk.” It’s hard to hear that and then go into a meeting and sit across from that person without wondering, “If he doesn’t even think I know what a floppy disc is, how does he think I know enough to articulate my company’s value proposition?”.
Something as seemingly harmless as a joke can undermine your credibility and your confidence. I had to reverse engineer that mindset, and remind myself that I got to the same table that they did in half the time.
Any advice for someone looking to advance quickly in their career?
Be bold, and be vocal. Tell your supervisors what you want, and where you want to go next in your career. It’s easy to think that your supervisor is “too busy” to listen to you and your thoughts. They’re not!
I realized this most clearly when I got my first direct report. He learned the company, industry, and position so quickly, and I noticed that he was very diligent about letting me know what he needed in order to be successful. Since then, I’ve been very conscious of mirroring those behaviors more consistently in my own career.