An occasion to celebrate progress or to renew a call for action? On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Pauline and Sherry, two women in senior positions at Criteo reflect on evolutions they have seen in their careers and challenges that remain.
What’s important to you about gender equality?
Pauline: There’s really no single answer. It’s important to continue to raise awareness and move in the right direction. I don’t really look to personal development books or blogs. It’s role models that work for me, both following them and, hopefully, being one.
Sherry: Over 20 years in sales, retail and management, I’ve developed a particular passion about the challenges faced by mothers. There comes a point when many of us realize that we can’t be everything all the time to everyone. We have to learn to live with that and I want to help empower other women in making that journey.
Why have an International Women’s Day?
Pauline: In reality, every day should be women’s day. But, it’s good to have one day during the year to take time to think about where we are and how far we still need to go. I like this year’s theme, “Choose to Challenge.” It’s important to remind women of the importance of speaking out.
Sherry: It’s a time to reflect and for women to learn from each other. Too often, I think women focus on completing tasks first, then making connections second. It’s a day to remind ourselves to take time to make those connections.
Pauline: 15 years ago, I think it was looked at as a day for feminists. It’s a sign of progress that it’s become a day that’s natural to us all.
What are some ways you’ve found to support other women?
Sherry: I have lots of women on my team and I try to encourage two-way conversations and learning from each other. And, to help them to take the next leap and pursue their dreams, whatever they are.
Pauline: I also underline that we need to be aware of the diversity we bring as women and to be confident that it helps our company to move on and move forward.
How is Criteo doing?
Pauline: We need to raise awareness but we’re at a good stage with a commitment truly shared by everyone. You see it in women’s representation in Criteo’s leadership with women holding key positions (Chairwoman, CEO, CFO – this is exceptional in the tech industry). Also, our recent policies show how the company is committed to making a difference, like extending parental leave to both parents.
Sherry: Megan has brought diversity and inclusion to the conversation. Awareness is also about being patient with each other as we’re changing and evolving. It’s important to being willing to learn and grow.
Where do we need to go from here?
Sherry: I’d like to see even more women in leadership roles. We’re at 30% today and progressing. What can we do to accelerate? Also, finding solutions to address the challenges of balancing professional and maternal responsibilities. As we start traveling again, for example, what should that look like?
Pauline: Continue to increase awareness. I think covid has actually contributed to increasing recognition of the mental load that the mother often carries. Also, increasing mindfulness about unconscious bias, including for women. I know what it’s like to be the only woman in the room. Our instinct may be to want to make everyone happy, to volunteer to be the one that takes notes or runs the PowerPoint. It’s not always easy to gently but firmly push back against this but being mindful is a good first step.
Pauline, VP Finance and FP&A (Paris-based)
Sherry, Managing Director, Retail Media, Americas ( Los Angeles-based)