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Women in Business: Meet Rae McKellar

Posted by Rae McKellar |

After Elena Gulotta, we leave the floor to another dynamic Woman in Business: Rae McKellar! From building up Criteo’s Marketing Enablement team to becoming a local ambassador of the Women@Criteo community, discover her inspiring journey!

It is so nice to have Rae!
For starters, could we talk a bit about your background and current job at Criteo?

Sure! I work as Senior Program Manager in the Marketing Operations team. I lead the Marketing Enablement team, where our main goal is to set up the other marketing teams for success.

I have been at Criteo for around 5 years now, and I started out as a project manager and worked my way around a few roles to where I am now.

How exactly do you set other teams up for success?

We make sure they have the tools and knowledge or process or best practice to be able to thrive in their own roles. We act as the glue between different areas of expertise. Whether this is managing projects directly or supporting business change and improvements. We also make sure they have the information they need to be able to make informed decisions and that they receive training on our tools, systems, or processes.

We know it takes a village to reach our goals, so helping to bring everyone together can be so impactful.

In a way, you empower people from within so they can deliver better customer experiences later, right?

Exactly this. Though we rarely have direct interactions with customers and partners ourselves, we are supporting those who do. We still need to understand who they are and what their challenges are. We also need to keep an eye on what new things are happening in the industry – both to understand the landscape, but also to better support our stakeholders within Marketing and Communications.

The team itself is quite new, it didn’t really exist as a separate function before.

Did you build up this team?

Yes. The team has been in place for just over a year now. I had noticed a gap in the department that was causing some frustration. We were hiring, we had a huge amount of education to do with our new arrivals, and some of our processes were old or forgotten. Additionally, the teams couldn’t always get to the reporting they needed to track success. At times it could be a little chaotic and less efficient.

We needed to evolve and have people in place whose job it was to do this. You quite often see Sales Enablement teams in organizations, but rarely a Marketing Enablement function and we needed it.

So, I wrote a proposal, worked out the costs and benefits and pitched it to the Marketing Leadership Team. And it was approved. I hired a small new team of amazing people, and we haven’t looked back.

How was it to build a team from the ground up?

I had done similar before in a previous role, so I knew the necessary skillset and attitude to work on a team like this.

The role requires generalists, with outstanding communications and collaboration skills. You also need to be able absorb a lot of information, know how to bring consensus to a group and to manage individual needs against the wider business needs, you must be able to understand to some level of detail how the specialists work, but across each area or team you work with. It can be tough!

It took time for the team to be fully operational. I also had to transition from being an individual contributor to having a team of 4, which was challenging.

Is being a manager something you enjoy?

I love it when teams come together, and collaboration becomes seamless. Especially within my own team. I also love seeing someone reach their full potential. I had some great managers in the past who mentored me through some of the earlier stages of my career and I will never forget how they helped bring me up. I hope to do the same for others where I can.

What would you say makes a good manager, in your opinion?

To me, a good manager listens first and talks second. If you care for your people, and know what is happening in their lives, career goals, and personal dreams, you'll create the right conditions for team spirit and success. A good deal of empathy always helps.

My role as a manager is to build my people's confidence so they trust themselves and dare to try.

Working in a business change role in a fast-paced industry; Is it something you find stimulating or overwhelming from time to time?

That's a good question! And it can get overwhelming, just from the volume of information you have to absorb and process and understand how it will impact what the teams are trying to achieve.

You must constantly adapt, be organized, and communicate. But when everything is moving like clockwork, or you have a roadblock to navigate, and you manage to do it – that is exciting. You get a real sense of achievement.

How do you unwind from such responsibilities?

What works for me is disconnection. Once I am done with my workday, I don’t check my Slack messages, I turn my phone notifications off and try to avoid my screen even for personal things. I'd rather go outside and get some fresh air. I am lucky enough to live in beautiful Barcelona so there is always something inspiring to see or do.

You are an active member of our Women at Criteo Community. Could you tell us a bit more about it?

It all started with the pandemic. We suddenly went from going to the office every day to being full time working from home. I missed meeting new people and working with teams outside of my own.

I’ve always been passionate about gender equality (obviously being a woman!) and so joined the Woman@Criteo community as a local ambassador.

We use different channels to raise awareness and promote gender equity across Criteo; We run events, and organize meetups, informational webinars, roundtables, networking, and help raise money for local women’s charities. Through this project, I have met such wonderful, inspiring women through the community, and we hope little by little we can make a difference.

Thank you so much for your time, Rae. Could we perhaps conclude with three things you like most about your job?

The company culture is top of the list! We are encouraged to be our authentic selves at work and to be human. Our women's community at Criteo gives me a sense of stability and belonging. And, last but not least, it has to be the people! They are smart, kind, driven, respectful, and a lot of fun!

Here’s another Women in Business story to discover: Women in Business: Meet Elena Gulotta

Rae McKellar

Senior Manager Marketing Enablement

The Future is Yours.

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