Breaking the Mold with a Smile: Yolanda Evans, the Culture Queen of Ad Tech

Yolanda Evans, Chief People & Culture Officer at Mediavine, stands as a beacon in the ad tech industry, a testament to the power of resilience, empathy, and an unwavering commitment to inclusion.

In the dynamic landscape of ad tech, a world where technology and media collide with culture and diversity, one name stands out: Yolanda Evans.

As the Chief People & Culture Officer at Mediavine, she’s not a hidden figure in the industry; she’s transforming it, championing diversity, equity, and inclusion with a blend of wisdom and warmth.

The Origin Story: More Than a Resume

Evans’ story isn’t your typical corporate climb; it’s a narrative woven with personal challenges and triumphs. Reflecting on her early motherhood, she shares, “I became a mom early, and it kind of changed my direction. But this was my calling.” 

A relentless work ethic and a knack for empathetic leadership shaped her early days in the workforce. Juggling motherhood and career, she learned the art of resilience. Her experience across various industries, from insurance to tech, isn’t just about career progression; it’s a testament to her adaptability and drive.

The empathy that sprouted from her early motherhood now thrums at the core of her leadership style. “It made me comfortable with communicating at a very young age.

People can tell I care about what I’m saying,” Evans shares, emphasizing the importance of genuine connection and understanding in leading a diverse and dynamic workforce.  Effective communication is 60% listening, and that’s why Evans prides herself on being a listener first, adapting her leadership style to meet others where they are.

All in all, these experiences sculpted a leader who’s not just about strategy but about understanding and caring for the people behind the numbers.

Diving into Tech: A Quest for Speed and Impact

Leaving behind the slower-paced worlds of insurance and other sectors, Evans plunged into tech, drawn by its dynamism and potential for impact. “I like for things to be moving fast around me,” she remarks, encapsulating her zest for industries that buzz with energy and innovation.

When it comes to ad tech, it’s an industry shaped by constant change, but it’s also often critiqued for its lack of diversity. This is why Evans stands as a beacon, pushing for change not just in numbers but in culture. She doesn’t just fill roles; she curates experiences.

Redefining HR: People & Culture

While HR traditionally focuses on the administrative and compliance aspects of organizational management, People & Culture is a more holistic approach to creating a positive, people-focused workplace culture aligned with the organization’s values and mission. As Covid changed the way people work and where they work from, organizations are finding themselves adapting. 

Today’s HR is concerned with employee well-being, company culture, retention, and so much more. “If we want the best people at our company, and we want to keep the best people in our company, the only way we’re going to do that is if we understand what they want to experience,” explains Evans.

Maybe that’s why Mediavine is consistently recognized as a great place to work. Ninety-seven percent of employees rate it highly compared to other US-based companies. The company has also been ranked as one of the best workplaces in advertising and marketing by Fortune, and for three years in a row, it has earned Great Place to Work Certification.

Since Mediavine has always been a remote workforce, it’s important to Evans and her team that they are curating the experiences that people want and measuring them against business needs. They’re also ensuring that every employee at Mediavine feels seen, heard, and valued which includes revamping self-assessment processes, as well as spearheading inclusive events. 

Is DEI going away? No, because we're not going away. As long as we're here, and as long as we use our voices, we will literally... ensure that DEI remains important.

For example, in honor and celebration of Black History Month, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Lead, Farryn Pearson, brought Mediavine’s fully-remote team together for a virtual poetry showcase. 

Championing DEI: Beyond Buzzwords to Business Imperatives

In Evans’ playbook, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are more than buzzwords; it’s a critical business strategy. For her, DEI is essential for business success and should be a central, integrated part of every company.

“Is DEI going away? No, because we’re not going away. As long as we’re here, and as long as we use our voices, we will literally… ensure that DEI remains important,” she asserts, highlighting her commitment to integrating DEI deeply into business models, ensuring it’s a driving force, not a checkbox. 

This conviction underlines her commitment to fostering inclusive environments where diversity is celebrated as a strength. For this very reason, Evans was celebrated as a DEI Champion, in AdMonsters & AdExchger’s Top Women in Media & Ad Tech.

Empowering Others: Coaching as a Passion

Coaching and mentoring are close to Evans’ heart. Drawing from her rich tapestry of experiences, she envisions a future where she can extend her impact by devoting more time to guiding others through their professional journeys.

“I’m effective… with the people that I end up connecting with,” she reflects, signaling her eagerness to share her insights and experiences more broadly.

Her career voyage has been a testament to the power of resilience and empowering others, not only honoring Black History Month but paving the way for future generations to thrive in environments where diversity isn’t just accepted but celebrated and leveraged as a key to success. Evans is not just working in culture, she’s defining it.