Problem Solver Extraordinaire: Laura Manning’s Decade of Transformative Impact at Cint

In the dynamic world of media and ad tech, where innovation meets necessity, Laura Manning, SVP of Measurement at Cint, stands out as a luminary who recognizes the challenges in her industry and seizes them as opportunities for growth and improvement. 

Over the last decade, Laura has carved a path of significant impact at Cint, becoming the Senior Vice President of Measurement. Alongside her role, Laura is also a 2024 Top Woman in Media and Ad Tech honoree in the Programmatic Storyteller’s category. This accolade speaks volumes about her dedication and prowess in the field.

During a stint at Lucid, Manning truly began to mold her career trajectory, transitioning from operations to spearheading the media measurement business, and eventually assuming pivotal roles that fostered significant partnerships and technological advancements in measurement. Her unique approach blends profound technical expertise with a strategic mindset, enabling her to innovate and lead with foresight and precision.

We spoke with Laura about her inspiring career journey, day-to-day responsibilities as SVP of Measurement at Cint, and her philosophy about leadership, mentorship, and problem-solving. Guided by her unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation, Laura imparts insights on overcoming challenges, the significance of storytelling in data, and advice for women aspiring to forge their own paths in leadership. 

Yakira Young: What inspired you to pursue a media and ad tech career, and how did your initial experience at Lucid shape your professional path?

Laura Manning: My first job post-college was at a small digital marketing agency. Our focus was primarily on conversion, such as phone calls and form fill-outs. This entailed lower funnel media for local businesses like the zoo or a local dentist. Subsequently, I transitioned to Lucid, where I was immersed in a completely different sphere, one that was more centered on market research. I was part of the operations team. 

After about two years, we started building up the media measurement business. I moved over to be the first dedicated ops person for measurement, specifically mainly working with ad agency customers. I had a background in media, so I already knew what was happening in that space. I then built the measurement team from the ground up, which has been fun.

YY: What were some key milestones in your career that helped you transition from Lucid to where you are now as SVP of Measurement?

LM: While still in operations, I built a really strong foundation for how our products work and how to make things happen. In 2017, my colleague Kevin Evers encouraged me to move to sales. He gave me a lot of leeway and green space to carve out my niche. 

In 2020, we made an investment case with the board that involved investing in the product suite and the concept of measurement. Part of that investment case provided a new layer to my role: seeking out partnerships. That’s where we got deep into the ad tech space. Our partnerships with folks like The Trade Desk resulted from that idea in the investment case presentation. 

From there, we continued to build. We started hiring, and shortly after the Cint acquisition, my boss became the Head of Global Measurement. This opened up the opportunity for me to run the Americas. Overall, I was presented with many opportunities to try new things and experiment, ultimately leading to my career success. 

YY: AS SVP of Measurement, what does a typical day look like for you? How do you manage your responsibilities across different regions?

LM: My day-to-day life, when I’m at home in the US is very standard. When I’m on the road, things can be very different. Most of my days are spent doing things like one-on-ones internally and team meetings.

I prioritize meeting with customers and hearing from them directly. As you become more senior in an organization, it’s very easy to focus only on internal priorities, fire drills, and financial reporting.

I try to spend at least an hour a day with clients, reading their emails, and talking to them on the phone because I think it’s important to hear what your customers need and want from you as a service provider. Most of my time is focused on ensuring a good split between internal and external activities while still managing a pretty large team.

YY: How do you go above and beyond at work? How important is giving 100% to you?

LM: One of the cool things about being with the company for ten years is that I intimately know our products. I was the hands-on key user on operations and sales, so I have a deep knowledge of our platform and tech stack. My team and I have been able to find many bugs due to the fact that I spent many hours learning the software in 2016. 

With all the emerging technologies we are seeing, it can be really easy to slip behind. This is why knowing the ins and outs on your own is crucial. I think it is very important for a leader to understand what the people on their team are doing. 

YY: How important is mentorship to you?

LM: I’ve had so much success with a mentor who’s backed me throughout the past six years. I want to ensure I’m not pulling up the ladder behind me but rather creating opportunities for people on my team to have that trajectory. We’re hiring people who are very young and fresh, with only one or two years of experience. 

I want everyone on my team to feel free from having to leave to get a better opportunity in a year or two. The goal is to continue promoting from within. All of my direct managers and senior directors on the team are people that we promoted. I am passionate about ensuring we continue to give those opportunities to people on our team as their careers grow.

YY: You have this excellent career trajectory at the same company, but nothing is without challenge. What were some of the most significant challenges you faced in your role? 

LM: I would not be a woman in business without saying I’ve had plenty of times where there’s been gender shenanigans. It’s all about doing my best and positioning myself well so that other people’s biases aren’t impacting my day-to-day.

At the end of the day, I’m in charge of my own destiny, and I can only do the best I can with my talents and capabilities. The women in tech concept has become less of the in-vogue issue du jour, but women face many challenges in the corporate space, not just in media.

YY: Congrats on being recognized as a Top Woman in Media and Ad Tech under the Programmatic Storyteller’s category. Can you discuss the importance of storytelling in your field and how it may influence any of your strategies?

LM: One of my big visions was the idea of our surveys at checkout. I want to be the pack of gum you throw in when you’re clearing your card at The Trade Desk or on Amazon so that you can see the results of the media you’re buying. Our end game is to make that optimizable.

Our goal is to give our clients the data to help them tell the story in real-time. We want them to be able to make changes on the fly and use our data to do so. We ensure that the data is robust and granular so our clients can build the narrative they want for their brands or agency partners.

YY: What advice would you give to other women aiming to reach your leadership level?

LM: My biggest talent is finding issues and fixing them. Even if the problem is not your piece of the pie, find issues and help work towards solutions. This mindset has benefited me throughout my career. 

If you’re at a company where someone’s mad about that behavior, you must find a new job. I think that in a good functional company, people are usually very happy with an active problem solver who takes the pick-up-the-ball mentality. I constantly tell my team that if you see something, say something. Keep an eye out for what’s not working, especially when you’re a part of a growing company.