Minority Report Podcast: Lashawnda Goffin, CEO at Colossus SSP Is Building an Equitable Marketplace

“It’s hard to reach niche audiences at scale,” says Lashawnda Goffin, CEO at Colossus SSP. “And that could be because of their lack of resources or know-how when it comes to the programmatic space.”

Colossus SSP is a minority-owned ad tech company focused on building an inclusive marketplace and empowering niche and multicultural publishers. CEO Goffin has over 14 years of experience in planning, buying, negotiating, and sales.

In episode 126 Erik Requidan, CEO & Founder, Media Tradecraft, and Kerel Cooper, CMO, Liveintent, chat with Goffin about Colossus SSP, the mission and vision behind the company, the state of programmatic advertising, her career journey, and much more.

Here are some highlights from the conversation:

How she got started in her career: Her Mentor came to her and advised her that she should consider her work in local broadcast as more than just a job, but ultimately as a career. She then pivoted into a role in digital on the trading desk at Havas, later making the switch from the buy-side to the sell-side at Tribune. “It was a testament to how your work family really becomes family,” Goffin shared.

How she ended up at Colossus: “The trajectory wasn’t set,” she said. As her career progressed, Goffin later joined TrustX intrigued by the idea of a mission-based ad tech company. “I never knew an ad tech company could be a not-for-profit,” she shared. It changed the way she looked at her career, moving forward with a mission to clean up the ecosystem. So when the opportunity to lead the biz dev side at a mission-based ad tech company like Colossus presented itself, she ran forward and has no plans on looking back.

Life as CEO at Colossus SSP: She has grown into the role, learning how to relinquish some responsibilities and building her team members up, and empowering them to do what they’re good at. That also happens to be the success of her management style, her belief that she and the staff are partners.

And with the mission of building an equitable marketplace, she’s learning how to challenge partners to not just give people a chance but also give them a chance to make something right if it goes wrong, and not hold them to different standards. Also, with the social unrest around racial issues over the past two years, the company is seeing more inbound inquiries as companies want to support DEI efforts to address inequalities.

How we can be a more inclusive industry: Remove the doubt! Goffin says it’s one thing to want to invest a certain percentage of your budget in minority publishers, but we have to remove the doubt that it’s not possible. “We have to train our partners to ease up on brand safety,” she said.

For example, she pointed out that certain publishers might have message boards that get flagged as UGC, but the truth is, it means the audience is engaging with the publisher. She also pointed out that viewability might not be the best KPI to measure performance. Instead of buyers worrying about whether the completion rate was met, they should ask themselves: “Did I generate a sale?”

Plus they talked about so much more:

  1. What excites her about the future of programmatic
  2. What it’s like being a female, and especially a black female in corporate environments
  3. Who were her mentors and the people who inspired her
  4. Where she draws her inspiration from
  5. Her top 3 apps on her phone

Check out the full podcast at Minority Report Podcast

The Minority Report highlights people of color, women & the LGBTQ community within media, ad tech, advertising, and marketing.