A Calm Through the Storm: Women’s History Month Q&A With Laura Boodram, CRO, FatTail

Those who work with Laura Boodram attribute her as a calming presence in the workplace. She credits this “calm through the storm” mentality to her upbringing on the island of Trinidad. 

“I always jokingly attribute my easy going personality to my island upbringing. It’s a bit of a stereotype, but I feel it rings true,” says Boodram. “The calm through the storm approach is helpful in many capacities when your  work is centered around managing partners and their success.” 

Alongside her role at FatTail, Boodram is a mentor and coach. She has always intentionally created time and space to coach others in and outside the workplace. Two years ago, Boodram was honored in the mentorship category at AdMonsters’ Top Women in Ad Tech and Digital Media Awards. 

Recently hired as CRO at FatTail, she has entered a new era in her career. An era where she redefines the role of CRO as more than just a sales leadership role. But more as a role equally focused and driven around understanding how successful marketing and sales work together to affect revenue outcomes. 

In honor of Women’s History Month, we spoke with Laura Boodram, CRO, FatTail, about how she started in ad tech, her experience being a women executive, and how her new role as CRO has allowed her to grow. 

The Start of a Promising Career in Ad Tech

Andrew Byrd: How did you start your career in ad tech, and how did it develop to where you are now?

Laura Boodram: The core of my professional expertise is all about helping companies grow and scale. Think people (roles, user experience), process (org capability), and platforms (cost and speed) – I bring all of that together. And I’ve done so across multiple industries over the past 25 years; startups in hyper-growth mode to established companies going through digital transformation. Before FatTail, I led publisher and technology operations for ten years, tackling complex platform development, integration, and automation projects. When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to move to the Ad Tech side. It’s exciting and rewarding to solve publisher revenue challenges at scale.

AB: FatTail recently promoted you to CRO. Can you walk me through the experience of your recent promotion? What did this mean for your career and the goals you set for yourself? 

LB: It’s an interesting point of reflection for me. I previously targeted a COO or GM-type role when I think about my core skills, background, and comfort zone. My experience so far at FatTail has pushed me into new territory. I started out focused on Client Success and Operations, grew my focus to include Marketing, and now as CRO, Sales. I’m exactly where I aspire to be at any given time – learning and developing new skills and experiences.

AB: It must be challenging to be the Chief Revenue Officer during the ad spend slowdown or the “ad recession.” What has been your strategy, and what advice would you give to the ad tech ecosystem to thrive during this time? 

LB: FatTail grew revenue by 47% in 2022 while maintaining a negative churn rate. As a company scales, it needs to ensure that it’s not just adding new business but helping existing customers get the most out of its solutions. As the head of sales, customer success, and marketing, I’ll have a complete view of the FatTail customer experience. I can work toward our customers’ vision of getting the maximum possible value from FatTail’s various products. For example, we’ve offered OMS solutions for decades, but we’ve also recently rolled out new creative management capabilities via AdBookPORTAL and an automated direct deals marketplace called Deals Marketplace. I will focus on helping customers benefit from the total components of the FatTail platform rather than relying on one individual element of it as a point solution. 

While we have been impacted by softening in revenues and reduced spend on ad tech, our new products were directly informed and influenced through our Publisher and other tech partnerships. There is an incredible level of community and collaboration in our industry. I suggest leveraging that and developing partnerships that directly support publishing.

Navigating the Industry as a Woman

AB: You have held many executive positions in your career. Can you walk me through your experience as a woman executive in the ad tech industry? What has been your experience as a woman in the workplace? Do you see a more positive workplace environment for women than at the start of your career? Is there any room for improvement? 

LB: Most of my life, I’ve been the ‘only’ in the room as a person of color, a woman, a female executive, and now a female CRO. My executive experiences in ad tech versus other industries have not necessarily felt different. I’m encouraged by the growing awareness and focus on the importance of diversity in the workplace and the boardroom, but there’s a lot of work still to be done as an industry and as a society. The most scalable thing we can all do is to continue to build more understanding and awareness of all the existing inequities and biases and challenge each other to do better. Align your values with the actions you take, and you’ll be surprised at the type of influence you can achieve.

AB: What is your hope for the next generation of women in ad tech? What advice would you give them? 

I hope to see more women founders, owners, and executives in the space. My top pieces of advice are:

  1. Grow your network in every possible way. Find opportunities to connect with others like you and mentors who can help provide feedback and perspectives. This is a critical way to help discover your strengths and how to use them to overcome your weaknesses. Networking also equips you to advocate for your goals and needs.
  2. Never stop learning. Read intentionally. Approach every situation with a growth mindset, and learn to listen!
  3. Exercise humility. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t claim and own your victories, but sustain focus on solving problems and supporting others. Life is not a competition, and there’s little we can achieve independently. It’s uplifting to uplift, and I’ve always felt most rewarded when others succeed — no matter how small or large the victory. 
  4. Do what you say you will do; and where possible, do more than you’re asked. Work with integrity and hustle, and worry about the reward later.

Carving Out Time for Growth

AB: Anything exciting you are working on or coming up in your career that you want to share? 

LB: Not sure how exciting it is for anyone else, but I’m jazzed about the progress I’m making this year against a personal goal I set to grow my technical and leadership skills and the benefit I’m seeing to my overall focus and productivity. I’ve devoted 5 hours a week to intentional learning – it could be reading, taking a class, striking up a conversation with someone in a coffee shop – really anything that helps me develop a new skill or idea. When I set that target, it felt unattainable while navigating an action-packed set of family and professional commitments. By creating the headspace for learning, I’m better at applying myself to everything else and (so far) not losing ground in other areas. Hopefully, that inspires someone to take the necessary brain breaks to grow productivity and creativity.