Dr. Stephanie Gutnik, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Billups

Dr. Stephanie Gutnik is the Global Chief Strategy Officer at Billups. She previously held roles as Global Head of DOOH at Yahoo, Vice President, Digital Strategy and Programmatic Sales at OUTFRONT Media and Vice President, Business Development at Broadsign. Stephanie is an award-winning public speaker, discussing marketing and business transformation at international events. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of New York and Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal. Stephanie graduated with a BA from McGill University and has an MBA and doctorate from Edinburgh Business School.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Dr. Gutnik shared her professional trajectory, insights on her journey to breaking down barriers and stepping into leadership roles, favorite quote, personal productivity tip, future plans, words of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Dr. Stephanie Gutnik. Please tell us about your background and areas of interest.

I am the Global Chief Strategy Officer at Billups, an out-of-home managed services agency helping advertisers and agencies strengthen media performance through patented analytics and measurement technology. Prior to this, I held positions such as Global Head of DOOH at Yahoo and VP Digital Strategy and Programmatic Sales at OUTFRONT. My career also includes academia, as I have an MBA and a doctorate focused on integrated marketing communications and media synergies.

What do you love the most about your current role?

Billups is quickly growing our geographic footprint and our capability to deliver media services fueled by proprietary products such as cookieless and deviceless measurement solutions, attention metrics and sustainable carbon compensation for campaigns. My role thus allows me to assemble the puzzle pieces of a booming business in a way that integrates departments and countries, so clients receive an exceptional quality of service. It’s motivating to see how enthusiastic and creative the team is when it comes to embracing these changes and activating original and effective campaigns for clients.

What are the three major trends you foresee in your industry in the next 12 months?

The need for measurement that does not rely on cookies or device IDs is critical for OOH, given a lot of OOH measurement relies on mobile. Understanding how attention to OOH compares to the metrics and outcomes seen in other channels is also key in analyzing OOH’s share in the media mix using a consistent metric. Finally, we will contribute to a better understanding of OOH’s place in a greener world by educating marketers on how OOH is one of the most sustainable mediums.

Working in a historically male-dominated industry, what has been your journey breaking down barriers and stepping into leadership roles?

Being different is wonderful. I am grateful to voice my opinion and collaborate with people of differing mindsets to push an initiative forward and generate results. When I was younger and the rest of the table was often composed of men with far more experience, I was happy for the opportunity to learn – but I also made a point to represent myself in a way that garnered respect and established the opportunity for others differing from the norm to participate as well. This is part of why I started a series called “Leading Ladies of Digital Signage.”

I have built my career and reputation by creating opportunities, raising my hand to participate, working hard, being respectful of others and making fair decisions. And the bigger the challenge is, the better: for my personal development and for greater business outcomes.

If you could have a one-hour meeting with someone famous who is alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Winston Churchill! He is a timeless example of strong leadership – from making tough decisions to communicating in a way that resonates with his audience. He was also an excellent painter, which shows the importance of being well-rounded and taking the time to do things we enjoy outside of work.

Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?

My parents and sister have always encouraged me to be myself and supported my ambition. They have taught me patience, respect, gratitude and how to be a good person in business and in life.

How do you keep your mind healthy and stay resilient? And how do you motivate your team?

I thrive on time outside. When I am thinking through multiple approaches to a situation, I will usually have a sound decision by the time I have finished a jog. I also tend to get new ideas about topics that are not top-of-mind when out for a stroll.

In terms of motivation, I lead by example and hope that my passion for the business is infectious! Additionally, I encourage my team to remove any stress associated with work. We come across challenges on a daily basis and it’s more effective, and healthy, to address them in a way that is confident and objective.

What’s a productivity tip you swear by?

I don’t drink coffee, but I do keep snacks handy whether I’m on back-to-back calls or attending multiple in-person meetings. The team caught on to that quickly, lots of smoothies and energy balls.

What is your favorite quote?

Life is short, eat dessert first.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Until recently, I have always had a plan for the next five years – but am now leaning into living without one. I see myself embracing my role at Billups with all its momentum – working across the team, media landscape and globe to educate our partners on the amazing capabilities we bring to OOH, and the value OOH delivers to both advertisers and consumers.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out on their career in your industry?

The same advice my parents gave me; be yourself. Work hard, lead with empathy and fairness – and have fun!

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