Loren is the Co-founder and CEO of NOM, a media technology powerhouse revolutionizing the way video campaigns are planned, optimized and measured across social properties. NOM’s mission is to equip brands and agencies with comprehensive data intelligence across all social platforms to deliver the most successful video advertising campaigns. Loren brings extensive experience in the video distribution industry to NOM, and is a leader in the space. In 2016, Loren was recognized for her brilliance and named Forbes 30 Under 30 in Advertising & Marketing.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I was raised by a single mother. We were very poor and I watched my mother struggle and work very hard for everything that she had. Any time she didn’t know how to do something, she somehow figured it out. I always admired that about her. It ingrained this insatiable curiosity in me and to this day if I don’t know how to do something I will figure it out.
In my career, being a woman in a male dominated industry and watching male CEO’s lead businesses I noticed the things, in my opinion, they did wrong. I made a decision that when I ran a company, I would do things differently. I wouldn’t lead by fear and anxiety but would lead with compassion and love. I wanted to prove to myself I could run a business without trampling people and be successful.
I’ve watched different types of leaders. There were ones that kept all the knowledge they had to themselves because they were in fear of being dispensable. They were afraid. The most successful people I saw were the ones that hired people who were more qualified and smarter which made them successful. Their success was directly tied to their ability to be dispensable themselves.
How has your previous employment experience aided your current role?
I’ve learned what NOT to do. I learned what was missing in the industry and was able to identify a hole in the market so I knew what product needed to be built. My previous employers weren’t solving the problem. I learned to have the most successful business, you need to invest and take care of your team. My co-founder and I made a commitment when we started the business together to always take care of our team and treat our employees how we wished we were treated throughout our careers. To date, we are proud to say we’ve never had an employee leave for a better opportunity. That statistic is extremely important to us.
Being in the tech industry, there is a huge lack of diversity and I found that to be a blindspot. I learned how important it is to the success of a business to hire people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. It’s what drives my decisions making process when hiring new employees.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your current role?
Highlights – The best part of the business is growing the team and watching them grow as individuals as well as a company. Also, as the industry evolves, we are consistently being reassured that what we’re building is different and beneficial to advertisers and brands. The third highlight is the strong and long lasting partnerships we’ve built with our clients. We have been fortunate to have deep and strategic relationships with our clients over the years and have grown together and shared in each other’s successes.
Challenges – Trying to find the right time to do the right things, for example – we had a lot of advisors and advice in the beginning. However we found that the advice that people gave us for “startups” weren’t in our best interest. There were decisions that were made in the beginning based on the “status quo” of traditional start ups. For example, we were given advice to start fundraising in the very beginning without a product and we took a lot of meetings and wasted a lot of time. However in the end, we realized we already had clients and were profitable and just needed to focus on our clients and continuing to make them happy and learning from them first hand what we needed to build our product around.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
Don’t take “no” for an answer. You have to be relentless. You’ll be told no a million times, but don’t let it get you down. Instead, let it fuel you – take the “no” and keep trying until it becomes a yes.
Find other women in the tech industry to connect with and network and empower each other. You need to find your support system. It is difficult to find female mentors, but you won’t have trouble finding your peers. They will become your mentors because they understand your struggle. Don’t try to be a hero and do things by yourself. I can assure you, that any successful person has not done it alone.
Be kind – It’s easy to forget in the tech industry, while the companies are in the business of making money, and their products are run by computers, that there are HUMANS behind the computers and there are HUMANS behind the technology that was built. And Humans like to be treated with kindness. Your ability to foster sincere lasting relationships will guarantee future and sustainable success. Relationships matter the most.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Do not be afraid of failure. Being afraid in business will be your demise. There is really no failure. Even when you fail, you learn from it and become a better, stronger leader with a wider perspective.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Acknowledge that when you’re running a business, balance is futile. All you can hope for, is that you’ve found something you love to do, and you can weave your life within it.
I’m fortunate enough to have a partner that is also running a business and is my biggest support system. We encourage each other to do the things we love, and we don’t punish each other or compete with each other.
Now that I have a family, the balance is even harder to achieve. Every single day, I ruthlessly prioritize the things I absolutely need to get done that day so that I can spend quality time with our son.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
SO many things. I don’t know where to begin. Lack of flexibility for mothers, lack of senior mentorship within a company. Our society breeds a competitive environment for women that leads to lack of executive leadership. Women are taught to pick other women up, but only to a certain point. There’s this, “I want you to succeed, but not to be more successful than me” mentality that leads to women in the middle, but not at the top. On top of this, the lack of women in executive positions means less motivation for women in middle management to aim higher. I can’t tell you how many times in my career I encouraged a smart capable women to go after a raise and a higher title and their response was, “I’m not good enough”. It’s really a shame, and I do what I can every single day to change this.
How can we encourage more women to start their own business?
Challenge your inner warrior, toss fear aside. I’m always in awe of women are able to accomplish when they feel something is necessary to their survival. By encouraging women to be fearless, they will be more prepared to not only start their own businesses, but ensure they are successful.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal
I have been fortunate to have amazingly intelligent people around me throughout my career, and while I’ve never had a formal “mentor,” I see my peers and advisors as my mentors. Listening to their struggles and advice has been invaluable to my career and my success at NOM.
10. Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Too many to name, but as a new mother there is one person in particular who I think about a lot recently. Her name is Emma Isaacs, she runs a company called Business Chicks. She reached out to me when she started the LA chapter of her company from Australia, and I’m so glad she did. She runs an international company, a mother of five, she’s a strong principled leader. She is a boss! She wrote a book right after she gave birth to her fifth child. I admire her so much. Everytime I feel like I am on the brink of insanely juggling my business and a little baby on very little sleep I think about her and it keeps me going.
What do you want to professionally and personally accomplish in the next
2018 is the biggest year yet both professionally and personally. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow our team to reach our company’s goals and our big milestone, which is to finally launch our SaaS product. Over the last four years the entire team has been working diligently to ensure we’re building the most beneficial advertising product for our customers and I’m so excited to see it finally come to fruition.
On a personal note, I’m looking forward to watching my first child grow. As a first time mother with a son I feel a huge responsibility to raise him to be a good person with strong values. We’re planning on trying for baby number 2 this year also so needless to say 2018 has a lot on its plate 😉
What are the top three tips you can offer to an entrepreneur starting out?
This may sound cliche, but do not let fear stop you from taking the plunge. It will do a damn good job making you overthink your decision and reveal to you all the reasons why you will fail. Don’t listen to it. For people who are determined, you will be surprised how capable you are of success when you don’t have any other option. When you do fail, don’t give up. Learn from that failure and move on quickly. Network! … but not to help yourself, to sincerely help OTHERS. It may be hard to think about helping others when you are starting out and feel like you need to be so focused on your own business, but I noticed the more I helped others accomplish things the more good came to us. Be kind to people along the way. You may see momentary success, but ultimately you won’t succeed by burning bridges and leaving a trail of tears behind you.