At RTBiQ, we believe that true collaboration thrives on the diversity of the team. Diversity in experience, identity, and talent is essential to our values as well as the development of our technology and the services we provide. To celebrate the invaluable minds behind our best-in-class advertising solutions, we’re sharing the stories of some of the underrepresented voices in the ad tech space through a blog series focused on power in people.
First up, let’s get to know RTBiQ’s leading Data Scientist, Akiko Iwamizu! Since joining the team in early 2018, Akiko has provided outstanding service to our clients in search engine optimization and paid search campaigns, social media marketing, and insightful campaign reporting. She excels in translating the complicated language of data into something that is actionable, easily understood at all levels, and dare we say… beautiful? (If you’ve seen what Akiko can do with Google Data Studio, you get it.)
Akiko’s love for data analysis has made a huge impact at RTBiQ this year, but it all began while studying at Columbia University. Akiko started out in pre-med but was eventually drawn to her natural talents in mathematical sciences, a combination of mathematics, computer science, and statistics. She joked, “I realized that for as much as [Columbia] put me through, both financially and personally, I had to be studying something that I really loved.”
Her path in mathematics was against the odds. Akiko remembers, “The math department was probably 98% men. It would just be me and maybe one other girl sitting together in class.” She found strength and positive personal connections as a student of Barnard College and through her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega.
At RTBiQ, Akiko easily balances a cross-functional role supporting client services and the product development team. Her curiosity and confidence to try new challenges served her well in her first post-university professional experience, where she began first as an intern, and quickly rose to become the third member of Tivo’s all-new data science team.
As she advanced at TiVo, she discovered the importance of believing in an organization’s product and the mission and values driving the team. Put simply, Kiko said, “I’m a millennial, I’m a cord cutter. I didn’t feel passionately about television or really believe in what they were doing.” She also admits that it was difficult to fit into their corporate culture. “I was the youngest person there, including the interns,” she said. She was disappointed by the lack of women and people of color in leadership roles, which contributed to her decision to pursue new opportunities with values-driven organizations.
From her first meetings with the RTBiQ team, she knew that she was making a positive change in her career. She laughed remembering the pages and pages of notes she’s kept from her first interview with Natha Hayre, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer at RTBiQ. “It was clear to me from the beginning that I had a lot to learn,” she said. It was a busy time of growth at RTBiQ, and though she understood the immediate need to support search and social marketing, she was excited by the flexibility she saw in her role and the opportunities available in the product development team.
Of the five RTBiQ values, the one that most resonates with Akiko is Everything can be optimized. Through every phase of life, both professionally and personally, Akiko is motivated by opportunities to learn, grow, and self-improve. This shared value makes Akiko right at home with the development team, which is constantly striving to improve processes and build a better product.
Akiko sees diversity as a crucial element in optimizing RTBiQ’s technical product and services. She explained, “We need people from all different backgrounds to be asking questions, to see things from different perspectives, so they can ask if this is really the best way that we should be doing things.” She added, “There are things that I see that others don’t, just like there are things that occur to one person that I might not have noticed.”
This open mindset is key to the collaborative process at the heart of RTBiQ, not only because it builds a higher quality product, but because it recognizes and respects the unique contributions of every member of our diverse team. Thank you, Akiko, for being a strong voice of API women in tech, and for your leadership within RTBiQ. We’re excited to continue growing with you!