by Maddi Butler
Published on: Aug 21, 2020
With more than 16 years of experience in digital advertising and marketing technology, Joshua Keller is an accomplished entrepreneur. Since founding Union Square Media Group, a full-service performance marketing agency and advertising technology company, in 2009, Keller has focused on growing it from a small team of 8 in New York City to a team of more than 50 employees spanning multiple cities and countries.
Keller says it’s his ability to identify “key players” in the industry, and build teams around them. Instead of restricting his hires, Keller has adopted a mantra: Follow the talent. As it turns out, many of these key players are women.
While this has taken him down some unexpected roads, it has also allowed him to discover new sources of talent — like a relatively untapped remote workforce of military spouses.
“While I ideally prefer everyone to be in the same office — or at least in one of our three offices — sometimes you have to follow the talent,” Keller said in a previous article.
Under this initiative, his first hire was Emily McCarthy. Since 2017, she has grown to a senior management position and spearheaded the development of Union Square Media’s highest revenue-driving department. Today, she leads the company’s internal media-buying team.
“This whole idea of remote media buyers started with Emily McCarthy. I just knew she was a self-starter and had the drive and passion to succeed. I didn’t want to waste a chance and miss out on her potential,” Keller said.
McCarthy’s work ethic inspired Keller to continue tapping into the military spouse network to grow his team.
Also in 2017, Keller forayed into uncharted territory and began building out Union Square Media’s technology department in Miami Beach. He prioritized diversifying the talent pool by hiring the best person for the job regardless of gender. A third of Union Square Media’s product department is comprised of women, beating the national average.
Women also fill fifty percent of Union Square Media’s leadership roles, including Head of Finance Department and Vice President of Publisher Partnerships, two roles that are often filled by men.
Though the “Mad Men” days are in the past, women still face many challenges in the advertising industry. Undoubtedly, there’s a ways to go before most industries are truly representative and inclusive, but by focusing on talent above all else, we can make it better a little at a time.