Dynata’s Tiama Hanson-Drury has a fool-proof recipe for meeting and exceeding one’s career goals. “At the end of the day, it is You, Inc.,” she states firmly. “My advice is to get really clear on your priorities about where you want to go and how you want to evolve.”
Hanson-Drury is no stranger to evolution herself. A veteran of the digital Insights space, her expertise includes data and insights platforms, digital advertising measurement, mobile apps, ad tech, and strategic product planning. Before joining Dynata she was EVP, Global Product at Zappistore where she was responsible for product strategy, product development and execution, and implementation. Prior to that, she led global technology partnerships, and launched Zappistore’s advertising measurement solution. Tiama also held a variety of roles at Kantar Profiles, including Director of Product Development, where she focused on programmatic, data and mobile products in the fast-paced ad-tech arena. Each of these roles built upon a fundamental fascination with what drives human behavior. “What I found in the Insights industry was a bit of a love affair with the idea of ensuring consumers are fairly compensated for letting us study what drives their behaviour,” she shares.
“…get really clear on your priorities about where you want to go and how you want to evolve.”
This human-focused motivation has deep, familial roots. “I know in my family, none of us women ever felt perfect in what we were pursuing,” she shares. “But each of us has inspired the next generation to be brave; to put ourselves forward to create, shape, and defend our perspectives. We each owe it to our collective future generation to do the same — within our families, our networks, and definitely within our industry.” In an effort to encourage others to grow into their highest vision, Tiama has helped develop mentorship and diversity efforts at Kantar Profiles, Zappi, and is Dynata’s Executive Diversity & Inclusion sponsor. She also brings this ethos into her leadership practice, creating an environment where psychological safety and support are key. “People won’t challenge convention, nor will they feel comfortable experimenting if they don’t trust the culture to welcome and support that,” she urges.
For Tiama, leadership is about keeping the collective bar high to ensure team confidence. “Employees need a clear understanding of how to achieve expectation and an environment where you can really go for it. I believe firmly in ensuring my teams understand where we’re trying to go, how we’re going to get there, and how we’ll measure our progress.” She continues, “…when you are laser focused on this, you can grant greater autonomy to your team as they are confident about what to focus on and can use some creative license in the ‘how.’” This is especially true when the shared goal is equality. Tiama says that she’s “seen first-hand how often there are valuable points to be made or contributions to be shared, yet they simply aren’t because the leader isn’t intentional about D&I as part of the culture they foster.”
“People won’t challenge convention, nor will they feel comfortable experimenting if they don’t trust the culture to welcome and support that…”
“Everything we do at Dynata really is driven by that fair value exchange,” she goes on to share. “I work on our global product strategy which is just another way of ensuring consumers get more opportunities to take part in research and get fairly compensated for sharing their data, opinions, and their time.” For Tiama, it’s Dynata’s customer-first approach that makes the press toward a more inclusive Insights industry — and more representative Insights themselves — that make the company truly special. “I think there is a greater realization that we have a lot of work to do, together,” she shares. “I’m just so proud of the people who went against what is understandably a fear of repercussion to talk openly and be candid about their experiences both at Dynata and outside of it. I think all of us involved are feeling very hopeful about the real potential for change that we can make together.”
“I believe firmly in ensuring my teams understand where we’re trying to go, how we’re going to get there, and how we’ll measure our progress.”
When it comes to inspiration, it’s all about the collective for Tiama. “Outside of the industry I love Breńe Brown, I love Simon Sinek; my entire family really inspires me. In my career I’ve been incredibly blessed and had many great mentors in our space — most of whom became friends — like Mitch Eggers, Su Embree, Caroline Frankum, Susan Griffin, Sandy Casey, Dan Fitzegerald and of course, Kristin Luck.” Her original WIRe mentor Su Embree shared an especially helpful exercise which Tiama has gone on to share with others. She also suggests that new researchers seek out a community where they can speak openly and honestly about their ambitions and challenges. “You’ll do business together, you’ll get better in business through that, and you’ll grow as an individual,” she notes. “What else can you ask for as an individual, or the company that employees that individual?” It’s also about keeping your perspective fresh. “I know it can be disheartening when you see yet another all male strategy offsite/conference stage/futurist panel, etc. This is all the more frustrating when we know that at the current rate of change, women won’t get equal pay until 2277,” she observes. On the individual level, Tiama suggests: “Be disciplined in tracking your own progress and keep track of those achievements monthly so that when it comes time to write your reviews, speak about your achievements, apply for a promotion or a new job, etc. you know exactly what you’ve done and what impact you made.”
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