4. Joanna O’Connell – evangelist of the trading desk

Joanna O’Connell is a well-known industry pundit and V.P. Principal Analyst at Forrester, where she covers advertising technology, a field she has graced for more than twenty years. Starting as a celebrity-loving production assistant at CNN, she joined Avenue A as a media planner in the late 1990’s in New York City, left to join a fraught Miramax for three years after a twenty-something crisis of meaning, and returned to Avenue A as it transformed into Razorfish and took the mathematical road to media optimization. A chance meeting in an East Village nightclub around 2007 started her on a continuing role as programmatic evangelist and led her to co-found ATOM Systems, the first big agency trading desk (build on MediaMath, then Invite Media). Pro-programmatic evangelism defined her work at Forrester and later AdExchanger, where she was chief of research until joining MediaMath itself as CMO for two years (2015-17). In this interview, Joanna talks to Jill and Marty about her career path, her love of “nerdy” media buying, and her mad-scientist father who turned a horse barn in Upstate New York into an inventor’s lair.

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