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Employee Spotlight: From Law School to Leading a Global Operations Function

September 20, 2016 — by Lauren Fritsky

In college, Erika Dean knew she wanted to work in a fast-paced industry where she could always learn and be challenged. Law seemed to fit the bill, so she enrolled in law school at the University of North Carolina. But between her second and third year, she realized she didn’t want to practice.

“I had done everything in law school you’re supposed to do. Clerkship. Law journal. Summer associate gigs,” said the Greensboro, North Carolina native. “But I realized my heart really wasn’t in it.”

After graduating from Carolina Law, Dean decided to try New York City since she had previously interned at the Legal Aid Society and had family in the area. She wound up at Indeed.com, the job search engine, on the Client Services Operations team. What attracted her to a job in the internet industry was that it combined her strategic acumen—a skill she’d honed in law school—with an interest in operations. Dean also got to leverage her Spanish major through working with global teams, helping them instill best practices, knowledge share and become more efficient.

“Í really found a lot of pleasure and value in helping bring those teams together and make the team more efficient,” she said.

She worked there for two years before MediaMath recruited her—funnily enough, off the very job site where she worked, which had asked all employees to upload their resumes to the system. She joined MediaMath as the first New York City-based manager in operations for the Global Agency Practice in January 2015.

“Since I was new to the industry, everything was a blur to me. But what I really liked was that my skills were transferrable,” Dean said.

Dean supports all of the major global holding companies with which MediaMath works, in addition to direct brands and their account leads, helping them wade through challenges and figure out how to work better. She has also evolved into the team subject matter expert for data analytics and reporting, leveraging the data to drive revenue and adoption across MediaMath’s top clients. Erika specializes in diving deep into complex data sets, identifying unique trends and clarifying information in a way that empowers leadership to make data-driven decisions for top accounts.

When Dean started, her team on the shared services branch of the Global Agency Practice had only two people; six weeks after she was arrived,  her London counterpart (and a tenured MediaMath employee) announced he was transitioning to a new external role. Dean’s time at Indeed prepared her to spring into action in a new role on a small team by quickly identifying what she needed to learn and who she needed to talk to.

“One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about working here is that everyone is so passionate,” Dean said. “It’s very fast-paced, which can be a bit daunting, or very daunting, at first, but it’s really easy to pick up because everyone is very encouraging, everyone’s incredibly smart and driven. So you can’t help but get caught up in that when you join the team.”

Outside of work, Dean has cultivated a fulfilling volunteer community. She volunteers as a New York Cares team leader, spends time at  Barc, an animal rescue shelter in Williamsburg, and does overnights at The Friends Shelter, a homeless shelter in Gramercy Park. Her passion project is volunteering at Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries, a food pantry in Hell’s Kitchen—Dean’s grandmother started one of the first food pantries in Charlotte.

“That’s something I like to do outside of MediaMath because it helps keep things in perspective,” Dean said. “It helps keep me centered and it helps me be grateful for what we do have here.”