CANNES — In the heart of a rapidly evolving industry, empathy and transparency emerge as the paramount traits for effective leadership, according to Julie Clark, SVP, Media & Entertainment at TransUnion.

Clark joined the consumer data company in May this year from being Spotify’s global head of advertising revenue innovation. She also held senior roles at Heart, Rocket Fuel and others.

Clark spoke with Tameka Kee for Beet.TV’s series on women in leadership.

Top traits

She describes the top traits modern media leaders need right now:

1. Empathy in a time of transition

“I would say number one is empathy,” says Clark, emphasizing its importance particularly during the ongoing transformation in the digital media and advertising industry.

She says the significant changes in the workforce that necessitate a more empathetic approach to leadership. “Leading with empathy becomes incredibly important,” she asserts.

2. The toughness of transparency

Transparency, however, is another crucial trait that leaders should cultivate. Clark sees transparency not as a mere window into operations but as a means to communicate complex decisions.

Clark says it must be “not just transparent for transparency’s sake, but in the toughness of transparency as well”: “We also can’t be afraid to be talking about the tough decisions that we need to be making as businesses these days.”

Although many would wish the industry were a level playing field, Clark acknowledges a perceptible difference for different genders.

“As a woman, it would be impossible for me to say that they don’t,” she declares. She says, while the expectations are based on business fundamentals and output, the path to achievement varies across genders.

Her advice to women maneuvering through these disparities is to stay true to themselves. “Be who you are and just own what that is. Own how you are achieving those results and operate with that empathy and transparency,” she counsels. She urges women not to shy away from potentially contentious or challenging discussions, but to lean into them instead.

Enjoy the ride

Recalling her early career anxieties, Clark wishes she’d savored the journey a bit more. “Enjoy the ride a little bit more,” she advises her younger self.

Despite the stressful moments, she wouldn’t change anything. “I don’t know that I would be where I’m at right now if I didn’t have that kind of pent up anxiety about it at the time,” she admits.

But she encourages others to take a moment to appreciate their accomplishments, saying, “I wish that I had taken a chance to say, ‘This is amazing. I get that. I get to do this’.”

You’re watching “Best of the Badass Bosses” with She Runs It, a Beet.TV Leadership Summit at Cannes 2023 presented by TransUnion. For more videos from Beet.TV’s Cannes Lions 2023 coverage, please visit this page.