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Challenges of a Female in a Leadership Role, Diversity in the Workplace, and Work/life balance – Dani Cushion, Cardlytics

Recently ASBN partnered with TiE Atlanta to cover their 2018 TiECON conference. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Dani Cushion, the Chief Marketing Officer for Cardlytics.

Cardlytics uses purchase intelligence to help companies make better marketing decisions. They partner with more than 2,000 financial institutions to run their banking rewards programs. In turn, they have a secure view into where and when consumers are spending their money.

As a speaker on the Women in Business Power Panel at TiECON, Dani provided us with some insight into challenges she has faced as a female in a leadership role, diversity in the workplace, work/life balance, and mentorship.


Bridget: Hello everyone, and welcome to the Atlanta Small Business Show. I’m Bridget Fitzpatrick, we’re here at the TieCon Atlanta 2018, and I’m joined by Dani Cushion, the Chief Marketing Officer for Cardlytics. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dani Cushion: Thank you for having me on.

Bridget: Yes. Now you just got off of a panel discussion. We’d like to talk to you about a few things that you talked about up on the panel for those people that couldn’t attend the conference today. As a female in a leadership role, what’s been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Dani Cushion: I think from a challenge perspective, it’s really believing in yourself and continuing to forge your own path even if you don’t have people exactly like you in the room. I think as a leader, I hadn’t noticed it until a little later on in my career because you just expect that everybody should be treated equally and should have the same opportunities, but it just hasn’t always been like that. In my last company, when I was promoted to Lead Marketing, a lot of young women came up to me, and I had worked my way through the organization, a lot of women came up to me and said how nice it was to just have someone that they could look up to, and I never saw myself like that, and that opened my eyes to be able to say, “Okay, you have to give back. You have to make sure you’re looking at young women coming after you.” It is a challenge to be the sole female in the room sometimes, but you’ve just got to keep pushing, you’ve just got to keep going.

Bridget: Now, diversity in the board room, you talked a little bit about that. Can you talk to us about the importance of diversity in the board room?

Dani Cushion: Yeah, and diversity is an interesting topic, too. I’m lucky enough at Cardlytics to work for a company that is very inclusive and very open to lots of different thoughts and ideas. It’s just important to have diversity of thought whether it’s from gender, diverse gender, diverse sexual orientation, women of color, people of color, people from different nationalities. Having different perspectives just makes for perhaps a tougher path to get to the right decision, but more likely to get to the right decision because you’re really thinking about things from more than one point of view.

Bridget: Sure. Now why is it important for women in business to mentor other women in business?

Dani Cushion: That’s a good question. I think from a mentorship standpoint, it is helpful to be able to have other women that have gone through similar challenges just to be able to know that you have support. You’re not going through these issues alone. There’s actually a woman on my team who just came back from having triplets, so she is so amazing, she is such a star, and she is figuring out her balance, but she continues to make it work. And for the mentorship, whether it is an out of work mentorship or in work mentorship, or even just having people on your team, you’ve got to just look out for the human being first, and it does make a difference in helping other people succeed in their own lives.

Bridget: Yeah, so let’s talk about that a little bit, you’re talking about your friend that just had the triplets. Work/life balance is an extreme challenge for everyone, and especially women. How do you manage that?

Dani Cushion: Yeah. That’s a great question. I mean, some people hate the word balance, but it’s probably one of my favorite words because you’ve got to find it however you do, and it’s just being able to say no to things and figuring out what really matters to you. When you say yes to everything, something has to give. It’s not easy. It’s having a support system, keeping open lines of communication with friends, partners, family, and just continually trying to readjust to make sure that you’re pointing in direction that you want to in your life.

Bridget: Absolutely. Well thank you so much for joining us today, Dani, we really appreciate having you on. Hope to have you again real soon.

Dani Cushion: Thank you. Thanks.

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