Transformation Series: Jackie Calderon

By Jackie Calderon – VP, Program Management

I was born in the United States but spent most of my childhood growing up in Barbados and Indonesia because my dad worked for the US State Department. Being the child of a Diplomat and growing up overseas, I initially thought I wanted to work internationally. I received my degree in Economics from the University of Virginia and then attended Thunderbird School of Global Management and received my MBA in Global Marketing. After Thunderbird, I wasn’t ready to move abroad immediately. I wasn’t 100% sure where I wanted to live or exactly what I wanted to do. Some fellow graduates were moving to San Francisco.  I had never been there before, but I had heard amazing things about the city. So I figured, sure, why not?

When I arrived in SF, I needed to find a job to pay the rent, and I saw a job posting for an Account Manager position at a French ad tech start-up. They had a search engine marketing platform, had just opened their US office in SF, and were looking to grow their US market share. I had no idea what search engine marketing was but I liked the fact that it was a tech marketing company and that it was a French company so I could travel to France. I applied for the position, and I got it! And I’ve been in the ad tech industry ever since.

I spent the first half of my ad tech career in Account Management and Client Services. At the French tech start-up, we had a really small US team and  I was immediately thrown into the fire of learning what the heck search engine marketing was, learning how our platform worked and learning how to support accounts. There was also the added challenge of translating the platform and internal/external documentation from French to English! But we worked effectively together as a four-person team and with the support of our colleagues in France, quickly learned and figured it out. Soon, I was managing several big accounts, the largest one being Apple.

During this time, my now husband decided to attend the University of Michigan for his MBA, and I was able to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan to work remotely while my partner attended business school. As soon as I arrived, I noticed there was a big pool of young talent in Ann Arbor, and that rent was super cheap compared to San Francisco. So I pitched the idea of opening an office in Ann Arbor and trying to hire Account Managers there. My CEO and US Manager allowed me to test out this idea. I found an office, set it up, hired a team of Account Managers, and we started successfully managing accounts from Ann Arbor. The company ended up closing its SF office and to this day, Ann Arbor is still their US hub for Account Management, Marketing, and Operations.

After my husband graduated from Michigan, we had our first child, moved back to SF, and I joined another SEM company where I led their client services team. After having our second child, I was becoming burnt out with managing clients and decided it was time for a change.

I have always been a detail and process-oriented person, and I really loved the project management aspects of my Client Services roles. That’s when I was referred to a DSP company I had heard a lot about. I was excited to learn they were forming a new Professional Services org and they were looking for someone to lead and grow their Program Management team. The company had just IPO’d and at the time, their culture was very similar to VideoAmp’s culture. I jumped at the opportunity to join such an exciting company and transition to operations. It was a great professional experience, where I was able to learn and grow so much. But when the company was acquired, I knew it was my time to move on.

It was at this time that my husband and I welcomed our third child to the world, and I was also referred to VideoAmp! They were looking for a Program Manager to help support their GTM process. I spoke with Nick Chakalos (now VideoAmp’s Chief Strategy Officer) on the phone several times and then flew out to LA and met with a whole crew of people. After hearing what they had to say, I was so excited about the team, company vision and the role they had for me. I knew it was a no-brainer. And I’ve been on this wild and amazing ride ever since. And what a fun ride it has been! As part of the Operations team at VideoAmp, my team and I support key cross-functional initiatives across the organization. Our objective is to help teams hit our company goals by driving alignment and efficiency across the org.

VideoAmp is so different from any other company I’ve been at because of the transparency, support from leadership, and the culture. VideoAmp’s overall culture has empowered me to speak up about what I believe in. I was allowed the opportunity to launch our initial Employee Advisory Group (EAG), which was formed immediately following George Floyd’s murder. Our goal was to foster open dialogue and learning and to work together to develop a thoughtful and meaningful action plan to drive positive change at VideoAmp and within our communities. I’m super proud of the things we’ve accomplished and am so grateful that VideoAmp’s culture allowed me the opportunity to launch the EAG, which our amazing People team is continuing to drive forward with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. What I also love about VideoAmp is that we’re working as a team on super complex and challenging customer problems and that we’re continuously learning, growing, failing, and improving together. I have loved my time at VideoAmp and am very excited about what the next year has to bring for us!