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Empowering Voices: Spotlighting Some of the Most Influential Women of Partnerships

Mar 31, 2023

Director of Content

As we close out Women’s History month, I wanted to reach out to a few of the leading women in the partnership space to gauge their honest thoughts on everything from role models to career achievements to parity in the partnership industry and more. Here’s what Executive Director, LA Office Lead and Head of Affiliate Marketing & Partnerships at GroupM/Mindshare, Patricia Marange, PMA Executive Director, Tricia Meyer, and Senior Director, Publisher Development at Acceleration Partners, Michelle Morgan, had to say.    



Patricia Marange, Executive Director, LA Office Lead and Head of Affiliate Marketing & Partnerships at GroupM/Mindshare

Who is your biggest female role model and why? 

Dolly Parton is an inspiration for me. She is a true trailblazer. Not only is she one of the most prolific and successful songwriters of any era, she also shows women that it’s ok to be unabashedly and unapologetically yourself. She brings levity, humanity and – yes, glamour – to everything she does. She’s shown me that you can be feminine, kind, and a bit bodacious while also being a boss and a force to be reckoned with. 

One of my favorite lyrics of hers is “Don’t judge me by the cover, cause I’m a real good book.” Speaking of books, she’s given the gift of reading to millions through her Imagination Library which recently donated its 200,000,000th book to a young child.


Is there a perception in our industry that men and women are equivalent thought leaders? If not, what can be done to change this?

If you asked our industry if women and men are equivalent thought leaders, everyone would say “of course” – but when you look at the loudest voices with the largest platforms in our industry, you tend to see men with a few exceptions. With the amount of strong, intelligent, and charismatic women in our industry, it shouldn’t be difficult for those who organize industry events and publish industry news to ensure they prioritize reaching out to both female and diverse voices for their panels, think pieces, etc.


Which career achievement are you most proud of? 

Growth – I am proud of how I’ve been able to drive both professional and personal growth in tandem over the past 6 years. I’ve taken the small but mighty affiliate team at Neo and grown it into the powerhouse that is the GroupM/Mindshare affiliate practice. Meanwhile, shortly after taking over the helm at the agency, I started growing my family – creating two small but mighty people with a third on the way!


Is there any seemingly acceptable language that you actually find offensive to women that you wish would go away?

Let’s stop calling women “aggressive” when we’re simply being assertive.



Tricia Meyer, PMA Executive Director

Who is your biggest female role model and why? 

I know it’s cliché, but it’s definitely my mom. I watched her balance parenting with her career—sometimes working multiple jobs at a time as a single mom. Then when I was a teenager, she followed her passion and started her own business working with animals, which grew to be extremely successful. When I needed her in my start-up business, she did a total 180 and came to work for me, learning affiliate marketing in her 50s. She’s always been fearless in taking on new challenges, which is imperative to be successful in performance marketing because the landscape is always changing on us.


What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned about being a woman inside of our industry? 

In an industry that is equally tech and marketing, people will almost always assume that the men are on the tech side and the women are on the marketing side. There are built-in biases in our society that permeate everything we do. Because I was a “mom” who generated content, I was automatically branded a “mommy blogger,” which often carried with it a pejorative connotation that I didn’t understand the actual technology that powered my sites or how the networks set cookies and tracked my commissions. I was only supposed to understand posting pretty pictures and talking about my kids. I have repeatedly pushed back against that stereotype over the years to be taken more seriously as a professional and entrepreneur.


Why is it important for both women and men to be well-rounded in several different areas or fields? 

Our industry is constantly changing, and you have to change with it to stay in it. I’ve bounced back and forth between the tech, content, and legal sides of performance marketing depending on the way that the tides were turning. Every few years we have a new wave of changes, and you have to at least understand enough about them to know if you are going to ride the wave or change course completely. Different types of business models rise and fall based on new technologies and opportunities. The more well-rounded you are, the more likely you will be to be able to chase the new opportunities when they come.


Which career achievement are you most proud of? 

Beyond anything else I have done, being the Executive Director of the Performance Marketing Association is most important to me because it allows me to use my law degree and my affiliate marketing passion together. My overarching goal every day is to try to make the industry better for everyone in it and to help everyone work together to be more successful. There is so much joy in connecting people, helping them learn more about the industry, and problem solving with them. It’s a unique privilege to get to be such an integral part of it. 



Michelle Morgan, Senior Director, Publisher Development at Acceleration Partners

How do you support other women inside and outside of our industry? 

I’m very fortunate to have a strong female support system. I have a personal network of former colleagues, managers, and peers who I know I can rely on (and vice versa) to share advice, facilitate intros and connections to others in the industry, help with job searches, and simply listen when needed. I’ve had some of these relationships for the entirety of my career, and I’m lucky that several of the women I’m close with live near me and we make it a point to meet in-person regularly. These friendships are invaluable to me for many reasons, but because it can sometimes be difficult to explain what we do to others outside of our industry, having people who just “get it” is a big help. 

In addition to my fantastic colleagues at AP who I collaborate with, learn from (and have fun with!) on a daily basis, AP has several ERG groups. One that I’m part of is the Women+ Network, made up of women and allies whose purpose is to build a community that provides support, resources, and mentorship to one another and serve in educating, influencing, and bettering our AP community. We have a Slack group and biweekly meetings which are safe spaces for us to discuss professional and personal issues and discuss topics such as issues affecting women in the workplace, career advancement and resources sharing. A recent example is the group hosted a panel highlighting women leaders at AP with a Q&A for the entire org to mark International Women’s Day.



Maura Smith, CMO, Partnerize

Who is your biggest female role model and why?

Without a doubt, my female role model is my mother.  She is the truest representation of a hard working, independent woman who operates with grace no matter the most difficult of circumstances. 


How important is having a women’s voice and perspective in our industry?   

Gender representation shouldn’t have degrees of importance in this industry or any. It should already be part of the fabric and foundation from which we operate.


How do you support other women inside and outside of our industry?

When there are opportunities to help lift other women up, personally, or professionally, it is incumbent on both women and men in leadership roles or those who have encountered similar experiences to help bring them forward and/or up.  Sometimes even the smallest effort or task can have a material impact on an individual.  In my experiences, I’ve tried to support other women with professional advancement by serving as a connector, introducing them to individuals at organizations where they might be a fit and also as a facilitator, assisting in resume editing, serving as a reference and lending advice with regard to navigating tricky professional situations. It also helps to operate with empathy when professionals are dealing with difficult personal situations. Global pandemics, a move, a divorce, or health issues can be extremely stressful — sometimes just lending an ear to listen to those in need during those moments can be powerful and help lend the clarity they need in difficult moments.


In your opinion, what’s the best way to foster feminism and equality among both men and women in our industry?

Achieving gender parity is not the sole responsibility of women, it requires action by both women and men in order to level the playing field and achieve a more equal state.


To learn more about the many wonderful women of partnerships and Partnerize, check out our video interview series right here

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