Nomination for the San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business 2015
Submitted by Kristi Essick
Bridget Bidlack is VP, enterprise products at Rocket Fuel, where she oversees product management for Rocket Fuel’s platform business. Bidlack joined Rocket Fuel through the acquisition of [x+1] where she was SVP, product management. In this role, Bidlack strengthened product positioning and defined and executed an aggressive product roadmap. Under her leadership, the Origin platform was identified as a leader in the 2013 Forrester DMP Wave, and as a visionary in the Gartner 2014 Digital Marketing Hub Magic Quadrant.
Prior to [x+1], Bidlack served as VP, product management at Traffiq, where she delivered a self-service media-buying and planning platform. Before Traffiq, Bidlack held numerous leadership positions, including director of solutions engineering at Turn and lead product manager at Microsoft. Bidlack first cut her teeth in digital advertising at Bluestreak, an early pioneer in the industry. Bidlack started her career at IBM working within the IBM Global Services division supporting fortune 500 customers using IBM’s CRM, call center and middleware products. Known for her industry savvy and insight, in 2014 AdWeek named Bidlack as one of the “12 Stars of Ad Tech Who Are Building the Future of the Industry Right Now.”
Bidlack holds an MS in information systems science from Salve Regina University and a BBA in business computer information systems from Hofstra University.
What makes this woman an outstanding leader?
Bridget Bidlack has worked in the advertising technology (ad tech) industry for over 15 years, since its earliest days. She has been successful in a largely male-dominated world, attaining executive level roles managing product teams. What’s really unique about Bridget is her ability to combine deep tech knowhow – she has an MS in information systems science and a BA in business computer information systems – with sharp business acumen. She has the technical chops to interface with engineering teams, and the business expertise to understand what customers need. This skillset has enabled Bridget to thrive in both ad tech startups and large organizations, bringing innovation to both cutting-edge, emerging products and mature technology systems.
As a mother of two sons ages 10 and 11, Bridget has also successfully navigated work-life balance issues. Working for a Silicon Valley company, Bridget now spends a significant amount of time in the Bay Area, while her family continues to reside in the New York area. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of her husband, a stay-at-home parent who gave up his own career to support Bridget’s rise into executive management.
Bridget is not afraid to take risks. When her children were just 1 and 2, Bridget uprooted her family from the east coast and moved to Washington to work for Microsoft. A colleague calls Bridget “the mountain mover” because she actually relishes tackling big problems to come up with creative solutions, and has the tenacity to make things happen.
For example, Bridget has helped multiple companies move from service models to enterprise software/SaaS models. This always involved building a product with the right features and growing the supporting teams, from development and engineering, to customer success and sales teams. As the ad tech market continues to shift from full-service to in-house, Bridget is extremely well placed to help brands and agencies adopt the tools they need to dramatically improve their digital marketing programs. In addition to building successful products, Bridget builds the right teams, tools, and processes to ensure successful product adoption and client satisfaction.
Describe career success & leadership style.
Bridget grew up in Rhode Island helping her family run a successful clambake catering business. She always pitched in to help the family business, from prepping clams and ears of corn as a young girl, to serving clambakes under green and white striped tents, to business management as a teen. Living with entrepreneur parents gave Bridget a strong work ethic and an unparalleled view into how businesses grow. She realized early on that a successful business is built on vision, people, and execution. Without those three pillars, a business will never achieve true success.
Bridget served on the management advisory group to help [x+1] complete its acquisition by Rocket Fuel. After the successful completion of the merger, Bridget immediately became responsible for all platforms at Rocket Fuel. In addition to leading teams based in NYC and Norwalk, Connecticut, she inherited and further grew a product team in Redwood City, California. Bridget was responsible for converging [x+1]’s and Rocket Fuel’s two platforms within 30 days, undertaking meaty infrastructure integrations over the next six months, and devising a clear 12-month path to a fully unified platform.
One of her direct reports said of her management style: “Bridget inspires by example. She holds no one to a standard higher than those she sets for herself. When we are solving tough problems and have ambitious initiatives, Bridget is at the front of the charge leading the pack.” In other words, she loves giving direction to her team, but will also roll up her sleeves to get things done. Bridget’s leadership style is especially important when building and rolling out new products. She believes you can’t just delegate a vision; you have to execute on your ideas and inspire others to help.
Bridget has a keen interest in helping her team members develop and achieve their personal career goals. She sets expectations for each team member, and then empowers them to create their own goals, take initiative to achieve them, and learn from their mistakes. Her team members appreciate this balance of getting support when needed, but having free rein to try new things, make mistakes, and learn as they go. She has helped countless young people create career goals and take the right steps to achieve them over the years.
Included in the San Francisco Business Times class of 2015 “Most influential women in Bay Area business.”