This week, we’re continuing our celebration of Black History Month by spotlighting a leader at Quantcast. This week, I spoke with Marguerite “Mimi” (Estell) Zeigler, a Key Account Manager, to discuss her role at Quantcast, the importance of Black History Month, and some of the work she does as co-lead of our Diversity Leadership at Quantcast (DLQ) employee resource group.

1. First, tell the world about your role at Quantcast.

I’m a Key Account Manager and work out of our office in Los Angeles – although, like many of us, I’ve been working from home for nearly a year. I’ve been at Quantcast for almost two years and really like the strategic view we take with our client relationships. We truly care about how our customer’s campaigns are performing. We take a look at the holistic marketing strategy and help uncover relevant insights and audiences that support their goals. And, we’re always transparent.

2. Now let’s talk about your role in Diversity Leadership at Quantcast (DLQ).

I began co-leading this group, along with Leah McClish-Jones, last year. DLQ’s mission is to bring together underrepresented people of color and their allies at Quantcast through advocacy and regular participation in community activities. We share ideas, learn from each other, and advance the cause of more diversity in business and industry. 

While we still have more work to do, Quantcast genuinely cares about its employee resource groups and encourages the growth of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization. It’s refreshing to work somewhere where I can be honest and vocal about where we need to improve and be a part of both the conversation and action toward that growth.

3. As we celebrate Black History Month, can you tell us why it’s important to you?

Black history is, in fact, world history. Yet it has been intentionally removed from our history books to both minimize our contributions to history, culture, and society, and also to trivialize the atrocities done to Black people over the last 400 years. Even today, we’ve seen parents trying to remove Black history from children’s curriculum. We observe Black History Month so we can preserve and honor the contributions of Black people to society globally.

While we shouldn’t only focus just one month on celebrating, it’s a good opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate great Black leaders, both widely-known and lesser-known, in our history and our present. 

4. What leaders in history have inspired you?

People that demonstrate extreme resilience of character and leadership in the face of adversity, discrimination, and oppression are awe-inspiring to me. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for more than 27 years, and still became president of his country. In more recent history, Barack and Michelle Obama remained resilient and undeterred in the face of racism. The ability to actively press forward time after time is something I admire. It takes strength of both mind and cha racter. 

I also find inspiration in Madame C.J. Walker – she was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire more than a century ago. Not only was she an incredibly successful businesswoman, but also she’s an entrepreneur who set trends and helped form the hair care and beauty industry as we know it today.

5. What advice would you give to other Black women in tech?

I’d pass along a piece of advice I recently received from a Black man who is the former CEO of a Fortune 100 company:

“Do not feel like you need to suppress how you choose to express your blackness. Don’t apologize for being who you are. “

Don’t change the way you speak – using colloquialisms does not suggest that you are inarticulate or do not have a strong command of the English language. Being professional and being who you are, are not mutually exclusive.

He also encouraged me to welcome constructive criticism. Black people have been oppressed in the past by being given the perception that they are doing well when they could benefit from constructive feedback. This misguided perception has allowed employers to keep Black people in stationary roles without advancing them. Always find ways in which you can improve.

Finally, try to be the best at whatever you do. We often have to be the best to be noticed, but, if we are the best, we have the leverage to affect change. 

6. And lastly, as we’ve all had the shared experience of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, can you share with us one of your bright spots over the past year?

I got married in December! My now-husband and I had a small wedding in his parents’ backyard with our close family members and it was the highlight of our year! 

As we continue celebrating Black History Month, we look forward to sharing our learnings with you, and highlighting more of our inspiring team members.

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