WIA Profile: Nancy Roberts
Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives. Women like Nancy Roberts, Vice President of Business Development, FriendFinder Networks.
How did you get into the business?
I have always had an interest in computers as a kid, playing games on a Commodore 64, taking apart computers and putting them back together. I love technology. I love to travel. I love entrepreneurship. I had been studying Business Administration in college when I decided to take a break. I wanted to travel the world, live life as an expat, and experience new cultures. In 2005, returning from living abroad in Southeast Asia for a year and a half, I joined AdultFriendFinder’s Affiliate Operations department. Learning about the affiliate program from the ground up, I was very fascinated and intrigued by the world of internet marketing that I transitioned to the technology side working on the back-end of the affiliate stats, reports, and tools. For the next seven years, I worked with some of the brightest marketing technology engineers to help the business function (affiliate program, media buying, and search engine marketing) by giving them the necessary reports and data to make sound business decisions. The more time I spent with the organization, the more opportunities I was presented to grow with AdultFriendFinder.
What in your background prepared you for what you are doing now?
In my previous position as director of marketing technology I was able to gain a considerable amount of experience in advertising technology, campaign life-cycles, technical pre and post-sales support and integration, which helped to facilitate the move into business development. I also had the privilege of helping in the build of our organic ad-serving platform, creating new affiliate programs and payouts. The transition from the tech side to the business side was a very natural move. What prepared me most for what I am doing now is the unyielding support of my husband, family, and friends. Without their support, I would not have been able to charge forward with the same tenacity. My years with AdultFriendFinder has laid the groundwork for my career development and upward movement. AdultFriendFinder has taken a leap of faith with me on numerous occasions; supporting me in my pursuit of business school and professional development.
What do you see as the challenges of working in the adult online business? How do you overcome them?
The adult online business is very complex and beguiling. Online adult has always set the bar for innovation and driven early adoption of new technologies. Whenever there is a new content platform, you can be sure that the adult world will be the first to embrace it. The challenge of being at an innovative company at the forefront of web technology is to make sure that we remain ahead of the curve with our growing population of increasingly sophisticated Internet users. Devices such as tablets, phones, and laptops are common gifts every holiday and the first thing people do is open up a web browser and type in “P-O-R-N.” Damon Brown, author of “Porn and Pong, said it best: “It seems so obvious: If we invent a machine, the first thing we are going to do — after making a profit —is use it to watch porn”. We, as the adult online industry, need to make sure to stay relevant, develop for the future, and continue to innovate. Being female in the adult online world can sometimes be challenging. Tech and adult have historically been male-driven industries. The efforts of (WIA) spotlighting women in the industry is empowering and balances out the bias that adult online is a male-dominated world. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by strong and inspirational women who have been very influential in the adult world. Having these strong figures around me keep me propelling forward.
Does your work life affect your personal life?
One has to be aware of the balance between work and personal life. It’s a challenge, but I have learned to handle it by taking the time to decide which opportunities to pursue, choosing my battles, finding outlets to help me maintain balance such as yoga and running. I love what I do and I throw myself in 100 percent every day. I think the perfect balance is elusive at times — a constant chase, but for me it continues to be very rewarding. It is important to have passion for everything that one does and to find a good balance between all of the important things in life.