The Brown Couch Session: Experiencing Growth on the Sales Team at AppNexus

In 2007 AppNexus was founded in CEO Brian O’Kelley’s apartment on his brown couch. With over 1,000 employees in offices spanning five continents, AppNexus has seen tremendous growth over the last year. So, what’s it like to work at one of the fastest growing technology companies? The Brown Couch Series aims to give you a behind the scenes look at different roles and personalities that are part of AppNexus.

Meet Ilana, Client Advisory Director at AppNexus.

Ilana joined AppNexus in 2011 after having spent six years in the ad tech world. An industry veteran, Ilana was looking to move into a growing environment that typifies start-ups; she wanted the experience of working in a place where everything that was happening was novel and exciting, where she could leave her mark on the business, and have the opportunity to grow a team. AppNexus was the place where she could make this happen.

AppNexus: What does growth at AppNexus mean to you?

AppNexus: On that note, what personal growth have you experienced by working at AppNexus?

Ilana: As I mentioned, there’s always something new in Ad Tech, and especially at AppNexus. For me, client management is about learning the products, how my clients can use them, and understanding the value those products can bring to them. There are always new things to talk to them about or new challenges to face. This industry, in the grand scheme, is still very young, so we don’t always know what comes next. Instead, we focus on learning and continuing to grow as people within the organization.

AppNexus: What new skills have you learned since joining AppNexus?

Ilana: I would say that one of the biggest skills I’ve learned here is people management: I moved from being an individual contributor to being a manager. I took on a player/coach role where I was both managing accounts as well as managing people, which provided me the chance to learn. I quickly realized that I was now not only responsible for my career but to some extent, those of my individual team members. It was my responsibility to represent both them and their work to the broader organization. Luckily I had managers who were coaching me through the process and guiding me as I rethought my day-to-day responsibilities.

AppNexus: You’ve seen a lot of growth, both personally and within the AppNexus community. What does community at AppNexus mean to you?

Ilana: I think the AppNexus community is just that: it’s a community. It feels like people want to get to know each other and they want to spend time together. AppNexus looks for people with a broad range of interests, and you feel that within the company. If you have either a hobby or interest, there’s probably somebody else here who’s interested in it, and is willing to sit down and talk about it and maybe even form a club focused on it!

AppNexus: How are you involved with the AppNexus Community?

Ilana: For me, being a member of the community has meant a number of things over the years. I was involved in the AppNexus Women’s Network, which does events – both internally and externally – to bring women together in the industry. It’s a chance for women of all levels and locations to get together and just focus on what we need, and what the company can bring to us. I also played on the AppNexus soccer team along the way, which has been fun.

AppNexus: If someone was considering applying to AppNexus, why would you tell them to join today?

Ilana: If someone asked me why they should join AppNexus, I would say it’s about the energy here. In my career, I’ve been at companies as small as six people, as well as giant corporations, and there’s still a start-up energy here. People feel like they’re a part of something great, they feel like they can make an impact. I’ve been at AppNexus since it was 200 people, and we’re now well over 1,000 people, and that energy that I used to feel when I would walk in the building and around the office is still here today.


About AppNexus Sales and Account Management:
Sales & Account Management is a driven and results-oriented organization that helps bring AppNexus’ digital advertising products to market. Our focus is building our clients' businesses through leading-edge technology solutions, intuitive and effective ad serving tools, and strategic business consulting. We develop and nurture relationships with a wide range of publishers and advertisers to help them more effectively reach their target audience through real-time ad serving, allowing them to manage and grow their digital advertising business. Our team is seeking innovative, passionate, and driven people who can foster strong client relationships, meet sales quotas, and drive awareness of our products, all while thriving in a fast-paced environment. Check out our open positions and join our team!

For more information, follow us at @appnexustalent or visit us at


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