There are a ton of people that have influenced the direction of the affiliate industry in both good and bad ways. But this post isn’t about forums, conferences and associations (many in affiliate marketing are women lead and founded), this is about specific women that have shaped my path and that I am grateful for.
I did not plan this post ahead of time, I just thought of influential women in affiliate marketing and who shaped my path the other month and after seeing all the SEO, tech and founders lists I wanted to do an affiliate one. I think I did a similar thing 7 or 8 years ago too.
To create this list I wrote the first seven names down that came to mind. There are tons more people I’d like to include because they are amazing, so maybe next year I’ll do another post with another seven leading women in affiliate marketing.
Here they are in no particular order.
(note: all photos are from LinkedIn or personal blogs, please let me know if I should pull them down or change them).
Lisa is the co-founder of Impact (one of the world’s leading affiliate tracking platforms and one I have recommended to multiple companies). Not only is she a brilliant business leader who began as a berry dipper and worked her way up to being a tech executive, but she has been a sounding board for myself and countless others over the years.
I remember standing outside of my only big client’s offices in Canada when I first went out on my own (oddly enough the same time her and her partner were launching Impact Radius) and when I was scared because they gave me an ultimatum to come in house or lose the contract; she is the first person I called.
Whether it is chasing down firemen in Seattle, having drinks in Santa Barbara, or simply knowing she exists; Lisa Riolo has had a massive “impact” on my life and I will always be grateful to know she is part of my circle of friends, business partners and people.
Definitely not my number 2, well unless it is a Halloween costume party and we end up with the same outfit/character (she’ll get the joke). Missy built countless careers for people like me.
She helped almost every affiliate network and agency find their place and grow, not to mention connect tens of thousands of publishers to offers and generate billions of dollars in business.
By co-founding Affiliate Summit and always being ready to help a friend, she helped drive change in an developing industry by providing a platform to create actual leadership. Her conference lead to the formation of action groups that connected us beyond forums and her drive helped us all build the lives we have today so we can provide for ourselves, our families, employees and others. Without her many of us would be lost.
I personally think the real reason she sold Affiliate Summit wasn’t for something new. I think it was really so she never has to go to Vegas again until Michaela calls and says “The bullies are babysitting Gabe…lets go for a girl’s weekend! Pack your bags and grab your Louis, the tickets are booked.”.
You can easily say Rexanne was the original successful mommy blogger. In fact she built a six figure mommy blog in the late 90’s/early 2000’s using AOL. This was also before there was a well known affiliate industry like there is today.
Rexanne had an impact on my life in that she taught me not to worry about the mean people in life and to look past the way they talk to me and treat me. And more importantly to question why they are acting this way.
Are they trying to be mean or is there a different motive behind their actions? If it wasn’t for her I would have hated two other people that picked on me in a couple of forums (and real life) instead of realizing that picking on me is their way of coaching me to do more.
They push and push and rip things apart because they know I could do better. And when things would get tough she was (and still is) always there to help me through them with emotional support.
Unfortunately we lost Rexanne a few years back, but she is and always will be in my heart. She can never be replaced.
A lot of you probably don’t know her or remember her because she keeps a low profile. The original “Clever Mom” and I go way back. Not only because we live in the same area, but because we disagree on just about everything.
We are on polar opposites in every way when it comes to life, but even with our disagreements we have one thing in common, we’re friends and we have always been there for one another for 18+ years.
One of my favorite memories is riding with her in a limo from the Pheonix airport to Think Tank in Scottsdale Arizona. We made fun of everything from cactuses to clouds and mountains for an hour straight while the driver just groaned at the lack of taste in our “dad jokes”. No matter what the situation is, the two of us can always be goofy and laugh. She is a constant reminder for me that even if I disagree on practically everything with someone, we can still be friends and work together.
This is Kim. If you had to pick one or a few people that could control if you lived or died, what happened to your belongings when you do die, or trust your children with; Kim is that person.
Kim will always keep you in check, keep you in reality and put you back in your place when you need it. Trust me, you don’t want to be on her bad side. But that’s the thing, she doesn’t have a bad side.
Kim is a genuine person and an amazing one at that. Aside from being smarter than most of us, she has a heart and she uses it.
You’ll always see her smiling and ready to lend a hand. She leads with brains and compassion while standing up for what she believes in. She’s helped me pull through some tough times and never once judged me (in a bad way).
Kim also once offered me a bite of her Cinnabon at the Vegas airport? Who does that? Those things are hard to come by and having to wait in the line with angry people only to share…amazing!
From a dance partner to a voice of reason, Sarah has been there from Miami to Vegas, California to Chicago. Dive bars to fancy cocktail parties and eating pickles at Russian Vodka Rooms in NYC.
You would be hard pressed to find someone who has both brains and this much positivity. I’m still not sure how she does it, but whenever I’m feeling like I failed or that things are in the dumps I think about some of the things she has told me over the years and they pick me up.
Not really sure what else there is to say here, except I wouldn’t have ever met you if it wasn’t for the next person on this list.
One of the most influential people I met is Carolyn. I remember visiting the ShareASale offices when they were still requiring new employee’s to put their own desks together and there were only a few people to begin with.
She greeted me at the door and walked me around to the brick wall (where I decided to vandalize a couple things (they still only found one of the three marks)). Carolyn helped me overcome my very rational fear of spreadsheets and also my own irrational fears of failure.
From helping me meet people at Affiliate Summit Miami to getting out of my shell and actually talking at conferences, I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for her. She guided me on everything from talking to clients and how to take a step back and realize that we can learn new skills if we just calm down. Now she’s teaching students at Loyola University how to do the same.
These seven women and countless others like Sabrina whose kids are smarter than all of us; Karen who can manage Angel/baking/kids/engineering and code; Connie who is tough as nails; Jenn W. who can kick all of our butts; Marcia the “party pro”; Jen G. for her upbeat pessimism; Tricia for talking to me for hours during the hellish year I lived in Chicago; Her mom for her unique phone calls; Leader (who shall not be named) for actually taking a phone call with me; Lisa P. whose creativity and ability to use proper grammar is unparallellogramerred (hahaha she just cringed); Judi who knows brains and business; etc… are all incredible people I would be lost without. But I also have to get my work done so enough for now.
Thank you everyone for all you’ve done for me, for the affiliate industry and for simply being you. None of you ever had to do anything for me or anyone else, but each of you did do things. And many of us are grateful for you!