Stella Voutsina recently joined our Venture Partner roster, and we could not be happier to have her on our team. Stella is an AI expert with a breadth of experience working on global operations and business integration issues, and currently serves as CTO at MDC Media Partners (NSDQ: MDCA).
We recently sat down with Stella to talk about how she got to where she is today, her current focus, and where she sees technology in the future.
Stella grew up in a small, coastal town in northern Greece, where summers were idyllic but winters were financially hard because of the economic dependency on tourism. For her, the real escape was school and the dream was to make her way to New York City. She followed the trend of young people leaving Greece, and in 2003 went to Valencia, Spain to work for an EU-sponsored NGO supporting kids with disabilities. Stella—who worked every summer since she was 12 years old—taught herself Spanish and produced a documentary during her three years in Spain. Eventually finding herself ready for a new challenge, Stella then moved to London to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and Communications at London Metropolitan.
Upon graduating in 2008, she worked for various ad agencies, including iProspect, where she advised Nokia as it struggled to respond to the introduction of Apple’s first iPhone. That experience taught her how companies should be strategic in highly competitive environments, and showed her the importance and power of data. When iProspect was acquired by Dentsu in 2012, Stella took the opportunity to move to Detroit and work with General Motors as the Head of Tech and Communications. This was a pivotal time in her career – she traveled all over the world, completed a master’s degree, and learned to prove herself in a new environment all over again. In her own words, “Detroit is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me a self-starter; it taught me that I can take risks”.
In 2015, Stella was recruited by her mentor and former CEO while at Dentsu, Martin Cass, to be SVP of Digital Operations at Assembly, a media agency he had recently founded and had already been named “Media Agency of the Year” by Ad Age. She moved to New York City and found herself immersed in the VC/startup scene where she was able to experiment with broader thoughts and approach new ideas to solve problems. Today, Stella is the CTO at MDC Media Partners, one of the fastest-growing and most influential marketing and communications networks in the United States and does some work with MDC’s venture arm. She also co-founded Born AI, a creative agency that leverages artificial intelligence to deliver highly engaging and intelligent agents for the world’s best brands.
Stella views technology as an approach rather than an end-all solution, and her passion is finding ways to use technology to help the user; “AI is challenging. It is the sense of our future within our present. AI enhances our knowledge of behaviors, moods and desires with the principal goal to improve our life experience”.
Stella appreciates working with the Indicator team because our scope extends beyond media, helping her learn and engage with new and exciting technologies. We are immensely fortunate to be working alongside such an innovative leader in the digital media space.
In her free time, Stella loves to stay active and read. She is a black belt in Karate and her favorite book is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.