NAME: Darcy Antonellis
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Prior to joining Vubiquity as CEO in late 2013, she was president, technical operations and chief technology officer at Warner Bros. Entertainment, where she played a key role in the studio’s transition to digital technologies and automated distribution systems.
QUOTABLE: “You want to avoid trying to boil the ocean to solve a multitude of problems. Think about your core and the company’s areas of expertise and where you can really bring value and enable new opportunities for your customers.”
Darcy Antonellis, CEO of Vubiquity, understands that a combination of hard work and determination is always required to successfully climb the corporate ladder.
But she’s eager to point out that this climb, typically a more difficult one for women in male-dominated fields, also requires the help of mentors and advocates who make their decisions without self-centered motives, but instead “pay it forward.”
“I feel very strongly that nobody makes their way completely on their own,” Antonellis said. “Recognizing those contributions and how you can learn from anyone on any given day is extremely important.”
Many Mentors, One Most Important
Antonellis noted several mentors who have contributed to her career, but gives much of the credit to her father, who is technically trained and worked in the broadcasting arena. He had some influence on Antonellis’s decision to focus her efforts on technology and engineering, she said.
The importance of mentorship also ties into how Antonellis operates Vubiquity. A prime example is the “VUer Choice Awards,” an annual internal program that recognizes employees who are nominated and selected by their peers for exhibiting one of Vubiquity’s core values.
“Paying it forward is certainly one of those,” Antonellis said.
It’s been an interesting journey for Antonellis, who initially embarked on a career in journalism, including a post with the CBS News bureau in Washington, D.C.
“I later realized that I had a much greater aptitude and passion for math and science, and that ultimately spurred my interest,” she said.
Jim Riley, a former colleague of Antonellis at Vubiquity and now chief revenue officer at Mediamorph, said she possesses a unique blend of knowledge that is critical in the ever-evolving video and media business.
“Darcy is driven, strategic, tenacious and technically savvy,” Riley said. “She’s got a deep technical expertise that she marries with her enthusiasm about the future.”
Riley said he believes Antonellis got ahead of that curve working as a top engineering executive at Warner Bros. Entertainment, which she has parlayed into the leadership role she has today. “She has the technical acumen to handle the challenges of this new world we’re all living in and working together to bring to fruition,” he said.
As a global media distribution technology and services provider, Vubiquity, like other companies in the sector, has been required to evolve, going beyond securing rights and the tech required to distribute premium content to a wide range of screens.
These days, the turf of traditional pay TV operators is being invaded by content owners and new distributors that can tap into high-speed broadband connections to deliver over-the-top content directly to the viewer.
“The video space is incredibly dynamic,” Antonellis said. “The trend we’re seeing is of content owners becoming more direct-to-consumer distributors, and video distributors becoming content owners. We’ve made a lot of investments to enable and support new services rapidly.”
Knowing how to support those trends while also implementing a range of advertising, subscription and transaction-based business models, and doing it on an increasingly global basis, has been a major focus for Antonellis and Vubiquity.
“There’s a great opportunity for premium content to be shared and enjoyed, and that crosses a lot of borders,” she said, referring to the company’s international expansion (now at more than 120 countries and support for about 80 languages).
As CEO, Antonellis is tasked with maintaining a balance on the “here and now” of the business, as well as preparing for what’s to come. “I think the biggest challenges are really just around the raw, dynamic nature of the video landscape and consumption patterns,” she said. “The challenge for any executive team is to maintain discipline to stay focused, but not at the expense of adjusting to these relative changes.”
Finding the Time for Family
Antonellis also tries to strike the right work-life balance. Outside of work, her focus is on her two children, Andrea and Sebastian, who were born in Bogota, Colombia, and did not speak English when they were adopted as teens. Antonellis’s daughter is getting ready to graduate from college; her son is now working full time.
“They’ve really worked to find their way in the world,” Antonellis said. “I look at them as being my greatest inspiration. I think about the beginning of their lives and the challenges that they’ve overcome, and those are pretty good goal posts for me.”
Antonellis is also into sports — among them tennis (she played in college under a scholarship), golf, skiing, participating in triathlons and boating. “Probably everything except curling, maybe,” she said.
She’s also a big Philadelphia Eagles fan, and scored tickets to watch her team defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship.
Her passion for sports also translates to her interest in women’s health, as she is chair of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Los Angeles chapter.
And speaking of sports, regarding advice for other women interested in pursuing a career in engineering, technology and operations, she’d say the same thing cheering on her favorite teams. “The best thing I can say, and in all caps, is: ‘GO, GO, GO!’