Employee Spotlight Series: Q&A with Jonathan Sterling

March 29, 2024, 01:03

The brains behind our brand

Welcome back to the third installment of our Employee Spotlight Series: The Brains Behind Our Brand, where we dive deeper into the heart of our organization and share more about the individuals who make Cognitiv the organization that it is.

Come along as we cheer on the amazing folks who always bring their A-game, pouring their expertise, excitement, and creativity into everything we tackle here at Cognitiv.

This March, our Employee Spotlight series proudly features Jonathan Sterling.

Role: Sr. Director, Machine Learning

Team: Science

Cognitiv Tenure: 18 Months 

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in science or machine learning?

I deliver campaign performance, build for scaled impact, and ensure that we stay focused on what Cognitiv does best — leveraging our exceptional modeling capabilities for advertisers with a lot of data, a robust feedback loop, and a concern for performance.

Can you share a bit about your background and how you landed at Cognitv?

In a previous position, I collaborated well with Steve Hastings, our VP of Machine Learning, on a product that could provide in-store analytics based on security camera data using vision models. He led the data science team, and I was the product manager.

Steve left to join Cognitiv, and I stayed to lead the product team for a couple of years. We kept in touch, and he told me what Cognitiv was up to. I was enticed by Cognitiv’s technologically differentiated approach to programmatic and the team’s level of focus. After talking with the team, I was sold. 

What is your favorite part of your role at Cognitv?

My team is responsible for campaign performance, which means I get to interact with pretty much everyone in the company. I enjoy this aspect of the job very much.

Which of Cognitv’s brand pillars resonates with you the most and why?

Performance. We are responsible for ensuring that campaigns perform, so it is constantly on my mind.

Can you share an accomplishment or project that you are most proud of from your time at Cognitiv? Tell us about it.

I’m very proud of the work we’re doing to automate campaigns. The number of model training pipelines we run each week has exploded in service to our growing list of clients. This project scales the impact that Cognitiv creates for our clients.

Who inspires you the most within the Cogntiv team?

Alex Podschwit. That guy can solve any problem and is always willing to jump in to help.

What is one podcast you’d recommend?


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“In life, you must keep many balls in the air. Figure out which are rubber and which are glass.”

Let’s end with a fun fact! Tell us something unique about you – maybe your Astrology sign, a talent, your favorite vacation spot, etc. 

I used to be pretty good on a BMX bike and competed a few times. I built big ramps and a series of dirt jumps in my backyard that I would ride and work on for countless hours. My appetite for physical risk has tempered, but I ride with my son at the skatepark when it is dry here in Seattle, and it is tons of fun.

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