Rena Shapiro is the Head of Politics & Public Affairs for a4 media (an Altice USA company). In this capacity she oversees the advertising products, strategy, and the political footprint for the fast-growing media company. Rena brings over 15 years of expertise in online media, politics, and technology to a4 and Altice.
A named a 2015 Rising Star by Campaigns & Elections Magazine, Rena was previously the VP of Politics & Advocacy at BuzzFeed, as well as the Political Advertising Director for Pandora. Rena created the companies’ political advertsing strategy as well as oversaw the east coast advertising team’s public affairs, issue advocacy, and corporate PR advertising campaigns. She has also served as the Director of Political, Issue Advocacy, & Public Affairs Accounts at AOL/Huffington Post Media Group where she worked closely with campaigns, issue advocacy groups, and public affairs clients to help them leverage AOL’s advertising tools and video platform.
Rena launched her career in media and politics at Google Inc., where she is best known for creating the political advertising team in 2006. Eric Schmidt recognized Rena in 2009 as an Example of Innovation at Google for her vision and work in launching that team.
Rena obtained her MBA, cum laude, in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Babson College. She received her B.A. in History from Barnard College of Columbia University also cum laude. A resident of South Orange, NJ, Rena is on the Emerging Leaders Initiative of NJ AIPAC as well as a member of the Young Investors Society of NJ Israel Bonds. In her rare free time, Rena enjoys being outdoors in the fresh air, spending time with her three kids, turning up the torq at Flywheel, and deadlifts at CrossFit. Small but mighty, her max deadlift is 220 lbs. and she is working to break 225 lbs. She recently completed over 200 rides at Flywheel, where she is a Power Up 2018 winner of the “Never Coast Hall of Fame.”
AAPC: What does being a 2019 AAPC 40 Under 40 Award winner mean to you?
Rena: It’s an honor to be recognized by the industry I care so much about for all my hard work and efforts.
AAPC: What’s next for you this year?
Rena: Having been involved in digital political advertising since its inception, I have remained on the cutting edge of the latest trends in both political advertising as well as digital media, and I continue to seek out opportunities to remain a leader in the political advertising marketplace.
In my role at a4 Media, I am a part of the team focused on addressable digital and TV advertising. The reason I joined this innovative company was to ensure that media could be measured, tracked, and analyzed in a totally new and pioneering way. As a leader at a4, our team’s vision is to make political advertising more accountable, addressable, authentic, and accurate. The partners who are able to work with us are on the cutting edge of digital addressable targeting – and I’m thrilled to continue to do my part to push political consultants into that direction more and more each year.
AAPC: Who do you look up to in the industry and why?
Rena: Those who started this industry – they created a path for each of us to be a part of this industry.
AAPC: Tell us about something you’re most proud of accomplishing in your professional career.
Rena: My most important AND significant accomplishments of course are my three adorable and delicious children, Vered (10), Tamar (8), and Noam (5) (and most of my colleagues in the AAPC remember me very pregnant at some point in my career in political advertising)! Aside from creating, raising, and chasing around three adorable children while working full time, my most significant accomplishments are the teams that I helped to create at Google, AOL, Pandora, BuzzFeed and now a4Media. I couldn’t be prouder of the teams I have created.
AAPC: To what do you credit your success at such a young age?
Rena: My parents and their dedication to my fabulous education without a doubt.
AAPC: What advice would you give to a young professional who has their eye on being a future 40 Under 40 Award winner?
Rena: Innovate and think outside the box!
AAPC: What’s the most positive development in political campaigns since you started your career?
Rena: It’s no surprise that we are all seeing the value in digital advertising finally coming into the mainstream. But that wasn’t always the case. Digital has been the ugly step-child to campaigns for the past 15+ years. However, after years of beating the digital drum, we are finally seeing the tides change. By leading the teams at companies innovating in the advertising world across display, video, audio, creative content and messaging, as well as now addressable advertising, I try my best to stay one step ahead of the trends, propelling the entire political advertising arena into the future.