Advertising Week has hired Rubicon Project CMO Mari Kim Novak as its new president, tasked with overseeing the flagship New York City edition and global sales and marketing as the event's longtime leaders Matt Scheckner and Lance Pillersdorf continue to expand the brand's footprint worldwide.
Novak, one of Ad Age's Women to Watch in 2016, is taking on Pillersdorf's president title and day-to-day operations in the U.S., particularly for the flagship New York business. Pillersdorf, who is also co-founder and chief operating officer of Advertising Week parent Stillwell Partners, will retain his title of chief operating officer and work on production as well as global expansion. Fourteen years ago, Advertising Week started as one event in New York, then it rolled out in Europe in 2013 and Asia last year. Now, the event is scheduled for Latin America in the fall and Australia in 2018 – and it's looking at Africa next.
Before Rubicon project, Novak spent nearly a decade at Microsoft, serving as global head of marketing, and she said during her time there, Microsoft was one of the original sponsors of Advertising Week.
While the new role seems a lot different from her previous posts, Novak said it's "the continuation of a journey I've been on for quite a bit of time" around storytelling and talking to the industry about new opportunities. At Advertising Week, she said she'll have an even bigger platform to help advance the industry.
Novak added that as a female executive, she sees "it as real responsibility for the business overall to mentor and teach what you can to the next generation," so she will continue to serve as a mentor on gender diversity and continue Advertising Week's work in those areas. Last summer, Advertising Week partnered with Future Foundation to conduct a gender diversity study of the industry, which revealed that 40% of women claim to have encountered gender discrimination in the workplace.
"I very much feel that this position offers me a wonderful opportunity to influence areas of my interest and the industry's interest in ways I wouldn't have been able to," she said.
Novak also plans on working with its partners to figure out new ways to have Advertising Week live on beyond the week, whether through its AW360 content platform, new learnings or something else entirely.
The next Advertising Week event will be in Tokyo at the end of the month.