Ad Age Digital Conference 2009 Speaker Bios

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Michele Azar
Vice President, Emerging Channels
Best Buy

As Vice President, Emerging Channels at Best Buy Co., Inc., a global retailer of technology and entertainment products and services, Michele Azar currently leads emergent growth platforms: Open API, Community, and Mobile Web. Throughout her 11 year career at Best Buy, she has held P&L responsibility for Computer Peripherals and Hardware business units and played key leadership roles in 3 large scale transformations. In 2007, Azar moved to the web division to lead Enterprise 2.0 Strategy and rollout of new growth opportunities beyond existing channels. Azar keynotes across the globe on how Best Buy empowers employees to innovate, serve customers, and capture new growth. Company as Wiki: Modern Times to Open Times talk features true stories of what happens when the Net Generation goes to work at Best Buy. Google Zeigeist ultimately invited the CEO of Best Buy, Brad Anderson to share the Open Times talk during the "Power Shift" section of the Zeigeist venue. ( In addition to leading the visioning of how to harness the collective intelligence of internal employees, Azar launched Best Buy REMIX, Best Buy's Open API that enables Best Buy to open up data to the external developer communities around the globe. (

In 2003 Azar led the development of the small business segment from lab concept to nationwide scale of professional product solutions and service offerings including Geek Squad for small businesses. Earlier in her career, Azar held P&L responsibility for businesses at Target Corp-Dept Store Div. and The Gap, Inc.

In June 2006, Azar earned a MBA degree in the Executive MBA Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Bob Burke
President, Chief Executive Officer, & Director

A 25 year industry veteran, Bob Burke drives ATG's market leadership and long-term growth as president, chief executive officer, and member of the board of directors.

Before joining ATG, Bob held a number of senior executive and leadership positions. While at Digital Equipment Corporation (Digital), he headed up Digital's billion-dollar Systems Integration business with operations in over 45 countries. During his career at Digital, Bob also led the creation and delivery of large-scale enterprise application solutions - including strategic partnerships, and product development and deployment within thousands of customer sites throughout the world. After leaving Digital, Bob served as president of ePresence Solutions, where he helped integrate several firms into ePresence, Inc. (formerly Banyan Systems) and rapidly grew the company's solutions business. Most recently, Bob served as CEO of Quidnunc, where he led Quidnunc's return to profitability and its focus on the customer relationship management market.

Bob holds a bachelor of science in physics from Eastern Michigan University.


John Caplan
Ford Models

John Caplan is Chief Executive Officer. He joined the agency in September of 2002 with the charge to expand Ford's worldwide operations. Since his arrival, he has successfully grown the firm's business, integrated acquired agencies, expanded Ford's Artist divisions and launched Ford Models 360, Ford's content and event business.

During the technology boom of the late 1990's Caplan was an integral part of, where he ultimately served as president of the About Network before leaving in 2001. During his tenure at About, he presided over the 5th most trafficked web property, orchestrated a series of strategic acquisitions for the brand, sparked growth reaching $100 million in revenue, and executed the integration of About into Primedia, after they acquired About for $500 million October 2000.

Caplan's early experience includes leading the strategic development and marketing for the launch of the Arizona Iced Tea brand and overseeing regional marketing for Starbucks Coffee Company. Caplan is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization and the founder of Citizen Table, a New York City Community salon series.

Caplan was recently featured in Crain's 40 Under 40 as one of New York's rising stars


Simon Clift
Chief Marketing Officer

Born in Chalfont St Giles, England in 1958, Simon Clift studied Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge.

After university he joined Unilever in 1982 as a management trainee in marketing at the UK personal care company, Elida Gibbs. Over the next nine years, he held various marketing positions in the UK, Portugal and Austria before becoming marketing director at Unilever Mexico in 1991.

In 1994 he returned to London to his 'home' company as marketing director.

In 1997 he was appointed managing director of Elida Gibbs Brazil, Unilever's second largest personal care business globally (after the US) and three years later became chairman of Unilever's Latin American Personal Care category, also based in São Paulo.

In January 2001, with the establishment of Unilever's global Home & Personal Care Division, he was appointed president of marketing and dragged reluctantly back from Brazil. In April 2005 with the further reorganisation of Unilever, he was appointed Group Vice-President for Personal Care. As such, he was directly responsible for the worldwide strategy, marketing, innovation and advertising of Unilever's €12 bio personal care business.

In June 2008 he relinquished his category responsibilities to focus full time on the role of global Chief Marketing Officer - Unilever's first. As such, he is responsible for how Unilever develops and executes its core function of marketing across all categories – incorporating worldwide advertising agency policy, market research, media planning and buying, marketing capability, talent development, recruitment and training. He is also responsible for the development of the Unilever company brand.

He is interested in music - particularly of the Baroque period - and the arts in general and is a season ticket holder at Chelsea. He lives in London with a counterfeit Brazilian Dalmatian, and, for part of the year at least, with his Brazilian foster son, but escapes more frequently than is decent to his home in Paraty, a fine colonial town on the coast in the state of Rio de Janeiro.


Noah Elkin
Vice President of Corporate Strategy

Noah Elkin, Ph.D., is vice president of corporate strategy at international search-inspired digital agency Steak. He is responsible for driving strategy development for both Steak and its clients, educating overseeing thought leadership efforts, clients and staff about trends in the online advertising marketplace and representing Steak at key industry organizations. Elkin writes a monthly column on digital advertising trends for iMedia Connection and has been quoted in the New York Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, DM News and Internet Retailer. He has also discussed technology developments and advertising market trends as a guest on CNN en Español. Elkin speaks regularly at industry events and conferences, including Search Engine Strategies, Search Marketing Expo, MediaPost's Search Insider Summit Digital Publishing & Advertising Conference (DPAC), SEMPO roundtables and DM Days.

Prior to joining Steak, Elkin served as the vice president of corporate strategy for iCrossing, where he help to build the company´s social media practice and worked with clients in the automotive, financial services and hospitality industries to develop and execute strategies integrating social media into online marketing campaigns. He also authored a highly regarded series of studies on search, interactive, mobile and social media marketing. Before iCrossing, Elkin served for five years as senior analyst at eMarketer, where he covered developments in mobile voice and data, wireless devices, mobile marketing and m-commerce. In addition, he has consulted for Oxford Analytica, focusing on the impact of political trends on the business environment and foreign investment climate in Latin America, and served as a subject matter expert for the Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Elkin is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. He earned a B.A. with honors from Columbia University.


Kelly Mooney
President & Chief Experience Officer
Resource Interactive

As President and Chief Experience Officer of digital agency Resource Interactive, Mooney inspires business leaders to welcome consumers into the value creation of their brands. She leads a company of award-winning digital marketing teams in the creation and development of brand-building consumer experiences for companies such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, The Coca-Cola Company, Wendy's, Victoria's Secret, L.L. Bean and Wal-Mart.

A twenty-year veteran of consumer-centric marketing, Mooney is the author of two business books: The Ten Demandments: Rules to Live By in the Age of the Demanding Customer (McGraw-Hill, 2002) and The Open Brand: When Push Comes to Pull in a Web-Made World (New Riders/AIGA Design Press, 2008). A widely influential thought leader and spokesperson in the digital and multichannel arenas, Kelly Mooney is industry-renowned for her uncanny gift to translate the complexities of the digital channel and consumer behavior into actionable business solutions.


John Osborn
President & CEO
BBDO New York

John Osborn is President and Chief Executive Officer of BBDO New York.

John joined BBDO in 1991. Over the years, he has demonstrated that he is an energetic, positive and passionate leader with a proven ability to build strong client relationships and to lead big multi-disciplinary teams in the creation of powerful communication programs. For example, he has been actively involved with many of the agency's clients including FedEx, GE, Sony, Lowe's, Monster and Mars. He began his BBDO career on Pepsi and was the principal architect of the agency's integrated marketing efforts, expanding the agency's service offerings to include digital marketing, direct, CRM, custom-publishing and more. He was named President and CEO of the New York agency in February 2004. In January 2006, BBDO was named "Agency of the Year" by all of the leading trade publications (Ad Age, Adweek and Campaign). And this past year, it was named "Creative Agency of the Year" by Shoot magazine and business-to-business "Large Agency of the Year" by BtoB magazine.

Among John's notable accomplishments was his involvement with the "New York Miracle" campaign, which helped lift spirits of New Yorkers in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In addition, John has lent his talents to other important causes. He is President of the Board of Directors of the Police Athletic League of New York, and also serves on the Boards of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the New York Chapter of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and the Dartmouth College Alumni Club of New York City. He's an active supporter of New York University's Child Studies Center as well as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, for whom he has served as a mentor to Cory Collins for eleven years.

In recognition of his accomplishments, in 2003, John was inducted into the AAF Hall of Achievement, which honors people 40 years of age or under for their contributions to business. He has also been named to the Crain's New York Business list of "40 under 40" as well as BtoB magazine's "Who's Who in BtoB." In 2006, John was named a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum.

John earned his BA at Dartmouth, is married to Lesley and is the proud father of a 3 year-old daughter (Caroline) and a 2 year-old son (John Jr.).


John Owens
Head of Marketing
ING Direct

John joined ING DIRECT in March of 2001 and has held various marketing and sales positions in the organization including the last two years in his current role as Head of Marketing.

John's work experience prior to joining ING DIRECT USA included a stint in Sales with The Coca-Cola Company's Fountain Division, and marketing roles with Johnson & Johnson, Mattel Inc., and Vlasic Foods International where he worked on brands such as Pepcid AC, Motrin, Matchbox Toys and Vlasic Pickles.

John graduated in 1991 from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a concentration in Entrepreneurial Management. He attended Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and graduated with a Masters in Business Administration with majors in Marketing, Finance and Statistics.

He and his wife live in Villanova, PA with their three children. In the little spare time John has, he coaches Little League baseball and basketball, teaches Junior Achievement, serves on alumni advisory boards for two U of P organizations, serves on the board of the Athletic Advantage Fund charity, has been a featured panelist and speaker at the 2007 NetFinance conference and several Philadelphia Chapter American Marketing Association events. He plays basketball, skis (On both frozen and thawed H2O) and maintains a single digit golf handicap.


Steve Pacheco
Managing Director, Advertising

Steve Pacheco is Managing Director, Advertising at FedEx Corporation, a $39 billion, Fortune 100 global transportation, logistics and business services leader. He is responsible for all corporate-wide advertising as well as leveraging their extensive portfolio of Sports and Sponsorship properties through media and advertising. FedEx brands under his direction include: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office.

Prior to joining FedEx in 1997, Pacheco served as Advertising Director for International Paper, a $25 billion multi-national producer and marketer of paper, packaging, forest products, and building materials. Responsible for advertising, marketing communications, and sports and event sponsorship, he directed their involvement in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

His broad range of advertising experience includes past positions as Partner in Humphreys Ink, a Memphis based Advertising agency, Director of Advertising & Promotions at The Commercial Appeal, a Scripps Howard newspaper in Memphis. Before that he had a paper route.

In addition to his advertising and marketing background, Pacheco has given his time and talents to numerous community based efforts including:
Board Member: Memphis Arts Festival, Memphis in May
Marketing Chair: Memphis Arts Council & National Blues Foundation
Advisor: Metropolitan Interfaith Association, National Civil Rights Museum, Habitat for Humanity, and The Memphis Food Bank.

A native of Memphis, Pacheco earned a BFA Degree in Journalism from Memphis State University. He also holds the designation of Certified BBQ Judge from The Memphis in May International Festival's World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

He lives, works, and plays in Memphis with his wife, an accomplished designer and artist, two boys under the age of 12, and their extensive collection of wet towels.


Dave Panos
Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder

A software industry veteran with more than 16 years of start-up experience, Dave has helped define new markets across a range of Internet and Enterprise sectors. He co-founded Pluck as a Venture Partner at Austin Ventures. Previously, he was a co-founder and executive vice president for B2B eCRM provider Question Technologies (sold to Motive). For seven years, he was vice president of marketing and business development at web collaboration pioneer DataBeam before their successful sale to Lotus/IBM. Previously, Mr. Panos ran product management at Easel Corporation, a popular software development tool company that went public. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degree from Furman University.


Jan Valentic
Senior Vice President, Global Marketing & Growth Platforms
Scotts Miracle-Gro

Jan was named to this position in May 2008, responsible for launching cross-portfolio and transformational growth platforms for the Company. This includes alternative and natural lawn, garden and home protection products and expanding into new channels.

She joined Scotts Miracle-Gro in March 2007 as senior vice president, North America Marketing Services, and retains those responsibilities as well, which include consumer insights and metrics, media, interactive and relationship marketing, retail promotions, sponsorships, the consumer contact center and creative design and packaging.

Prior to Scotts Miracle-Gro, Jan was executive vice president and global lead for Team Microsoft with Young & Rubicam Brands in Seattle, Wash. She was also vice president of Global Marketing for Ford Motor Company.

Jan earned both her bachelor's and MBA degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Josh Weiss
Managing Director, and Self-Service
Delta Air Lines

Josh Weiss is Managing Director,, self-service, & CRM for Delta Air Lines at its world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He is directly responsible for all of Delta's self-service strategy, including the carrier's online technology, as well as airport check-in kiosks, customer relationship management programs and direct marketing. Prior to assuming this position in April, 2006, Weiss was director – Airport Operations and Strategy, and had responsibility for worldwide airport passenger service, operational, safety and security support functions.

Weiss joined Delta in 1996 as a leadership development trainee. He ascended through various positions within Airport Customer Service and Consumer Marketing, including that of Product Manager - Airports. In 2003, he rejoined Airport Customer Service as General Manager – Airport Strategy and Development. Josh was named Director – Airport Operations and Strategy in December, 2004.

Weiss is a graduate of Georgetown University where he earned a BS degree in Foreign Service with a specialty in diplomacy and international security, and of Georgia State University, where he earned his MBA. Josh and his wife, Ellie, live in Atlanta, GA with their two daughters.


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