She willingly shares credit with her bosses and the ad sales teams, but it's still an accomplishment for a young publisher in a competitive ad market.
It's that tough, shifting environment, though, that Ms. Kelleher thrives on. "What we say internally is we're riding a crashing wave with no beach in sight," she says. "That lends to the excitement."
It might be less exciting if it weren't for the continuing ad-page successes; Self was up 4.8% during the first quarter of 2007, vs. a year ago.
Charles H. Townsend, president-CEO of Condé Nast, says Ms. Kelleher has already distinguished herself as a likely future superstar. "She's a gifted young person who is deadly serious about her work," he says. "She's traveling down that path that makes the great ones."
Her most recent bit of sizzle, however, developed quietly: a clandestine review to slash the roster of agencies used by Verizon from 20 to 10 shops.
Ms. Deering, 38, was promoted in March to Verizon's executive director-brand, media, sponsorship and integration, a role in which she spearheads creative integration and branded-entertainment efforts. One such play was movie alliances for Disney franchises such as "Pirates of the Caribbean." "The integrity we take to the marketplace is critical," she says. "I want to know personally when I go home that I did the right thing by my family as well as by my company."
Ms. Deering's boss, VP-Digital Media and Marketing John Harrobin, says she's "highly effective" and "supercharged" with "deep understanding of media and a long runway [of potential] from a career standpoint."
PROCTER & GAMBLE CO.
Success runs in the family: Ms. Coffey is married to another P&G marketing executive, Maurice Coffey, a 2006 40 Under 40 honoree.
She cites improvements in product, packaging and marketing for Tampax's success. In a TV-centric company, Ms. Coffey shifted Tampax's spending to print and online, media where girls aren't embarrassed to see in-depth product details. She's overseen ads from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, such as one in which a woman on a date uses a Tampax tampon to plug a leaky boat.
The brand's gains are likely to keep it buoyant for years. "This is an incredibly loyal category," Ms. Coffey says. "When women find a product that works for them, they tend to stay there."
Mr. Nelson, 28, graduated this spring with a master's degree in direct and interactive marketing from Mercy College. He now holds the title of interactive/creative account manager at C.C. Stephens & Co., an agency in Peterborough, N.H.
While it might seem that Mr. Nelson's expertise ranges from low-tech on one end to the digital revolution on the other, he perceives "a melding of the two schools of thought. ... There are so many websites that lack a clear objective. ... It's the same idea as when you're doing a piece of direct mail ... being clear about what you're asking people to do."
"People who can straddle both [disciplines] will be very successful," says Walter W. Neff, program director of Mercy College's New York Center for Direct & Interactive Marketing.
"We wanted to use Hello Kitty for our own creative purposes," Ms. Rhimes, 37, said via e-mail. "And Sanrio allowed us to use their products, which ranged from undergarments to a Band-Aid that Meredith [Grey] wears when she is having a particularly bad day."
This fall, Ms. Rhimes will have two shows on her plate, with "Grey's" spinoff "Private Practice" joining the ABC schedule. She's unfazed by her workload. "I am very lucky to have terrific staffs on both shows," she says.
Stephen McPherson, ABC's president of entertainment, says: "She is, by far, one of the most passionate, talented, insightful creative voices of this generation."
That can involve working with Visa in the U.S., Nike in Asia, Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox globally and leading -- and winning -- a pitch to become McDonald's Corp.'s first global digital agency. Right now, he's working on an alternate reality game for a major marketer in which players from different continents will have to collaborate to find clues.
"What I most admire is his command of creativity and business and technology," says AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarre.
Mr. Pereira, 33, chaired the Cannes Lions festival's cyber jury when he was just 31. That year he moved to the U.S. and AKQA from his native Brazil, a hotbed of cyber talent, where he was a partner in the leading interactive agency, AgenciaClick, São Paulo.
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
Photo: Matthew Nicholson
Even in sports marketing, Mr. Mattson knows he can't escape sponsors' demands for accountability. That's one of the challenges the 30-year-old is facing in his new job at Relay Worldwide, after getting his MBA last month from the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center of the University of Oregon.
"The sophistication of agencies' approach is growing," Mr. Mattson says. But instead of ROI, he thinks in terms of ROO -- "return on objectives." Paul Swangard, managing director at the Warsaw Center, notes: "What's drilled into us by every company we partner with is 'Don't bring me another fan.
Unless they have a demonstrable business talent than can affect our success metrics, I don't need another kid who dreamed of working in sports because they watched "SportsCenter" all day through college.' "
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
Her University of Virginia team was tasked with creating an integrated marketing campaign for Coca-Cola Classic. "I could not have asked for better way of training," she says.
The students take "theoretical concepts and actually apply them," says Jack Lindgren, faculty adviser to the University of Virginia NSAC teams, including last year's first-place winner.
The time for testing the waters ends this summer for Ms. Cleary, 22. She graduated in May and starts next month at Ogilvy & Mather, New York, as an associate.
The internet was a key element of the team's youth-targeting Coke Classic campaign. Speaking as young consumers, Ms. Cleary says, "We are used to being able to find whatever information we need. We're not going to respond to the everyday billboard or commercial, because ... we expect everything to be online."
Before joining Unilever, Mr. Chadha won several awards for online work on Jose Cuervo's "Cuervo Nation." He helped Unilever continue impressive share gains in deodorants this year through programs such as Degree's content-integration deal with Fox's "24."
After college, Mr. Chadha joined buddies from the U.K. on a U.S. road trip, crossing into Mexico, where he developed his passion for Cuervo Gold. That led to eight years marketing Cuervo, starting at its U.K. distributor.
He was already a fan of Unilever's Lynx deodorant (Axe's twin) from his U.K. days. So when Unilever sought out Mr. Chadha in 2006, he jumped at the chance. The 36-year-old is now marketing director-North American deodorants for Unilever.
"The brands I've most admired, I've also wanted to work for," says Mr. Chadha, who in his spare time helps run a small music label, Electronica.
BRAND IN HAND
Mr. Hadl officially is CEO of Brand in Hand, which consults with companies on mobile-marketing projects. But his unwritten, and perhaps most powerful, title is chief mobile strategy adviser to Procter & Gamble Co.
As such, Mr. Hadl helped devise P&G's AdLab concept, which he co-manages with two P&G executives. "I bridge the gap between the buyers of audiences and the builders of tools," Mr. Hadl, 37, says of the divides slowing the growth of mobile marketing. Most marketers, he says, want to buy audiences, while most mobile-marketing firms are technology-based companies trying to sell various tools.
"It's the Gold Rush, the wild, wild West," says Mr. Hadl, who has a law degree from New York University. The mobile industry needs "to focus on how brand marketers can reach audiences."