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Unlike some people who get more conservative as they climb the corporate ladder, Travelocity's Jeff Glueck, 38, has gotten bolder about taking risks. CEO Michelle Peluso says it's Mr. Glueck's business smarts and creative thinking that brought him from his days creating Site 59 for last-minute travel deals to his present gnome-wielding position.

With Mr. Glueck as chief marketing officer, the Travelocity website has seen visits rise to more than twice the levels of the pre-Roaming Gnome era, all the while being outspent in advertising 3-to-1 by its greatest rival, Expedia.

Now Mr. Glueck is guiding the brand's migration from utilitarian travel planning to an "Experience Finder." Imagine what kind of experience you want, and Travelocity will offer suggestions, from driving a Harley through the desert to picnicking under the Eiffel Tower.

"That's the business we want to be in: making memories," he says. Part of that is "Travel for Good," a program with an eye to eco-conscious travel.
-- Brooke Capps
"There's no better moment to be in marketing than now," says Diego Scotti, VP-global advertising at American Express Co. "With so much change happening, [marketers] can really write the book."

Mr. Scotti, 34, has written several chapters himself so far, devising marketing innovations to "nurture American Express' relationship with its members," adding value so that "it's not just a piece of plastic used to buy things."

One value added? Rich content -- such as two minimovies from directors Wes Anderson and M. Night Shyamalan. Creative collaboration with these and other AmEx "artists in residence," such as Ellen DeGeneres, Martin Scorsese and Annie Leibovitz, ensures that the marketer remains "part of the conversation within popular culture."

Next up: AmEx will devote up to $5 million to realize one cardmember's idea for social good, voted online by other members like "an 'American Idol' for doing good," says Mr. Scotti.
-- Tiffany Meyers
In the days before he headed off to university in August 2005, Alex Tew had a single goal: to stay out of debt. Lying on his bed in his parents' house in Cricklade, U.K., he formulated the idea of a cyber-billboard in which pixels were sold as ad space. He dubbed it Million Dollar Homepage.

"I figured I could sell 1 million pixels for $1 each," says Mr. Tew, 23.

He sold out his inventory in early 2006, with the final 1,000 pixels auctioned for $38,100 on eBay. Now he's replicating the idea with Pixelotto.com -- 1 million pixels for $2 each.

Amid the hubbub around the novelty of the program, which may or may not skirt the law concerning non-U.S. sweepstakes, Mr. Tew won over people who initially pegged him as a huckster. "There was every chance that a young guy who made all that money would be an idiot," says Robert Loch, co-founder of the London web-community hub Internet People, with a laugh. "But Alex really impressed me. He will create a $100 million-plus business someday."
-- Larry Dobrow
When Microsoft Corp. was planning this year's high-flying annual Redmond, Wash., shindig for journalists, Bill Gates personally asked for one man to be part of the program -- 30-year-old entrepreneur Omar Hamoui.

Mr. Hamoui is CEO of AdMob, a global ad marketplace that's served more than a billion mobile ads, many from small marketers but also from the likes of Coca-Cola Co.

Mr. Gates didn't personally speak with Mr. Hamoui at the event, but the young entrepreneur was given an opportunity to present his technology at the conference, which occurred shortly after Mr. Gates purchased ScreenTonic, another company delivering ads to mobile phones.

Before starting AdMob, Mr. Hamoui founded four other companies. Two of the businesses collapsed, and two were sold.

Through those ups and downs, the key to success is "persistence and luck," Mr. Hamoui says.
-- Alice Z. Cuneo
Photo: Michael Haaseth
It's a familiar story: Veteran TV producer gets lured to NBC programming job years before his 40th birthday. It happened to Jeff Zucker in 2000, when the "Today" veteran was named NBC's president of entertainment. Mr. Zucker is now CEO of NBC Universal, and he replicated that story last month by naming Reveille founder Ben Silverman, 36, to his old gig.

As CEO of Reveille, Mr. Silverman helped usher in the American versions of foreign shows such as "La Fea Más Bella" ("Ugly Betty" on ABC) and "The Office" on NBC. But as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, he faces the challenge of lifting a fourth-place network.

"I wasn't sure what route I'd end up following," Mr. Silverman says of his career path. "Being an entrepreneur and a producer is an amazingly satisfying job when you find success and are able to create shows that have impact."

"He grasps the big picture," Mr. Zucker says, "and he realizes what it takes to get ahead and succeed in today's evolving entertainment marketplace."
-- Andrew Hampp
At Coca-Cola Co., they call MediaVest's Kendra Hatcher the "culture vulture." Laughing, she wonders if she'll ever live that one down.

Not likely. Ms. Hatcher, 35, mines consumer insights on pop-culture trends before they go mainstream, using those findings to inform media strategies for companies such as Coca-Cola. "We live and breathe pop culture," she says. "Only then can you integrate it into plans."

To Ms. Hatcher's list of sobriquets, you can add futurist. She's identifying ways to make consumer connections in a digital world. As senior VP-director of consumer context planning at MediaVest USA, "Kendra knows what's going to happen ahead of the curve," says Nancy Mullahy, exec VP-managing director. She adds that Ms. Hatcher has the "imagination of an artist" and "the diligence of a drill sergeant."

A force behind several diversity initiatives, Ms. Hatcher "adds so many dimensions to her job it doesn't fit within traditional titles," Ms. Mullahy says.
-- Tiffany Meyers
Photo: Michael Haaseth
Donald Trump fired him, but Procter & Gamble Co. welcomed back Surya Yalamanchili with open arms from "The Apprentice: Los Angeles."

And no wonder. Making brand manager by 30 is rare at P&G. Making it before 25, as Mr. Yalamanchili did, is almost unheard of.

He distinguished himself as assistant brand manager and brand manager in beauty before becoming brand manager-emerging media technologies last year.

While he may not have a DVR at home, he's used them plenty at the office, where his job is to evaluate how emerging media will affect marketing for P&G brands and impart the latest trends in emerging media such as social networks and blogs to P&G brand marketers.

Mr. Yalamanchili uses a blog to counter his unflattering portrayal on reality TV and stays current by scouring other blogs. "All of the great stuff that I used to love from Business 2.0," he wrote on suryasays.com, is "now being fulfilled and then some by my blogs."
-- Jack Neff
Not just any network can make a show called "Ice Road Truckers" a 3 million-viewers-a-week success. And not just any executive can turn a network like the History Channel into something viewers under the age of 60 are actually talking about at the water cooler the next day.

Nancy Dubuc, 38, has spurred record-breaking success in the short period since she took the reins last January as exec VP-general manager of the History Channel.

"Our timing is right too," Ms. Dubuc says. "There's a real passion for factual television, and History is a very strong brand. ... We're just willing to be a little bolder."

Having such a hardworking forward thinker onboard means a lot to Abbe Raven, CEO of A&E Television Networks and herself one of the few top-ranking women in cable TV. "She really has her finger on the pulse of popular culture," Ms. Raven says.

It's only fitting, then, that Ms. Dubuc's next big launch is a series of 100 webisodes from George Lucas on History.com.
-- Andrew Hampp
Matt Kahn, 35, credits a big boost in the brand awareness of Glacéau's four enhanced-water lines to a witty, irreverent brand culture. His five years of marketing experience at Coca-Cola Co. couldn't have hurt either.

"Matt has a passion to win," says Rohan Oza, senior VP-marketing at Glacéau and also a Coke marketing alum. Impressed by Mr. Kahn's success with Sprite and Powerade -- he inked the partnership with NBA star LeBron James -- Mr. Oza recruited him to "take Glacéau to the next level." Coke itself got in the act by acquiring the company for $4.1 billion earlier this year.

The division marketing director developed Vitaminwater's first 360-degree ad campaign and inked several sports linkups. East Coast sales volume for the four water lines is about to double for the third year in a row.
-- Matt Kinsey
The thrill is the thing for Seth Solomons -- the thrill of the pitch.

It's that aspect of making something -- a point of view, a piece of work -- from a skinny little brief that really gets him juiced, says the exec VP-relationship lead and U.S. director of new business at Digitas. So he must have been equally excited recently to spin project work for Samsung into a global digital agency-of-record relationship.

The 39-year-old was just named to his current title earlier this year.

"We're focused on being famous for creativity but at the same time not losing our heritage of smart measurement and analytic focus," Mr. Solomons says. He wants Digitas ultimately to be the lead digital agency for clients such as Nike and Pfizer.
-- Brooke Capps
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