40 Under 40: 21 - 30

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Already dubbed "Maria 2.0" by her Wall Street fans, Erin Burnett is a fast-rising star at CNBC, home of Maria Bartiromo. At 31, this former Goldman Sachs & Co. M&A analyst anchors the 2 p.m. "Street Signs" and has helped boost the cable network's daytime ratings, which were up 69% for the first quarter.

Her "take no prisoners" interviews zero in on diverse topics ranging from corporate layoffs to the future of biofuel stocks, and she's got a big a fan in the C-suite.

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker insisted CNBC get Ms. Burnett on air ASAP when she joined the network.

CNBC CEO Mark Hoffman, who spotted Ms. Burnett's talent, says, "She's bright, she's driven and she loves what she's doing. Combine all that, and it's infectious on TV."

"I went to the business side doing interviews. I did thousands of them," Ms. Burnett recalls. "That's when I realized I love interviews; I had my 'Eureka' moment."
-- Claire Atkinson
Fresh off leading the charge to make Sony Electronics' Bravia the No. 1 selling LCD TV in the U.S. and create a billion-dollar business, Chris Fawcett has moved on to a new battle. It's another high-definition challenge but this time for Sony's Blu-ray.

Along with promoting the players and DVDs, he's working across Sony divisions -- music, movies, computers and entertainment -- to help connect the Blu dots, so to speak.

"I had a really cool job, but now it's an even cooler job because I get to strategize with all these different people across all of Sony," says the 37-year-old VP-home products division at Sony Electronics.

Randy Waynick, senior VP of the division and Mr. Fawcett's boss, describes him as a passionate storyteller who motivates the whole team. "Chris looks at the marketing ... with the eyes of a consumer," Mr. Waynick says. "This results in messages that speak to people at an emotional, personal level. ... Bravia is a perfect example."
-- Beth Snyder Bulik
How do you sell fashion advertisers enraptured by glossy magazine spreads on the notion that internet ads can help their images and sales, too?

Start by putting Lisa Ryan Howard in charge. "The internet penetrates all aspects of the consumer selling cycle," says Ms. Howard, who holds the title of VP-publisher for Style.com and Men.Style.com. "When we're talking to our advertisers, their objectives could be awareness, conversion, trial, retention. The internet is the one medium that allows us to address all those aspects."

But Ms. Howard, 36, has more than a confident pitch; she's hired a diverse group of people from TV, software development and print to go with her online ad sales crew in a holistic, even unconventional approach to meeting marketers' goals.

"You just know that she's going to make it work," says Dee Salomon, senior VP-sales and marketing at CondéNet, where the two websites reside. "Trust goes a long way."
-- Nat Ives
Photo: Claude Shade
At Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Hashem Bajwa created for himself a position that didn't exist. Mr. Bajwa says maybe his job title should be "an anomaly that floats," though he generally goes by digital planning director.

"He's our librarian to the world," says Rich Silverstein, co-chairman of the San Francisco agency. Mr. Silverstein admires Mr. Bajwa's e-mails and blog focused on developments in the digital world. It runs from news of Japanese mobile marketer NTT DoCoMo's phones, which project holograms of people, to the expansive view of the possibilities of social networking, such as fitting rooms with cameras that allow shoppers to have friends see them in a new dress anywhere in the world.

"We all got on his bus, and he's driving us into the new age," says Mr. Silverstein, adding that Mr. Bajwa, 26, has brought tech-oriented thinking to almost every Goodby account.

"I sprinkle random things and see the connection," Mr. Bajwa says. "Now anything could become advertising."
-- Alice Z. Cuneo
Digital outdoor advertising has been Jason Jiang's road to fame in China.

Mr. Jiang, 34, is building an empire via Focus Media, a network of flat-screen monitors airing TV commercials for marketers including Samsung, Nokia, Eastman Kodak Co., General Motors Corp. and McDonald's Corp.

"We reach consumers around their lifestyle," says Mr. Jiang, Focus' founder and chairman-CEO. The media pioneer began by placing monitors in office lobbies and elevators, then quickly expanded to common areas in residential buildings, restaurants, bars and shopping malls. Today, he's focusing on advertising via the internet and mobile phones.

Focus became China's largest listed ad company in 2005. During the first quarter of this year, revenue grew 75.4% vs. a year earlier to $58.1 million. The Shanghai native, whose charming demeanor and love of poetry belie shrewd investment acumen, used the funds to buy competitors and to develop digital-media businesses.
-- Normandy Madden
Russell Weiner, who insists that marketing is his hobby as well as his job, got his dream promotion in 2005 when he was named VP-marketing, colas, at Pepsi-Cola North America, responsible for a portfolio that's declining but still the biggest revenue category for the marketer.

He's had an especially busy year in 2007 overseeing the January global brand makeover using rotating package graphics, the "More happy" ad campaign and the "Design Our Pepsi Can" online promotion that drew 90,000 entries and 900,000 unique visits.

These exploits cap a nine-year run at Pepsi, where the 38-year-old started as director-product innovation, and later conceived and ran the "Pepsi Play for a Billion" TV game show.

"He is one of the most creative people at Pepsi," says Cie Nicholson, Pepsi-Cola North America chief marketing officer, adding that "nothing could be more challenging than being VP on Pepsi because it's so big, so visible, so important with the company."
-- Kate MacArthur
If BP succeeds in turning its brand into a green one that in fact goes beyond petroleum, much of the credit will go to Ann Hand, senior VP-global brand marketing and innovation.

Ms. Hand, 38, oversees $280 million in marketing initiatives worldwide for the oil company, but she's also taking little steps to turn around consumer perceptions. Take, for example, the Helios Power initiative. It includes the green design of a gas station in Los Angeles with an eco-friendly grass roof and sustainable water and landscaping.

Ms. Hand says that at age 6 she told her father she was going to become the president of IBM and he could be her gardener. Ms. Hand bombed in her IBM interview but found herself at an oil giant that, she says, is trying to go "green with a ton of humility."

It's that humility that has made her successful, says Rick Fedrizzi, president-CEO of the U.S. Green Council, which cited the BP gas station as a place making people rethink transportation.
-- Alice Z. Cuneo
Since arriving about a year ago at DavidandGoliath, Tesa Aragones has been busy building the agency's new units for digital branding and Hispanic marketing.

As managing partner-digital branding at dñg, the agency's Hispanic unit, Ms. Aragones must ensure campaigns for clients like Kia Motors America are integrated.

Although her career had been focused on the auto business, Ms. Aragones, 37, was a main part of the team at the indie Los Angeles shop that created a winning 2007 Reggie Award entry for Universal Studios Hollywood's "Halloween Horror Nights," which surpassed the client's attendance expectations by 40%.

She also helped Kia integrate its largest U.S. sports sponsorship of nine NBA teams and partnerships with five local-market stations.

Kia VP-Marketing Ian Beavis describes Ms. Aragones as a "strong strategist." He praises her creative approaches -- always tied to a business solution. "She's a real asset to that agency."
-- Jean Halliday
Blockbuster's Shane Evangelist blunted the Netflix attack on the struggling video-rental chain by simultaneously leveraging the strengths and weaknesses of both companies.

With "a lot" of quantitative and positioning research in early 2006, the appropriately named Mr. Evangelist learned that Blockbuster customers liked the convenience and selection of online rental and the spontaneity and instant gratification of swapping DVDs in stores. The 34-year-old senior VP-general manager of Blockbuster Online then masterminded Blockbuster's November launch of "Total Access," a flexible rental system that lets online customers also trade DVDs in stores.

It doubled Blockbuster's online subscriber base to nearly 3 million, putting Netflix on the defensive for the first time. Netflix responded with a patent lawsuit and lowered its earnings outlook.

The program "changed the world for us," Blockbuster Chairman-CEO John Antioco told Reuters in June.
-- Kate MacArthur
In 2005, Geoff Atkinson faced a decision. He could leave his Idaho-based marketing/ branding post at sunglasses marketer Smith Sport Optics, his first post-college gig, to work and live in New Zealand. Or he could amble over a state to Salt Lake City and join Overstock.com, a company headed by a fellow Dartmouth alum, as part of its e-mail marketing team.

Utah and its snowy vistas -- Mr. Atkinson is a longtime ski racer -- won out. He soon added the customer navigation experience to his Overstock.com charge, and today, with the title of marketing chief of staff, the 25-year-old heads a 30-person group responsible for search, e-mail programs and more. "Geoff looks young, so you're taken aback when you first meet him that they've put so much trust and power in his hands," says Michael Oiknine, chief operating officer of personalization-marketing operation Kefta, San Francisco. "Very quickly you understand why."
-- Larry Dobrow
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