U.S. CEO, UM
Known for her innovative approach to media (and less so for a short voiceover career), UM's U.S. CEO, Kasha Cacy, oversaw a 9% increase in revenue for the firm's U.S. business last year, with a slew of new clients and successful defenses of existing ones. Since she assumed the CEO role a year ago, the group has won accounts including Accenture, GoPro, Hulu and Fitbit. Cacy, who began her career as a computer programmer at Accenture, joined UM in 2007 and became president of its U.S. business in 2014.
Chief Marketing Officer, McAfee
Chief Marketing Officer
Allison Cerra presided over one of 2017's boldest moves, rebranding Intel Security as McAfee during a time when the company's long-removed founder was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Still, Cerra decided it was best to keep the McAfee name because it is "synonymous with cybersecurity." The day the effort broke, she became CMO. Nearly two months in, she's now spearheading a global campaign.
Chief Marketing Officer, BBDO New York
Chief Marketing Officer
BBDO New York
Former Ming Utility and Entertainment Group President Tara DeVeaux rejoined BBDO in January, having previously spent seven years at the Omnicom Group shop. Since her homecoming, she's helped push the agency's new formula: data x content x creativity = economic multiplier. BBDO is now talking to companies in categories it had not engaged with much before, like startups and tech, and it's deepening current client relationships and attracting new talent.
President-Ad Sales, Disney-ABC
Rita Ferro looks to put herself in situations that make her uncomfortable. "I don't think I was a natural fit for this role," said Ferro, who moved her family to the U.S. from Latin America to lead ad sales for Disney Media and now heads the newly unified Disney-ABC ad sales division. "It's when things are uncomfortable we become the most successful." As a first-generation Cuban-American, Ferro learned early the importance of having mentors in your corner. Ferro, who has a 12-year-old daughter, doesn't believe in work-life balance: It's really "work-life integration," she said. Ferro is now charged with selling ABC, Disney channels, Freeform and Radio Disney in an environment where TV viewing is increasingly fragmented as more people watch content on nontraditional platforms and devices. "Given that we both started our current roles within weeks of the upfront season, and survived to tell about it ... I feel a special kinship with Rita," said Channing Dungey, president-entertainment, ABC. "I'm excited to be in the trenches with her."
Senior Director, Water Portfolio-PepsiCo North America Beverages
Senior Director, Water Portfolio
PepsiCo North America Beverages
I remember seeing Mountain Dew's unexpected "PuppyMonkeyBaby" 2016 Super Bowl ad and thinking there was a brave client behind the work. That brave brand leader is Sadira Furlow, who after breaking the internet with Mountain Dew, followed up with the hugely successful launch of PepsiCo's new premium bottled water, Lifewtr.
When meeting Sadira, the first thing that strikes people is her lit-from-within glow. Sadira describes a feeling of unconditional love and freedom she received from her parents as being the foundation that allowed her to take bold leaps in life. That bravery has taken Sadira on an interesting path—from being one of the first girls to study at an all-male high school in Chicago to walking onto the University of Virginia's Division 1 softball team to trading a future career in medicine for a spot on the account team at Leo Burnett. It was at Leo Burnett where Sadira learned the skills to be a brand steward. She applied those skills to building the New York office for Commonground Marketing, a multicultural agency, and continues to expand on them as a rising marketing star at PepsiCo.
While Sadira has the bearing of a calm and seasoned leader, you can still see the lightning flashes of a determined young athlete who believes in her strength, prepares for each game and makes the people around her feel like they are part of a winning team, regardless of the outcome of the match.
Kendra Hatcher King
VP-Marketing and Consumer Strategy, SapientRazorfish
Kendra Hatcher King
VP-Marketing and Consumer Strategy
This spring, Kendra Hatcher King took on more of an integration role as VP-marketing and consumer strategy at SapientRazorfish, with the idea of bringing together brand planning, social strategy, content strategy and media. But she's also well known as a diversity champion, chairing the American Advertising Federation's Mosaic Council in 2012 and 2013, and is now working to quantify the impact of media images on how African-American women are seen and how they view themselves. Findings of the study, conducted with the AAF, University of Missouri and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, will be shared during events including Advertising Week.
President-Data Practice, Epsilon
Stacey Hawes was named president of Epsilon's Data Practice in October 2016 to help brands including Williams-Sonoma and Patagonia use customer data and smart analytics to grow their businesses. Already, the soon-to-be Data and Marketing Association board member has helped turn the firm's previously declining data business into a profitable growth division. Hawes is also dedicated to heightening women's roles. She helped spearhead Epsilon's Women in Leadership program and has promoted five women in the data practice to VP positions.
Krystle Loyland's success has been fueled by determination and hustle. The words come up often as she describes her high school and college job in TV journalism, how she landed a coveted position at Mother (hot toddies were involved) or when she helped build her dream agency in Austin, Texas.
Loyland is co-founder and CEO of Preacher, a full-service creative company that's home to 40 employees and category-challenging brands such as Crate & Barrel, Squarespace, Tommy John, Beam Suntory, Venmo and Bumble. Founded in 2014 by Loyland and two Mother New York colleagues, the agency doubled its revenue last year and is quickly becoming known for its mold-breaking creative. Preacher was recently recognized as an Ad Age Agency to Watch and Creativity Innovator Standout.
Loyland attributes this success to her teams' ability to see themselves as true business partners. "We care about our clients' businesses as much as they do," said Loyland. "We want to help their brands succeed. If they trust us and believe we care, then we can have really honest conversations about what needs to get done and get to great work." She also believes the agency's "naive ambition" aids it in producing outstanding work. "We have a bit more freedom to ignore some of the factors that can hold the creative back," said Loyland. "Our job is to inspire fearlessness, swagger and the ability to dream big. With strategic rigor in place too, it's easier to make bold outside bets in the work."
Preacher's approach produced Squarespace's most subversive campaign of 2017, "Playing Lynch," and Samsung's beautifully captured spot that shows the impact of VR on those who experience it.
"As owners, the one thing we can always do well is protect the front door," she said. "This means we hire the most talented, generous and committed people we can find, in addition to engaging with clients and products and services we really believe in."
Site Director, Conde Nast's The Scene
Conde Nast's The Scene
Lauren Lumsden has been a prom queen and a ranch-hand, and she knows the secret to making Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Today, she is a certified social media and digital guru who heads Condé Nast Entertainment's The Scene, where she discovered another elusive recipe, this time for viral videos, capturing the cultural mood and getting views.
Exec VP-Global Solutions, Fox Networks Group
Exec VP-Global Solutions
Fox Networks Group
Back in 2000, when Danielle Maged was kicking the tires on becoming a consultant to secondary-market ticket startup StubHub, the executive to whom she once reported at NBA Entertainment tried to talk her out of making the leap. Now the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver recalls that by the end of that advisory meeting, Maged had not only informed him that she was throwing in her lot with what he'd considered a fly-by-night company, but also secured a deal for StubHub to resell NBA tickets. She brought that unparalleled aptitude for deal-making to Fox in 2015 following the departure of Ad Sales President Toby Byrne just before the start of the 2016-17 broadcast season and was one of three execs to steer day-to-day operations of the group's sales operations. Maged leads the creation, development and execution of strategic partnerships across the domestic and international media assets of Fox Networks Group and 21st Century Fox and oversees sales for National Geographic Partners.
Senior VP-Head of Ad Sales, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Senior VP-Head of Ad Sales
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Thanks to acclaimed dramas "Queen Sugar" and "Greenleaf," 2016 was the highest-rated and most-watched year for Oprah Winfrey's channel since it launched in 2011. It was also a significant year for ad revenue, thanks to Kate Mitchell, who is responsible for the network's ad partnerships with mega-marketers like Procter & Gamble, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson. Mitchell has been leading OWN's ad sales efforts since the channel launched and has helped grow national revenue by double digits year-over-year. And it was Mitchell who spearheaded a partnership between Amazon and Oprah's Favorite Things, which brought new business to all brand platforms.
Chief Marketing Officer, Leo Burnett
Chief Marketing Officer
Though only four months into her role as CMO at Leo Burnett, Katie Newman says she wants to be remembered for helping transform the company from its roots as an iconic creative agency into a creative solutions company backed by data and technology. Newman, who spent most of her career in account management, most recently helped build a trio of startups focused on marketing, data and technology -- two of which Leo Burnett acquired this year.
CEO, FCB New York
FCB New York
Last year, FCB New York was a little downtrodden following some major senior leadership turnover, but morale lifted after Karyn Rockwell took the helm in March 2016, bringing on new management and production and creative talent. The newly collaborative environment helped the shop produce head-turning work such as the "Little Lungs" spot for the Food and Drug Administration and "Student Body Armor," which raised awareness of the dangers associated with college campus pro-gun laws.
VP-General Manager, Onion Labs
Julie Scott has quadrupled revenue for Onion Labs, The Onion's native content arm, since joining in 2016. The industry vet has 20 years experience on the agency side, but made the leap to publishing after recognizing that brands had a hunger for authentic native content rather than more commercials.
CEO, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis
CEO, Publicis Worldwide New York; Global Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis Communications
Since joining Publicis New York in 2014, Carla Serrano has upped the new business trajectory with wins from big names like Walmart, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Procter & Gamble Dish Care. Serrano has also been behind transformative work for legacy clients such as Citi, P&G, Cadillac and Heineken, resulting in her earning the global chief strategy officer title for Publicis Communications in September 2016.
President-Chief Revenue Officer, SheKnows Media
President-Chief Revenue Officer
As president and chief revenue officer of SheKnows Media, a digital media company for women, Samantha Skey is at the forefront of strengthening the role of women in business. Skey, who says she coined the term "femvertising" three years ago, is spreading the message of female empowerment in advertising through the Femvertising Awards, an annual program that has honored brands such as General Mills and Dove, and "The Pitch," a video series where female entrepreneurs can improve their pitching skills.
Senior Director-Media, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Not every 28-year-old controls $900 million in media spending, but Tracy Stallard does. She began her career as an Anheuser-Busch InBev global management trainee in 2011, and shows no signs of slowing down. After stops in areas including commercial pricing and sales strategy, labor negotiations and Bud Light's media team, she became head of U.S. media in 2016, where her mix of creativity and data-driven methods help the brewer connect with consumers.
Founder-CEO, Titanium Worldwide
I had the pleasure of interviewing Robyn Streisand and I was blown away by how many things we had in common: She's driven, focused, fearless, resourceful, creative, a rainmaker, a connector ... and she also happens to be from Queens, N.Y. When Ad Age asked me to do this, the stars aligned for me to finally meet Robyn—ironically, one month after a mutual friend advised me that I should meet her.
Lisa Sugar's love for pop culture led her to start writing a blog in 2005 that had a million regular readers within a year. She turned that into PopSugar, an independent media company for young women with a monthly worldwide audience of more than 100 million, 300 million video views and 2.5 billion content views.
Global Marketing Officer, Marriott International
Global Marketing Officer
The greatest leaders have three core qualities: curiosity, generosity of spirit and the optimistic belief that anything is possible. Watch Karin Timpone work for long and you'll witness the trifecta.
I had the pleasure of getting to know and partner with Karin when she was a client of mine at MEC. She delights in everything that's fresh and exciting in marketing. Addressing a key area of loyalty, Karin identified a partnership opportunity with Facebook allowing for new insights and membership connections. You can't walk away from a conversation with Karin without thinking about an idea or thought differently, or without learning something new.
I once joined one of Karin's global all-staff meetings to discuss key trends and saw firsthand how she inspires the people in her organization to see all possibilities. As ideas are shared, Karin encourages her team to iterate and expand to think even bolder, like with a recent activation for Coachella connecting with next-generation travelers.
Karin is all about creating memorable experiences for customers and ensuring that every moment of the journey is special. That vision led to original content creation, the creation of Marriott's M Live real-time marketing command center and the introduction of Marriott Traveler, the online publication that's become a popular travel and lifestyle site.
Senior VP-GM, American Express
Senior VP- General Manager
American Express Global Charge Products, Benefits and Services
Thanks to Janey Whiteside, AmEx cardholders are friends with benefits. Not only did Whiteside expand the company's recently redesigned platinum card into new areas, like a Coachella sponsorship, she added a celebrity twist by naming Pharrell Williams creative director. She also put together an advisory board of influencers to offer cultural insight and trends for card members, while adding travel reward perks like a private showing of "Hamilton" and a partnership with Uber.
Chief Marketing Officer, American Family Insurance
Chief Marketing Officer
American Family Insurance
Consumers don't typically think of an insurance company as a dream-maker, but thanks to Telisa Yancy and her three-year-old "Insure Carefully, Dream Fearlessly" campaign, the image works for American Family Insurance. As CMO at the Madison, Wisc.-based firm, Yancy has innovated in the category with refreshingly upfront advertising about the role of an insurance brand, separating itself from competitors that highlight price and humor in marketing.