2019 Emerging Leaders revealed

By AdNews | 3 September 2019

This marks the second year of our Emerging Leaders initiative. Here we announce this year’s Top 20, chosen from almost 200 entries. This year we are also making public the names of the judges who helped us arrive at the coveted Top 20 list.

To say it was almost impossible to choose these exceptional Emerging Leaders is certainly no understatement. It was a challenging process, such was the quality of the amazing entries. AdNews continues to be bowled over by such incredible talent.

In order to make a submission for this year’s Emerging Leaders, we asked the nominee (the Emerging Leaders’ boss/direct report) to answer three questions: give an example of when the nominee overcame a challenge, and the solution they adopted in order to do so; demonstrate the signs the nominee displays that reveals they are an Emerging Leader, and finally, why do you think the nominee deserves to be listed as an Emerging Leader?

The submissions were fascinating, showing an enormous breadth and depth of talent across the industry where many applicants displayed leadership qualities both in the office and outside. It was compelling to read how many people engage in volunteering and non-profit work, as well as immerse themselves in fascinating extra-curricular activities.

One candidate selected from the Top 20 list will be awarded the overall Emerging Leader award at next year’s AdNews Agency of the Year Awards.

The winner of the AdNews Emerging Leaders award will receive an executive coaching program of eight coaching sessions from Ask Coaching, with an opportunity to work on their professional goals and explore how to become a more intentional leader. Ask Coaching’s Founder Andrew Sherman was one of this year’s judges.

Allison Charles – Group Sales Manager, Pacific Magazines
Allison entered Pacific at a time in which her sales team required rebuilding. She did not have a full team to support her entry into the business, was required to understand a new publisher network and needed to establish client relationships across all market categories. A big task for any new manager. Judges said: “Allison showed strong leadership across business strategy, process development, client and revenue growth, and recruitment all while trying to grow a new, under-resourced team. She identifies and removes roadblocks for her team and looks for opportunities to empower and develop them in order to achieve business results.”

Christopher Stobbs – General Manager, Operations and Technology News Xtend, News Corp
The nominee for Chris stated that he is “extremely committed, passionate and unflappable.” A driven leader, Chris has been promoted twice in 18 months, initially managing a team of three to now 50 people. Supportive, collaborative and nurturing, he displays all the qualities of a future leader. His “you can’t do it without the people” mantra is galvanising the culture within this small start-up environment. Judges said, “Chris manages to use a whole suite of leadership tools to achieve business results that others could not achieve. He actively measures himself on leadership KPIs and scores very well.”

Carla Vella – Head of Radio Sales, Sydney, SCA
In a complex market, Carla has a unique product portfolio that extends from radio to podcasting, research and insights. She has led her team to continued success, driving above target outcomes across all of SCA’s platforms. Her team has low turnover, high client retention, high premium sell-through and exceptional culture scores. Carla is a future leader of and an outstanding operator in her current role. Judges said, “In a difficult market Carla has identified a strategic opportunity, created a vision, developed a plan, communicated that to her team and is now training and developing her team, which has led to solid business results.”

Jason Maggs, Senior Strategy Director, Initiative
Jason created his own role in the agency out of a passion he has for non-profits. In Jason’s role as Global Head of Good, he recently took on Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). Jason stepped up to lead the entire process both internally and externally. He cares about the people on his team and their wellbeing, and about how the media industry “wields power and influence” to create a better world. Judges said: “The answers to his nominees’ questions really resonated – they touched on important development qualities, such as his work for a NFP. His initiative reached people and disadvantaged youths globally which is something to be proud of.”

AJ Coyne, Mars National Lead, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
A “formidable leader”, within six months of being in his role, AJ “turned the client relationship around”, shifting TRR from 6.8 to 9.0, delivering a pipeline of world-class work. AJ has joined the Lion’s Share initiative in a marketing director/business development role to drive continued inclusion from Mars, the UN and external partners. Since taking on this role more than 60 brands have signed. Judges said, “A standout from the perspective of coming out on top as a key leader throughout the evolution of a challenging period for Mars.”

Sabrina Riedel, Interactive Executive Producer, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Sabrina is known for her passion for creating spaces where diverse talent can grow, collaborate and push boundaries to produce work that matters. Shortly after commencing at Clemenger, Sabrina founded The Week, a weekly publication highlighting meaningful culture, society and technology news which is distributed to the staff. Sabrina is also a founding member of the company’s diversity and inclusion committee. Judges said, “The challenge she was faced with, leading Myer during a complex and challenging time is a massive achievement. She shows admirable qualities and achievements of an Emerging Leader.”

Aisling Colley – Group Account Director, Aldi, BMF
Described as brave and fearless, Aisling leads the Aldi account. She has been responsible for assisting the retailer in becoming the most trusted brand in Australia, and stealing market share from Coles and Woolies. She has also shown leadership and strong initiative, successfully launching BMF’s first and only recognition strategy via BRAVO – a reward based, feedback hub. Judges said, “In reading her entry, it is clear that she is an accomplished, highly-regarded rising star in the agency. Aisling has achieved a great deal during her time on the Aldi business, including being promoted to a GAD position six months after returning from maternity leave.”

Adam Hodge – Head of Planning and Strategy, Octagon
Known for his selflessness, Adam constantly holds his team up for reward and recognition, and is creative in how he engages his team. The first to put up his hand to help push the agency forward, he recognises times when he needs to step in and times when he needs to let others shine. Over the past year, he has worked tirelessly to build a strategic offering from the ground up. In discussing why Adam is an emerging leader, his managing director referenced his championing of the industry, and his focus on diversity in sports and entertainment. The most impressive part of Adam’s entry was his contribution to the industry with articles included as part of the entry, referencing speaking and lecturing.”

Matt Chandler – Deputy ECD DDB Sydney
Matt is a natural leader. He cares about the people and the work and importantly uses that skill to see the bigger picture. Matt has been at DDB Sydney for nearly five years and over that time has moved through the ranks from writer to Creative Director and recently Deputy ECD. Matt is smart, proactive and hardworking. His most recent promotion is recognition of the contribution he has made to the creative department, client relationships and entire DDB business. Known for his work with Westpac, he played a vital part in building a creative reputation for the bank. Judges said: “We liked that he asks questions, is curious, explores possibilities and looks for the bigger picture.”

Ben Lynch – Group Media Director, Noisy Beast
The loss of a managing director and senior media director initially caused some concern with clients at Noisy Beast, however Ben took these points of concern head on, exceeding all expectations, with the business having maintained all key client relationships. Ben is a true supporter of ‘my team’, allowing them to perform, explore and grow. He supports his staff beyond just developing their technical skills and motivates them to achieve the most in life. Judges said: “for Ben to step up and lead, and grow the business is true leadership. He has had tangible results in relation to both his people and business leadership skills.”

Sarah Tucker – Head of Marketing and Communications, MCN
Sarah is a key senior leader within the MCN team who has had had an increasingly important role through lots of change and uncertainty. Over the past year, as MCN underwent huge transformation, Sarah responded to multiple media reports to protect the business’s integrity, while engaging all stakeholders in rapid time. Sarah also delivered a new, fresh marketing strategy by devising Foxtel on Oxford – transforming a disused cinema into a state-of-the-art entertainment space. Judges said: “MCN has been a through a tough period, therefore Sarah’s leadership skills would have been put to the test. Sarah’s involvement in TEDx shows a well rounded person who contributes and grows outside her work environment."

Mark Echo – National Planning Director, Bohemia Group
His nominee stated that Mark is knowledgeable, empathetic, a good listener, passionate, fair and organised. Known for overcoming both his professional and personal challenges, he inspires and motivates those around him. Said to be a rare leader who can piece the whole package together, he has a passion for the industry and an understanding that people have lives outside of work. Judges said: “What Mark has been through personally is a huge challenge, on top of the tumultuous time Bohemia has had in the past couple of years prior to the buy- out. It would seem that Mark has remained determined to keep growing and lead with passion. He possesses a well rounded approach to client, people and business leadership.”

Kylie Pascoe – Business Director, OMD
Kylie manages the broadest client patch in the agency, with over $55m in billings across three separate client teams. Kylie has grown revenue across her patch by 33% year-on-year, in part by leading the successful pitch for the Belong account, bringing an additional $28m billings into the agency. Despite the size and complexity of the patch she manages, Kylie’s team are huge advocates of her leadership, her connectivity and her empathy. Judges said: “Kylie has clearly contributed to significant business outcomes for OMD. Its clear that her actions, demeanor and passion for the industry make her ‘one
to watch’.”

Tim Love – Head of Digital, Sky News
Tim is described as having the key characteristics of great leaders – intelligence, resilience, engagement, curiosity, insight and humility. Tim has the innate ability to translate digital language and complex data into information that is easy to understand. Tim is an active leader, and is committed to growing his people professionally while keeping a keen eye on linking this growth with business strategy. Over the past two years, Tim has built and guided a diverse, engaged and highly effective digital team with limited resources. Judges said: “it is clear that Tim is an asset to Sky News, and has demonstrated passion, business focus and strong leadership behaviour in a transformative role within the business.”

Liam O’Connor – Head of Sport Sales, Sydney, SCA
Liam has led his team through a major, revenue reshaping of the National NRL product offering. Liam’s strategic input culminated in an evolved partnership platform that delivered significantly improved, and more meaningful, integration opportunities for advertising partners. Year-on-year retention of partners was significantly improved as a result. Judges said: “his challenges were navigated meticulously, resulting in a clear uplift in revenues. He shows a strong leadership ethos and growth within the business and his out of work passions.”

Amy Mills – Head of Online Sales, LinkedIn
Amy demonstrates Emerging Leader qualities through her ability to build strategy, communicate and ensure her team are able to achieve growth and excellence. A compassionate and inspirational manager, Amy has a track record of attracting, growing and retaining top talent. Responsible for launching LinkedIn’s New Business, Mid-Market and SMB segments, she enabled the further diversification of revenue. Amy overcame the challenge of driving growth by moving the business into an online sales organisation to scale exponentially. Amy’s efforts have resulted in the team becoming the largest revenue driving team in APAC. Judges said: “her achievements speak for themselves. She looks like a fantastic leader who works well with people and also drives positive business outcomes.”

Jacquelyn Cowardin – Head of Audience Acquisition, George P. Johnson
Jacqui offers a unique perspective to the industry that integrates disciplines and enhances client relationships. Her character and passion for marketing make her an industry leader. She regularly refines her approach and presentations, catering to her audience, making her approachable, inclusive, and empathetic. She has proven her ingenuity and approach to long-term value by pitching a new service offering to the agency as part of her interview process, becoming GPJ’s first head of audience acquisition globally. Judges said: “leveraging US experience and now working locally, Jacqui has a strong CV in working with global brands and organisations. She is experienced in managing large, complex campaigns and delivering outstanding results – great entry!”

Michelle Francis – Head of Digital Strategy, News Corp
A well-rounded experienced professional within the media industry, Michelle has proven her talent as a leader over the course of her career, most recently being invited to lecture at UTS on the subject of consumer psychology from a media perspective. She was also invited to join a panel at the strategy and innovation world forum. She joined the IAB Effectiveness Council and was nominated to co-chair in the first two months. Judges said: “diverse and varied experience across the industry – using foresight to unlock revenue streams and create value for her business. Amazing examples given showcase her ability and skills.”

Kellie Dawson – Client Partner, Mediacom, Brisbane
Kellie’s CV is exemplary. A solid career in the industry since 1995, she has been with Mediacom since 2004, where she leads the strategy and planning product offering, plus a team of people in managing client relationships and campaign requirements, while also working in a 2IC capacity to the Managing Director in the day-to-day operations of the business. Her time to take the reins of her own empire appears to be fast approaching. Judges said: “Kellie shows a tremendous instinct for the needs of clients and staff. She shows a curious and analytical mind, smart questioning and active listening skills. We could see she is incredibly self-aware, able to maturely accept and respond to feedback and take corrective actions.”

Pippa Harrison – Project Manager for Corporate Development, Pacific Magazines
Pippa’s nominee stated that she has shown incredible ideation and visionary skills, coming up with whole new strategies and processes to find more cost-effective and efficient ways to deliver on the company’s print profit targets, but also deliver new and exciting diversified revenue streams. Pippa is exceptionally talented at helping teams work together to overcome challenges. She is especially strong in communication, keeping the various stakeholders calm, listening to all sides, and helping them make informed decisions based on logic and evidence rather than emotion. Judges said: “it was flagged to us that Pippa shows a great deal of empathy for those around her. She is also innovative in her approach to problem solving and above and beyond that, she listens to her colleagues and her clients carefully and attentively.”

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