AdNews Emerging Leaders shortlist revealed

By AdNews | 8 July 2024

AdNews can reveal the shortlist for its Emerging Leaders 2024 program, with a range of candidates across the media, marketing and advertising industry. 

The awards will be staged as a cocktail function on August 28 at the State Library in Victoria.

Purchase your tickets to the event here.

The ceremony will see 20 Emerging Leaders announced from a shortlist of finalists, with a Grand Prix handed to one professional for their outstanding industry achievement.

The awards were judged by leaders from across key industry associations and organisations such as the MFA, IMAA, IAB and Unltd.

The shortlist in alphabetical order is:

Jodie Allen
Match & Wood communications director 
Jodie is only eight years into her career and has played a pivotal role as a planner/buyer on the highly celebrated Hungry Puffs campaign for Foodbank, which earned three Cannes Lions, a Yellow Pencil (D&AD Awards), and numerous local accolades. Jodie came to Match & Wood three years ago and hit her strides where she was trusted to manage some of the most high-profile clients in the agency, including Curtin University and Synergy. She secured a Silver Medal in the Australian Cannes Young Lions media competition two years ago, and this year won Gold alongside her colleague Ryan Hancock. Jodie’s contributions extend well beyond her professional role.
Chiara Attard 
Foxtel Media national group entertainment partnerships manager 
As the national group entertainment partnership manager, Chiara has demonstrated a solutions-focused leadership style, developed superior brand strategies and executed innovative multi-platform campaigns across Foxtel’s leading streaming platforms. One of her key career achievements is leading the team to secure the first integrated partner for one of BINGE's unscripted Original formats with Vodka Cruiser. Chiara has demonstrated an ability to adapt to change. Over the past year, she transitioned from being a state based manager to managing national markets, including the large Melbourne portfolio. All while enhancing her digital knowledge and creating new workflows for cross-platform partnerships for general entertainment.
Monique Baillie 
Essencemediacom client managing partner 
In Monique’s seven years at EssenceMediacom, she has secured a Silver in 2023 for Container Exchange at the Festival of Media Global Awards, ran an out-of-home first for GroupM in Australia, harnessing data, to feature locally relevant messaging, with the scheme experiencing a significant 6% growth YOY and has been promoted into the role of Queensland Government account lead. Monique was instrumental in leading the transformative implementation of Robotic Process Automation. The inclusion of RPA has automated highly repetitive financial tasks, minimising the potential for human error and freeing-up the team (a total of 3,500 hours annually) to focus on tasks of far greater strategic value for clients.
Charlotte Berry
Innocean copywriter 
Charlotte became a senior strategist within three years of joining UM as a graduate, working across Coca-Cola, Lion, Amex and Nestle and winning pitches for the Federal Government and Tourism Australia. At 21, she became the youngest Cannes Young Lions winner in history. After leaving media to become a CHEP creative for non-traditional ideas, Charlotte was then poached to transform Innocean from two-client auto-shop into an integrated agency. As senior creative, Charlotte has written an ARIA-winning song, changed how female pro-surfers are discovered, launched a distillery on an island and opened an Australian Museum exhibition. A founding member of Fck-the-Cupcakes, she created “Be-the-Change” to engage men in gender equality and is proactive in mentoring the next generation of creatives.
Milan Blazevic
Paramount ANZ head of programmatic
Milan has led the transformative rebuild and strategic re-architecture of Paramount ANZ Programmatic business, addressing legacy challenges and enhancing ad stack processes in collaboration with global and local DSP & SSP partners, resulting in a significant +19% increase in programmatic yield and a 48% reduction in critical issues. He’s also achieved a 290% increase in client diversification, directed cross-functional team collaboration among ad operations, ad tech and engineering teams, and has played a pivotal role in representing Paramount across all programmatic initiatives for VOZ streaming. 
Anna Boucaut
Howatson+Company head of digital programs
Anna joined Howatson+Company as a lead digital producer and was promoted into her current role within nine months, recognising the success of her projects. This success included the strategic redesign and re-platforming of the CFS Member, Employer and Adviser website experience following its de-merger from CBA. In her time at Howatson+Company in this role, the Digital Experience team has grown from 15 to 22 people (46%), a reflection of the department revenue increase of 36% compared to the same time-period prior. Her ability to understand business needs and challenges and translate these into effective and profitable project solutions has grown the Digital Experience department at Howatson+Company in the last six months by 27%. 
Alvaro Bretel 
Thinkerbell head of strategy 
Alvaro is one of only two Peruvians working in Australian advertising, adding to the diversity of voices in the industry. In Peru, at age 26, he became one of the youngest strategy directors in the country. In 2015, he was invited to The Institute, MullenLowe’s global boot camp for Rising Stars in New York City. Three years later, while working for Wunderman Dubai, he was included in Campaign Magazine Middle East's 30 under 30 list. That same year, he was instrumental in helping the agency become the 4th most effective in the region at Effie Middle East and the 12th most effective digital agency globally by WARC Rankings. Since joining Thinkerbell, Alvaro has worked closely with junior talent, helping them find their own voice and creative direction. 
Jennifer Carroll
Nunn Media head of planning 
Soon after starting at Nunn Media as commercial director, Jennifer identified an opportunity to strengthen the agency’s connections planning. With equal parts tenacity and audacity, she wrote a JD for planning director and took her case to the executive team. Jennifer’s now been the agency planning lead since 2020 and works across all 50 clients in the agency. In the five years since, she’s driven planning and strategy on more than $200m in new business wins. In the past 12 months, Jennifer contributed her brand development skills to refresh Nunn’s positioning in market, landing on Nunn’s philosophy, Relevance is Everything. She created The Relevance Planning Map (RPM) to find the intersection between client’s objectives and audience interests. The RPM is in the final stages of testing and will be implemented from July 2024. 
Sebastian Collins
GroupM Nexus national head of programmatic 
In Sebastian’s 10 years at GroupM, he’s gone from the first programmatic trader in Melbourne to leading the digital function managing advertising for more than 120 advertisers across eight platforms and five channels, responsible for $250 million in investment and a team of 55. Before ChatGPT, GroupM began investing in artificial intelligence. Sebastian became the AU lead for the global testing program for the agency's AI optimisation platform CoPilot. In 2023, he served on the advisory board for the programmatic summit, leveraging his experience to shape content that resonated meaningfully with the entire industry. He’s also a member of the IAB video council, where the group collectively strive to establish and uphold standards for video advertising in Australia.
Luisa Dalli
Havas Media strategy director 
As strategy director at Havas Media and founding member of the MFA's DE&I council, Luisa’s on a mission to reshape the media industry landscape. Her speeches at two prominent International Women's Day panels in 2023 ignited crucial conversations, reaching more than 100 professionals. Her strategic prowess shone through in the recent Avant Medical pitch, where her understanding of doctors' desires for simplicity secured Havas Media as the chosen agency partner for this client. In Luisa’s third year as a founding member of the MFA DE&I council, she spearhead initiatives from pro-bono work empowering underrepresented communities, working with companies such as Women for Election and Iyoria, to auditing industry audience profiling tools and presenting findings to the MFA board.

Michelle Day 
GroupM commercial director 
Just 19% of CFOs at the top 300 Australian companies are female - Michelle wants to smash that ceiling and she’s on track to do it. She’s the 2IC to GroupM’s CFO, a business responsible for more than $2 billion in billings, and a member of several leadership teams including the Finance Leadership Group, Nexus Services SLT and Nexus Exco. Michelle is also a champion for financial literacy, devising a ‘Wellness Through Wealth’ initiative aimed at the female workforce aged between 25-35. With 60% of WPP’s staff comprising of females, the education program includes a speaker series providing actionable takeouts for building financial wellness and success. In addition to her work in the finance space, Michelle has also spearheaded several initiatives in DE&I and sustainability. 
Sam Enshaw
Cassette head of strategy 
As regional implementation director and strategist, Sam drove regional strategy for Netflix, Spotify, Fitbit, Johnson & Johnson and Coca Cola. Locally, as strategy director, national strategy director and most recently head of strategy, he delivered one of the most effective and awarded campaigns ever at Initiative while being a key contributor to new business. Sam built the Match & Wood product from brand strategy and identity to awards, while driving ESG, DE&I, new business and organic client growth initiatives. At Cassette, Sam has already taken a leadership role on developing and rolling out the agency's new proposition to market, influencing everything from pitching to performance reviews.
Jordan Florence-Rieniets
Nova Entertainment group manager of campaign strategy 
Jordan has carved an unmatched progression within the commercial team at Nova Entertainment, advancing to his current role of group manager of campaign strategy in the space of four years. The role calls for strategic leadership in how Nova services internal and external customers. He has driven team engagement results to the highest level recorded, achieving unparalleled team retention. He’s also developed two of his direct reports to progress to senior level within just two years of being with the business. Jordan has been a trailblazer for the company’s parental leave policy as one of the first fathers to take long-term primary carer leave.
Gordon Geraghty
Essencemediacom performance manager
Gordon has been instrumental to evolving EM Melbourne’s performance strategy and product in the last year. With a paid search and SEO background, his holistic understanding of the eco-system and ability to strategically layer all channels plus articulate this, with client objectives at the core, is pivotal to his success. This has resulted in a pitch winning strategy and overhauling many performance clients’ businesses through audits, restructures, optimisations and introducing new tech including AI. Gordon introduced an industry first partnership with the Autism association Amaze, where Gordon is an advisory board member, and has been a key leader in delivering the agency Group’s Disability Action Plan from strategic presentation to implementation rollout of key deliverables.
Zane Goold 
The Trade Desk director, business development 
As a core member of The Trade Desk (TTD) Australian Melbourne leadership team, Zane has been instrumental in the company’s local success and was the second employee to join the Melbourne office in 2020. Zane has played a pivotal role growing Melbourne to 26 employees, making it one of the fastest-growing branches of TTD globally. Across 2023, Melbourne leadership achieved 65% revenue growth for TTD, outpacing the average growth of 24% in other offices. In April 2024, Zane was promoted to director of business development, building on his roles as Victorian sales director at Big Mobile, digital account manager at News Corp Australia, and five years at Nine Entertainment Co in TV buying. Over the past twelve months, Zane has demonstrated remarkable leadership by growing his team by 40%.
Rebecca Green
Ray White Group social media and content manager
At Ray White Group, Rebecca has lead the social transformation for the oldest and most reputable real estate groups, elevated the role of social media ROI in real estate and has increased Ray White's social following by +46%, with notable growth of +50% on Instagram and +47% on LinkedIn. Rebecca’s Social Media Masterclass is in the top five most attended in the greater weekly Ray White Sales Masterclass series in the last year. Over the past 12 months, she has focused on elevating the quality of content from Ray White accounts, educating its franchises on social media and content creation and enhancing the overall standard across Australia and New Zealand. Beyond her role, Rebecca has participated as a mentor in the University of Wollongong mentoring program.
Ryan Hancock
Match & Wood national planning director 
From his early career days at UM, Ryan has displayed his ability to blend creative thinking and research & data analytics through a shortlist in the MFA awards NGEN category. This was further cemented when after two years in the larger holding companies working across some of the biggest retailers in the country he moved to a new upstart; Match & Wood. Here he was tasked with client leadership and c-suite management and rose to the challenge. Having been integral in the creation of Match & Wood's strategic planning process, he’s now positioned as the agencies planning and strategy lead, with his work being recognised through winning Silver in the 2022 Australian Young Lions competition and most recently Gold in the 2024 competition where he represented Australia in France in June.
Gem Harriss
Zenith Media senior strategy and planning executive
Gem is passionate about perspective and always learning, achieving both these things with CSR projects and being promoted into a strategy role. She won the MFA NGEN Award in 2021 for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, leading to involvement in more CSR projects since - from being an UnLtd Ambassador to being on the Publicis RAP Committee. Most recently, Gem has been working on a new approach to publisher 101 meetings, with more specific briefs and time for client conversations to prevent meetings with low engagement or attendance. During her time on Toyota, she was responsible for managing the AFL Toyota partnership – the biggest partnership in Australia.
Jonathan Henshaw 
Ryvalmedia head of product and innovation 
Jonathan is an accomplished entrepreneur who, at 22 years old, co-founded JBZ Digital and grew the agency to 10+ staff and $3 million in revenue. In 2020, JBZ Digital was acquired and merged as part of the launch of RyanCap and Ryvalmedia where Jonathan assumed the role of head of product & innovation. He has become a driving force behind the growth at Ryvalmedia leading to the agency recently being acquired by the French-based Labelium group at the end of 2023. Upon the acquisition, Jonathan now connects both nationally and internationally to bring cutting edge solutions and media innovations to clients in Australia while also leveraging the group to maximise partner relationships for clients.
Katy Hulton
Howatson+Company senior creative (copywriter)
In a previous life, Katy was an account manager struggling to commit basic Excel shortcuts to memory, and desperately sneaking into the creative studio every day for a taste of the action. Thankfully, a sprint through the AWARD school gauntlet back in 2020 helped her land on the right side of a creative briefing, and she is now happily creating award-winning work alongside her creative partner Elly Pipiciello at Howatson+Company. Katy has helped lead work for multiple key accounts including Allianz, Qantas, TK Maxx and iSelect. Most notably, her recent work creating a modern TikTok period drama for Modibodi has been internationally awarded. Katy also recently competed in the Cannes Young Lions Film competition, and was lucky enough to be shortlisted as a Top five finalist among hundreds of entrants from across Australia.
Jake Kay-Lawson 
Claxon strategy director 
Jake was Claxon employee number one and started his Claxonite life as the agency’s videographer. From there he advanced to become a creative strategist and senior creative strategist before rounding out his creative path as creative director. He then transitioned media-side and advanced to senior digital strategist. Now as strategy director, Jake has created multiple commercial products for the agency and shaped its approach to creative in its early years. He was instrumental in the creation of Claxon’s internal innovation lab called ClaxonLab and ran it for its initial six months. Jake also created the Claxon Active Management methodology, the agency’s proprietary framework that shaped its approach to media management.
Psembi Kinstan
DDB Australia group executive creative director 
Psembi leads the creative output for DDB Group Melbourne. In the two and a half years that Psembi has been at the helm, the business has tripled in size. He has previously led creative agencies across the globe - as an ECD at McCann Melbourne, and CD at BBH and VMLY&R London - the youngest in their histories. He was the youngest ever Australian winner of a Cannes Lion. His work has twice been awarded the IPA Grand Prix for the world’s most effective marketing, and amongst his 200+ awards is a BAFTA for his work with the BBC. He's also led the creation of Maker, the DDB production arm and studio. He has helped retain every client in the stable of DDB Group Melbourne over the last 12 months, and the team has also retained every member of their creative department. 
Sarah Kramer
CHEP Network strategy director 
As strategy director at CHEP Network, Sarah, who goes by Kramer, oversees major accounts in Samsung and Lifeblood Red Cross, contributing to accolades like Effie's Most Effective Ad Agency of the Year in 2023, saving an extra 279,000 Australian lives for Lifeblood and winning new business across CompareClub & Sydney University. In her past, she headed up OMD Sydney's Social Committee and was selected for the Verizon Brand Love Academy, speaking on 'Brand Love' at AdWeek APAC. During the pandemic, Kramer successfully led a team of seven with zero resignations over two years. She raised $3,906 for Variety Children’s Charity and donated 35 cm of hair. As Initiative's representative, she served on the MFA 5+ Committee and was a Cannes Young Lions Media Finalist.
James Lambert
GroupM Nexus head of advanced DOOH
As head of advanced digital out of home (DOOH) at GroupM Nexus since March 2022, James has driven substantial growth, achieving 147% revenue increase in 2022 and 70% in 2023. He has led initiatives, such as the launch of data-driven DOOH planning and activation tool Journeys and a global-first DOOH Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) solution. Previously group sales manager at JCDecaux from 2019 to 2022, he managed a $25M+ portfolio and achieved 100% revenue growth YOY in 2019. Under his leadership, the programmatic offering contributed 52% of the national revenue. He successfully led his team through the challenges of the pandemic and a major merger with APN Outdoor. James is also a member of the Outdoor Futures Council, is co-chair of the IAB DOOH Working Group, and sits on the GroupM Nexus Solutions Senior Leadership team.
Gilbert Lee
PHD planning director 
In his focus on delivering work that wins, Gilbert played a key role in a Peugeot campaign that won Silver in a global Publicis competition for creative use of data and achieved a perfect Client Referral Rating score. After a year with Arrotex, the agency secured an $8M+ Ekaterra account without a pitch due to Gilbert’s strong relationship with the transitioning brand manager. As PHD planning director, he led Google campaigns for Brand, Chromebooks, Fitbit, and Pixel. For Pixel in 2022/23, he optimised $25M media activity, achieving the highest global funnel metrics. Gilbert’s industry contributions include his involvement with the NGEN/MFA committee and UnLTD’s LeaderLife. He has also led the PHD Culture Club, organising events for the wider team.
Vera Manalac
iProspect group investment director 
From 2018–2021, Vera led the planning and implementation of all offline channels on Samsung. Samsung asked her to transition with them from Publicis to CHEP. She built and established an investment team of nine within a creative agency that had no idea what media was. Vera joined the iProspect team to lead and build its investment offering so that it could expand into a full-service media agency. Last year, she was promoted into the senior leadership team as a newly appointed group investment director. This was a new role, created specifically for Vera due to the agency growth she’d actively contributed in. She now leads the investment offering on Ampol, Seven, MYOB and Kering and manages the investment of more than 50% of iProspect's billings.
Olivia Martini
Carat senior client director 
As an Integral member of the Carat x L’Oreal 2021 client pitch only four years into her career, Olivia was chosen to be in the pitch room presenting, representing her company alongside Carat’s most senior leaders. During the past 12 months while leading Dan Murphy's client as senior client director, Olivia’s leadership on the broader Endeavour portfolio has helped ensure the agency’s retention of a key client. She was also appointed as one of ten Carat Summit Board members, a shadow board to the executive leadership team & CEO, which required providing diverse opinions and feedback to help deliver business vision and employee value proposition.
Matt McMahon
Salvos Stores customer experience manager 
Matt cut his teeth coordinating retail marketing campaigns at Nissan, where he facilitated delivery of more than 30 mass media campaigns, driving sales and building a solid well rounded marketing foundation. After being the product owner of (seeing notable growth in sales enquiries), he then shifted to working on enabling future digital innovation at Nissan where he worked alongside an agency to deliver a clear roadmap to an MVP for online vehicle sales. At Salvos Stores, Matt was integral in the rollout of a new national brand before taking lead of the marketing function of the organisation – a small team who deliver big impact. 
Ellena Mills 
Howatson+Company head of craft
Ellena was recruited to help start Howatson+Company in the role of senior designer as the company’s fourth employee in 2021. Ellena is an award-winning designer, picking up multiple D&AD pencils & Cannes Lions for her work as design lead on Rejected Ales. This project had a major impact for what was a start-up agency, putting them on the global map for creativity and design. Her work on Exhibit A-i and recently Mastercard TOUCH has continued to secure awards for the company. Ellena was named #4 designer globally by D&AD. As a result of these achievements, she has been invited to judge at industry award shows including AWARD, D&AD New Blood and AdFest in Thailand. Ellena’s work has led her to be promoted three times since starting at Howatson+Company to her current role, leading a team of 11 designers and studio artists.
Sally O’Brien
Meta agency partner 
As a female leader in the tech industry, Sally helped shape the new agency structure of Meta as the first agency solution manager for Meta in ANZ, where she developed and led a strategic plan to drive scaled education for ANZ global agencies. Sally exceeded expectations of her core remit, earning her a ‘Redefines' performance rating, reserved for only 1% of Meta employees. Her achievement was personally acknowledged by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In 2019, Sally volunteered for Meta's inaugural Community Boots program in Tasmania. Sally helped educate 1,050 small businesses build digital literacy skills. Over the past year, Sally has been the ANZ market lead for Meta’s sales business, leading the ‘Creative and Creator’ taskforce. 
Georgina Oates
SCA head of media
Georgi joined SCA in 2018 and transformed the marketing team's media strategies. Under her leadership, media strategy, planning, and buying were moved in-house from a large media agency in 2019, requiring significant strategic and operational skills. She played a pivotal role in developing the media launch strategy for LiSTNR (2020-2021). Her commitment to optimisation has been key to LiSTNR's success, with 3.4M installs, nearly 2M signed-in users, and 1.3M monthly active users. As a senior leader, Georgi is part of both the Marketing Leadership Team and the Melbourne Leadership Team, acting as the people's voice and a strategic problem-solver in this group. 
Ante Pejic 
Mindshare head of investment 
Ante is an accomplished professional who has worked across several agencies within the industry. At Maxus, he was recognised as Employee of the Year in 2015 and was part of the 2x Silver Effie for Jeep. At Draftstars, Ante launched a new brand and app in the Australian market, managing top-performing campaigns in ‘Beat Barry,’ which included integrations, promotions, and events throughout the 2016 and 2017 AFL seasons. This grew the business to more than 200,000 users, with 30,000 monthly actives. At Mindshare, Ante spearheaded the launch of the agency’s Inclusive Private-Market-Place, a DE&I initiative that supports publishers owned and operated by marginalised communities such as Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, new migrants, and women. 
Katherine Pochroj
Essencemediacom marketplace group director 
As group investment director, Katherine led a team of 28 media buyers, which grew from 11, handling accounts including Coca-Cola, Bayer, and eBay. Over the past 12 months, she spearheaded the Future of TV educational program, which was rolled out nationally in the agency and with its clients and assisted in the creation of the MFA Guide to educate the broader industry. Katherine also served as a panellist at the IAB OOH event, engaging with industry leaders on the topic of programmatic DOOH. She played a pivotal role in leading the agency’s partnership with Dolly's Dream, a foundation dedicated to ending childhood bullying.
Emily Qureshi 
Meta client partner 
Starting as a digital media coordinator at Carat, Emily advanced to digital manager and then to ecosystems planning, where she revolutionised Virgin Australia’s audience strategy with a CRM approach, boosting ROI by 33% in three months. At Meta, Emily has led PepsiCo’s digital transformation which increased its investment by 105% in three years. She also represented Meta at APAC Advertising Week 2023 and played a key role in localising global strategies for products like In-Stream and reserve buys, increasing adoption through training videos and contributing to product names and user flows. Emily co-developed the Pitch Grid tool, reducing deck-building time by 2.8 hours and increasing revenue by 8% in ANZ. This initiative is now expanding to all markets globally.
Nisha Rajamani
Carat senior client partner 
Nisha’s experience spans multiple agencies, culminating in the creation of a ‘Getting to Great’ blueprint that has bolstered businesses and strengthened client relationships. With one of Carat’s key clients General Motors entering a contract renewal, Nisha reinvigorated the relationship via a bespoke program with stakeholders across four markets, navigating zones and cultural nuances, directing a collaborative outcome. In response, Carat was awarded the Australian launch of Cadillac EV. She is a vocal advocate for the driving of DEI initiatives within the agency and industry. In 2022, Nisha was nominated to join the inaugural MFA DEI Council to drive industry progress.
David Rossi
Google industry manager, travel 
Throughout his career, David has led performance marketing strategy at Columbus as national performance director encompassing >$100M in billings and a 70% new business pitch success rate. At Google since 2020, he has grown a large portfolio developing strong partnerships, managing large complex commercial engagements and delivering significant value for advertisers. He has authored numerous industry submissions with accolades primarily in data driven marketing and has been a driver behind global thought leadership and case studies on AI Powered Ads and the power of YouTube with Google and its partners. 
Emily Rebecca Smith
Paramount ANZ head of commercial transformation    
Promoted to head of commercial transformation in eight months, Emily led business transformation that was adopted globally and launched customer-centric digital strategy. In 2023, she developed and implemented a business transformation strategy designed to safeguard and augment Paramount’s market share, which was subsequently adopted globally. That same year she also launched a new customer-centric digital go-to-market addressing client challenges, repackaging Paramount’s data and product solutions anchored in business outcomes (Data Informed Premium Ad Experiences), repositioning Paramount as a progressive, digital first business. 
Sophie Stone 
This is Flow strategy director 
Sophie has spearheaded strategies that reshaped brand trajectories and enhanced agency acclaim. As Blackmores global strategic lead, she played a pivotal role in reclaiming its number one market position, with Australia recognised as the best-in-class example. This led to her appointment as global media strategist, an uncommon achievement for someone based in Australia. In the past year, Sophie’s transition from a structured, large agency environment to the independent ‘This is Flow’ marked a significant leap in both responsibility and opportunity. Recognising gaps in the agency’s operational capabilities and driven by her entrepreneurial spirit, she embraced the challenge to innovate and transform the team’s approach, beyond her official day-to-day role as strategy director.
Belle Thompson 
Thinkerbell group account director 
Belle was one of the original team of Thinkerbell members and is part of the fabric that makes up the uniqueness of the model. On Belle’s second day, she was part of the Bega pitch, the agency's foundation client. She has grown from a thinker (AM) to head thinker (GAD) with a team of three people and is part of the Melbourne management team. She played a key role in the development of Thinkerbell’s tools, from its unique approach to client and internal Retro’s, to exclusive products supporting new revenue streams and ways to prove and improve the strength of the agency's work without succumbing to the contentious consumer pre-testing.
Lauren Thornborough 
UM client partner 
Between 2021-2022, Lauren was critical in winning several successful pitches at UM Australia, accounting for $14M of billings. As chairperson of the GroupM Nco committee, her efforts were critical in implementing initiatives with the goal of a 50/50 gender split in leadership positions and overhauling on the maternity/paternity policy to be market-leading at the time and equipping Group M as it moved to flexible working environments, pre-pandemic. Lauren launched UM Working Parent’s committee in May 2021, an initiative to support working parents within the network, and pioneered UM to be the first media agency to be accredited as a Family Inclusive Workplace (as of May 2022).
Moritz von Sanden 
Audience360 head of sales 
Moritz discovered passion for the data and technology niche of digital media early. As one of the first mobile specialists, he gained the ability to monetise what is at the cutting edge of media, progressing his career leading the first programmatic outstream offering in Victoria. Moritz transitioned to Audience360, foreseeing that the industry would prioritise advanced audience capabilities, particularly first-party audiences. He is a key industry advisor, supporting and attending the IAB’s consultation with the Attorney General’s office and providing counsel for the Privacy Act review.
Fiona Walters
Orchard Marketing digital analyst 
Fiona's professional achievements include being promoted from intern to account manager in two years. She then became a senior level data analyst, which was not only a promotion but a fully new skill set primarily self-taught. Fiona led the Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) program on two of the biggest accounts in the agency – Hyundai and Tourism Tasmania. She also led the data and strategy on the largest account portfolio of the agency; automotive with a long-standing relationship of +7 years with both Hyundai and Genesis.
Amy Weatherlake 
Equality Media + Marketing business director, media
As business director at Equality Media + Marketing, Amy manages the media team, oversees key accounts, provides expert advice on commercial opportunities, and contributes to new business development. This year, Amy achieved unprecedented sales outcomes for long-term client and property developer Carpe Group through an innovative digital strategy for its inner-Melbourne development, Eaglemont, which resulted in 90% of residences selling in record time. In 2023, Amy developed a digital media training program specifically for female clients. The program generated new revenue, with 13 new projects acquired in the past year and the retention of all existing clients.
Kate Wilkinson 
Special PR creative strategist
Recognising the disconnect between traditional PR practices and the broader marketing ecosystem, Kate embarked on a mission to integrate strategic planning with creative ideation. This pivot led her to join Teneo, where she spearheaded a culture-first approach, breaking the norms of channel-centric thinking. Under her leadership, Special PR secured high-profile clients including Pepsi and Uber. Kate's strategic acumen was further evident in her role on Pepsi, spearheading the brand’s most significant refresh in 15 years in just 10 weeks; creating a song from chips with DJ's Pnau for Red Rock Deli and influencer campaigns for Mutti and Coopers.
Taylor York 
Thinkerbell group account director (PR)
In 10 years, Taylor has risen through the ranks of DDB, One Green Bean and Ogilvy PR, to become head earned thinker at Thinkerbell. At the agency, he is part of the Senior Leadership Team, guiding the Sydney team and its earned media offering. Taylor has embraced Thinkerbell’s ‘Measured Magic’ proposition to create a pioneering, marketing-sciences-backed PR offering in Australia. This initiative uses the Ehrenberg Bass Institute’s marketing sciences to demonstrate the benefits of brand fame through earned outcomes. Taylor has been instrumental in helping companies like Lion, NRMA Insurance, Royal Caribbean, Hort Innovation, Spotify, Amazon, Menulog, Afterpay, and Koala build their brands through an earned-first approach backed by marketing sciences.
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