|ABIGAIL POSNER |
|Head of Strategic Planning, Agency Development |
| ||Abigail joined Google a year ago to head up the Strategic Planning Practice for the Agency team. She works closely with the advertising and marketing communities to help amplify their strategic and creative efforts in the digital space. |
While at Google, she has also launched a thought leadership series on human beings deep, emotional relationships with the digital space: Humanizing Digital. The first in the series is an anthropological study entitled: The Meaning of Mobile: How People Create meaning and Relate to the Mobile Space.
Prior to joining Google, Abigail was executive vice president, strategy director at Publicis New York, where she directed strategic planning efforts for major new business pitches and provided thought leadership to key global clients, including L’Oreal, Nestlé and Coca-Cola. Before that, Abigail spent 11 years at DDB New York. There, she co-directed the strategic planning department and directed strategic efforts for a range of clients, from PepsiCo and Unilever to Hertz.
Abigail has spoken on consumer trends and brand strategy, and blogs on beauty in our culture at Beautyskew.com. She has published the following articles: Why Beauty Matters Today (Retail Online, September, 2011), Why Packaged-Goods Companies Should Market to Men (Advertising Age.com, February, 2009), Brand Management and Its Greater Purpose (Ad Map, November Issue 2007) and Why Your Mission Matters (Advertising Age, July, 2007 ). She was interviewed at PSFK for her talk: How Screaming Goats Can Save Humanity: The Visual Web Decoded.
Abigail graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology.
|AMY VELTMAN |
On Your Feet
| ||Amy is a writer, editor, director, and performer and heads up On Your Feet’s New York presence. Professionally, she’s written everything from haiku skewering pop culture to Disney screenplays, book indexes, and branding manifestos. She’s studied acting in New York and improv in Los Angeles at the Groundlings Theater, though, in her experience, every day in New York is a study in improvisation, and most days in LA involve some acting.... She spent several years as an executive at a small content agency where she led strategy for branding and marketing programs for a Fortune 100 company. |
After growing up in Portland, Oregon, Amy received a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University, and an MFA in filmmaking from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has two young daughters, and life at their house sometimes feels like a really good bad musical, which she loves.
|BEN FERNAS |
On Your Feet
| ||Ben is an actor, improv comedian, swing dancer, lawyer and municipal policy analyst. He performed with iMusical, Washington DC’s premier improvised musical, and with the group “Thunderbirds 4 Life” in New York City. He has trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and the Magnet Theater in New York City, Washington Improv Theater, and the Meisner Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca. |
As a young adult Ben was a member of the national champion lindy hop team Minnie’s Moochers, winner of the 1998 and 2001 American Lindy Hop Champions Team Division.
Ben was once an attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, and is now a Senior Policy Associate in the Office of the New York City Public Advocate. He has a J.D. (magna cum laude) from New York University School of Law and a B.A. from Cornell University
|COLIN EAGAN |
|User Experience Manager |
| || Most people drew pictures when they were kids. Colin made his own board games. |
Luckily, he gets to further his love of information design as User Experience Manager at ICF Ironworks in Washington, D.C., where he helps clients with tasks ranging from digital strategy and creative concepting to wireframing and usability testing. Colin has worked with Fortune 500 clients like American Express, Burger King and Bank of America, as well as leading Medical / Trade Associations and Government Agencies, including AAA, NHS and EPA. He has designed for closed- and open-source Content Management Systems including Ektron, SharePoint, Drupal, Interwoven Teamsite, and Adobe CQ5.
Colin’s background combines Big 4 Consulting and Digital Agency experience, having worked previously at Accenture, LLP and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, 2010 Interactive Agency of the Year. Past projects include Open Forum, a social network by American Express, and work on Bank of America’s Flagscape intranet, one of Jakob Nielsen’s top pics for intranet usability.
Colin received his M.S. degree from VCU Brandcenter in Richmond VA, and his Bachelors from Davidson College in NC, where he studied English. He blogs frequently on User Experience topics on Fit and Finish and has been published in The UX Booth.
He credits any career successes thus far to his decision not to go to law school.
|DEAN BROWELL |
|Executive Vice President |
| ||Dean leads Feedback’s social media charge as Executive Vice President and resident PhD with a passion for how generations interact online. His work can be seen across many industries including tourism, automotive, retail, healthcare, education and more.. |
Dean’s experience in emerging media makes him one of the leading thinkers in the space, marrying an academic zeal for exploration with credentials of proven results with clients such as Mini Cooper, The Martin Agency, Camelbak, The Vision Council, BF Goodrich, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and College, CATO Fashions and many more. He is a faculty member of the University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy, a frequent speaker at national and regional events such as SXSW and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development where he also leads the Emerging Media Task Force. Dean is also a member of the Market Research Society..
In 2009 Dean formed Feedback with ad industry veteran Jeff Thompson to the benefit of marketing, communications and public relations professionals around the world through their offices in Richmond, VA in the US and London, England in the UK.
|GEORGE BENNETT |
|Digital Strategy Director |
| ||George helps ambitious brands and agencies innovate to solve their biggest challenges. |
Central to George’s strategic approach is the principle that digital technology is more than a means for propagating brand ideas; it’s a powerful tool for reinventing products, brands, and businesses.
George has led digital innovation initiatives for Mastercard, Verizon, Nike, and AARP and has helped luxury leaders Tiffany & Co, Kiehl’s, and Giorgio Armani fortify their brands through groundbreaking digital experiences. In 2013, after 6 years at R/GA he joined Droga5 as Digital Strategy Director.
A firm believer that innovation breaks down the dichotomy between business success and social responsibility, George has won the Mobile Marketers Association Award for Social Impact and the SAMMY Award for Best Use of Social Media for Social Good.
George earned his MS in Communications Strategy at the VCU Brandcenter and his BA at Virginia Tech. An active musician George has been featured in The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal, and has performed at MoMA PS1, The New Museum, and Bowery Ballroom. He lives in Chinatown.
|GERRY GRAF |
|Founder / Chief Creative Officer |
Barton F. Graf 9000
| ||Gerry’s advertising career has spanned agencies like Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, BBDO/NY (where he served two stints, including one as ECD), TBWA\Chiat\Day as ECD and Saatchi & Saatchi NY as CCO and member of the worldwide executive board. Ad Age’s Creativity magazine named him to the “Creativity 50,” a “multi-disciplinary account of the biggest and best thinkers and doers from 20 years of advertising and consumer culture.” In 2007, TBWAChiatDay NY was recognized as the most creatively awarded agency and Gerry as the most creatively awarded creative director in the world. He dropped to third most awarded in the world in 2009. Gerry is married and has three kids. He lives in Manhattan. |
|HELAYNE SPIVAK |
| ||Helayne, former Chief Creative Officer of Y&R and JWT, joined the VCU Brandcenter on August 15, 2012 as its director. Helayne is leading the Brandcenter in its mission of helping the industry navigate change and fueling it with future leaders. |
Helayne began her career in NY as a copywriter at Ally & Gargano. After 10 years of gaining recognition for her creative work, Helayne went on to take larger and larger roles in the advertising community. Hal Riney hired her to head up the New York office of Hal Riney & Partners. From there, she went on to become Chief Creative Officer of Y&R NY and was appointed one of the first women on their Board of Directors. She has since served as Chief Creative Officer at Ammirati Puris Lintas and JWT, NY.
In 1997 Helayne formed her own company, HRS Consulting, where she worked with agencies such as Hill Holiday, McGarryBowen and EuroRSCG. She joined Energy BBDO in Chicago as Group Creative Director in 2003. Her Super Bowl spot for Aleve featuring Leonard Nimoy made USA Today’s Top Ten Memorable spots for that year.
Helayne came back to NY in 2006 and was asked to join Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness to help them improve their creative product and move from an all DTC agency specializing in traditional broadcast to a fully integrated, full channel communications company. In her 5 years as Chief Creative Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness has built its interactive capabilities from scratch. It was named Agency Of The Year for 3 years running by MM&M Awards.
Helayne has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal’s Leaders Campaign, was honored with The Matrix Award for Women in Communications, appeared on the cover of Working Woman Magazine for which she wrote the cover article, and was named one of the top 50 Women In Business by Business Week magazine (1992).
|JEFF MACDONALD |
|Creative Technologist |
The Martin Agency
| ||Jeff is a creative technologist working at The Martin Agency in Richmond, VA. |
Jeff graduated from the VCU Brandcenter’s creative technology track in 2012 and then quickly became an adjunct professor at the Brandcenter the next semester.
When not creating circuits out of baked treats or printing something on a 3D printer, Jeff volunteers as a marketing coordinator for Feast RVA, a local non-profit that looks to help fund creative projects through quarterly dinning events.
Learn more about Jeff MacDonald at welovejeff.com.
|JOHN HEATH |
|Vice President, New Ventures & Innovation |
| ||John joined Chobani in December 2010 as Vice President, New Ventures & Innovation. John brings deep experience in brand strategy, consumer insights, and creative thinking with him to Chobani. He is a keu ember of the Senior Leadership team, and in the short time he has been with Chobani he has demonstrated tremendous thought leadership and business acumen. |
In his role, John is accountable for developing new, global brand & product platforms that meet the strategic needs and vision of the company and to align to emerging category and consumer trends and isights.
Prior to joining Chobani, he held senior roles in strategic brand planning and consumer insights at several top communications companies including McCann-Erickson, Saatchi & Saatchi and most recently, Gotham in NYC. While in the communications industry, John led brand strategy engagements with some of the world’s most well known brands from CPG companies, including General Mills, Nabisco, and Johnson & Johnson. He also worked with many other global brands including MasterCard, Nikon, ABSOLUT and AT&T.
John holds a BSJ from the Perely Isaac Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University. He is a frequent speaker at universities and has served as an adjunct professor at City College in New York. His passions are music, food and culture. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey but now lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York. John’s favorite Chobani flavor is 0% plain mixed with honey, almonds, dark chocolate and pistachios. He calls this custom blend of his “Cho-yumbo.”
|JONATHAN LEE |
|Managing Director, Marketing Strategy |
| || Prior to joining HUGE, Jonathan was Partner, Strategic and Account Planning at Rosetta, which was the largest independent digital services company in the country, before Publicis acquired it in 2011. He has also served as Director of Account Planning at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY, where he oversaw brand strategy for global brands across a wide range of industries, from financial services to packaged goods to technology. |
Originally from the U.K., Jonathan has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and engineering design. Upon finding himself designing truck engine cooling systems for a large European manufacturer, instead of cool British sports cars, he packed his bags and moved to New York.
Jonathan now lives in Connecticut with his wife and three daughters.
|KELLY O'KEEFE |
|Professor, VCU Brandcenter |
Chief Creative Officer, CRT/tanaka
| ||Kelly was a founding board member of the VCU Brandcenter and an entrepreneur known for pioneering work in digital marketing, brand strategy and creativity. He also acts as part-time Chief Creative Officer of CRT/tanaka, an innovative marketing communications firm. |
Kelly has been named Ad Person of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year, and Adweek named his firm Southeast Agency of the Year. He has been a strategic brand adviser to clients like GE, ESPN, Walmart, UPS Freight, Sesame Street and The Colombian Coffee Federation.
O’Keefe was a founding board member of the Virginia Council of CEO’s and the ad:tech conference and is currently a board member of the Future of Advertising Project at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. He sits on the boards of the Richmond Future Think Tank, Maymont, RVA Creates and the Richmond Tourism Commission.
Kelly has been a keynote speaker at branding and business conferences across the globe. His commentary has been featured in dozens of media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Time, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art and design from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
|LAURA JANNESS |
|Head of Planning |
Baron F. Graf 9000
| ||Prior to joining Barton, Laura worked at Google Creative Lab and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Throughout her career, she’s launched new brands (Chrome) and dusted off old brands (Ragu). She’s hung out with teens (Playstation) and held her own with engineers (Google). And, probably most important to the topic at hand, she’s worked with the best creative minds in the industry including Jamie Barrett, Eric Vervroegen, Steve Simpson, Rich Silverstein, Jeff Goodby, David Kolbusz, Chuck McBride, Robert Wong, Eric Kallman, Brandon Mugar and Gerry Graf. |
|MICHAEL CHAPMAN |
|SVP/Group Planning Director |
The Martin Agency
| ||Michael started his career at The Martin Agency after earning a graduate degree in communications from the VCU Brandcenter. In his first stint at Martin, he was integral in helping UPS expand their business through the launch of the “What Can Brown Do For You?” campaign. UPS was awarded two Gold Effies for their efforts and ranked on Fortune’s list of America’s Most Admired companies. Over the same five years, Michael also helped drive brand strategy for Olympus, Champion Mortgage, CareerBuilder and Dominion Resources. |
In order to expand his horizons to international markets, Michael worked for two years at McCann London. Highlights included establishing UPS as one of the top 3 shipping and logistics companies in China and launching UPS’s first downloadable technology solution named Widget, named Europe’s Most Contagious of 2007. During his two years in London, he honed his business-to-business success, launching Genworth Financial’s global brand in Germany, Italy, France and the U.K., and led business-to-business efforts for Intel throughout Europe.
After returning to Richmond and The Martin Agency in 2007, Michael led Walmart through one of its most successful holiday seasons to date, initiated a unique strategic partnership between Martin and Deloitte Consulting to bring better business-driving insights to clients and was named to Martin’s New Initiative Leadership Group. He currently drives strategy for ManpowerGroup, a Fortune 150 global leader in workforce solutions and Norwegian Cruise Line. Most recently he returned to his undergraduate alma mater, University of Virginia, where he earned a Masters in Business Administration.
His five-year-old daughter and two year old twin boys don’t care about any of this.
|MICHAEL DONOVAN |
|Anthropology PhD |
| ||Mike Donovan has had the good fortune to bring his skills and experience as an anthropologist to an incredibly diverse set of projects. He has studied the defining experiences and meanings of masculinity among young men today (advance planning, car design). He has asked high net-worth individuals to unravel the values and meanings they attach to wealth (messaging). He has absorbed lessons about the lawn, and lawn work from American homeowners (new product development and strategic refocus for a manufacturer). He has gone grocery shopping with low-income moms and learned what it takes (and means) to put a good meal on the table (store design and corporate communications). He has enlisted tween friendship groups to investigate their social constructions of illicit drugs (messaging). He has visited with Rolls Royce owners (ride-a-longs included) to explore their connections to the brand (brand audit and repositioning). He has plumbed complex webs of relationships between Americans and their pets (new product launch, brand positioning, concept testing) He has studied the social meanings and uses of credit cards among women in South Africa and Dubai (global brand positioning). And much, much more... |
Such projects provide clients with a fresh look at the cultural spaces where their categories, brands, products and services abide. Mike works intensively with his partners to push these insights through in the service of their clients’ business goals including notable successes in new product development, packaging, retail design, branding, ad development, messaging and strategic planning.
Some of the clients Mike has worked with: Aer Lingus, American Express, Alcoa, BBDO West, Briggs and Stratton, CommonHealth, Delmonte, FedEx, General Motors, MasterFoods, Mars Pet Care, Nissan, Novartis, Saatchi and Saatchi, Save-A-Lot, The Bergen Record, The Martin Agency.
Mike lives in Brooklyn, New York. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from New York University. His years of field research in Africa and teaching are ongoing sources of inspiration for life and work.
|MICHAEL FANUELE |
|Chief Strategy Officer |
| ||Michael joined Fallon in January 2011 as Chief Strategy Officer. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, he manages our integrated strategy group with a simple belief: the bravest thing a strategist can do is hunt down the truth; then shoot it, skin it, and cook it up beautifully. |
Michael has worked at agencies in New York and London, from Mad Dogs & Englishmen to JWT and, most recently, Euro RSCG. Over the years, Michael’s had the privilege of selling tea in China and dirt in Britain and working with a wonderfully diverse group of clients, including The Economist, Kraft, Heineken, Howard Stern, Charles Schwab, Lipton, Qwest, Jaguar, and Dos Equis.
For his work with these brands, Michael has won Effies, David Ogilvy Research Awards, and has been recognized with more APG Awards than any other strategist in the industry. He has also helped create communications that have garnered One Show Pencils and Cannes Gold Lions.
In addition to mentoring young planners and teaching at The Miami Ad School, Michael authored a provocative marketing article for the Harvard Business Review in October 2006 entitled, “Embrace the Dark Side.”
Before all this, Michael had stints as a stand-up comic and a Congressional Aide—all that after receiving an Honors Degree from Vassar College in Victorian Studies. It’s hard to say which of those adventures has been the best preparation for the world of advertising.
These days, Michael has his hands full with three awesome young sons (and a desperate ambition to be the world’s best middle-aged tennis player). He and his wife Joanna, though native East Coasters, feel like they’ve found a home in Minneapolis.
|PETER COUGHTER |
| ||Peter is the author of The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that win Business, from Palgrave Macmillan. He is author of the first book by a Brandcenter professor. In addition to teaching at the VCU Brandcenter, Peter is the President of Coughter & Company, a consulting firm located in Richmond, Virginia. Peter provides many different services to agencies but is nationally recognized for his Presentation Skills Workshops. His clients include CP+B, Goodby Silverstein, JWT, The Martin Agency, Hill Holliday, Brunner, 22 Squared, Y&R, Publicis, McKinney, DDB, BBDO and many others. |
From time to time, Peter moves to the other side of the table and helps clients with the agency search process. He also works with selected agencies to help develop comprehensive new business development programs, provide assistance on individual new business development projects, develop strategic plans for the agency, and design and implement staff development programs, particularly in the area of presentation skills. He also provides executive coaching for both agency and client personnel.
Prior to founding Coughter & Company in June of 1995, Peter served for 20 years as President of Siddall, Matus & Coughter, Inc., one of the Southeast’s most respected advertising and public relations firms. During that time he developed a reputation as one of the advertising industry’s finest strategic communicators and his work has been honored by The AMA, The One Show, The Clios, Communications Arts, and the AAF, among others. Peter is a former winner of the Richmond Ad Club’s Man of the Year Award, and the AAF’s Silver Medal Award for contributions to the advertising industry.
Peter began teaching at the Adcenter in 1997 and has taught students in every graduating class.
|PATRICK ACOSTA |
|SVP Director |
| ||Patrick is a pretty down-to-earth guy for someone who used to oversee a $2 billion annual media budget at AT&T. He joined Mullen from the telecommunications giant because he thrives on working in an integrated environment where sophisticated data analysis and insight drive powerful creative ideas and innovative media solutions to produce significant business gains. |
At AT&T, he was Executive Director of Media Research & Insights and led consumer segmentation strategy, media mix modeling and competitive reporting within the company’s Media Services group. He has media planning and optimization experience in every key media channel, including network, cable and spot TV, digital, out-of-home, national magazine, newspaper and radio.
Over the course of his agency and client-side engagements, Patrick has developed 11+ major proprietary, solution-based media systems to increase project efficiency and accuracy.
Patrick is an avid outdoorsman — and a pretty serious fantasy baseball and football geek. He has been married for 19 years and has two children.
|RICK WEBB |
|Writer, Entrepreneur and Investor |
| ||Rick currently serves as a mentor to Tech Stars NY and as a venture partner at Quotidian Ventures. Rick is the founder and CEO of Secret Clubhouse, a tech coworking space in Williamsburg, NY. |
In 2001, Webb co-founded The Barbarian Group, an award-winning digital ad agency. He served as its COO for the first ten years of the company’s existence. Webb left in 2011 to pursue angel investing in, and writing on, technology and advertising. He is an angel investor in Foursquare, Branch, Circa, Percolate, Docracy and others. He is an advisor to several other tech startups and marketing services companies, including Sherpaa, Hard Candy Shell, and Small Girls PR. From 2012 to 2013 Rick served as a consultant to Tumblr, leading their revenue and marketing teams, helping to build the business side. In May 2013, Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo in New York’s largest venture-backed exit of the 21st century.
Webb is the past writer of a tech column for the NY Observer and Betabeat and an avid blogger on technology, advertising, economics, politics and the government. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in International Economics in 1992. He serves a board member of the VCU Brandcenter, one of the most renowned advertising graduate schools, and was named as Creativity Magazine’s 50 most creative people in marketing (2008). He was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska.