Sessions & Speakers

Keynote Presentations

Inspiring a Purpose-Driven Creative Culture

Fostering a culture of creativity encourages employees to bring their imaginations to work, adding original ideas and ultimately value in a way that may not otherwise be realized. In this colorful keynote, we’ll get to know Hallmark’s award-winning creative agency—one of the largest, most-renowned in-house creative teams in the world. We’ll hear about their journey to define a clear sense of purpose and the commitment to artistic exploration that resulted enterprise wide. With innovative initiatives like the Hallmark Creative Leadership Symposium and #My5Days as a backdrop, Hallmark’s purpose-driven creative culture has become a hallmark across the industry and one to which we all might aspire.

Darren Abbott, Senior Vice President, Creative, Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Darren leads one of the world’s largest in-house creative teams. From product design and content development, to marketing and visual merchandising, Hallmark’s global creative team of over 1,000 artists, designers, stylists, writers, editors and photographers work together create a unique consumer experience for an iconic and beloved brand. Darren was the founding creative director of Hallmark’s award-winning Creative Marketing Studio, the brand’s in-house agency. As an energetic and influential member of Hallmark’s senior leadership team, he continues to build new creative capabilities to support Hallmark’s portfolio of businesses. Darren is active in Kansas City’s vibrant creative community and was recently named an AIGA Fellow in recognition for his contributions to the design industry.

A Seat at the Table

It’s the dream of every in-house agency—to have a seat at the table. Whether it’s being pulled in earlier by our client partners or having a chance to influence senior leaders in making decisions that affect our future, we all aspire to play a more strategic role within our organizations. In early 2019, the in-house agency at Orvis decided to create an internal board of directors to stay close to company strategy and remain top-of-mind with leadership. Comprised of executives and an external advisor, this newly formed board is working to future-proof the agency at Orvis.

Alex White, Creative Director of Brand Strategy, Orvis

Orvis is the industry leader when it comes to teaching and gearing-up for fly fishing and wing shooting. One of the oldest companies in the country, it is a pioneer of catalog marketing with growing retail store and web channels showcasing a supporting cast of businesses to complement its core pursuits: men’s and women’s apparel, dog, gift, and adventure-travel trips and skills building. At Orvis, Alex and his teams are responsible for seasonal campaign strategy, copy, photography, advertising, catalog design and production, retail marketing, and operations. Previously, Alex was Creative Director for Lands’ End Kids & School Uniforms.

Jarrett King, Director, Experience Design & Creative, The Coca-Cola Company

Why is Coca-Cola presenting on Orvis? Well, in addition to leading Coca-Cola Studios and the newly created Service Design group working to improve employee experiences at The Coca-Cola Company, Jarrett is the aforementioned external advisor for Orvis. Leveraging her agency experience leading delivery teams, Jarrett specializes in building, rehabilitating and transforming in-house creative organizations. Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Jarrett served as VP, Creative for Synchrony (formerly GE Capital), where she led their award-winning in-house creative team.

Designing Time Travel

The best way to future proof your team is to start living in the future. Creative teams who can use better process design to become more proactive, more strategic and anticipate the changes that are part of every business will be the ones who not only survive, but create the most meaningful work. In this keynote session, Collin Whitehead talks about strategies and tactics for getting your creative team to think ahead, making time and space for new ideas to flourish while building a sustainable model for more-impactful work.

Collin Whitehead, Head of Brand Studio and UX Writing, Dropbox

At Dropbox, Collin and his team define, guide, make and manage creative for the corporate brand. Since joining the company, he has led the overhaul of the visual identity system, voice and tone, brand campaign, and new company mission including their IPO. Prior to Dropbox, Collin was an executive producer at West Studios where he worked with startups to launch and build their brands. Collin’s roots are in advertising, where he got his start at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Outside of Dropbox, Collin is contributing author and public speaker, helping other build the craft of process design.

The Future of Talent

This session taps into the next generation of advertising, marketing and creative talent by tapping the very individuals who will comprise tomorrow’s workforce—college students. Joining us are professors and undergrads from Boston University’s Adlab, the largest student-run ad agency in the country. We’ll hear their views on talent, technology, clients and creativity, and find out what they think of the in-house model. Unique and uncensored, we’re going inside this renowned advertising incubator to understand what ideas and ideals are driving talent in the future.

Tobe Berkovitz, Associate Professor, Advertising, Boston University

Tobe has worked as a political media consultant on presidential, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial election campaigns in over 25 states—specializing in media strategy and time buying while working as a producer of political commercials. His clients have included Senators John Glenn, Carl Levin, Patrick Leahy and Tom Harkin. He is also tapped with frequency as a political and media analyst for televised news broadcasts.

Pegeen Ryan, Associate Professor of the Practice, Advertising, Boston University

Pegeen joined BU’s College of Communication after working as an advertising creative for 30 years—starting out as an art director and rising to VP/creative director at various Boston ad agencies. She spent the majority of her career at Digitas, where she worked on major brands including P&G, The Home Depot, GM and Gillette. Pegeen has won numerous awards including Cannes, MITX, Echo and Hatch. Still active in the industry, she provides creative and art direction for her own clients. Pegeen teaches creative and portfolio development courses for both graduate and undergraduate students.

How Marketing’s Reckoning is Realigning In-House Agencies

The role of marketing has never been more in question than it is today. CMOs are being replaced by growth and revenue-oriented positions, or not at all. Marketing budgets continue to lag while technology budgets balloon. The agency ecosystem is permanently realigning under new leaders, new priorities and new strategies. What’s to become of the in-house model in the wake of such fundamental shifts? In this enlightening session, we’ll hear about the reckoning marketing, agencies and related work forces are facing and the likely impact on the future of in house.

Jay Pattisall, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Jay is Forrester’s expert on creative, media, marketing and in-house agencies, helping CMOs and business leaders make sense of the complex and ever-changing services landscape surrounding advertising, marketing and consumer engagement. Jay’s research explores the future of the agency sector, in-housing, media and creativity. His strategies for agency innovation and models for management enable CMOs and business leaders to develop more-valuable relationships with their agencies and enable agencies to drive more value for their clients and partners.

Skills Labs

Monitoring & Measuring to Maximize Performance

No relationship can evolve without a commitment to provide, receive and act on feedback. In this session, we’ll hear how Whirlpool instituted a collaborative, standardized feedback model to maximize agency output and partnership. This team’s bi-annual process allows for objective review and reflection across the agency and brand business-partner relationships. Hear how it works and why you might want to adopt a similar practice to help optimize performance at your in-house agency, too.

Gail Bruce, Sr. Manager, Creative Operations, Whirlpool Corporation

Gail is the leader and uniter of multi-disciplined production, design, creative and oversees client services at Whirlpool. In this role, she is responsible for delivering strategic creative solutions on behalf of diverse brands, business units and departments across the corporation. With experience in workflow development and enhancement, tools planning and implementation, and creative infrastructure development to drive operational efficiency and organizational effectiveness, Gail has both a strength and a passion for building brands and capabilities to meet consumer needs—engaging teams and developing individuals to deliver sustainable value in the marketplace.

The Last Hurdle: How to Sell What You Create

Presenting your work isn’t enough. You have to sell it. Turn skeptics into believers. Make nay-sayers say yes. Survive the approval gauntlet without diminishing the quality of your ideas. Veteran global creative director Kerry Feuerman can tell you how. He’s sold over a billion dollars’ worth of work for Fallon, TBWA\Chiat\Day and The Martin Agency. And he’ll show you how to win over an audience quickly, focus your message on what really matters, eliminate objections before they happen, and communicate ideas clearly, concisely and convincingly.

Kerry Feuerman, Creative Director/Presentation Skills Coach, Last Hurdle

Kerry started out as a copywriter in Richmond, where he worked his way up to partner/vice chairman of The Martin Agency, moving on to become creative director at Fallon and then global creative director for Infiniti automobiles at TBWA\Chiat\Day. Over 30 years, Kerry has presented to clients around the world. And, his work has appeared in the industry’s most prestigious award shows including Cannes, CA, One Show, Clios, and Kelly Awards. In 2015, Kerry founded Last Hurdle, a training consultancy that teaches creative people, account managers and planners how to present, sell and protect creative work.

Culture Hacking for Corporate Leaders: Assisting Global Teams to Perform

Today’s leading corporations are supported by multinational workforces that span various cultures, locations and native languages. While marketing and product teams may understand the principles of globalization and localization, corporate leaders may not realize that concepts like motivation, quality, excellence and potential are uniquely defined by culture and linguistics. Through a blend of executive coaching and globalization strategy, this session offers techniques to address the cultural and language differences encountered by global marketing teams—calling in-house agencies to become a proactive, educative force for the localization of executive leadership.

Kris Girrell, President, Innerworks Consulting

With a career spanning nearly three decades, Kris brings a wealth of experience to every engagement. As a strategic consultant, he has helped companies redefine their direction, function better as leadership teams and gain efficiencies across all aspects of business operations. He also coaches senior leaders and C-suite executives. Kris is an avid speaker and writer with scholarly articles in publications such as CLO Magazine (Chief Learning Officer), CIO Insight, Talent Management, Baseline, and the Boston Business Journal, as well as books on a wide range of topics.

Building the Future of In-House Agency Management

Cultivating the next generation of agency management is one of the most critical tasks at hand. It takes deliberate effort and, done right, can help build a pipeline of qualified internal leaders. Done wrong or not at all, it can lead to ineffective managers, weak teams and limited growth potential for employees. Now more than ever, it is essential that emerging leaders be armed with tools to develop to their fullest potential. This session covers four must-have skills, preparing the next generation of leaders to step into bigger roles and impact the talent on their teams.

Cecilia Gorman, Founder, Creative + Talent + Partners

Cecilia’s mission is to inspire, educate and motivate people toward their greatest potential. An ad industry veteran, she spent the bulk of her career as VP, Creative Services at Y&R. She also led in-house creative operations at Oakley and was head of HR and training at Innocean USA. She is a DISC-certified executive director with the John Maxwell Team and owner of Creative + Talent + Partners, a consultancy specializing in the development of new and struggling managers and the teams they lead. She is also co-founder of Empowership, a year-long training and mentorship program for women.

EBC & The Mysterious Case of the Iridescent Birds

What might a stroke of creative genius, thousands of lines of media-performance data and an absurd number of CGI birds have in common? Explore the inspired world of evidence-based creative (EBC), where savvy brands meld human insight with automation to create real-time feedback loops between media and creative. Deep dive into the methods and tools that have helped global brands supercharge their media performance through agile testing, iteration and rapid creative versioning. Machines won’t replace your creative director anytime soon—but with EBC, they can help us understand how to better connect with audiences to enhance our results.

Grant Gudgel, VP, Head of Teads Studio,

Grant runs Teads Studio, the creative and data strategy team at Teads. His sandbox is at the intersection of creative, data and media—working with brands to build smart, dynamic creative strategies and rapid-versioning processes to get more out of their campaigns. Grant came to digital advertising through a series of fortunate accidents. Drawing on his insatiable curiosity as an entrepreneur, ski bum, strategy consultant and carpenter, he has started, sold and/or advised businesses including digital advertising, IoT, mobile apps, robotics, machine learning, education and non-profits.

People and Process and Tech, Oh My!

What is the one thing every in-house agency needs to do to achieve operational excellence? It’s a trick question. That’s because every team is unique and at a different point in its maturity, so each one has a different set of levers to pull in order to get there. Don’t fret, however—evolving successful operations doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this session, we’ll hear about three main pillars Liberty Mutual’s Copper Giants™ concentrated on and how their focus not only helped the team grow from small to full service, but advanced their operational effectiveness as well.

Michael LaBerge, Strategic Operations Director, Liberty Mutual

Michael is responsible for driving operational excellence within Copper Giants™, the in-house creative agency at Liberty Mutual, to deliver increased value to the corporation. This is accomplished through the intersection of people, process and technology both within the agency and across the aisle with business partners. Before joining Copper Giants™, Michael led Marketing’s first operations team focused on process and compliance. Prior to that, he held various operations positions within Liberty Mutual’s product organization, developing and bringing new products to market.

Harnessing Data Analytics + AI to Improve UX

With artificial intelligence is in our homes and in our hands, is Skynet really the future? Or, is there a way to take the same data the AI-giants are basing their algorithms on (your CRM numbers) and harness it to better understand the human experience? Imagine audience segmentation truly integrating qualitative and quantitative research. Imagine taking the guesswork out of the customer journey. Imagine personas unbiased by interviewers. In this lab, we’ll establish common language around AI, machine learning, data analytics and UX mapping. And, we’ll discuss techniques for reaching across the aisle, collaborating with analytics and engineering, to turn numbers into human-readable infographics that express the real thoughts and feelings customers have about interacting with your products and services.

Sarah Pagliaccio, Founder and Chief Digital Strategist, Black Pepper

At Black Pepper, a digital studio that provides customer research, user experience design and usability consulting, Sarah leads a team that delivers large-scale websites and complex mobile and desktop web apps for healthcare, financial services, not-for-profit and higher education. Her research interests include machine learning, user-experience design processes and Shakespeare. Sarah teaches user-centered design and interaction design at Brandeis University Rabb School of Graduate Professional Studies and Lesley University College of Art + Design.

Ideas Are Currency: Ask Better Questions, Get Richer Answers

We all know that Einstein said if you have to solve a problem, spend 75% of your time on the question.  But, do you know why? Do you know how everyday routines like working out at the gym, shopping for groceries, or taking your kids to the park can lead to hundreds of ideas? And, while it may sound obvious, do you know why having hundreds of ideas is important when you’re trying to solve a problem or conceive a new campaign? Ideas are our currency—the more you have, the richer you are and the more successful you’ll be.

Sarah Robertson, Managing Partner and Creative Coach, Before & After

Sarah has been a facilitator and coach with Before & After for nearly 20 years, personally trained by company founder, Tom Monahan. As a Toronto-based strategic consultant and B&A coach, she has facilitated thousands of people in sessions internationally for companies as diverse as health care, children’s toys and alcoholic beverages, and numerous agency teams. Her career includes stints in the public sector, private sector and agency world. Sarah brings a high level of enthusiasm and energy to helping people explore new ideas and improve their creative-thinking skillsets.

Extending Beyond the Horizon

Having navigated complex project partnerships (like Pharos AR with Childish Gambino and The Batman Experience at Comic-Con), this lab demystifies those sometimes-esoteric opportunities, demonstrating how even the most seemingly out-of-reach digital experience is accessible to teams of all sizes. Based on successful builds of premier VR/AR and flagship activations, participants will walk away knowing how to identify what their in-house agency is doing versus what it can do with clear, actionable steps for turning such opportunities into reality. We’ll talk about how to forge relationships that extend beyond perceived limitations while expanding technical capabilities or scaling-up talent and production with ease.

Wesley ter Haar, Founder & COO, MediaMonks

Wesley co-founded MediaMonks with the aim to wage war on mediocre digital production. A fan of tight deadlines and a giver of spectacular high fives, he has worked tirelessly to grow the company to over 950 “monks,” with offices in eleven cities worldwide. As COO, Wesley is a lifeline for deadlines and the project manager of project managers working across seven time zones. He spends his ephemeral free time as European Chair of SoDA while simultaneously cultivating his exceptional beard.

Agile 101—Just Enough to Make You Dangerous

Agile is all the buzz. Practiced for years in IT environments, agile methodologies have since infiltrated a host of corporate functions. In this lab, you’ll learn enough about agile concepts to not only participate in conversations when it’s brought up around the office, but apply it to your team. You’ll also get a look at how one Fortune 500 company took this historically IT-centric methodology and put a new twist on it for marketing. This interactive session offers opportunities to apply what you’ll learn about agile to your team’s processes and challenges.

Kylie Turnauer, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations, CarMax

Kylie spent the first seven years of her career in business operations, about as far away from marketing as one can get. In 2010, she made the move and found that marketing departments are in just as much need (if not more) of strong project management and efficient processes as any other business area. Since then, Kylie has redefined the role of marketing operations, growing teams and introducing agile concepts at multiple companies. At CarMax, Kylie and her team have found that agile methodologies provide for greater associate engagement and increased collaboration across teams.