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.

From founding creative director of Hallmark’s Creative Marketing Studio to vice president of creative marketing and digital to leading 600 artists, designers, stylists, writers, editors and photographers today, Darren is an energetic, influential member of Hallmark’s leadership team. With a focus on bolstering the corporate brand, he is actively advancing new capabilities across multiple creative studios including design, digital content, illustration, lettering, photography, writing, trend forecasting, marketing services and visual merchandising. He is also active within the external creative community, recognized recently for his contribution to AIGA nationally and named an AIGA Fellow with the Kansas City chapter in 2015.


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.


Skills Labs


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 Hack—Strategies for Global Leaders

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.

Yuka Nakasone, President, Global Bridge

Yuka is a twenty-year practitioner within the globalization industry and an internationally recognized localization expert. Not only does she run her own localization practice, she is the localization strategist for a digital analytics technology company in Barcelona, Spain. Yuka is a frequent guest of the Vistatec podcast series and a featured speaker at numerous global conferences including GALA (Globalization and Localization Association) and LocWorld.


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, Teads.tv

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.


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.