Sessions & Speakers

Keynote Presentations

Never A Dull Moment

What’s it like to support the world’s largest food and beverage company? As the in-house agency for Nestlé USA, The LEAD will tell you it’s never dull—pumping out 3,000+ assets annually in support of over 35 unique brands. From its disciplined approach to process to its commitment to creativity, this modestly staffed team of 36 spent the past five years advancing from an upstart organization to a full-service agency. We’ll hear about their people and processes, capabilities and charge backs, digital excellence initiative, AOR relationships, and multi-brand storytelling. Most of all, we’ll find out how those never-dull moments continue to give way to certain pride in the work they do and how they do it.

Jonathan Dillon, Executive Creative Director, The LEAD, Nestlé USA

Jonathan is an award-winning creative director, producer, film director, and screenwriter. Prior to joining the in-house agency at Nestlé, he spent the better part of 15 years working in film, television, and commercials in Los Angeles. Since transitioning to the corporate world in 2018, he has helped grow the team at Nestlé to over 30 full-time employees across various workgroups including creative, production, post-production, visual effects, and design. The fully internal team works across 35+ brands, producing over 3,000 assets per year, and setting the bar for best-in-class creative across the digital landscape for some of the most popular food and beverage products in the world.

Chosen Name

Citi’s mission to enable growth and progress for all includes driving advancement for transgender and non-binary people, too. As part of its commitment to drive an equitable and inclusive culture, Citi developed a feature that allows trans and non-binary customers to use the name that reflects who they truly are, even if it differs from their legal name. In this compelling session, Citi’s Global Marketing leaders will reveal the insights that ignited this new feature, the triumphs and pitfalls of bringing it to life, how partnership got this groundbreaking work across the finish line, and the unique collaboration between internal and external agencies that ensured representation in front of and behind the camera.

Justin McCoy, VP, DEI Strategy & Marketing, Citi Global Marketing, Citi

Justin is responsible for supporting and amplifying Citi’s DEI initiatives to maximize the reach of their diversity efforts and help drive inclusive and equitable change. Before joining Citi, Justin worked in experiential marketing and advertising for several agencies and brands. Most notably, he was a producer on HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld activations at SXSW. A proud graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, Justin originally hails from South Carolina. When not exploring small towns for retro architecture, Justin can be found discovering new burger spots across Brooklyn.

Peter Viento, Director, Head of Creative, Citi Global Marketing, Citi

Peter built and currently leads Citi’s first in-house agency—a team designed to reduce dependency on external agency spend. Peter joined Citi from Grey Global Group NY where he was a Global Executive Creative Director for P&G brands including Gillette and Venus. Peter also served on Grey’s NA and Global Creative Council and WPP/P&G Global Creative Council. Prior to Grey, Peter was EVP Chief Creative Officer of Omnicom agencies Colangelo and Alcone. Previously, he was Executive Creative Director/Managing Director at Saatchi & Saatchi X NY and SVP Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather.

Betting on Influencers

For two years running, Rocket Mortgage has tapped the power of influencers to produce Super Bowl spots that have earned consecutive #1 rankings atop the coveted USA Today Ad Meter. From pitch to production, the in-house agency plays a vital role amplifying the campaign across assorted media and platforms, extending the concept far beyond game day. In this behind-the-scenes look, CMO Casey Hurbis reveals the realities the in-house agency faced preparing for Super Bowl Sunday, the importance of creative and celebrity partnerships, and how the work came to life on and off the field.

Casey Hurbis, Chief Marketing Officer, Rocket Central

As CMO, Casey serves all businesses within the Rocket Companies portfolio, overseeing marketing while driving new, innovative strategies to captivate audiences for the nation’s largest, most-trusted mortgage lender. Casey also leads Detroit’s premier in-house marketing agency. He joined Rocket in 2017 after 24 years in automotive marketing, most recently leading advertising and communications for FIAT. In addition to building leading brands, Casey is passionate about working with local and national nonprofits—three that are particularly close to his heart are the Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, and Bethany Christian Adoption Services.

Declaring Your Non-Negotiables

When you think “internal agency,” the word “negotiation” is probably not what comes to mind. In fact, most in-house agencies don’t have a lot of bargaining power when it comes to the everyday demands of the business. We do have an obligation to make our non-negotiables known to both our team and company to drive the richest brand experiences possible. In this provocative keynote, industry veteran Amy Spears will share seven non-negotiables to maximize the value of the in-house model. And why she believes every in-house agency should define and boldly declare what it considers sacrosanct. What are your non-negotiables? Time to shout them out!

Amy Spears, SVP Brand & Creative, Highmark Health

At Highmark Health, Amy leads Tonic—the 100+ member in-house agency supporting the company’s mission of creating remarkable health experiences and freeing people to be their best. Prior to joining Highmark Health in late 2019, Amy was Divisional VP of Creative Advertising & Design for Walgreens Boots Alliance, leading the Walgreens enterprise creative team for 10 years. Amy leverages her 20+ years of experience in advertising and marketing with multiple Fortune 40 retail and healthcare companies to build and develop high-performing and award-winning brands and teams with one stellar culture. Amy lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and four kiddos who regularly keep her dancing.

From IHA to LLC: Copper Giants™ Goes External

Since 2017, the creative agency at Liberty Mutual has been building toward something special. As part of its five-year plan, the team has been focused on adding significant value by adopting a growth mindset, scaling capabilities, and recruiting top talent so the work they produce performs better each year. The question was, could they ever get good enough to not only support Liberty Mutual but extend their services to other brands? Join us to find out how the Copper Giants™ formed an LLC to create a truly unconventional offering. In addition to hearing what it took to secure executive buy-in to work for other companies, we’ll see the first few pieces the team produced for one of its external partners.

Clifford Stevens, VP, Managing Director, Copper Giants™, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Thought leadership, continuous improvement, and transparency—three attributes that define Cliff’s career in marketing and advertising over the past 20 years. Helping brands transform their point of view and value in the world, optimizing marketing operations for greater efficiencies and productivity, and creating results-driven work that matters are foundational to why Cliff wakes up every day excited to face new challenges head on. In his current role at Liberty Mutual, Cliff oversees the in-house creative agency Copper Giants™, which creates over 80% of the company’s consumer-facing work for the sixth largest insurance company in the world.

The Real World

It wasn’t long ago that in-house teams were operating in the shadows—a group of “creatives” in jeans and on Macs, producing below-the-line work their external counterparts neither craved nor regarded. Fast forward and internal agencies are perpetually in the headlines, doing significant work and adding irrefutable value that transcends their former scope and stage. In this compelling opener, we’ll hear how in-house agencies are continuing to break through—seizing control of reputations and resources, telling it like it is to business stakeholders, and why the time is just right for a conference called UNCENSORED.

Marta Stiglin, Organizational Strategist & In-House Influencer, Stiglin Consulting

Marta is one of the leading change agents in the in-house advertising and marketing community, called upon as an expert by publications from Adweek to the Wall Street Journal to provide insight into the state of the industry. Her firm, Stiglin Consulting, was chosen by Business Insider as one of a handful helping big brands take their advertising in house—advancing organizational strategies, structures and operating practices to boost the capabilities and contributions of corporate creative teams. Marta is a founding member of IHAF and served on its Board of Directors for ten years, two as chairman.

Lightning Talks

Designing The Metaverse for Brands

If your company is serious about entering the metaverse, you’ll need to start with a metaverse strategy that includes a narrative aligned with your corporate brand promise. You also need to connect to (not mirror) Web 2.0 by providing utility, building community and nurturing connections without alienating Web 2.0 loyalists. In this unique session, we’ll hear about some of the most progressive creative and distribution strategies in play today, educating brand leaders and creators on how to formulate and confidently lead metaverse/NFT strategies of their own.

Alona Elkayam, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Far From Timid

Alona is co-founder of Far From Timid, a web 2/3/IRL agency that helps build legendary brands—defining brand platforms with the hungry-content machine in mind and then designing omnichannel customer journeys, multi-format content, and integrated-channel workflows to support it. Prior to Far From Timid, Alona led the in-house creative studios at IBM and Marriott International, spearheading omnichannel initiatives like #LoveTravels and #DreamItDone to transform those brands at scale. At Far From Timid, she helps brands like University of Phoenix and Roaring Earth evolve through Zero-Waste Marketing® and metaverse strategies connecting Web 2.0 and 3.0.

Unleashing Your Creative Potential

Bose, a company with an incredible legacy creating premium audio products, has been on a journey of transformation for the past 18 months—working to evolve its approach to marketing to unleash the brand’s creative potential and successfully launch its latest products. By focusing on the craft, building new artistic muscle, and reimagining content and the customer experience, the team at Bose completely modernized its approach to marketing. Hear the story about how this group pushed the boundaries of what-is in its relentless pursuit of what’s-next.

Karen Goodman, Executive Creative Director, Bose Corporation

Karen is an award-winning creative who has spent her career working inside agencies and brands, including R/GA, Johannes Leonardo, and Under Armour. She’s partnered with companies and organizations across a lot of firsts, including product launches, rebranding efforts and even created a brand from scratch. As the Executive Creative Director at Bose, Karen is leading a team of writers, art directors, designers, producers, and creative technologists during a time of incredible brand transformation. She’s the founder of SheSays DC & SheSays Boston and a passionate champion for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Nichole Hynes, Executive Producer, Bose Corporation

A multifaceted Executive Producer, Nichole began her journey at Bose in 2007 producing a wide range of content from full funnel campaigns to social content to product demonstrations.  Currently she leads a team of Producers, Production Managers and Audio Engineers unleashing the power of transformative sound experiences.  Prior to joining Bose, Nichole’s career started in Los Angeles as an independent Producer and Story Editor.  Credits include indie film Wisegirls and TV shows including Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels, Brat Camp and Big Brother.  When not being a creative problem solver for Bose, Nichole is a Community Coordinator for the national organization Healthy Kids Running Series, where she plays the role of social media manager, photographer, and publicist.

Breakout Sessions

Shop Talk: What the Creative Doesn’t Tell You

How does a typical project request turn into award-winning creative? Can it be done on a shoestring budget? In a short timeframe? And why does so much “good work” end up on the cutting-room floor? In this session, we’ll spill on the good, bad and often challenging parts of the creative process at BU, including how we leverage client expertise and project limitations to develop the best solutions possible. Join us to talk shop, commiserate, and discuss the steps (and setbacks) that go along with producing industry-leading creative work.

Robert Davison, Creative Director, Print and Photography, Boston University

Rob’s team’s responsibilities range from creative strategy and brand development to marketing writing and advertising. Previously, he held senior creative leadership roles at Raytheon Technologies, MathWorks, and Northeastern University, where he led the creative development of various integrated campaigns and initiatives. Rob serves on the Alumni Board of Directors at Massachusetts College of Art and Design where he is also an assistant professor.

Pamela Sarian, Executive Director, Marketing & Creative Services, Boston University

Pam oversees the University’s brand as well as the strategy and client services divisions of the in-house creative agency that works on key marketing and communications initiatives. She also works closely on the successful marketing of BU’s master’s programs. Since joining BU in 2003, Pam has held various communications positions within the University on both the academic and administrative sides. Previously, she worked in public relations in the healthcare sector.

Workfront Rollout Lessons Learned

Who wants to migrate 200+ associates, 13+ agencies, 15000+ deliverables, and 15+ business units to a single automated workflow system? Join us to hear the ups and downs of Capital One’s implementation of the web-based project management platform, Workfront. Find out why they decided to make the move and how they made it work across their sprawling creative ecosystem. With lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid, this is the ideal session to attend if your team is planning to invest in a new work management system.

Jordan DeWitt, VP of Brand Creative, Capital One

Jordan oversees Brand Creative at Capital One—the group that brings the Capital One brand to life through the strategic direction, development and production of creative elements throughout the organization. With a passion for building diverse, innovative teams and enabling them to succeed, Jordan leads a team of over 200 associates and contractors plus 10 agencies across business units, creative operations and creative technology. The result is an agile ecosystem that delivers growth, business results and brand recognition. Jordan is also a member of the Chief Marketing Officer Council. He lives in Virginia with the team he’s most proud of—his wife, their three sons and family dog.

Keeping Net Neutral

In addition to supporting over 35 brands on behalf of Nestlé USA, The LEAD is tasked with running as a net-neutral department. With diligent time tracking and competitive menu pricing, the in-house agency achieved its goal. This particular financial model, however, is not without its challenges—including how to maximize capacity without burning people out. In this revealing session, we’ll get underneath what net neutral means, exploring it as a funding model while discussing its impact and implications on team capacity, engagement, and what it takes to manage it successfully. (This session is available to in-person attendees only.)

Jonathan Dillon, Executive Creative Director, The LEAD, Nestlé USA

Jonathan is an award-winning creative director, producer, film director, and screenwriter. Prior to joining the in-house agency at Nestlé, he spent the better part of 15 years working in film, television, and commercials in Los Angeles. Since transitioning to the corporate world in 2018, he has helped grow the team at Nestlé to over 30 full-time employees across various workgroups including creative, production, post-production, visual effects, and design. The fully internal team works across 35+ brands, producing over 3,000 assets per year, and setting the bar for best-in-class creative across the digital landscape for some of the most popular food and beverage products in the world.

Breakout from the Everyday

In this dynamic breakout, you’re in the driver’s seat! No speaker, no presentation, just facilitated conversation based on the questions you bring, the challenges you face, and the fires you’re looking to quench. If you’re seeking insight from in-house peers and you’re willing to open up about your own experiences, opt-in to this unscripted session. Come prepared to ask, answer and share what’s most important to you—from inspiring creativity to managing the unmanageable, the course of this conversation is all yours. (This session is available to in-person attendees only.)

Stephen Gates, Host of The Crazy One podcast

Session facilitator, Stephen, is a global design leader building world-class organizations that integrate research, data and behavioral science with human-centered design to drive a near- and long-term impact. He previously worked at InVision, Citi, Starwood Hotels, WW, and McCann Erickson, building teams that created award-winning campaigns and digital experiences for multiple Fortune 100 brands. Stephen shares what he has learned through his international speaking engagements and award-winning podcast, The Crazy One—an in-depth exploration of issues that matter most to industry professionals including leadership, creativity, career development, innovation and more.

Many Voices, One Sound

Many voices have the power to represent a diverse culture. If not channeled appropriately, they also have the potential to become an endless cacophony. In an environment where “the client is always right,” the creative team at the IMF is defying the status quo. By applying the currency of branding, we are changing perceptions and delivering on the promise of strengthening our institutional foundation. By evolving from order takers to strategic partners, we are creating opportunities for the IMF to get a clearer, more-unified message to the world—helping many voices become one sound. (This session is available to in-person attendees only.)

Meg Fletcher, Project Manager, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Meg has 15+ years’ experience in project management, graphic design, video production, digital TV streaming, and social media creation. For the past four years, she has been with the in-house agency at the IMF, managing branding, design and video as part of the organization’s digital communications strategy. A self-described Excel nerd, Meg developed a love of organization during her time as a stay-at-home-mom following years of working as a graphic designer. With skills she garnered in both roles, she has an uncanny knack for empathizing with the design process while successfully corralling a wide variety of moving parts.

Felipe Leon, Senior Media Officer, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Felipe is an award-winning creative strategist with 20 years of internationally recognized experience. As head of Brand and Design at the IMF, he guides conversations to define brand strategies while immersing himself in every stage of the creative process to ensure cohesive brand results. A leader, enthusiast and optimist by nature, Felipe believes there’s an innovative solution to the most-complex communications projects, and his work across industries bears this out. Felipe is a critical thinker, avid listener and born collaborator whose top priority is brand recognition, brand consistency and brand love.

Connect, Create & Conquer

As a creative professional, you have the ability to influence a variety of consumers by developing clearer, simpler, more-compelling user experiences. It starts by making a genuine connection—understanding your target audience as people and delivering content that resonates them. That human connection combined with compelling creative is what enables us to conquer business challenges. This ideology has been central to the success of David Hoyos, a product design and UX leader who will explain how to apply similar tenets to your career in user experience and visual design. (This session is available to in-person attendees only.)

David Hoyos, Director of User Experience & Design, Coalfire

David is a creative leader with demonstrated success integrating superior design with seamless project execution to meet the needs of a variety of brands including DHL, Microsoft, Fidelity and Kronos. Today, he leads creative and design strategy at Coalfire, a cybersecurity advisory firm that empowers clients to strengthen their security posture and secure their digital transformations. At Coalfire, David is focused on building a strong brand presence, high impact engagements, and delightful user experiences. David is also an Advisory Board Member for the Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies user-experience design program.

Taking the Charge Out of Charging Back

Tasked with setting up a chargeback model, the team at Anywhere Real Estate not only discovered best practices to help launch it, they parlayed it into a resourcing and capacity-management system that informs internal staffing decisions in partnership with finance and HR. While some get fired up over the mere thought of charging back for internal resources, this intrepid team is using the new model to successfully track time, manage capacity and allocate hours by line of business. If you’re looking for ways to manage volume by client (with or without a chargeback model), this is the session for you.

Jennifer Panitch, Director, Creative Operations, Anywhere Real Estate

A proactive, detail-oriented leader who loves to challenge the status quo, Jenny continually seeks new technology solutions and best practices to help streamline processes, improve productivity and enhance creative execution. She brings a strategic focus to her role at The Studio, where she oversees project management, production design and creative operations for Anywhere Real Estate’s award-winning in-house agency. As an operations leader, Jenny aims to put the “fun” in “high functioning” and cares deeply about helping her team members reach their personal and professional goals. Outside of work, you’ll find her leading Pure Barre classes, walking her dog Pippa, or laughing way too long at corny jokes your dad’s friends would love.

Agile, In Real Life

This session underscores the actual impact of Agile marketing including insights gained through one organization’s transformation. We’ll dive deep into what’s been learned and can be practically applied within other marketing organizations. The focus? Agile as a strategic imperative across the entire marketing organization. The benefits? Better creative, sustainably delivered, focused on adding value and rooted in teaming. Gain a fresh perspective on how Agile can help empower your team to focus on value and outcomes while finding joy in what they do. Join this session to hear the real experiences of people who are putting Agile to work.

Stephanie Smith Tenore, Marketing Excellence Agile Transformation Leader, Deloitte

An industry veteran, Stephanie leads Deloitte’s Marketing Excellence Agile Office, developing and overseeing the strategy to scale Agile transformation for all of marketing. Stephanie co-creates Agile design and teams with enterprise businesses to define future-state resourcing, processes, roles and responsibilities. She also directs the Community of Practice to foster an Agile culture and mindset, and advises on MarTech and vendor-partnership investments to accelerate new ways of working. Together with the Agile Office Leadership team, Stephanie is helping transform how business marketing and the internal Green Dot Agency work together to form empowered, high-performing, customer-centric teams that are laser-focused on creating value.

FTE vs. GIG—Let’s Talk Talent

A record number of professionals have resigned from their posts since the start of the pandemic, posing significant challenges for countless corporations. Salary and inequities related to pay have been cited as prime motivators—with work/life balance, job fulfillment, and the ability to be one’s authentic self at work also ranking high. In this informative session, we’ll discuss and debate the merits of traditional FTE and assorted freelance models, with two industry experts on hand to offer their respective views on today’s talent marketplace. (This session is available to in-person attendees only.)

Rohshann Pilla, Recruiting Leader, Aquent

With over a decade of experience supporting Fortune 500 companies with creative, marketing and digital workforce solutions, Rohshann has her finger on the pulse on emerging talent-market trends—advising her clients on optimal strategies to attract and onboard skilled creative talent. At Aquent, Rohshann leads a remote recruiting team with a lean delivery model that has had great success providing creative, design thinking, user experience, and digital analytics talent to in-house agencies and innovation labs at leading automotive, energy, and manufacturing companies.

Patrick Holly, Executive Creative Director, Upwork

Patrick is a multidisciplinary creative whose career has run the gamut from agencies like R/GA and AKQA, to brands like Apple and Uber, to building a content platform with Steph Curry. Currently, he serves as Upwork’s ECD, leading a team of writers, art directors, designers and strategists who are changing the way the world thinks about work. Previously, Patrick was a brand director at Harley Davidson where he oversaw content, PR, social and brand partnerships. When he’s not working, Patrick is either out on two wheels or at home in Austin watching Sex and the City reruns with his wife and dogs.

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