Sessions & Speakers

Keynote Presentations

Sustainability Today

Though sustainability has become more difficult to operationalize and the stakes are higher than ever, it remains a key business initiative with much positive momentum. In this conscious keynote, Paula Alexander leverages decades of experience in both sustainability and marketing to provide insight and inspiration on how to balance profit with purpose, especially when the going gets tough. She’ll talk about best practices for sustainability goal setting, integration and communication. And she’ll highlight some of the work the in-house agency Electro has done in support of Burt’s Bees, a business unit of The Clorox Company.

Paula Alexander, Sr. Director, Sustainability, The Clorox Company

Paula serves on the Burt’s Bees Leadership Team at Clorox and played a vital role influencing the company’s 2030 sustainability strategy while helping to integrate sustainability into every brand and business unit. She also serves as president of The Burt’s Bees Foundation, driving the mission to protect biodiversity and reconnect people to nature. Previously, Paula held leadership positions in brand development, marketing and human insights—including her role as global brand manager for Dove during the launch of the Campaign for Real Beauty, which over a decade later is still influencing the beauty industry and building self-esteem among women and girls.

Fueled by a Higher Purpose

As a corporation, Edward Jones has a declared purpose—to partner for positive impact, to improve the lives of clients and colleagues, and together, to better communities and society. Such a declaration not only takes commitment but action across every point of contact within and outside the company. For the in-house agency, the corporate purpose serves as a launching-off point, resulting in a tangible and intentional focus on delivering ideas that make the brand famous! In this high-powered keynote, we’ll hear about the internal agency’s purpose-fueled values and how they not only ensure everyone is moving in the same direction, but that they are also enjoying the ride.

Annie Castellano, Director, Brand Strategy + Creative, Edward Jones

Equal parts creative and analytical, emotional and rational, ridiculous and reasonable, Annie loves puzzles, especially the human variety. She leads Edward Jones’ brand team and serves as head of the internal agency—charged with continually evolving, elevating and activating the brand for the full spectrum of audiences, external and internal. Previously, Annie led brand and creative at Cigna. And prior to that, ascended from junior copywriter to ECD/chief creative officer on the external agency side. Driven by her belief that consistency yields trust and that trust is the currency of both business and life, Annie is obsessed with delivering interesting work that works. And also, with maple syrup.

AI: Master the Magic

Artificial intelligence feels a lot like magic, especially for teams striving for agility. Craft a smart prompt and behold, chatGPT pens your campaign copy. Ask DALL-E to conjure-up brand visuals. Shazam! Have Google Duplex set-up your meetings, and Abracadabra. AI is revolutionizing the way we engage, communicate, and build relationships with customers and colleagues. Like any spellbinding magic, AI also harbors a dark side. A single AI-powered blunder can turn engaged audiences and supportive colleagues into skeptics and critics, eroding your most prized possession—the trust you’ve earned. In this thrilling keynote, Andrew Davis will guide us through the maze of AI, including how to harness its magic without sabotaging relationships.

Andrew Davis, Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker, Monumental Shift

Andrew is a bestselling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker. Before building and selling a thriving digital marketing agency, he produced for NBC’s Today Show, worked for The Muppets in New York, and wrote for Charles Kuralt. Andrew has been interviewed by the New York Times, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and appeared on NBC and the BBC. He’s also crafted documentary films and award-winning content for tiny start-ups and Fortune 500 brands. Wherever he goes, Andrew puts his infectious enthusiasm and magnetic speaking style to good use—teaching leaders how to grow their businesses, transform their cities, and leave their legacy.

Purpose Through Partnership

Fifteen years ago, a beauty brand approached The Skin Cancer Foundation with these magic words: “We want to make a difference.” What started out as an extended brainstorming session became a recurring mobile skin cancer screening program known as Destination Healthy Skin. Over the years, with vital support from sun-protection product manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and retailers, the Skin Cancer Foundation has provided over 29,000 free life-saving screenings nationwide, while reaching millions more via media coverage. In this inspired session, we’ll gain an understanding of what makes a successful, sustainable partnership between nonprofit and for-profit corporations, and what pitfalls to avoid.

Becky Kamowitz, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, The Skin Cancer Foundation

Thanks to a college internship that wasn’t even her first choice, Becky discovered her passion for finding creative ways to influence people to lead healthier lives. At The Skin Cancer Foundation, she develops and executes campaigns that empower people to take a proactive approach to daily sun protection and the early detection and treatment of skin cancer. Under Becky’s direction, the Foundation rebranded and expanded its national screening program, developed a new public service campaign, launched a patient-resource program, and redesigned Becky also oversees the Foundation’s advocacy and government affairs efforts while serving as co-chair of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

Proceeding with Purpose

We’ll close our event the same way it opened—with purpose! Warren Marenco Chase joins us from Liberty Mutual’s Copper Giants™ to offer his take on this year’s conference theme. And why proceeding with purpose as individuals, in-house agencies and corporate brands is more important than ever.

Warren Marenco Chase, VP, Managing Director, Copper Giants™, Liberty Mutual

As a global marketing communications executive with over 25 years in the business, Warren has a unique combination of agency, brand and startup experience. He ran agency operations at BBDO, OMD and Wunderman. He was COO and in-house practice lead for Media Monks, establishing creative, data, media and production teams for global brands like Google, Meta, Amazon, SCJohnson, and Starbucks. He was VP, COO of Verizon’s in-house agency. And he’s run marketing for various Silicon Valley startups. Today, Warren is proud to lead the award-winning in-house agency at Liberty Mutual, the pioneering Copper Giants™.

In-House Value Stories

Fewer than four years ago, Maverick Studios made it their mission to maximize speed, service and savings without compromising quality in support of Inspire Brand’s portfolio of legendary brands. What they didn’t know at that time was just how quickly they would grow. In this compelling keynote, Chris Phillips will share a few of the value stories that helped Maverick Studios shape its identity and culture and build its reputation—all reinforcing the team’s commitment to delivering meaningful, purposeful advertising solutions. From collaboration and empowerment to creativity and innovation to client partnership and results, we’ll hear about the agency’s guiding principles, purpose, and the impact it aims to make in the advertising industry.

Chris Phillips, VP, Managing Director, Maverick Studios, Inspire Brands

Chris leads Maverick Studios, the in-house agency at Inspire Brands—building the internal capability from the ground up to serve the marketing needs of Inspire and its family of brands: Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, and Sonic. Envisioned as a full-service agency capability, in under four years, Maverick Studios has grown to provide creative, production, and print management services on behalf of the corporation. Chris joined Maverick Studios after leading the internal creative team at Jimmy John’s for six years. Prior to Jimmy John’s, he was a partner at Spinlight Studios, an ad agency turned children’s education app maker.

Lightning Talks

Think It, Make It

Inventors, entrepreneurs, dreamers, and artists sometimes get stuck between ideation and creation. They stall at the intersection of coming up with an idea and making it happen because assorted challenges block their path forward. This year’s title sponsor, Makers, has taken on nearly every type of production challenge—from dynamic brand activations to Super Bowl spots to building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Makers empowers producers to defy conventional production norms by employing a set of steps that bridges the gap between ideation and creation. Get to know Makers and hear about their unique approach to bringing ideas to life.

Sumit Ajwani, Founder & CEO, Makers

Sumit is the visionary founder of Makers, a global team of producers focused on helping in-house agencies make their best work. With a passion for collaboration, Sumit has spent over 20 years honing his production expertise, crafting everything from branded content to digital apps, and even houses. Today, he is focused on redefining the role of a producer as someone who fosters collaboration across a variety of industries. Trusted by brands like PepsiCo, Airbnb, Sephora and Amazon, Makers unites a global network of 11,000+ producers spanning 170+ countries to curate teams for every project and to make anything, anywhere.

Leading with Purpose

Leadership is more important than ever, particularly in today’s evolving culture and marketplace. The opportunity to affect positive change by aligning our work with our purpose is significant—finding authentic ways to weave it through our respective organizations to enable stronger teams and more impactful solutions. Purpose and passion can inspire teams to face tough times with resilience and resolve. Through a mix of personal storytelling and professional experience, this session challenges outdated ways of looking at our work lives, underscoring the power of purpose-driven leadership which often arises from the most unexpected places.

Rebecca Kovalcik, Senior Creative Director, Danone

Becca is a creative leader and strategist who is passionate about decoding the assortment of challenges brands face today. She spent the early part of her career as a designer, advancing to build and lead the omnichannel dream team that partners closely with integrated marketing, brand, and external agencies on behalf of Happy Family Brands. Becca believes the unique role creatives play shouldn’t just be about what they make, but who they make it for—and what those brands are doing for the world.

Fostering Engagement with Visual Storytelling

Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. It’s sixty times faster to process visual information than text. And content with visuals results in ninety-four percent more views than content without visuals. All of this is to say that visual storytelling has become the world’s primary language. Getty Images’ Paige McCrensky will reveal the top five trends that are key to creating compelling visual stories and driving purposeful engagement with target audiences. Learn how authenticity and representation are essential to connecting with consumers and the role visuals play in today’s digital age.

Paige McCrensky, VP, Marketing & Brand Communications, Americas, Getty Images

From American Express to Unilever, Paige has worked for and with some of the world’s most influential brands. She was also named one of Folio’s Top Women in Media and one of Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch. At Getty Images, Paige helps marketers find the right tools to connect with customers worldwide while supporting the company’s global efforts to create and promote the use of authentic, inclusive imagery. Most recently, she helped spearhead The Project #ShowUs campaign with Dove, The Disrupt Aging® Collection with AARP, LGBTQ+ guidelines with GLAAD, and The Disability Collection with Verizon Media—all of which seek to combat harmful stereotypes and re-picture the world around us.

Breakout Sessions

Building on Purpose

Within months of forming Liquid Sunshine, the in-house agency at Keurig Dr Pepper, the pandemic hit—leaving the newly established team operating in siloes across three time zones, each with its own way of working across 125 brands. With the eventual return-to-office and in-person connections, the team at Liquid Sunshine needed to define who they are as an internal agency. What is their purpose within Keurig Dr Pepper? How do they operate? And how do they show up for their marketing partners and each other? Join Kristine Kobe for an inside look at Liquid Sunshine’s journey to build a unified, purpose-driven team for a modern-day marketing organization.

Kristine Kobe, VP, Marketing & Advertising, Liquid Sunshine, Keurig Dr Pepper

Kristine believes that internal agencies are best positioned to help brands find their disruptive advantage and build on their legacy from within. She joined Keurig Dr Pepper in 2022 to lead the in-house agency, Liquid Sunshine. Prior to that, she was with Inside Ideas Group, where she built bespoke creative organizations—most notably building and leading the award-winning in-house agency for Molson Coors. Previously, Kristine was with external agencies like Leo Burnett, Digitas, FCB, among others, driving award-winning work and business results for iconic brands like Sharpie, Reddi-wip, Eggo, Pop-Tarts, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, and JennAir to name a few.

Purposeful Hiring

Hiring and retaining people of color requires intentionality, authenticity and grit. If you are ready to embark on more-purposeful hiring practices, industry agnostic organizations such as The One Club for Creativity are here to help. The One Club is a nonprofit creative advertising organization founded in the 1960s to celebrate and support the global creative community. For over a half-century, they have partnered with countless in-house agencies to attract talent of color, reduce turnover, drive innovation and enable profitability. Join Adrienne Lucas for a candid conversation and actionable tips that you and your team can take to improve your diversity-hiring practices.

Adrienne Lucas, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships & DEI, The One Club for Creativity

Adrienne partners with agencies and brands across the US as well as parts of Africa and Europe to develop programs designed to increase and retain creatives of color in advertising. One of the largest programs under Adrienne’s purview is an annual diversity conference and career fair called Where Are All The Black People (WAATBP). WAATBP attracts over 3,500 attendees and 60+ sponsoring agencies and brands including Amazon, Capital One, Mattel and more. Adrienne also spearheads Creative Boot Camp—a free weeklong program where college students of color develop and present an advertising campaign on behalf of an actual client.

The Culture Commitment

From humble beginnings as a group of 70+ individual contributors, JLL Creative evolved to become a cohesive creative force, reaching remarkable milestones while maintaining the lowest turnover in its organization. Join Creative Director Shaina Nielson to hear the story of their progress and gain valuable insight into how to cultivate a culture where every member of the team feels empowered and inspired to excel. Beyond typical happy hours and employee engagement programs, Shaina will share what it takes to foster a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement, with a purpose-filled, people-led strategy that can revolutionize the way teams operate and amplify their potential success.

Shaina Nielson, Creative Director, Americas, JLL

With a rich background in commercial real estate, Shaina is an accomplished creative director who is known for her forward-thinking approach and competitive spirit. Her leadership skills shine through as she empowers individuals while fostering teamwork and encourages cultures of innovation and collaboration. Since joining JLL as a graphic designer in 2015, Shaina has advanced to senior leadership positions within JLL Creative while supporting the advancement of the business in the Americas. Beyond her professional pursuits, Shaina loves taking on house projects with her husband, caring for her beloved bulldogs, and enjoying the perfect cup of tea.

Transformational Purpose

In the midst of one of the biggest mergers on Wall Street, how did S&P Global’s in-house agency (known as The 199) unify its people around one company, one purpose? How did the brand, best known for the S&P 500 and for providing transparency to the financial markets, evolve to authentically embody a more emotive, approachable look and feel? In this telling breakout session, we’ll hear how The 199 capitalized on the opportunity to define its purpose while creating meaningful impact, both for the company and the agency itself.

Valerie Tirella, VP, Global Head of Creative, S&P Global

With over 20 years of creative experience across a cross-section of disciplines including brand and visual identity, graphic design, art direction and copywriting, Valerie leads The 199, the internal agency at S&P Global. The 199 is responsible for supporting strategic marketing objectives across the enterprise as well as building brand value and protecting the company’s reputation. Prior to S&P Global, Valerie was a creative director with Landor Associates where she led the rebranding of McGraw Hill Financial. Though she never fulfilled her lifelong dream to play quarterback for the New York Giants, Valerie feels privileged to lead a team of storytellers for one of the world’s most iconic brands.

Get in the Game

Being in house doesn’t mean you are automatically awarded every big creative assignment. That’s why advancing your internal agency isn’t just about proving you can handle such work; it’s about finding your purpose, declaring your identity, and forging your own path forward. In this breakout session, Amanda Trew will talk about how the team at Twenty6 Studios learned to embrace what makes them unique—using data to cultivate trust and secure buy-in, developing scalable, flexible teams that encompass strategy, creative and operations, and influencing decision making at every step in the process. So, while Twenty6 may not win every big creative assignment, they’re always in the game.

Amanda Trew, Sr. Manager, Creative Business Operations, Zebra Technologies

Amanda is an agency veteran who spent the last four years helping build the operations team for Twenty6 Studios, the in-house agency at Zebra Technologies. During that time, Amanda oversaw the evolution of Twenty6 from a small creative services group to a global brand agency for Zebra. Previously, Amanda was with two WPP agencies, Blast Radius and Designkitchen, where she led the delivery and project management teams. Before that, she was a senior digital analyst at CVS Health. Amanda has over 15 years’ experience working for internal and external agencies on behalf of B2B and B2C clients.