Robert Sawatzky
Nov 28, 2019

40 under 40 2019: Asia-Pacific's top rising talent

From data scientists to brand builders, creative minds to entrepreneurs, here is our marketing and communications standout class of young professionals for 2019.

Ashley Amanna | E-commerce lead Southeast Asia | Wunderman Thompson | Indonesia <br /><br />
Who would have thought that a young man setting up computers for friends to earn some pocket money would one day be overseeing a profitable e-commerce team covering Southeast Asia? Ashley Amanna was hired by Wunderman Indonesia in 2018 to build its e-commerce practice in the region’s fastest-growing and largest online retail market. Within six months, his team made bank.
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Producing creative work rooted in data, Amanna’s digital acumen helped scoop major business wins, including for Unilever, Nestle and Lakme. The 33-year-old, whose past employers include Mediacom and L’Oréal, is now tasked with training all the Southeast Asian offices in e-commerce and incubating the practice locally. 
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He also set up the e-commerce intelligence stack for Wunderman Thompson, which unbundles complex data points to deliver commercial insights, search rankings, brand governance and sentiment analysis, and so on. In February, his office was named Marketing Agency of the Year at the inaugural Future Commerce Excellence Awards. 
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Kenneth Chiew, head of digital and commerce at Unilever International-Prestige gives “two thumbs up” for Amanna’s work. He regards the digital lead as “one of the rare talents in the advertising field who really understands e-commerce”, and praised Amanna's savviness in building strong e-commerce fundamentals before exploring more advanced operations.

Ashley Amanna | E-commerce lead Southeast Asia | Wunderman Thompson | Indonesia

Who would have thought that a young man setting up computers for friends to earn some pocket money would one day be overseeing a profitable e-commerce team covering Southeast Asia? Ashley Amanna was hired by Wunderman Indonesia in 2018 to build its e-commerce practice in the region’s fastest-growing and largest online retail market. Within six months, his team made bank.

Producing creative work rooted in data, Amanna’s digital acumen helped scoop major business wins, including for Unilever, Nestle and Lakme. The 33-year-old, whose past employers include Mediacom and L’Oréal, is now tasked with training all the Southeast Asian offices in e-commerce and incubating the practice locally.

He also set up the e-commerce intelligence stack for Wunderman Thompson, which unbundles complex data points to deliver commercial insights, search rankings, brand governance and sentiment analysis, and so on. In February, his office was named Marketing Agency of the Year at the inaugural Future Commerce Excellence Awards.

Kenneth Chiew, head of digital and commerce at Unilever International-Prestige gives “two thumbs up” for Amanna’s work. He regards the digital lead as “one of the rare talents in the advertising field who really understands e-commerce”, and praised Amanna's savviness in building strong e-commerce fundamentals before exploring more advanced operations.

Masaya Asai | Global creative director | TBWA\Hakuhodo | Japan<br /><br />
Let’s face it, billboards are an eyesore for many people. But, in 2015, billboards in cities around the world became public gallery spaces displaying artistic photography. The ‘Shot on iPhone: Apple World Gallery’ campaign, one of Masaya Asai’s signature efforts, curated and celebrated photographs taken by iPhone users and earned Asai a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.<br /><br />
Currently wearing the hat of global creative director for Uniqlo at TBWA\Hakuhodo, Asai is responsible for harmonising the brand’s creative in 19 countries. His ability to deliver consistent brand language across complex global strategies contributed to the brand’s record-breaking sales and proved that a Japan-based agency can drive the rollout of worldwide campaigns. <br /><br />
The 37-year-old’s finesse in telling evocative stories that cut across social boundaries was honed in a bi-cultural experience. Born in Sapporo, he moved to the US at the age of 16, eventually graduating from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with a master’s in advertising. He returned to his homeland to join TBWA\Hakuhodo Tokyo as an art director in 2006. <br /><br />
As he moved up the ranks, Asai swept up over 100 national and international awards, including the only Gold Cannes Lions for Japan this year for the Japan Para Table Tennis Association’s ‘The Most Challenging Ping Pong Table’.

Masaya Asai | Global creative director | TBWA\Hakuhodo | Japan

Let’s face it, billboards are an eyesore for many people. But, in 2015, billboards in cities around the world became public gallery spaces displaying artistic photography. The ‘Shot on iPhone: Apple World Gallery’ campaign, one of Masaya Asai’s signature efforts, curated and celebrated photographs taken by iPhone users and earned Asai a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions.

Currently wearing the hat of global creative director for Uniqlo at TBWA\Hakuhodo, Asai is responsible for harmonising the brand’s creative in 19 countries. His ability to deliver consistent brand language across complex global strategies contributed to the brand’s record-breaking sales and proved that a Japan-based agency can drive the rollout of worldwide campaigns.

The 37-year-old’s finesse in telling evocative stories that cut across social boundaries was honed in a bi-cultural experience. Born in Sapporo, he moved to the US at the age of 16, eventually graduating from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with a master’s in advertising. He returned to his homeland to join TBWA\Hakuhodo Tokyo as an art director in 2006.

As he moved up the ranks, Asai swept up over 100 national and international awards, including the only Gold Cannes Lions for Japan this year for the Japan Para Table Tennis Association’s ‘The Most Challenging Ping Pong Table’.

Simon Bailey | CEO | Humology | Myanmar <br /><br />
After spending years as a strategic planner in London, Simon Bailey was ready to begin a new chapter of his career abroad. Australia was his planned destination. But he landed in Southeast Asia at the invitation of an ex-boss, and stayed put for a decade. As his love affair with the region blossomed, he scored success for a P&G regional account and jumped at the opportunity to take on the Vietnam market in 2011. Leading partner client relationship for Mindshare Vietnam, he chaperoned the team across 20 clients and grew revenue by 40% year-on-year.
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About two years ago, Bailey saw an opening to bring global data-driven best practices to the frontier markets of Asia Pacific. This led to the establishment of Humology, a mobile-first advertising platform.
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Bailey led Humology’s success as the largest advertising platform in Myanmar, where it is the exclusive provider of the service to Samsung in the country. The company now has five offices across APAC.
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The 39-year-old also worked together with Socialyse to deliver a media-first KOL campaign, resulting in an engagement rate of 34 percent – one of the highest recorded in APAC. While achieving staff retention around 90%, Bailey oversees the Humology Educate programmatic training sessions to bring global standards and improvements to frontier markets.

Simon Bailey | CEO | Humology | Myanmar

After spending years as a strategic planner in London, Simon Bailey was ready to begin a new chapter of his career abroad. Australia was his planned destination. But he landed in Southeast Asia at the invitation of an ex-boss, and stayed put for a decade. As his love affair with the region blossomed, he scored success for a P&G regional account and jumped at the opportunity to take on the Vietnam market in 2011. Leading partner client relationship for Mindshare Vietnam, he chaperoned the team across 20 clients and grew revenue by 40% year-on-year.

About two years ago, Bailey saw an opening to bring global data-driven best practices to the frontier markets of Asia Pacific. This led to the establishment of Humology, a mobile-first advertising platform.

Bailey led Humology’s success as the largest advertising platform in Myanmar, where it is the exclusive provider of the service to Samsung in the country. The company now has five offices across APAC.

The 39-year-old also worked together with Socialyse to deliver a media-first KOL campaign, resulting in an engagement rate of 34 percent – one of the highest recorded in APAC. While achieving staff retention around 90%, Bailey oversees the Humology Educate programmatic training sessions to bring global standards and improvements to frontier markets.

Anthony Baker | Executive technology director | R/GA Tokyo | Japan <br /><br />
When Anthony Baker arrived in Tokyo in 2017 to help open a new R/GA office, he was not fluent in Japanese. But the intrepid polymath seems to thrive in new environments. Born and raised in Costa Rica, he switched from art studies to pursue computer sciences – satiating his interest in technology. Upon graduation, he moved to the Silicon Valley in 2004 to work as a software engineer. In 2011, he took off again, this time to London to launch a career with R/GA, immersing himself in creative prototyping. 
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The move to Tokyo came six years later. There he demonstrated his leadership prowess by bringing together over 13 nationalities with diverse skill sets in technology, design, strategy and production. 
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The 39-year-old has not only built an Alibaba cloud practice from scratch and a tech hub for R/GA in Asia Pacific, but also designed a ‘lean stack’ disruptive practice that enables a thin team to perform hefty jobs, such as creating entirely new digital platforms. This was what Baker built for Shiseido Professional – which is now “the base for our future digital initiatives and data-driven engagement”, according to Claudia Kim, VP Global Brand of Shiseido Professional. 
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Baker has also lent support to local engineering boot camps by bringing students into R/GA for learning sessions. Speaking of learning, the gaijin managed to teach himself Japanese in two years, and even took to the Tokyo Advertising Week stage with his new tongue.

Anthony Baker | Executive technology director | R/GA Tokyo | Japan

When Anthony Baker arrived in Tokyo in 2017 to help open a new R/GA office, he was not fluent in Japanese. But the intrepid polymath seems to thrive in new environments. Born and raised in Costa Rica, he switched from art studies to pursue computer sciences – satiating his interest in technology. Upon graduation, he moved to the Silicon Valley in 2004 to work as a software engineer. In 2011, he took off again, this time to London to launch a career with R/GA, immersing himself in creative prototyping.

The move to Tokyo came six years later. There he demonstrated his leadership prowess by bringing together over 13 nationalities with diverse skill sets in technology, design, strategy and production.

The 39-year-old has not only built an Alibaba cloud practice from scratch and a tech hub for R/GA in Asia Pacific, but also designed a ‘lean stack’ disruptive practice that enables a thin team to perform hefty jobs, such as creating entirely new digital platforms. This was what Baker built for Shiseido Professional – which is now “the base for our future digital initiatives and data-driven engagement”, according to Claudia Kim, VP Global Brand of Shiseido Professional.

Baker has also lent support to local engineering boot camps by bringing students into R/GA for learning sessions. Speaking of learning, the gaijin managed to teach himself Japanese in two years, and even took to the Tokyo Advertising Week stage with his new tongue.

Laura Beament | General manager | Herd MSL | Australia<br /><br />
In terms of delivering an environmental message, Laura Beament lays waste to much of the competition. From a billboard of Chris Hemsworth surfing next to a 1,580kg ‘wave’ constructed of plastic waste for Corona, to the first rideshare submarine exploring the Great Barrier Reef for Tourism and Events Queensland, Beament has taken campaigns from execution to award sweeps. <br /><br />
Public relations first stole Beament’s heart at the age of 17, when she was interning at the press office of designer Paul Smith. Graduating from the University of Bournemouth, she cut her teeth working with brands like Elizabeth Arden, Coca-Cola and Gillette before specialising in FMCG. The feathers in her cap include leading a food trends thought leadership initiative called Food Forward – now a global report – for her former employer, Weber Shandwick.  <br /><br />
Since joining Fuel Communications (part of Herd MSL) three years ago, Beament helped win the entire P&G business, bringing in 14 brands and Fuel’s first major FMCG client in its 22 years of history. The 39-year-old built up the team’s capabilities and client relationships in FMCG from scratch. Meanwhile, she also doubled the agency’s size by scoring businesses from Diageo and Campbell Arnott’s, blew past her managing director’s two-year targets in just 14 months, and propelled the team to win Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)’s Agency of the Year in 2018 and 2019.

Laura Beament | General manager | Herd MSL | Australia

In terms of delivering an environmental message, Laura Beament lays waste to much of the competition. From a billboard of Chris Hemsworth surfing next to a 1,580kg ‘wave’ constructed of plastic waste for Corona, to the first rideshare submarine exploring the Great Barrier Reef for Tourism and Events Queensland, Beament has taken campaigns from execution to award sweeps.

Public relations first stole Beament’s heart at the age of 17, when she was interning at the press office of designer Paul Smith. Graduating from the University of Bournemouth, she cut her teeth working with brands like Elizabeth Arden, Coca-Cola and Gillette before specialising in FMCG. The feathers in her cap include leading a food trends thought leadership initiative called Food Forward – now a global report – for her former employer, Weber Shandwick.

Since joining Fuel Communications (part of Herd MSL) three years ago, Beament helped win the entire P&G business, bringing in 14 brands and Fuel’s first major FMCG client in its 22 years of history. The 39-year-old built up the team’s capabilities and client relationships in FMCG from scratch. Meanwhile, she also doubled the agency’s size by scoring businesses from Diageo and Campbell Arnott’s, blew past her managing director’s two-year targets in just 14 months, and propelled the team to win Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)’s Agency of the Year in 2018 and 2019.

Ashwin Chandoesing | Vice president APAC & China | indaHash | Singapore <br /><br />
Ashwin Chandoesing is known for his keenness to bridge differences. His life is already a successful mashup of diversity. The seasoned marketer’s expertise is cobbled from his leadership experiences in a wide range of industries over 14 years, from telco to oil and gas to wrestling programming. Even his passions cross categories; besides playing piano and guitar, he's an avid salsa dancer and longtime martial arts competitor.
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In 2017, Chandoesing joined the influencer marketing app, IndaHash, as its first hire in Asia Pacific. As business development director, he bridged creativity with commercial insights to achieve triple-digit growth. After two years, he was promoted to vice president and expanded the company’s partnerships to China. 
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Chandoesing’s advocacy for new media also took him to guest lecture stints at Singapore’s top business universities, the jury panels of award shows, and podiums at global marketing events. 
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Jess Tang, the total brand experience innovation lead (global) for Johnson & Johnson, praised Chandoesing as having “the grit to bring a new idea into reality”. Indeed, the 39-year-old is known as much for his inventive flair as his discipline – he completed a full marathon while fasting earlier this year.

Ashwin Chandoesing | Vice president APAC & China | indaHash | Singapore

Ashwin Chandoesing is known for his keenness to bridge differences. His life is already a successful mashup of diversity. The seasoned marketer’s expertise is cobbled from his leadership experiences in a wide range of industries over 14 years, from telco to oil and gas to wrestling programming. Even his passions cross categories; besides playing piano and guitar, he's an avid salsa dancer and longtime martial arts competitor.

In 2017, Chandoesing joined the influencer marketing app, IndaHash, as its first hire in Asia Pacific. As business development director, he bridged creativity with commercial insights to achieve triple-digit growth. After two years, he was promoted to vice president and expanded the company’s partnerships to China.

Chandoesing’s advocacy for new media also took him to guest lecture stints at Singapore’s top business universities, the jury panels of award shows, and podiums at global marketing events.

Jess Tang, the total brand experience innovation lead (global) for Johnson & Johnson, praised Chandoesing as having “the grit to bring a new idea into reality”. Indeed, the 39-year-old is known as much for his inventive flair as his discipline – he completed a full marathon while fasting earlier this year.

Felix Chang | Deputy general manager | Publicis Media Taiwan | Taiwan<br /><br />
Felix Chang’s technology background and market-research experience represent a rare blend. This has earned him plenty of freedom to invest time in working with startups in Taiwan – a freedom he seized to do his job leading business analytics and transformation for Publicis Media. The disruptive fixes Chang helped develop for adland have positioned his agency as a pioneer of marketing solutions. <br /><br />
Over the past year, Chang has partnered with local intelligence startup xBeacon to develop an offline-to-online targeting system that can re-target store visitors, and an offline display system called RDS (responsive dynamic display) that uses facial recognition in OOH. Both applications were tested with great results. <br /><br />
Chang also helped take the guessing game out of influencer marketing. He co-designed a new social-marketing platform with Tagnology, which calculates earned media value, allowing brands to manage and measure their influencer strategy. This algorithm-driven approach has now been adapted across all major clients at Publicis Media Taiwan. <br /><br />
Furthermore, the 37-year-old has fused Tagnology and xBeacon with LnData, a data specialist in Taiwan. The team-up resulted in an all-inclusive CRM solution that combines media activation, offline behaviour and social marketing, which has sold to one of Taiwan's largest retailers in a multi-million deal.

Felix Chang | Deputy general manager | Publicis Media Taiwan | Taiwan

Felix Chang’s technology background and market-research experience represent a rare blend. This has earned him plenty of freedom to invest time in working with startups in Taiwan – a freedom he seized to do his job leading business analytics and transformation for Publicis Media. The disruptive fixes Chang helped develop for adland have positioned his agency as a pioneer of marketing solutions.

Over the past year, Chang has partnered with local intelligence startup xBeacon to develop an offline-to-online targeting system that can re-target store visitors, and an offline display system called RDS (responsive dynamic display) that uses facial recognition in OOH. Both applications were tested with great results.

Chang also helped take the guessing game out of influencer marketing. He co-designed a new social-marketing platform with Tagnology, which calculates earned media value, allowing brands to manage and measure their influencer strategy. This algorithm-driven approach has now been adapted across all major clients at Publicis Media Taiwan.

Furthermore, the 37-year-old has fused Tagnology and xBeacon with LnData, a data specialist in Taiwan. The team-up resulted in an all-inclusive CRM solution that combines media activation, offline behaviour and social marketing, which has sold to one of Taiwan's largest retailers in a multi-million deal.

Deb Dutta | Head of transformation | TBWA\Indonesia | Indonesia<br /><br />
Sitting in his first interview in the advertising industry 17 years ago, Deb Dutta was told he was not made for the business. That interviewer was wrong. An illustrious career as an adman across India, Malaysia and Indonesia over the next decade and a half showed that Dutta is business-transformation maestro who's precisely cut out for his dream job. <br /><br />
Just look at his greatest hits within the first year of joining TBWA\Indonesia in September 2018. In between winning pitches for McDonald’s and Greenfields and conducting behavioural economics sessions, Dutta helped launch ‘disruption consulting’ – a service designed to help businesses accelerate past market challenges. He has worked with tech firms like Koinworks, Alodokter, Gojek and Cekaja, and TBWA is partnering with the latter to create Indonesia’s first credit rating system. <br /><br />
Meanwhile, Dutta’s team is tackling the problem that most branded content does not add value to brands. ‘The Cortex’, a process that cross-pollinates data, helps marry brand narrative with consumer affinity and personalisation to make meaningful content. The model helped win McDonald’s. <br /><br />
Colour his CEO, Saumyajit Banerjee, impressed. “With Deb leading transformation, TBWA\Indonesia is now a full-stack creative agency: with an exponential growth of 160%, and new business growth at 2.6 times,” he says.

Deb Dutta | Head of transformation | TBWA\Indonesia | Indonesia

Sitting in his first interview in the advertising industry 17 years ago, Deb Dutta was told he was not made for the business. That interviewer was wrong. An illustrious career as an adman across India, Malaysia and Indonesia over the next decade and a half showed that Dutta is business-transformation maestro who's precisely cut out for his dream job.

Just look at his greatest hits within the first year of joining TBWA\Indonesia in September 2018. In between winning pitches for McDonald’s and Greenfields and conducting behavioural economics sessions, Dutta helped launch ‘disruption consulting’ – a service designed to help businesses accelerate past market challenges. He has worked with tech firms like Koinworks, Alodokter, Gojek and Cekaja, and TBWA is partnering with the latter to create Indonesia’s first credit rating system.

Meanwhile, Dutta’s team is tackling the problem that most branded content does not add value to brands. ‘The Cortex’, a process that cross-pollinates data, helps marry brand narrative with consumer affinity and personalisation to make meaningful content. The model helped win McDonald’s.

Colour his CEO, Saumyajit Banerjee, impressed. “With Deb leading transformation, TBWA\Indonesia is now a full-stack creative agency: with an exponential growth of 160%, and new business growth at 2.6 times,” he says.

Nicola Eliot | Director, BBC StoryWorks APAC | BBC Global News Ltd | Singapore<br /><br />
Whether it’s working with nascent startups or market-leading brands, Nicola Eliot is an adept juggler: She keeps commercial results and BBC’s editorial integrity on the up and up while navigating audience and marketplace needs. Her involvement in the Huawei Explorers campaign, for example, helped renew the platinum account for three years in a row. Xavier Wong, the global creative director of Huawei, calls Eliot’s ability to manage complex corporate requirements “impressive and highly valued”. <br /><br />
The content marketing doyen was roped in by BBC in 2014 to connect brands with the media giant’s rich editorial content. Business rolled in, and within a year, a regional team in Asia Pacific was formally established with Eliot at the reins. As her role requires strong cultural awareness, Eliot grew and supported a diverse team for the past five years. Diversity, she believes, is the secret sauce for creativity and growth. <br /><br />
Besides overseeing the rapid expansion of the BBC Global News commercial content division across the region, Eliot seeks to utilise data to provide value in advertising without infringing on the audience. Hence, she is heavily involved in improving the company’s data platforms, distribution and delivery technologies internally, thus driving benefits for clients and audiences – and perhaps the future of ad-funded publishing.

Nicola Eliot | Director, BBC StoryWorks APAC | BBC Global News Ltd | Singapore

Whether it’s working with nascent startups or market-leading brands, Nicola Eliot is an adept juggler: She keeps commercial results and BBC’s editorial integrity on the up and up while navigating audience and marketplace needs. Her involvement in the Huawei Explorers campaign, for example, helped renew the platinum account for three years in a row. Xavier Wong, the global creative director of Huawei, calls Eliot’s ability to manage complex corporate requirements “impressive and highly valued”.

The content marketing doyen was roped in by BBC in 2014 to connect brands with the media giant’s rich editorial content. Business rolled in, and within a year, a regional team in Asia Pacific was formally established with Eliot at the reins. As her role requires strong cultural awareness, Eliot grew and supported a diverse team for the past five years. Diversity, she believes, is the secret sauce for creativity and growth.

Besides overseeing the rapid expansion of the BBC Global News commercial content division across the region, Eliot seeks to utilise data to provide value in advertising without infringing on the audience. Hence, she is heavily involved in improving the company’s data platforms, distribution and delivery technologies internally, thus driving benefits for clients and audiences – and perhaps the future of ad-funded publishing.

Melissa Fein | CEO | Initiative Australia | Australia <br /><br />
Initiative Australia was a floundering ship when Melissa Fein boarded as its new captain in 2018 – its reputation was anaemic, ranking 23rd nationally for new business wins. To turn the tide, the former CEO for Ensemble embarked on a growth strategy that zeroed-in on agency culture. Now, Initiative is a star employer, growing headcount by 21% while reducing staff churn from 27% to 11%. 
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With Fein at the wheel, Initiative is also the first Australian media agency to be recognised by Work180 as an employer of choice for skilled part-time women workers, and to receive the Pride in Diversity award that recognises LGBTI workplace inclusion. On top of that, Mental Health First Aid Australia awarded Initiative the ‘Gold Certification’ for training 15% of its people in mental-health first aid. Fein also increased paid parental leave and introduced payment of superannuation to female employees throughout their parental leave.
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Staff happiness is at an all-time high. Client satisfaction is not shabby either – Initiative retained 100% of its existing business while adding 15 new clients.
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Personally mentoring two young women per quarter, Fein has also launched a women’s mentoring program. The active board member of the Media Federation of Australia also carves out time to drive her agency’s involvement in community programmes for disadvantaged youths and children with heart disease.

Melissa Fein | CEO | Initiative Australia | Australia

Initiative Australia was a floundering ship when Melissa Fein boarded as its new captain in 2018 – its reputation was anaemic, ranking 23rd nationally for new business wins. To turn the tide, the former CEO for Ensemble embarked on a growth strategy that zeroed-in on agency culture. Now, Initiative is a star employer, growing headcount by 21% while reducing staff churn from 27% to 11%.

With Fein at the wheel, Initiative is also the first Australian media agency to be recognised by Work180 as an employer of choice for skilled part-time women workers, and to receive the Pride in Diversity award that recognises LGBTI workplace inclusion. On top of that, Mental Health First Aid Australia awarded Initiative the ‘Gold Certification’ for training 15% of its people in mental-health first aid. Fein also increased paid parental leave and introduced payment of superannuation to female employees throughout their parental leave.

Staff happiness is at an all-time high. Client satisfaction is not shabby either – Initiative retained 100% of its existing business while adding 15 new clients.

Personally mentoring two young women per quarter, Fein has also launched a women’s mentoring program. The active board member of the Media Federation of Australia also carves out time to drive her agency’s involvement in community programmes for disadvantaged youths and children with heart disease.

Aizobelle Fernan | Analytics director, Manila Analytics Hub | Kinesso | Philippines <br /><br />
Once a professor of statistics at the University of Philippines, Aizobelle Fernan is now the mind, if not the heart, of IPG Mediabrand’s media-planning processes. At 31, she already has a wealth of experience, including consulting for government departments, the American Bar Association and the United Nations, as well as improving shipping line efficiency for Maersk. 
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Now, she helms the Mediabrands Global Marketing Sciences Hub based in Manila, which optimises media investments for more than 100 clients globally. Scaling the operations from a team of six statisticians to 30 business analysts, Fernan elevates the team profile by transitioning analytics from a black-box solution to accessible decision tools. This transforms key media planners to become business analysts, changing their conversations with clients to focus on business measures and efficiencies, not just media metrics. 
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By moving analytics from a backroom operation to a client-facing service, Fernan and her team frequently sit in pitches and client conversations to help steer strategies. This has brought in significant business wins through 2019, including Mattel APAC, Coca-Cola New Zealand, Shiseido China, and Tourism Philippines. The team also retained major clients like Coca-Cola and KMART Australia. 
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Fernan’s itch to teach still drives her. Besides guiding her team, she continues to lead specialist training programmes, authors research papers, and presents her findings at conferences.

Aizobelle Fernan | Analytics director, Manila Analytics Hub | Kinesso | Philippines

Once a professor of statistics at the University of Philippines, Aizobelle Fernan is now the mind, if not the heart, of IPG Mediabrand’s media-planning processes. At 31, she already has a wealth of experience, including consulting for government departments, the American Bar Association and the United Nations, as well as improving shipping line efficiency for Maersk.

Now, she helms the Mediabrands Global Marketing Sciences Hub based in Manila, which optimises media investments for more than 100 clients globally. Scaling the operations from a team of six statisticians to 30 business analysts, Fernan elevates the team profile by transitioning analytics from a black-box solution to accessible decision tools. This transforms key media planners to become business analysts, changing their conversations with clients to focus on business measures and efficiencies, not just media metrics.

By moving analytics from a backroom operation to a client-facing service, Fernan and her team frequently sit in pitches and client conversations to help steer strategies. This has brought in significant business wins through 2019, including Mattel APAC, Coca-Cola New Zealand, Shiseido China, and Tourism Philippines. The team also retained major clients like Coca-Cola and KMART Australia.

Fernan’s itch to teach still drives her. Besides guiding her team, she continues to lead specialist training programmes, authors research papers, and presents her findings at conferences.

Jenny Gao | Vice president strategy, brand planning | Ogilvy China | China<br /><br />
While the bandwagon of creating newness in advertising accelerates across China’s ever-changing landscape, Jenny Gao keeps one eye on the rearview mirror. The 35-year-old believes that the current generation of advertisers plays a pertinent role to bridge past and present wisdoms, especially at a time when Chinese consumers are striving to find identity and meaning in a rapidly progressing country. <br /><br />
Gao’s knack is to draw from global perspectives to tell Chinese stories in new media, without forgetting established advertising acumen. Case in point: She gave the KFC brand a rebirth in China in 2015. Having been in the market for 30 years, KFC was losing relevance among the younger generation. Hence, Gao and her team redefined ‘the chicken expert’ brand story to one that resonates with Chinese consumers’ rising national pride while empowering young people to be more culturally creative and inventive.  <br /><br />
In the 2018 Chinese New Year, Gao and her team made a KFC commercial video that leveraged Chinese traditions to tell a story about the power of beginnings. The ad netted 230 million views within 48 hours and were posted 770 million times on social media under the topic of “beginnings”. As Maggie Chen, vice president of KFC Marketing in China, says, “Jenny has [a] unique understanding of the Chinese culture of this generation, and has placed it into the brand appropriately.”

Jenny Gao | Vice president strategy, brand planning | Ogilvy China | China

While the bandwagon of creating newness in advertising accelerates across China’s ever-changing landscape, Jenny Gao keeps one eye on the rearview mirror. The 35-year-old believes that the current generation of advertisers plays a pertinent role to bridge past and present wisdoms, especially at a time when Chinese consumers are striving to find identity and meaning in a rapidly progressing country.

Gao’s knack is to draw from global perspectives to tell Chinese stories in new media, without forgetting established advertising acumen. Case in point: She gave the KFC brand a rebirth in China in 2015. Having been in the market for 30 years, KFC was losing relevance among the younger generation. Hence, Gao and her team redefined ‘the chicken expert’ brand story to one that resonates with Chinese consumers’ rising national pride while empowering young people to be more culturally creative and inventive.

In the 2018 Chinese New Year, Gao and her team made a KFC commercial video that leveraged Chinese traditions to tell a story about the power of beginnings. The ad netted 230 million views within 48 hours and were posted 770 million times on social media under the topic of “beginnings”. As Maggie Chen, vice president of KFC Marketing in China, says, “Jenny has [a] unique understanding of the Chinese culture of this generation, and has placed it into the brand appropriately.”

Wei Guo| Founder and CEO | FugeTech | China <br /><br />
With a goal to enhance efficiency of marketing investments, Guo Wei founded marketing resources platform Fugetech 10 years ago. But he soon realised that his tech solution was merely a Band-Aid. The real problem is the non-transparent supply chain, where the players suffer from inefficiencies that their very own opacity creates. <br /><br /> 
In his bid to throw open the veil of secrecy, the physics graduate expected a logical reaction from the industry – pushback. After all, his push for transparency may mean decreasing the profits of many players in the short run and hinder business development. <br /><br />
But Guo persevered. After all, transparency is his defining trait. While much of the marketing industry thrives on playing up a problem and exaggerating a solution, Guo is forthright about what he can offer when conversing with clients and business partners, which includes Publicis, GroupM, Unilever, and Didi Chuxing. <br /><br />
This year, his efforts are showing results. Fugetech launched its first supplier network, Guileme, in February this year. This allows vendors to post their resources, service and pricing, and now covers over 2000 suppliers of media, services and influencers. In June, the three-time ‘A-Lister’ of Campaign Asia was invited to the stages of both Cannes Lions and Spikes Asia to share his transparency-driven mission.

Wei Guo| Founder and CEO | FugeTech | China

With a goal to enhance efficiency of marketing investments, Guo Wei founded marketing resources platform Fugetech 10 years ago. But he soon realised that his tech solution was merely a Band-Aid. The real problem is the non-transparent supply chain, where the players suffer from inefficiencies that their very own opacity creates.

In his bid to throw open the veil of secrecy, the physics graduate expected a logical reaction from the industry – pushback. After all, his push for transparency may mean decreasing the profits of many players in the short run and hinder business development.

But Guo persevered. After all, transparency is his defining trait. While much of the marketing industry thrives on playing up a problem and exaggerating a solution, Guo is forthright about what he can offer when conversing with clients and business partners, which includes Publicis, GroupM, Unilever, and Didi Chuxing.

This year, his efforts are showing results. Fugetech launched its first supplier network, Guileme, in February this year. This allows vendors to post their resources, service and pricing, and now covers over 2000 suppliers of media, services and influencers. In June, the three-time ‘A-Lister’ of Campaign Asia was invited to the stages of both Cannes Lions and Spikes Asia to share his transparency-driven mission.

Jim Guzman | Head, social media | Dentsu Aegis Network Philippines | Philippines<br /><br />
Jim Guzman is no middling marketer, but a regular rainmaker. Prior to joining Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), he brought in US$3 million annually for McCann by handling the agency’s biggest clients, including Nestle, Jollibee and United Laboratories. His move to Dentsu in 2017 as its head of social media launched a new chapter of wins, the biggest of which would be D+GILITY – the country’s largest social-media intelligence centre that he created and runs. The team now contributes 20% of DAN’s total revenue in the market. 
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Besides juggling network responsibilities, Guzman seeks to support local content creators and improve their credibility. This culminated in him launching the Creator and Influencer Council of the Philippines (CICP) as its founding president. 
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The sought-after speaker in marketing conferences also shares his expertise in classrooms. Specifically, he teaches digital marketing as a part-time professor to more than 80 students at the University of Asia and the Pacific, his alma mater. On the side, he is writing a textbook on digital.
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Meanwhile, he opens his hefty social playbook for civic officials like Mayor Abigail Binay of the City of Makati, consulting her on leveraging digital in serving her constituents. He is also a digital consultant to the Philippines Airforce, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and a local church-based non-profit, Caritas Manila.

Jim Guzman | Head, social media | Dentsu Aegis Network Philippines | Philippines

Jim Guzman is no middling marketer, but a regular rainmaker. Prior to joining Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), he brought in US$3 million annually for McCann by handling the agency’s biggest clients, including Nestle, Jollibee and United Laboratories. His move to Dentsu in 2017 as its head of social media launched a new chapter of wins, the biggest of which would be D+GILITY – the country’s largest social-media intelligence centre that he created and runs. The team now contributes 20% of DAN’s total revenue in the market.

Besides juggling network responsibilities, Guzman seeks to support local content creators and improve their credibility. This culminated in him launching the Creator and Influencer Council of the Philippines (CICP) as its founding president.

The sought-after speaker in marketing conferences also shares his expertise in classrooms. Specifically, he teaches digital marketing as a part-time professor to more than 80 students at the University of Asia and the Pacific, his alma mater. On the side, he is writing a textbook on digital.

Meanwhile, he opens his hefty social playbook for civic officials like Mayor Abigail Binay of the City of Makati, consulting her on leveraging digital in serving her constituents. He is also a digital consultant to the Philippines Airforce, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and a local church-based non-profit, Caritas Manila.

Akanksha Jain | Managing director | Mindshare China | China<br /><br />
It is said that Akanksha Jain’s footsteps can be heard from two rooms away. Slight in size but heavy in professional stature, Jain’s energetic struts are matched by her forward-marching career. <br /><br />
Her 15-year journey with Mindshare has taken her through nine promotions and three of the world’s key marketing hubs – India, Singapore and China. With a hand in almost every pie of the business, from planning to analytics to strategy to client leadership to regional client management, the 39-year-old is also leading behemoth accounts like Nike and Volvo. <br /><br />
Jain’s promotions and installations in key markets are no fluke. In 2019, AJ has driven immense organic growth, helped retain key accounts and brought in over RMB4 million (US$570,000) in new business for the second year in a row. Her team of 10 nationalities and six specialisms have also won 17 awards for Nike in the same year. <br /><br />
Known for building a culture of cross-pollination and high performance, Jain has been invited to train numerous Mindshare teams globally, even to transform poor-performing ones. She is also the Global Champion for Sustainability at Mindshare, and her #Changethebrief initiative aims to help Mindshare China achieve zero plastic use by 2020.

Akanksha Jain | Managing director | Mindshare China | China

It is said that Akanksha Jain’s footsteps can be heard from two rooms away. Slight in size but heavy in professional stature, Jain’s energetic struts are matched by her forward-marching career.

Her 15-year journey with Mindshare has taken her through nine promotions and three of the world’s key marketing hubs – India, Singapore and China. With a hand in almost every pie of the business, from planning to analytics to strategy to client leadership to regional client management, the 39-year-old is also leading behemoth accounts like Nike and Volvo.

Jain’s promotions and installations in key markets are no fluke. In 2019, AJ has driven immense organic growth, helped retain key accounts and brought in over RMB4 million (US$570,000) in new business for the second year in a row. Her team of 10 nationalities and six specialisms have also won 17 awards for Nike in the same year.

Known for building a culture of cross-pollination and high performance, Jain has been invited to train numerous Mindshare teams globally, even to transform poor-performing ones. She is also the Global Champion for Sustainability at Mindshare, and her #Changethebrief initiative aims to help Mindshare China achieve zero plastic use by 2020.

Andreas Krasser | CEO | DDB Group Hong Kong | Hong Kong<br /><br />
Andreas Krasser has an unusual CV. Born to a Korean mother and an Austrian father, he has worked as a university lecturer in Vienna, a hidden-camera reporter, a quantitative researcher, a financial PR practitioner in Seoul, a digital strategist and a brand and communications planner. The jack of all trades turned out to be a master of at least one – he has won the Campaign Asia Planner of the Year twice. <br /><br />
In 2017, Krasser took the wheel for ‘DDB Flex’, which is DDB Hong Kong’s new-business development team. Regional clients like Hotels.com, FWD Insurance and Schneider Electric climbed aboard. In fewer than 10 months, ‘DBB Flex’ alone generated US$2 million in agency fees. On top of that, Krasser steered the team to run on a 38% profit margin and win the Campaign Asia New Business Development Team of the Year in 2018. <br /><br />
This year, the 36-year-old was promoted to lead DDB Group Hong Kong, making him the youngest CEO within the DDB Asia network. <br /><br />
What is Krasser’s secret? Well, not his strategy tools. The frequent guest lecturer in Hong Kong universities has openly shared his playbook – which he calls ‘StraTools’ – under a Creative Commons license, in the hope that other strategists and marketing practitioners will not only benefit from it, but also be able to improve and evolve it.

Andreas Krasser | CEO | DDB Group Hong Kong | Hong Kong

Andreas Krasser has an unusual CV. Born to a Korean mother and an Austrian father, he has worked as a university lecturer in Vienna, a hidden-camera reporter, a quantitative researcher, a financial PR practitioner in Seoul, a digital strategist and a brand and communications planner. The jack of all trades turned out to be a master of at least one – he has won the Campaign Asia Planner of the Year twice.

In 2017, Krasser took the wheel for ‘DDB Flex’, which is DDB Hong Kong’s new-business development team. Regional clients like Hotels.com, FWD Insurance and Schneider Electric climbed aboard. In fewer than 10 months, ‘DBB Flex’ alone generated US$2 million in agency fees. On top of that, Krasser steered the team to run on a 38% profit margin and win the Campaign Asia New Business Development Team of the Year in 2018.

This year, the 36-year-old was promoted to lead DDB Group Hong Kong, making him the youngest CEO within the DDB Asia network.

What is Krasser’s secret? Well, not his strategy tools. The frequent guest lecturer in Hong Kong universities has openly shared his playbook – which he calls ‘StraTools’ – under a Creative Commons license, in the hope that other strategists and marketing practitioners will not only benefit from it, but also be able to improve and evolve it.

Charmaine Lin | GM client services | Reuter Communications | China <br /><br />
A promotion every year. Fourfold growth in revenue and team size. A multi-million dollar account with nine brands under Marriot International. These are only some of the highlights in Charmaine Lin’s tenure over four and a half years at Weber Shandwick China. 
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In the course of an accelerating career, she switched gears. Lin left the global network in 2018 to join Reuter, a smaller independent agency with just over 40 staff across Greater China for a role that entails more control over her career. A year later, the luxury intelligence, digital, communications and marketing agency grew to 100 staff and doubled in size. As part of the four-person executive team, Lin drove year-on-year growth of over 65%.
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The 37-year-old believes in deep-diving into clients’ businesses and working with them as part of their team. This is especially crucial to solve the challenge that many international brands operating in China face: localising communication while remaining on-brand. Most recently, Lin led the team to win a retainer contract for Tourism Australia’s PR and social media accounts, beating out over 20 other agencies. 
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Besides mentoring rising talents, Lin brings to the table positivity that, as a coworker said, “ripples through the company” – part of her mandate to create a happy and inspiring workplace as the Chair of the Reuter Academy and the Committee of Fun.

Charmaine Lin | GM client services | Reuter Communications | China

A promotion every year. Fourfold growth in revenue and team size. A multi-million dollar account with nine brands under Marriot International. These are only some of the highlights in Charmaine Lin’s tenure over four and a half years at Weber Shandwick China.

In the course of an accelerating career, she switched gears. Lin left the global network in 2018 to join Reuter, a smaller independent agency with just over 40 staff across Greater China for a role that entails more control over her career. A year later, the luxury intelligence, digital, communications and marketing agency grew to 100 staff and doubled in size. As part of the four-person executive team, Lin drove year-on-year growth of over 65%.

The 37-year-old believes in deep-diving into clients’ businesses and working with them as part of their team. This is especially crucial to solve the challenge that many international brands operating in China face: localising communication while remaining on-brand. Most recently, Lin led the team to win a retainer contract for Tourism Australia’s PR and social media accounts, beating out over 20 other agencies.

Besides mentoring rising talents, Lin brings to the table positivity that, as a coworker said, “ripples through the company” – part of her mandate to create a happy and inspiring workplace as the Chair of the Reuter Academy and the Committee of Fun.

Liu Yi | Head of gaming and esports, Content+ | Mindshare China | China<br /><br />
Mindshare’s esports and gaming business started out as an experiment, but its captain, Liu Yi, plays to win. The team has grown to become Mindshare’s most-awarded unit, and serves some of the world’s largest clients. Among them is KFC. Liu helped launch the brand’s Colonel KI, an algorithm capable of generating highly accurate, real-time winner predictions for the popular eSports game League of Legends. The campaign ended up driving over 70 minutes of daily exposure for KFC and 1.9 million on-screen comments to the brand. It also earned over 30 local and international awards, including two Grand Prix, one platinum, 10 golds, and I-COM’s Overall Best Campaign for 2019. <br /><br />
Before helping brands maneuver the large esports audience in China, Liu worked for healthy dining company Zuijiao, Wieden + Kennedy, R3 and the global design and tech consultancy, Nurun. In 2014, he joined Mindshare. Combining his spirit of entrepreneurship and love for gaming, Liu levelled up in 2016 to steer one of the youngest agency units globally in testing the waters of esports and gaming. <br /><br />
With a team mostly under the age of 25, Liu passionately prototypes marketing solutions in China. This includes creating the largest set of collectible cards with gaming incentives for KFC, working with virtual idols, and bringing the first in-game commercial placement to top mobile game Glory of Kings.

Liu Yi | Head of gaming and esports, Content+ | Mindshare China | China

Mindshare’s esports and gaming business started out as an experiment, but its captain, Liu Yi, plays to win. The team has grown to become Mindshare’s most-awarded unit, and serves some of the world’s largest clients. Among them is KFC. Liu helped launch the brand’s Colonel KI, an algorithm capable of generating highly accurate, real-time winner predictions for the popular eSports game League of Legends. The campaign ended up driving over 70 minutes of daily exposure for KFC and 1.9 million on-screen comments to the brand. It also earned over 30 local and international awards, including two Grand Prix, one platinum, 10 golds, and I-COM’s Overall Best Campaign for 2019.

Before helping brands maneuver the large esports audience in China, Liu worked for healthy dining company Zuijiao, Wieden + Kennedy, R3 and the global design and tech consultancy, Nurun. In 2014, he joined Mindshare. Combining his spirit of entrepreneurship and love for gaming, Liu levelled up in 2016 to steer one of the youngest agency units globally in testing the waters of esports and gaming.

With a team mostly under the age of 25, Liu passionately prototypes marketing solutions in China. This includes creating the largest set of collectible cards with gaming incentives for KFC, working with virtual idols, and bringing the first in-game commercial placement to top mobile game Glory of Kings.

Eunice Loh | Digital and platforms director, Southeast Asia | Wavemaker | Singapore<br /><br />
As a colleague once wrote, Eunice Loh always finds a way “to create order from chaos, and blow everyone away”. One example was the understandable confusion following Wavemaker’s creation-via-merger in 2017. To connect and reshape resources in the media agency, Loh created the first regional precision community and piloted a reskilling programme to pivot traditional buyers into programmatic and dashboarding roles – what she calls “future-ready competencies”. <br /><br />
Another bit of chaos she tackled was low data transparency in the e-commerce market, which affects brands’ retail strategies. The digerati developed WM Illuminate, a proprietary e-commerce tool that provides definitive answers and connects disparate data sets, resulting in the company’s 100% growth in new scope. <br /><br />
In 2017, Loh became the youngest committee co-chair of Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in Southeast Asia’s history, leading the Measurement Standards and Data committee. <br /><br />
The digital transformation whiz has been promoted five times in 7.5 years to become Wavemaker’s first digital and platforms director in the region. She has also doubled new business billings, retained all its clients in 2019, and sits as the only female, Asian and under-40 member in its global precision team – all at the age of 31.

Eunice Loh | Digital and platforms director, Southeast Asia | Wavemaker | Singapore

As a colleague once wrote, Eunice Loh always finds a way “to create order from chaos, and blow everyone away”. One example was the understandable confusion following Wavemaker’s creation-via-merger in 2017. To connect and reshape resources in the media agency, Loh created the first regional precision community and piloted a reskilling programme to pivot traditional buyers into programmatic and dashboarding roles – what she calls “future-ready competencies”.

Another bit of chaos she tackled was low data transparency in the e-commerce market, which affects brands’ retail strategies. The digerati developed WM Illuminate, a proprietary e-commerce tool that provides definitive answers and connects disparate data sets, resulting in the company’s 100% growth in new scope.

In 2017, Loh became the youngest committee co-chair of Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in Southeast Asia’s history, leading the Measurement Standards and Data committee.

The digital transformation whiz has been promoted five times in 7.5 years to become Wavemaker’s first digital and platforms director in the region. She has also doubled new business billings, retained all its clients in 2019, and sits as the only female, Asian and under-40 member in its global precision team – all at the age of 31.

Ian Loon | Managing director | Starcom | Singapore <br /><br />
From being its 17-year-old intern at the turn of the millenium, Ian Loon has shot up the ranks to lead Starcom Singapore in 2017. A year later, he went on to clinch one of the media agency’s biggest wins – a first-of-its-kind media tender of the whole Singaporean government. Essentially, this means Loon’s team became the government’s inaugural Master Media Agency, covering a large scope of business that includes ministries, agencies and statutory boards.
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Loon seized the opportunity to shape the local media landscape through the country’s largest advertiser. Through engagements across various government bodies over the past year, his agency rallied together over 200 clients from the public sector to a recent event organised in partnership with the National Marketing Office, as well as key media and tech partners. The aim was to address critical industry issues, namely managing ad fraud and brand safety, social content, and data-utilisation.
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Over the last decade, the tenacious chief has helmed Starcom Singapore’s digital offering, ran the agency’s prized regional Samsung account, and set up a Content and Social Practice for P&G ASEAN. On top of that, he supported transformation programmes between Publicis Media agencies and clients, including Visa and Mead Johnson Nutrition. It seems that his win in 2013 as the Southeast Asia Account Person of the Year at Campaign’s Agency of the Year awards was also a forecast of his calibre.

Ian Loon | Managing director | Starcom | Singapore

From being its 17-year-old intern at the turn of the millenium, Ian Loon has shot up the ranks to lead Starcom Singapore in 2017. A year later, he went on to clinch one of the media agency’s biggest wins – a first-of-its-kind media tender of the whole Singaporean government. Essentially, this means Loon’s team became the government’s inaugural Master Media Agency, covering a large scope of business that includes ministries, agencies and statutory boards.

Loon seized the opportunity to shape the local media landscape through the country’s largest advertiser. Through engagements across various government bodies over the past year, his agency rallied together over 200 clients from the public sector to a recent event organised in partnership with the National Marketing Office, as well as key media and tech partners. The aim was to address critical industry issues, namely managing ad fraud and brand safety, social content, and data-utilisation.

Over the last decade, the tenacious chief has helmed Starcom Singapore’s digital offering, ran the agency’s prized regional Samsung account, and set up a Content and Social Practice for P&G ASEAN. On top of that, he supported transformation programmes between Publicis Media agencies and clients, including Visa and Mead Johnson Nutrition. It seems that his win in 2013 as the Southeast Asia Account Person of the Year at Campaign’s Agency of the Year awards was also a forecast of his calibre.

Neha Mehrotra | EVP and national head | AvianWE | India <br /><br />
Leaving a big organisation to join a small startup called Avian Media in 2004, Neha Mehrotra raised brows among friends and families on whether she was making a mistake. But they need not have worried. The PR expert did not miss a beat – she has not even missed a target in all her 16 years in the industry. Today, Avian Media has merged with WE and its top leadership credits Mehrotra’s instrumental role in making AvianWE a multi-million dollar PR business.
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The agency’s EVP is also its MVP. More than 30 accounts fall under Mehrotra’s direct supervision, including Samsung, Amazon, Phillips, and Facebook. She also takes charge of AvianWE’s cross-selling activities, maintains key relationship with the agency’s marquee businesses, and manages almost half of the company’s revenue.
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Besides setting up the India chapter of a global organisation called Women in PR, Mehrotra also conceived a year-long training programme for young recruits to address the industry’s pertinent talent crunch.
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Awards are inevitable for the feisty overachiever. She was shortlisted for PR Week Asia’s PR Professional of the Year Award in 2016, won the Emerging Leader of the Year Award at Future Leaders Summit in 2018, and has been named among the Campaign Asia’s Women to Watch. Her campaigns also helped AvianWE sweep multiple wins in the SABRE Awards South Asia 2019.

Neha Mehrotra | EVP and national head | AvianWE | India

Leaving a big organisation to join a small startup called Avian Media in 2004, Neha Mehrotra raised brows among friends and families on whether she was making a mistake. But they need not have worried. The PR expert did not miss a beat – she has not even missed a target in all her 16 years in the industry. Today, Avian Media has merged with WE and its top leadership credits Mehrotra’s instrumental role in making AvianWE a multi-million dollar PR business.

The agency’s EVP is also its MVP. More than 30 accounts fall under Mehrotra’s direct supervision, including Samsung, Amazon, Phillips, and Facebook. She also takes charge of AvianWE’s cross-selling activities, maintains key relationship with the agency’s marquee businesses, and manages almost half of the company’s revenue.

Besides setting up the India chapter of a global organisation called Women in PR, Mehrotra also conceived a year-long training programme for young recruits to address the industry’s pertinent talent crunch.

Awards are inevitable for the feisty overachiever. She was shortlisted for PR Week Asia’s PR Professional of the Year Award in 2016, won the Emerging Leader of the Year Award at Future Leaders Summit in 2018, and has been named among the Campaign Asia’s Women to Watch. Her campaigns also helped AvianWE sweep multiple wins in the SABRE Awards South Asia 2019.

Jane Morgan| Managing director | Golin | Hong Kong <br /><br />
In her first managing director role at the age of 35, Jane Morgan took Golin on a victorious run. The former high-flyer at Ketchum and Edelman led Golin to score regional wins like Fox Entertainment Networks. For Amazon Book Depository, her team increased sales by 200% and web traffic by 150%. The agency also drove a 73% growth in sales for Johnson & Johnson’s Dr Ci: Labo in China. For Fox, it stretched positive corporate reputation year-on-year by 157%.
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Yet, at the heart of Morgan’s successful numbers is her priority on her people. Amidst the high occurrence of mental health struggles among public relations practitioners, Morgan enlisted mental health charity Mind Hong Kong to give all Goliners mental health training.
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Her team also gets unlimited holiday leave, monthly health and wellbeing allowance, a directive to shut off their work emails during holidays and so on – initiatives that are being replicated in the global offices, and even among clients. Under Morgan’s wing, Golin saw the lowest staff turnover rate in four years.
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While she takes care of her team, Morgan does not neglect her clients – she is their go-to strategic advisor. This year, Golin Hong Kong sees client retention at a four-year high of 97%, and has won the most new businesses among the network’s offices in Asia.

Jane Morgan| Managing director | Golin | Hong Kong

In her first managing director role at the age of 35, Jane Morgan took Golin on a victorious run. The former high-flyer at Ketchum and Edelman led Golin to score regional wins like Fox Entertainment Networks. For Amazon Book Depository, her team increased sales by 200% and web traffic by 150%. The agency also drove a 73% growth in sales for Johnson & Johnson’s Dr Ci: Labo in China. For Fox, it stretched positive corporate reputation year-on-year by 157%.

Yet, at the heart of Morgan’s successful numbers is her priority on her people. Amidst the high occurrence of mental health struggles among public relations practitioners, Morgan enlisted mental health charity Mind Hong Kong to give all Goliners mental health training.

Her team also gets unlimited holiday leave, monthly health and wellbeing allowance, a directive to shut off their work emails during holidays and so on – initiatives that are being replicated in the global offices, and even among clients. Under Morgan’s wing, Golin saw the lowest staff turnover rate in four years.

While she takes care of her team, Morgan does not neglect her clients – she is their go-to strategic advisor. This year, Golin Hong Kong sees client retention at a four-year high of 97%, and has won the most new businesses among the network’s offices in Asia.

Paras Mehta | Head of India | Cadreon | India <br /><br />
A Mathematics graduate with a diploma in computer programming, Paras Mehta took his data-crunching skills to adtech – uncharted waters both for him and for India’s advertising industry. As an ad noob, he joined one of India’s first digital advertising agencies, Mediaturf, over two decades ago when digital was in its infancy. Starting in a trainee role plonked him in every team across the organisation, lending him a wholesome perspective on the market and its dynamics. 
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This launched Mehta’s ad career, which runs the gamut. One of the earliest leaders driving ad network in India, he has worked across agencies and publishers at both startups and multinational corporations, with roles in business, product, technology and ad operations. 
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Mehta joined Cadreon to head its office in India. Since April, he has firmly embedded Cadreon’s digital specialist services within Mediabrands. For Reprise India, he helped install a programmatic best practice, which improved the ROI of a large-scale campaign in June by 29 percent. This was followed by a deployment of an integrated marketing platform for another client to enhance efficiency in cost-per-user acquisition. 
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With Mehta at the reins, Cadreon’s revenue grew 70% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the avid mentor retained 100% of employees while multiplying the team’s size threefold.

Paras Mehta | Head of India | Cadreon | India

A Mathematics graduate with a diploma in computer programming, Paras Mehta took his data-crunching skills to adtech – uncharted waters both for him and for India’s advertising industry. As an ad noob, he joined one of India’s first digital advertising agencies, Mediaturf, over two decades ago when digital was in its infancy. Starting in a trainee role plonked him in every team across the organisation, lending him a wholesome perspective on the market and its dynamics.

This launched Mehta’s ad career, which runs the gamut. One of the earliest leaders driving ad network in India, he has worked across agencies and publishers at both startups and multinational corporations, with roles in business, product, technology and ad operations.

Mehta joined Cadreon to head its office in India. Since April, he has firmly embedded Cadreon’s digital specialist services within Mediabrands. For Reprise India, he helped install a programmatic best practice, which improved the ROI of a large-scale campaign in June by 29 percent. This was followed by a deployment of an integrated marketing platform for another client to enhance efficiency in cost-per-user acquisition.

With Mehta at the reins, Cadreon’s revenue grew 70% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the avid mentor retained 100% of employees while multiplying the team’s size threefold.

Vincent Niou | Head of programmatic, APAC | Essence | Singapore <br /><br />
An avid Crossfitter with his nose often buried in comic books, Vincent Niou straddles two worlds in his career as well – programmatic and creative. While many in the industry see the two areas as incompatible, Niou frequently leads his programmatic team to collaborate with Essence’s experience unit, thus leveraging technology and data as a multiplying force for creativity. 
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His ability to identify unique collaboration opportunities is partly why Niou has risen through the ranks since joining Essence in 2011, holding positions across the agency’s New York, San Francisco and Shanghai offices. The marketing and anthropology graduate relocated to Singapore in 2017, with a task to build the agency’s programmatic capabilities for Asia Pacific (APAC). 
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In under three years, Niou’s team expanded from five people to nearly 30 across four offices. Niou was recently named Ad Tech Rising Star of APAC at ExchangeWire’s The Wires APAC 2019. His work has also netted multiple awards, including a gold and two silvers at The Smarties APAC 2018 by the Mobile Marketing Association.
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According to Rob Maddison, APAC digital media lead of Google, “Vince is an integral business partner to Google Marketing in APAC. He has built our programmatic display and video buying operations across multiple markets from ground zero to the results-driven machine it is today.”

Vincent Niou | Head of programmatic, APAC | Essence | Singapore

An avid Crossfitter with his nose often buried in comic books, Vincent Niou straddles two worlds in his career as well – programmatic and creative. While many in the industry see the two areas as incompatible, Niou frequently leads his programmatic team to collaborate with Essence’s experience unit, thus leveraging technology and data as a multiplying force for creativity.

His ability to identify unique collaboration opportunities is partly why Niou has risen through the ranks since joining Essence in 2011, holding positions across the agency’s New York, San Francisco and Shanghai offices. The marketing and anthropology graduate relocated to Singapore in 2017, with a task to build the agency’s programmatic capabilities for Asia Pacific (APAC).

In under three years, Niou’s team expanded from five people to nearly 30 across four offices. Niou was recently named Ad Tech Rising Star of APAC at ExchangeWire’s The Wires APAC 2019. His work has also netted multiple awards, including a gold and two silvers at The Smarties APAC 2018 by the Mobile Marketing Association.

According to Rob Maddison, APAC digital media lead of Google, “Vince is an integral business partner to Google Marketing in APAC. He has built our programmatic display and video buying operations across multiple markets from ground zero to the results-driven machine it is today.”

Tuomas Peltoniemi | EVP & managing director, APAC | R/GA | Singapore<br /><br />
Tuomas Peltoniemi stands out in a crowd, and with his reputation for rapid growth and innovation, he also stands out among industry peers. Starting out as a developer in his native Finland, Peltoniemi’s startup !NOOB quickly became Finland’s largest digital production agency before he left to drive technology innovation at TBWA across Southeast Asia.
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As the apple of the agency’s eye, he was quickly promoted to head up Digital Arts Network in Singapore, soon becoming president for Asia and the head of TBWA’s innovation practice before moving agencies to lead R/GA as its APAC MD.
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A tech evangelist, Peltoniemi has made understanding and adopting emerging technologies a priority for his R/GA team and client partners, investing in new capabilities to form a disruptive creative technology practice to quickly build new platforms.  He’s also focused on hiring new talent with the skills and tools to inspire and train others.  
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Peltoniemi is a natural frontman who can take the helm at key pitches and can be regularly seen across APAC industry events including Spikes Asia, Tangrams, Campaign Asia Breakfast Briefings, the Festival of Ideas and the Taiwan Creativity Festival, talking about the application of any emerging opportunity from esports to voice search.

Tuomas Peltoniemi | EVP & managing director, APAC | R/GA | Singapore

Tuomas Peltoniemi stands out in a crowd, and with his reputation for rapid growth and innovation, he also stands out among industry peers. Starting out as a developer in his native Finland, Peltoniemi’s startup !NOOB quickly became Finland’s largest digital production agency before he left to drive technology innovation at TBWA across Southeast Asia.

As the apple of the agency’s eye, he was quickly promoted to head up Digital Arts Network in Singapore, soon becoming president for Asia and the head of TBWA’s innovation practice before moving agencies to lead R/GA as its APAC MD.

A tech evangelist, Peltoniemi has made understanding and adopting emerging technologies a priority for his R/GA team and client partners, investing in new capabilities to form a disruptive creative technology practice to quickly build new platforms. He’s also focused on hiring new talent with the skills and tools to inspire and train others.

Peltoniemi is a natural frontman who can take the helm at key pitches and can be regularly seen across APAC industry events including Spikes Asia, Tangrams, Campaign Asia Breakfast Briefings, the Festival of Ideas and the Taiwan Creativity Festival, talking about the application of any emerging opportunity from esports to voice search.

Fahad Qadir | Director of public affairs, communications & sustainability | The Coca-Cola Company | Pakistan <br /><br />
Like the bubbles in a carbonated drink, Fahad Qadir is rising fast. Handpicked by top brass at Coca-Cola Pakistan in 2007 to join the company, Qadir started out as the manager of public affairs and communications, and was promoted a few years later to his current position.
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Now, he leads stakeholder engagement with the government, media, social groups, customers and partners. When taxes were hiked for the beverage industry this year, Qadir engaged intensively with officials and ministers to score a sizable break in the final budget – saving the company US$18 million.
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Qadir is also considered one of the founding members of Coke Studio, a music performance television show that became Coke’s runaway branded-content success story, expanding to over 20 countries globally after its initial launch in Pakistan.
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Managing corporate and brand public relations strategies, the 36-year-old also leads Coke's CSR portfolio. His focus is on water replenishment, women empowerment, and waste management. In partnership with the UNDP, Coca-Cola Pakistan has become water-positive, putting back more water into nature than it uses in its business, while pushing sustainable solutions for plastic bottles.

Fahad Qadir | Director of public affairs, communications & sustainability | The Coca-Cola Company | Pakistan

Like the bubbles in a carbonated drink, Fahad Qadir is rising fast. Handpicked by top brass at Coca-Cola Pakistan in 2007 to join the company, Qadir started out as the manager of public affairs and communications, and was promoted a few years later to his current position.

Now, he leads stakeholder engagement with the government, media, social groups, customers and partners. When taxes were hiked for the beverage industry this year, Qadir engaged intensively with officials and ministers to score a sizable break in the final budget – saving the company US$18 million.

Qadir is also considered one of the founding members of Coke Studio, a music performance television show that became Coke’s runaway branded-content success story, expanding to over 20 countries globally after its initial launch in Pakistan.

Managing corporate and brand public relations strategies, the 36-year-old also leads Coke's CSR portfolio. His focus is on water replenishment, women empowerment, and waste management. In partnership with the UNDP, Coca-Cola Pakistan has become water-positive, putting back more water into nature than it uses in its business, while pushing sustainable solutions for plastic bottles.

Adrienne Ravez | Chief operating officer | Quantum Endorphine Digital | Cambodia<br /><br />
If it takes an empathetic mindset to be a good entrepreneur and leader, Adrienne Ravez has it in buckets. Her background in intercultural psychology, anthropology and sociology means she is often solving problems in digital media and marketing with strong ethics and kind-heartedness.
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The 37-year-old began to use digital media for advocacy and activism back when she was working in the non-profit sector, where she developed a passion for media and marketing. This led to her being co-founder of digital agency Endorphine Concept which was swiftly acquired by Quantum Communications last year. Following the merger, Ravez was appointed COO, which cemented her role as a prominent figure in the Cambodian tech and entrepreneurship community.
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Outside of her role at Quantum, she’s involved in mentoring and coaching programmes with social enterprise Wedu and UN Women, while also launching a mentorship programme for women entrepreneurs in Cambodia in partnership with incubator iCube.
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In her busy schedule, she also found time to start Geeks in Cambodia, a content platform dedicated to new technologies and startups in the country. This year, Ravez was named an official French Trade Advisor for Cambodia by the French prime minister, and was one of only three female members chosen.

Adrienne Ravez | Chief operating officer | Quantum Endorphine Digital | Cambodia

If it takes an empathetic mindset to be a good entrepreneur and leader, Adrienne Ravez has it in buckets. Her background in intercultural psychology, anthropology and sociology means she is often solving problems in digital media and marketing with strong ethics and kind-heartedness.

The 37-year-old began to use digital media for advocacy and activism back when she was working in the non-profit sector, where she developed a passion for media and marketing. This led to her being co-founder of digital agency Endorphine Concept which was swiftly acquired by Quantum Communications last year. Following the merger, Ravez was appointed COO, which cemented her role as a prominent figure in the Cambodian tech and entrepreneurship community.

Outside of her role at Quantum, she’s involved in mentoring and coaching programmes with social enterprise Wedu and UN Women, while also launching a mentorship programme for women entrepreneurs in Cambodia in partnership with incubator iCube.

In her busy schedule, she also found time to start Geeks in Cambodia, a content platform dedicated to new technologies and startups in the country. This year, Ravez was named an official French Trade Advisor for Cambodia by the French prime minister, and was one of only three female members chosen.

Niraj Ruparel | National head of mobile | Mindshare | India<br /><br />
Niraj Ruparel is seen as a guru and evangelist whose infectious passion for mobile and voice tech secures buy-in from tough clients for innovative projects. He's succeeded in building a robust partner ecosystem to help drive mobile-first solutions into use across the agency's client base, including Lifebuoy, GSK and Vodafone.<br /><br /> 

Ruparel's list of achievements includes a voice-enabled video chatbot called mConverse; a DMP (data management platform) that helps generate interest-, demographic- and intent-based audience segments among rural consumers; and a micro-planning tool that helps clients use dynamic contextual communications to tap into tier 2 and rural markets.<br /><br /> 

However, hold off on the coldly analytical geek stereotypes, because Ruparel also has, according to raving clients, a great sense of creativity. More than 40 award wins, including at Cannes, testify to his and his team's ability to use tech to concoct creative innovations that attract real consumer engagement—while allowing clients to boast about delivering market- or in some cases world-firsts. Additional honours include serving as a jury member for the MMA Smarties in 2019 and being tapped by WPP to help set up a Voice Centre of Excellence in India.<br /><br />

Clients also refer to Ruparel as a great team player with an ability to align and mobilise teams toward common goals.

Niraj Ruparel | National head of mobile | Mindshare | India

Niraj Ruparel is seen as a guru and evangelist whose infectious passion for mobile and voice tech secures buy-in from tough clients for innovative projects. He's succeeded in building a robust partner ecosystem to help drive mobile-first solutions into use across the agency's client base, including Lifebuoy, GSK and Vodafone.

Ruparel's list of achievements includes a voice-enabled video chatbot called mConverse; a DMP (data management platform) that helps generate interest-, demographic- and intent-based audience segments among rural consumers; and a micro-planning tool that helps clients use dynamic contextual communications to tap into tier 2 and rural markets.

However, hold off on the coldly analytical geek stereotypes, because Ruparel also has, according to raving clients, a great sense of creativity. More than 40 award wins, including at Cannes, testify to his and his team's ability to use tech to concoct creative innovations that attract real consumer engagement—while allowing clients to boast about delivering market- or in some cases world-firsts. Additional honours include serving as a jury member for the MMA Smarties in 2019 and being tapped by WPP to help set up a Voice Centre of Excellence in India.

Clients also refer to Ruparel as a great team player with an ability to align and mobilise teams toward common goals.

Yanqing Shi | E-commerce director | ALDI China | China <br /><br />
Amidst the slate of acquisition of supermarkets like Carrefour, RT Mart and Metro in China, Aldi is one of the few foreign retailers in the market investing heavily in the independent expansion of their business – riding on e-commerce and new retail as the driving strategy. At the steering wheel is Shi Yanqing, who built up the entire online-to-offline (O2O) business in China for the German supermarket chain. 
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Prior to joining Aldi, Shi began her digital marketing journey as the country manager in China for German online technology company, Jimdo. Subsequently, she honed her expertise in e-commerce in China at Web2Asia, a Tmall partner agency. The assiduous learner also simultaneously completed a dual executive Master’s degree – an MBA from Tongji University in Shanghai and a Master’s in Banking from Case Western Reserve University in the US. Five years and a promotion to head of performance later, Shi took on Aldi’s e-commerce and new retail operations in 2018.
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Since then, Shi has set up and grew the retailer’s Tmall stores. She also developed and launched a new retail strategy for Aldi based on a WeChat O2O solution, and established Aldi as one of the prime retail partners of Alibaba’s food delivery service, ele.me.

Yanqing Shi | E-commerce director | ALDI China | China

Amidst the slate of acquisition of supermarkets like Carrefour, RT Mart and Metro in China, Aldi is one of the few foreign retailers in the market investing heavily in the independent expansion of their business – riding on e-commerce and new retail as the driving strategy. At the steering wheel is Shi Yanqing, who built up the entire online-to-offline (O2O) business in China for the German supermarket chain.

Prior to joining Aldi, Shi began her digital marketing journey as the country manager in China for German online technology company, Jimdo. Subsequently, she honed her expertise in e-commerce in China at Web2Asia, a Tmall partner agency. The assiduous learner also simultaneously completed a dual executive Master’s degree – an MBA from Tongji University in Shanghai and a Master’s in Banking from Case Western Reserve University in the US. Five years and a promotion to head of performance later, Shi took on Aldi’s e-commerce and new retail operations in 2018.

Since then, Shi has set up and grew the retailer’s Tmall stores. She also developed and launched a new retail strategy for Aldi based on a WeChat O2O solution, and established Aldi as one of the prime retail partners of Alibaba’s food delivery service, ele.me.

Nicolle Sing| Director of client services, Singapore | Freeman | Singapore <br /><br />
Nicolle Sing talks as fast as her mind turns. Her peers call her a “pocket rocket on dynamites”, and fittingly, her achievements have been through the roof. Coming from a background in publishing media, Sing was headhunted by Publicis Hong Kong about a decade ago to lead a core account, DFS. She ended up organising the company’s 50th anniversary campaign – its largest milestone. 
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Subsequently, Sing moved to Jack Morton in Singapore to manage its largest account in the country. Known for hardly ever sitting still, the gregarious top performer pivoted from advertising to lead the growth department of Freeman’s headquarters in Asia Pacific in 2017.
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In just two and a half years, Sing’s leadership took Freeman Singapore to 45% revenue growth, with 26 new clients under its belt. This includes Visa, SAP, Microsoft, DBS, and Facebook. Winning Google’s business also saw her spearheading Freeman’s first successful collaborative project – all four offices in the region teamed up for Google APAC’s largest event.
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Sing works closely with her global counterparts, bringing more inbound work from other continents into APAC. For example, the 33-year-old is instrumental in expanding Freeman’s 30-year relationship with Microsoft in the US, which led to the tech titan expanding into 15 more markets in APAC.

Nicolle Sing| Director of client services, Singapore | Freeman | Singapore

Nicolle Sing talks as fast as her mind turns. Her peers call her a “pocket rocket on dynamites”, and fittingly, her achievements have been through the roof. Coming from a background in publishing media, Sing was headhunted by Publicis Hong Kong about a decade ago to lead a core account, DFS. She ended up organising the company’s 50th anniversary campaign – its largest milestone.

Subsequently, Sing moved to Jack Morton in Singapore to manage its largest account in the country. Known for hardly ever sitting still, the gregarious top performer pivoted from advertising to lead the growth department of Freeman’s headquarters in Asia Pacific in 2017.

In just two and a half years, Sing’s leadership took Freeman Singapore to 45% revenue growth, with 26 new clients under its belt. This includes Visa, SAP, Microsoft, DBS, and Facebook. Winning Google’s business also saw her spearheading Freeman’s first successful collaborative project – all four offices in the region teamed up for Google APAC’s largest event.

Sing works closely with her global counterparts, bringing more inbound work from other continents into APAC. For example, the 33-year-old is instrumental in expanding Freeman’s 30-year relationship with Microsoft in the US, which led to the tech titan expanding into 15 more markets in APAC.

Serina Tan | Managing director, Asia-Pacific | Allison+Partners | Singapore <br /><br />
In 2004, Serina Tan established an entire consumer practice for an agency at the young age of 24. She reprised the build-from-scratch feat a decade later when Allison+Partners hired her in 2014 to start its Singapore office.
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As the agency’s first organically-built office in the region, the shop has since grown to account for 25% of APAC business. It rakes in US$1.8 million annually with its portfolio of 32 brands, including ByteDance (TikTok), Google Waze and Carousell.
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Tan’s leadership finesse, honed over two decades in public relations, led to her promotion to a newly created regional role earlier this year. As the freshly-installed managing director for APAC, she bumped up the number of shared accounts in the region by 5X, and built cross-office teams to connect the agency’s regional and global growth. An evangelist of measurement-based communications, Tan educates clients and peers on integrated measurement frameworks by leading panels, including the PRCA x AMEC Measurement Month conference.
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While her own career lifts off, Tan takes other women with her by running Allison+Partners’ Women Leadership Programme. She also grooms the next generation of communications practitioners by partnering with institutions such as Singapore Management University to give students in-office experiences.

Serina Tan | Managing director, Asia-Pacific | Allison+Partners | Singapore

In 2004, Serina Tan established an entire consumer practice for an agency at the young age of 24. She reprised the build-from-scratch feat a decade later when Allison+Partners hired her in 2014 to start its Singapore office.

As the agency’s first organically-built office in the region, the shop has since grown to account for 25% of APAC business. It rakes in US$1.8 million annually with its portfolio of 32 brands, including ByteDance (TikTok), Google Waze and Carousell.

Tan’s leadership finesse, honed over two decades in public relations, led to her promotion to a newly created regional role earlier this year. As the freshly-installed managing director for APAC, she bumped up the number of shared accounts in the region by 5X, and built cross-office teams to connect the agency’s regional and global growth. An evangelist of measurement-based communications, Tan educates clients and peers on integrated measurement frameworks by leading panels, including the PRCA x AMEC Measurement Month conference.

While her own career lifts off, Tan takes other women with her by running Allison+Partners’ Women Leadership Programme. She also grooms the next generation of communications practitioners by partnering with institutions such as Singapore Management University to give students in-office experiences.

Jason Tonelli | CEO | Performics | Australia <br /><br />
When Jason Tonelli dived into his new role as the CEO of Performics Australia in 2018, he landed in the midst of a scattered team. Employee engagement score of the performance media agency was only 40%, and annual turnover rate was at 65%.
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Undeterred, the seasoned digital media specialist met every single team member and addressed the issues they raised – about 140 items in total. Within six months, the employee engagement score rose to 80%. The enablement score was boosted from 51% to 74%, while employee churn fell to 29%. This translated to business wins – Performics’ client list grew by 15% and pitch conversion rate almost doubled. 
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It is Tonelli’s focus on the talent capital that led him to launch the Society of Digital Purpose – a digital learning school for underprivileged youths in Australia. It has produced 21 graduates so far, giving them a foot in the door of digital marketing. The programme, designed and developed by Performics Australia, teaches them the basics of the industry. Guidance and support for these graduates came not only from Performics, but also from its own CEO – Tonelli himself. 
The avid keynote speaker and panelist is also an active member of the Industry Advisory Board at RMIT University in Victoria, and sits as the panelist and committee member of the Australian Media Hall of Fame.

Jason Tonelli | CEO | Performics | Australia

When Jason Tonelli dived into his new role as the CEO of Performics Australia in 2018, he landed in the midst of a scattered team. Employee engagement score of the performance media agency was only 40%, and annual turnover rate was at 65%.

Undeterred, the seasoned digital media specialist met every single team member and addressed the issues they raised – about 140 items in total. Within six months, the employee engagement score rose to 80%. The enablement score was boosted from 51% to 74%, while employee churn fell to 29%. This translated to business wins – Performics’ client list grew by 15% and pitch conversion rate almost doubled.

It is Tonelli’s focus on the talent capital that led him to launch the Society of Digital Purpose – a digital learning school for underprivileged youths in Australia. It has produced 21 graduates so far, giving them a foot in the door of digital marketing. The programme, designed and developed by Performics Australia, teaches them the basics of the industry. Guidance and support for these graduates came not only from Performics, but also from its own CEO – Tonelli himself. The avid keynote speaker and panelist is also an active member of the Industry Advisory Board at RMIT University in Victoria, and sits as the panelist and committee member of the Australian Media Hall of Fame.

Arvi Villacin | Executive digital director & president | Sven Group | Philippines<br /><br />

Considered by his employees to be their “very own Tony Stark”, a tinkerer and superhero innovator who comes up with future-forward solutions, Arvi Villacin loves all things tech. Whether it’s a new gadget, gear, wearable tech, platform, work app or mobile app, he entertains them all and they all excite him. 
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Determined to forge his own tech career success story, Villacin dove into his first job at a pioneer OOH firm in Manila only a week after graduating, then moved on to Smart, the top telecom provider in the Philippines. In 2008, at the age of 23, he founded Sven by offering WiFi-powered advertising at partner locations like McDonald’s, offering free WiFi to customers in exchange for consuming branded content. This led Sven into digital ad services, now the company’s main business, where Villacin continues to lead its digital strategists, technologists, developers and creatives today.

Under his leadership, Sven was shortlisted at Campaign’s Agency of the Year awards last year as Philippines Digital Agency of the Year and Independent Agency of the Year. In its 11 years, Sven completed more than a thousand projects for clients like Unilever, L’Oreal, Philippine Airlines and had Toyota’s marketing team gushing over Villacin’s “compelling vision” and “relentless implementation.”
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Arvi Villacin | Executive digital director & president | Sven Group | Philippines

Considered by his employees to be their “very own Tony Stark”, a tinkerer and superhero innovator who comes up with future-forward solutions, Arvi Villacin loves all things tech. Whether it’s a new gadget, gear, wearable tech, platform, work app or mobile app, he entertains them all and they all excite him.

Determined to forge his own tech career success story, Villacin dove into his first job at a pioneer OOH firm in Manila only a week after graduating, then moved on to Smart, the top telecom provider in the Philippines. In 2008, at the age of 23, he founded Sven by offering WiFi-powered advertising at partner locations like McDonald’s, offering free WiFi to customers in exchange for consuming branded content. This led Sven into digital ad services, now the company’s main business, where Villacin continues to lead its digital strategists, technologists, developers and creatives today. Under his leadership, Sven was shortlisted at Campaign’s Agency of the Year awards last year as Philippines Digital Agency of the Year and Independent Agency of the Year. In its 11 years, Sven completed more than a thousand projects for clients like Unilever, L’Oreal, Philippine Airlines and had Toyota’s marketing team gushing over Villacin’s “compelling vision” and “relentless implementation.”

Jingyue Wang | Chief marketing officer | Baicaowei | China <br /><br />
Wang Jingyue has helped Baicaowei chart new paths in the casual snack world. Joining the company in 2011 as a fresh graduate, she was tasked to drive brand marketing strategy and usher Baicaowei into the era of e-commerce. Besides expanding Baicaowei’s online sales to over 50 channels, she organised one of the earliest ‘eating festivals’ among snack food brands, which boosted Baicaowei’s e-commerce sales during low season and sparked many similar events throughout the industry. 
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In 2015, Wang also pioneered the integration of brand products with entertainment content in the casual snacks market, implanting customised products in film and television shows. From Korean series to period dramas, from variety shows to content videos, Baicaowei’s marketing tentacles reached them all, and the customised snacks usually sold out in an instant. 
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Last year, Wang gave the brand a fresh image, winning top awards for new packaging design while bringing in patented technology to give fruit and nut combinations optimal moisture and dryness. Baicaowei now records annual sales of RMB4 billion (US$568 million). This year, her retail team embarks on an omni-channel expansion: opening Baicaowei's first offline store.
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The 31-year-old’s grit for exploring uncharted territories is also taking her to disaster zones and poverty-stricken areas. Establishing Baicaowei’s charitable foundation, she has led volunteers on multiple humanitarian runs to affected communities.

Jingyue Wang | Chief marketing officer | Baicaowei | China

Wang Jingyue has helped Baicaowei chart new paths in the casual snack world. Joining the company in 2011 as a fresh graduate, she was tasked to drive brand marketing strategy and usher Baicaowei into the era of e-commerce. Besides expanding Baicaowei’s online sales to over 50 channels, she organised one of the earliest ‘eating festivals’ among snack food brands, which boosted Baicaowei’s e-commerce sales during low season and sparked many similar events throughout the industry.

In 2015, Wang also pioneered the integration of brand products with entertainment content in the casual snacks market, implanting customised products in film and television shows. From Korean series to period dramas, from variety shows to content videos, Baicaowei’s marketing tentacles reached them all, and the customised snacks usually sold out in an instant.

Last year, Wang gave the brand a fresh image, winning top awards for new packaging design while bringing in patented technology to give fruit and nut combinations optimal moisture and dryness. Baicaowei now records annual sales of RMB4 billion (US$568 million). This year, her retail team embarks on an omni-channel expansion: opening Baicaowei's first offline store.

The 31-year-old’s grit for exploring uncharted territories is also taking her to disaster zones and poverty-stricken areas. Establishing Baicaowei’s charitable foundation, she has led volunteers on multiple humanitarian runs to affected communities.

Mitch Waters | Senior vice president, SEA & ANZ | The Trade Desk | Australia<br /><br />
An “incorrigible optimist”, a “consummate professional”, and an “incredibly humble high achiever” are some of the ways clients describe Mitch Waters. Trained as an economist, his career has seen a string of rapid promotions, from account executive at News Corp in Sydney to his current role managing all aspects of The Trade Desk’s strategy, operations and people in Southeast Asia and ANZ.
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The real bright spot in his career saw him lead programmatic video advertising firm Adapt.TV in ANZ prior to, and after, its acquisition by AOL. Subsequently as the MD of AOL in the region, Waters helped launch several industry-first initiatives, such as the development of the first programmatic-TV platform offering broadcast inventory through a private exchange using AOL technology.
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Waters joined The Trade Desk as GM for ANZ In mid-2017 and was promoted to his current role at the end of 2018. He sits on the board of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Australia and is currently a member of the IAB Executive Technology Council. His peers say he champions diversity and inclusiveness while mentoring many young digital ad professionals in the region.

Mitch Waters | Senior vice president, SEA & ANZ | The Trade Desk | Australia

An “incorrigible optimist”, a “consummate professional”, and an “incredibly humble high achiever” are some of the ways clients describe Mitch Waters. Trained as an economist, his career has seen a string of rapid promotions, from account executive at News Corp in Sydney to his current role managing all aspects of The Trade Desk’s strategy, operations and people in Southeast Asia and ANZ.

The real bright spot in his career saw him lead programmatic video advertising firm Adapt.TV in ANZ prior to, and after, its acquisition by AOL. Subsequently as the MD of AOL in the region, Waters helped launch several industry-first initiatives, such as the development of the first programmatic-TV platform offering broadcast inventory through a private exchange using AOL technology.

Waters joined The Trade Desk as GM for ANZ In mid-2017 and was promoted to his current role at the end of 2018. He sits on the board of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Australia and is currently a member of the IAB Executive Technology Council. His peers say he champions diversity and inclusiveness while mentoring many young digital ad professionals in the region.

Maya Watono | CEO | Dentsu Aegis Network Indonesia | Indonesia <br /><br />
Indonesia saw the historical merger between Dwi Sapta Group – the largest independent agency in Indonesia – with Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) Indonesia in 2017. But the two teams did not hit it off immediately. Dwi Sapta Group was a family-run business with strong local values and a flexible culture – Maya Watono, the CEO, took over the reins from her father, Adji Watono. DAN, on the other hand, was steeped in Japanese and Western cultures that prize systematic practices and central compliance. Culture shock was pervasive. 
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Bridging this cultural gap was Watono. Having run six business units for the Dwi Sapta Group, she chipped away at the communication barriers by being open and accessible to all unit leaders and addressing their concerns. She also improved morale by standardising medical, telecommunication and overtime benefits.
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Her success earned her the promotion to country CEO of DAN Indonesia – the first woman and the youngest to lead the company. The 37-year-old now handles DAN Indonesia’s 20 business units and functions, 1000 employees and a portfolio of over 500 brands.
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Besides mentoring and speaking in various diversity and gender equality programmes, she also trumped Thailand and Philippines to host AdAsia 2017 in Bali – with former United Nations Secretary General, the late Kofi Annan, as keynote speaker.

Maya Watono | CEO | Dentsu Aegis Network Indonesia | Indonesia

Indonesia saw the historical merger between Dwi Sapta Group – the largest independent agency in Indonesia – with Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) Indonesia in 2017. But the two teams did not hit it off immediately. Dwi Sapta Group was a family-run business with strong local values and a flexible culture – Maya Watono, the CEO, took over the reins from her father, Adji Watono. DAN, on the other hand, was steeped in Japanese and Western cultures that prize systematic practices and central compliance. Culture shock was pervasive.

Bridging this cultural gap was Watono. Having run six business units for the Dwi Sapta Group, she chipped away at the communication barriers by being open and accessible to all unit leaders and addressing their concerns. She also improved morale by standardising medical, telecommunication and overtime benefits.

Her success earned her the promotion to country CEO of DAN Indonesia – the first woman and the youngest to lead the company. The 37-year-old now handles DAN Indonesia’s 20 business units and functions, 1000 employees and a portfolio of over 500 brands.

Besides mentoring and speaking in various diversity and gender equality programmes, she also trumped Thailand and Philippines to host AdAsia 2017 in Bali – with former United Nations Secretary General, the late Kofi Annan, as keynote speaker.

Deric Wong | CEO | Omnicom Media Group Hong Kong | Hong Kong <br /><br />
Deric Wong joined Omnicom Media Group (OMG) Hong Kong in 2008 as its strategic planning director. A month before his 10th anniversary at the group, he has climbed all the way to the top seat of CEO, with two large networks – OMD and PHD – under his command. Leading 250 people, Wong evolved OMD and PHD beyond their traditional media expertise by enhancing its talent pool and marketing technologies. <br /><br /> 
His relentless push for growth paid off. Both OMG agencies are among the top three in Hong Kong for billings and market share, according to COMvergence and RECMA. Wong also helped secure six new clients and retained Unilever for PHD, as well as leading OMD to 21 new business wins. He further steered the teams to bag two of Hong Kong’s biggest media pitches in 2019: for Dairy Farm Group Asia Pacific and Nestle Hong Kong. <br /><br /> 
Beyond growing his company, the 39-year-old sits on the leadership table in various trade bodies, including the HK4As, the Hong Kong Management Association's Digital Marketing Executive Committee, Hong Kong Television Audience Measurement Founding Subscriber Management Committee, and The Marketing Society Advisory Committee. His wealth of experience and drive for nurturing the industry also makes him an active award jury member.

Deric Wong | CEO | Omnicom Media Group Hong Kong | Hong Kong

Deric Wong joined Omnicom Media Group (OMG) Hong Kong in 2008 as its strategic planning director. A month before his 10th anniversary at the group, he has climbed all the way to the top seat of CEO, with two large networks – OMD and PHD – under his command. Leading 250 people, Wong evolved OMD and PHD beyond their traditional media expertise by enhancing its talent pool and marketing technologies.

His relentless push for growth paid off. Both OMG agencies are among the top three in Hong Kong for billings and market share, according to COMvergence and RECMA. Wong also helped secure six new clients and retained Unilever for PHD, as well as leading OMD to 21 new business wins. He further steered the teams to bag two of Hong Kong’s biggest media pitches in 2019: for Dairy Farm Group Asia Pacific and Nestle Hong Kong.

Beyond growing his company, the 39-year-old sits on the leadership table in various trade bodies, including the HK4As, the Hong Kong Management Association's Digital Marketing Executive Committee, Hong Kong Television Audience Measurement Founding Subscriber Management Committee, and The Marketing Society Advisory Committee. His wealth of experience and drive for nurturing the industry also makes him an active award jury member.

Robert Woolfrey | Senior vice president | Amobee | Singapore <br /><br />
Robert Woolfrey’s 15-year career in digital advertising is marked with firsts. As a fresh graduate, he worked for a Canadian startup to establish in-market presence in the US and Singapore. Then, the trailblazer was hired as InMobi’s first brand advertising sales leader in Asia. After planting InMobi’s flag in Southeast Asia, Woolfrey was recruited by US mobile advertising powerhouse, Millennial Media, as its first employee in Asia Pacific – a stint that included opening offices throughout Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia, as well as getting promoted to managing director of APAC. 
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Since joining Amobee three years ago, Woolfrey spearheaded its expansion in Asia from 30 staff based in Singapore to over 100 employees across six new markets. He also supervised award-winning digital marketing campaigns for global brands including Heineken, MasterCard, and HSBC. In a region where consumer data is scarce, Woolfrey sharpens Amobee’s competitive edge by partnering with telcos to use their data for digital advertising and analytics. 
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The digital advertising whiz sees convergence as the future of media in Asia. He especially champions the merging of TV and digital, joining forces with broadcasters in Asia to help drive their transformation from linear offerings to become digital-first media companies. Earlier this year, in Forrester’s evaluation of emerging markets, Amobee was recognised as an industry leader for cross-channel video advertising platforms.

Robert Woolfrey | Senior vice president | Amobee | Singapore

Robert Woolfrey’s 15-year career in digital advertising is marked with firsts. As a fresh graduate, he worked for a Canadian startup to establish in-market presence in the US and Singapore. Then, the trailblazer was hired as InMobi’s first brand advertising sales leader in Asia. After planting InMobi’s flag in Southeast Asia, Woolfrey was recruited by US mobile advertising powerhouse, Millennial Media, as its first employee in Asia Pacific – a stint that included opening offices throughout Southeast Asia, Japan and Australia, as well as getting promoted to managing director of APAC.

Since joining Amobee three years ago, Woolfrey spearheaded its expansion in Asia from 30 staff based in Singapore to over 100 employees across six new markets. He also supervised award-winning digital marketing campaigns for global brands including Heineken, MasterCard, and HSBC. In a region where consumer data is scarce, Woolfrey sharpens Amobee’s competitive edge by partnering with telcos to use their data for digital advertising and analytics.

The digital advertising whiz sees convergence as the future of media in Asia. He especially champions the merging of TV and digital, joining forces with broadcasters in Asia to help drive their transformation from linear offerings to become digital-first media companies. Earlier this year, in Forrester’s evaluation of emerging markets, Amobee was recognised as an industry leader for cross-channel video advertising platforms.

Huan Xu | Co-founder, CEO | Qimai Technology | China <br /><br />
Raised in a family of teachers, Xu Huan brings her knack for developing future leaders into marketing and entrepreneurship. 
<br /><br /> 
The honoree for Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2018 served as an enterprise tutor for her alma mater, Stanford University ’s Ignite project. On top of that, she was awarded the ‘Tsinghua University Honorary Enterprise Tutor of the Year’ and ‘Outstanding Enterprise Tutor of Beijing University of Technology’ in celebration of the entrepreneurial insights she enthusiastically shared. 
<br /><br />
And Xu had plenty of market experience to share. The mobile internet pioneer runs Qimai technology, an online data services firm she co-founded. Qimai can monitor and analyse app performance in China, as well as provide mobile data services in 155 markets. Under her leadership, the team hit an annual revenue of over RMB100 million (US$14 million) with a list of internet giants as clients, including Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Didi. 
<br /><br />
Prior to starting her own online data venture, Xu served as the Head of Marketing and Branding of Beijing Buding Fangzhou Technology Co. (Buding Mobile), taking user accumulation from zero to 10 million. She was later responsible for the Buding Movie Ticket Business Division, establishing partnerships with over 1,000 cinemas while turning a profit.

Huan Xu | Co-founder, CEO | Qimai Technology | China

Raised in a family of teachers, Xu Huan brings her knack for developing future leaders into marketing and entrepreneurship.

The honoree for Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2018 served as an enterprise tutor for her alma mater, Stanford University ’s Ignite project. On top of that, she was awarded the ‘Tsinghua University Honorary Enterprise Tutor of the Year’ and ‘Outstanding Enterprise Tutor of Beijing University of Technology’ in celebration of the entrepreneurial insights she enthusiastically shared.

And Xu had plenty of market experience to share. The mobile internet pioneer runs Qimai technology, an online data services firm she co-founded. Qimai can monitor and analyse app performance in China, as well as provide mobile data services in 155 markets. Under her leadership, the team hit an annual revenue of over RMB100 million (US$14 million) with a list of internet giants as clients, including Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Didi.

Prior to starting her own online data venture, Xu served as the Head of Marketing and Branding of Beijing Buding Fangzhou Technology Co. (Buding Mobile), taking user accumulation from zero to 10 million. She was later responsible for the Buding Movie Ticket Business Division, establishing partnerships with over 1,000 cinemas while turning a profit.

Aaron Zhang | VP, Leo Digital Network and group CEO, arkr | Leo Digital Network/arkr Group | China <br /><br />
Aaron Zhang is the kind of limit-breaker who goes the distance – all 185 kilometres of it. That was the road length that the avid marathoner and his four co-workers completed in the BMW Hood to Coast Relay in China, a long-distance relay race known for its punishing route that demands high-level of teamwork and endurance. 
<br /><br />
It is this dogged and collaborative spirit that propelled Zhang to be the youngest vice president in Leo Digital Network (LDN). He also sits as the network’s chief innovation officer while running the largest agency under the network, arkr Group – a digital outfit he founded in 2009 and merged with LDN in 2014. Since then, business has grown strongly under his leadership. 
<br /><br /> 
Zhang was named one of China’s “Most Creative People” by Fast Company, one of China’s 10 cutting-edge digital marketers by China Advertising Magazine, and among the top 100 internet leaders by iResearch. At local award shows, such as the China Effies and the One Show China, he was also the youngest jury president in a room full of senior creatives.

Aaron Zhang | VP, Leo Digital Network and group CEO, arkr | Leo Digital Network/arkr Group | China

Aaron Zhang is the kind of limit-breaker who goes the distance – all 185 kilometres of it. That was the road length that the avid marathoner and his four co-workers completed in the BMW Hood to Coast Relay in China, a long-distance relay race known for its punishing route that demands high-level of teamwork and endurance.

It is this dogged and collaborative spirit that propelled Zhang to be the youngest vice president in Leo Digital Network (LDN). He also sits as the network’s chief innovation officer while running the largest agency under the network, arkr Group – a digital outfit he founded in 2009 and merged with LDN in 2014. Since then, business has grown strongly under his leadership.

Zhang was named one of China’s “Most Creative People” by Fast Company, one of China’s 10 cutting-edge digital marketers by China Advertising Magazine, and among the top 100 internet leaders by iResearch. At local award shows, such as the China Effies and the One Show China, he was also the youngest jury president in a room full of senior creatives.

40 under 40 2019: ...
Ashley Amanna | E-commerce ...
Masaya Asai | Global ...
Simon Bailey | CEO | ...
Anthony Baker | Executive ...
Laura Beament | General ...
Ashwin Chandoesing | Vice ...
Felix Chang | Deputy ...
Deb Dutta | Head of ...
Nicola Eliot | Director, ...
Melissa Fein | CEO | ...
Aizobelle Fernan | ...
Jenny Gao | Vice president ...
Wei Guo| Founder and CEO | ...
Jim Guzman | Head, social ...
Akanksha Jain | Managing ...
Andreas Krasser | CEO | ...
Charmaine Lin | GM client ...
Liu Yi | Head of gaming ...
Eunice Loh | Digital and ...
Ian Loon | Managing ...
Neha Mehrotra | EVP and ...
Jane Morgan| Managing ...
Paras Mehta | Head of ...
Vincent Niou | Head of ...
Tuomas Peltoniemi | EVP & ...
Fahad Qadir | Director of ...
Adrienne Ravez | Chief ...
Niraj Ruparel | National ...
Yanqing Shi | E-commerce ...
Nicolle Sing| Director of ...
Serina Tan | Managing ...
Jason Tonelli | CEO | ...
Arvi Villacin | Executive ...
Jingyue Wang | Chief ...
Mitch Waters | Senior vice ...
Maya Watono | CEO | Dentsu ...
Deric Wong | CEO | Omnicom ...
Robert Woolfrey | Senior ...
Huan Xu | Co-founder, CEO ...
Aaron Zhang | VP, Leo ...

Welcome to Campaign Asia-Pacific's 40 Under 40 for 2019.

With double the number of entries compared to last year, this year’s 40 under 40 featured an outstanding group of strong nominees, including all types of marketing and communications professionals.

Our in-house judging team, made up of members of Campaign Asia-Pacific's senior editorial staff, had difficult decisions to make, but ultimately agreed that these 40 candidates stand out at the top of their class, representing Asia Pacific’s next generation of leadership.

Nominees came in from right across Asia, reflected in the dozen different markets in the final list, made up of agencies, brands, media publishers and technology firms. While a multitude of different talents made the cut, the growing importance of data and technology expertise was a consistent theme. Many young professionals have grown their careers with technology, but those able to best apply and convert their skills into real results for brands and clients are inevitably excelling.

All work and no play, however, is no fun at all.  Many of these young professionals are balancing work with outside interests, finding ways to tap a variety of inspirations to grow their businesses, help their colleagues and propel the broader industry.

We'd like to thank all those who nominated this year. As for the high flyers whom you see pictured above, we wish them all the best as they move on to the next stage of their already successful careers. Congratulations!


Here is a complete list of the 40 Under 40 2019: 

  • Ashley Amanna, Wunderman Thompson (Indonesia)
  • Masaya Asai, TBWA\Hakuhodo (Japan)
  • Simon Bailey, Humology (Myanmar)
  • Anthony Baker, R/GA (Japan)
  • Laura Beament, Herd MSL (Australia)
  • Ashwin Chandoesing, IndaHash (Singapore)
  • Felix Chang, Publicis Media (Taiwan)
  • Deb Dutta, TBWA\ (Indonesia)
  • Nicola Eliot, BBC (Singapore)
  • Melissa Fein, Initiative (Australia)
  • Aizobelle Fernan, Kinesso (Philippines)
  • Jenny Gao, Ogilvy (China)
  • Wei Guo, FugeTech (China)
  • Jim Guzman, Dentsu Aegis Network (Philippines)
  • Akanksha Jain, Mindshare (China)
  • Andreas Krasser, DDB (Hong Kong)
  • Charmaine Lin, Reuter Communications (China)
  • Yi Liu, Mindshare (China)
  • Eunice Loh, Wavemaker (Singapore)
  • Ian Loon, Starcom (Singapore)
  • Neha Mehrotra, AvianWE (India)
  • Paras Mehta, Cadreon (India)
  • Jane Morgan, Golin (Hong Kong)
  • Vincent Niou, Essence (Singapore)
  • Tuomas Peltoniemi, R/GA (Singapore)
  • Fahad Qadir, The Coca-Cola Company (Pakistan)
  • Adrienne Ravez, Quantum Endorphine Digital (Cambodia)
  • Niraj Ruparel, Mindshare (India)
  • Yanqing Shi, ALDI (China)
  • Nicolle Sing, Freeman (Singapore)
  • Serina Tan, Allison+Partners (Singapore)
  • Jason Tonelli, Performics (Australia)
  • Arvi Villacin, Sven (Philippines)
  • Jingyue Wang, Baicaowei (China)
  • Mitch Waters, The Trade Desk (Australia)
  • Maya Watono, Dentsu Aegis Network (Indonesia)
  • Deric Wong, Omnicom Media Group (Hong Kong)
  • Robert Woolfrey, Amobee (Singapore)
  • Huan Xu, Qimai (China)
  • Aaron Zhang, Arkr Group (China)

Profiles written by Foong Li Mei.

(Desktop users: Hover mouse to expand captions on above pictures; move mouse away to collapse. Mobile users: Swipe right to advance.)

Previous 40 Under 40 galleries:

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

More People to watch (Women to Watch, APAC Power List, and more)

 

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