Marianne Admardatine | Managing director, OPR Indonesia | Chief growth officer | Ogilvy and Mather | Indonesia: A 20-year veteran of the Indonesian PR industry, Marianne Admardatine is able to draw on an extensive network of contacts reaching throughout the industry and including government ministers. So when Ogilvy was looking to make leadership changes in the country earlier this year, she was the natural choice for the new role of chief growth officer. Famed for her whirlwind-like personality, Admardatine has made a name for herself by breaking with the country’s media-conference and press-release dominated traditions to pioneer an influence-driven model — at times controversially. Admardatine is best known for her work for the Bank of Indonesia and Ministry of Tourism, acting as counsel on communicating policies and initiatives for the past two years. Tourism is a particular passion of hers, reflected in her award-winning work on the ministry’s nation-branding campaign. But she doesn’t only lend her expertise to big government agencies: her ‘Creative Economy Heroes’ campaign for Bukalapak, a home-grown digital marketplace for small businesses, also netted industry golds this year.
Kate Alconga | Client services director | IdeasXMachina | Philippines: Armed with superior brand marketing skills and 10 years’ experience, Kate Alconga is peerless in her field with a network of contacts comparable to a celebrity. Under her leadership, client retainer contracts have swelled from only five to 48 clients, 16 of which were new businesses from the last quarter of 2016 to present. Alconga is the only ad agency person conferred by the Philippine Marketing Association with the distinction of being a “great contributor and imminent leader” in the country’s brand communication landscape. Her charm, intelligence and efficiency delivered a 184 percent increase in revenue in 2016. She has won numerous advertising awards from international and local bodies. Her reputation is so solid that whenever Alconga speaks, clients listen to what she has to say. Kate also regularly applies what’s described as her “trifecta of charm, intelligence and efficiency” to the work of various charity foundations.
Rebecca Bezzina | VP, managing director | R/GA | Australia: With the Australian marketing industry largely dominated by middle-aged men, Rebecca Bezzina stands out with “a glint in her eye and enough energy to power a small city”, says Kate Furey, R/GA’s communications director, APAC. Under her leadership, business grew by 12 percent in just eight months. Since taking the reins at R/GA Sydney, Bezzina has also made it her mission to empower women within the agency and to improve gender ratios. “She brings her energy, enthusiasm and zaniness into her role, creating a buzz wherever she goes,” says Justine Cusack, senior social strategist. “I think this quality is so important for young women to see — a female leader who doesn’t change herself to fit a mould, and is all the more successful for it. Her genuineness makes her extremely approachable, ensuring she has her finger on the agency pulse and can act as a mentor to even the most junior staff.”
Michelle Chan | Senior strategist | Digitas LBI | Hong Kong: She could have been a classical musician or an investment banker, but Michelle Chan chose to become a brand strategist instead. Whether she’s leading a pitch team in Dubai or running a workshop of regional general managers in Hong Kong, she takes every challenge in her stride and always delivers thought-provoking work. In just 18 months at Digitas LBI, her career has blossomed from being a mid-weight planner to a senior talent overseeing some of the agency’s top clients. Chan led the strategic development of the four-star Hotel Jen brand, developed a complete customer lifecycle journey for private education company Nord Anglia, integrated strategies for Shangri-La and a host of new business pitches. “For every project I have worked on with Chan she has been collaborative and understanding of inputs from the team,” says Jen Campbell, client services director. “She’s not afraid to ask questions or work with her senior leaders to create the best solution. Michelle is smart, funny and weird in a way only a strategist can be.”
Lynette Chong | General manager | Phibious | Myanmar: A banker with zero prior experience in advertising, 26-year-old Lynette Chong has proved her worth as the general manager of Phibious, Myanmar. She is the driving force behind the company’s success in the challenging economy of Myanmar. Not your traditional GM, Chong runs her agency like a startup and does whatever it takes to grow — often playing multiple roles from business development and strategic thinking to account managing, admin and finance. She grew her team from six to 23, personally hiring and training new recruits and building a close-knit group. In the span of eight months, Chong grew the agency from a single client to over 12, adding brands including Ooredoo, Mercedes-Benz and Fuso, and expanded its scope from digital to a full-fledged agency. “I believe she is one of the most promising female talents I have ever met,” says Jimmy Lim, regional CEO, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.
Sakshi Choudhary | Creative supervisor | OgilvyOne Worldwide | India: A compulsive learner, Sakshi Choudhary left a corporate career to follow her dream to write, tell stories and make a tangible difference. During the last four years at OgilvyOne she has dedicated herself to the pursuit of knowledge and turning it into great creative ideas: once Choudhary’s ‘working day’ is over, her ‘learning day’ begins, colleagues say. This year has already seen her recognised as Ogilvy India’s New Age Creative of the Year and featured on The Hindu newspaper’s Top New Age Talent in India list, while in June, Choudhary was one of just 15 women chosen as a delegate for the See It Be It career acceleration programme at Cannes. Choudhary is currently working with senior leadership at Ogilvy India to create an Indian advertising industry version of the 3% Conference, founded in the US to boost numbers of female creatives. Choudhary also founded The Seesaw Project, which aims to convey some of the complex tenets of the gender equality debate through art.
Brenda Chung | Global group account director | Grey Group | Singapore: Brenda Chung and team have delivered six global marketing toolkits in 18 months for GSK, which led to 7 percent sales growth for Panadol globally. Her work also helped the brand achieve double-digit growth among ageing consumers. Her efforts have not only driven wider local-market adoption of the global toolkit but also led to record client-evaluation scores and erased any lingering doubts within GSK about work originating from Singapore, to the extent that global GSK CEO Emma Walmsely even lauded Chung’s work in a recent company meeting in London. Chung’s success as leader of GSK’s ‘integrated agency team’ — unifying eight otherwise rival agencies — speaks to her “through-the-roof” EQ and empathy meter, according to peers. In addition, Chung has initiated leadership training across APAC (allowing her to exercise her own training in improv comedy), championed a nursing room in the Singapore office and advocated flexible work schedules for new parents. She is widely praised as a “true mentor and life coach”.
Stephanie Claxton | Head of sales | Teads.tv | Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Australia: A recent addition to the Teads APAC team, Stephanie Claxton has made her presence felt since joining in February. In that short time frame, she has implemented a new regional strategy, introduced sweeping changes to organisational structures and enthused the sales team, growing the company’s client base by close to 300 percent. Her successes include bringing in Teads’ first two agency trading deals in the region, one valued in excess of seven digits, and playing a critical role in winning the P&G account in three markets. But Claxton’s impact on Teads extends far beyond the balance sheet: she also drives the cultural agenda at Teads, breaking down silos and creating opportunities — both functional and social — to develop better communication between teams. Claxton takes mentoring very seriously, and has taken the office’s small team of junior account managers under her wing. She has instigated a series of training sessions on cutting-edge industry topics, which have proved so successful that Teads has started offering them to key external partners. An active committee member of the Singapore IAB for the past three years, she is also a strong supporter of monthly She Says sessions.
Papri Dev | MD, client strategy and regional operations | Zeno Group Asia | Singapore: Papri Dev has steered the growth of Zeno’s businesses in new sectors like hospitality and automotive. She has on-boarded the brightest talent and nurtured a younger generation of leaders, capable of delivering the best to clients across a wide range of sectors. This go-getter puts in place clear accountability, motivates her team and can completely turn around and execute any out-of-control project. She has mentored some 100 new recruits and helped shape their careers. Her ‘The Girl Talk Project’ for women in the workplace will be launching soon. Dev’s colleague, marketing manager Ateet Singh, describes her as “a fearless soul who upholds integrity to exemplary standards” in all her endeavours. “She’s never afraid to stand up for what is right and believes in empowering her team to bring out the best in them. Not to mention, she also has a great sense of humour and is amazing fun to work with.”
Kate Goddard | Lead producer | MediaMonks | Singapore: Kate Goddard is one to watch for driving memorable and meaningful creative tech projects in Asia and beyond. She balances her enthusiasm for VR/AR (anything from a cardboard headset to Lenovo Phab 2 Pro) with realistic expectations of how this budding new technology can be put to good use by brands and consumers in daily life. Nothing is impossible to Goddard — she nurtures creativity and makes the bluest of blue-sky concepts a reality, from the Internet of Things to AI, robotics to AR. “Even though we’re working in a high-paced industry, Goddard is always able to adapt to the speed, level of (digital) knowledge and sensitivity of the organisation of the client she’s working for,” says Joris Knetsch, managing director, MediaMonks Singapore. “She’s absolutely someone to keep an eye on, as she’ll not just join innovative projects as a producer, but will drive innovation with her passion and insights she’s showing on a daily basis.”
Mia Hamilton | Creative director | The Red Republic | Australia: Mia Hamilton has been instrumental in the growth of The Red Republic from a PR agency to a full service end-to-end creative agency. She single-handedly grew its design division and almost tripled the turnover of that division in a year. She has developed PR-driven brand campaigns for major brands including Suncorp Group, Westfield and HotelTonight. In the last 12 months, Hamilton brought in over 30 new clients and retained several existing ones, developed into a strong leader and grew the agency’s social media-marketing portfolio, incorporating design, by 400 per cent. She was also promoted from group account director to creative director last year. Her inclusive management style encourages others to put their most creative foot forward. “Hamilton is a straight shooter and a creative at heart who has come up against several challenging projects and personality styles and has stood up to the plate,” says Fleur Madden, CEO of The Red Republic.
Aliya Hasan | Head of strategy | Vizeum | Australia: Touted as a “big thinker, with a big heart”, Hasan has been working to diversify Vizeum’s capabilities into brand and marketing consultancy. She created a strategic approach for Vodka Cruiser that tripled sales and went on to be adopted as its brand blueprint. She has since built a strong relationship with the wider Asahi Premium Beverages group, becoming a trusted advisor — and even coining the name of a new Spiced Rum awaiting launch. Taking on the role of Melbourne strategy lead last year after a period of upheaval, Hasan rose to the occasion, grooming a team of ‘positive agitators’ who are encouraged to be well connected and to champion innovation. She has an unbroken record of winning pitches, including three in the last 12 months worth over A$25 million (US$20 million). Colleagues say Hasan “contributes brilliance through provoking inspiring thought and deed without sacrificing her values” and “picks up what others can’t and helps them understand how to improve themselves”.
Thipayachand Hasdin | Chief client officer | BBDO Bangkok | Thailand: A young rising star in Thailand’s advertising industry, Thipayachand Hasdin leads business development and client retention at BBDO Bangkok. Particularly interested in driving the agency’s digital capability, Hasdin set up training programmes to inspire and enhance the team’s skills. Under her leadership, the agency has evolved from a traditional advertising agency to a full-service business solution provider. She has also helped successfully develop a number of high profile creative projects to raise awareness and solutions for some of Thailand’s social issues. In just 18 months since joining BBDO Bangkok, Hasdin has become a key player in driving topline growth by 26 percent, including 19 new business wins and 132-percent margin growth. In 2017, she has already led the agency team to win four out of five pitches and has her sights set on new business opportunities in Cambodia and Myanmar.
Imogen Hewitt | Chief strategy officer, Havas Media Group, and joint executive strategy director, Havas Creative Group | Havas | Australia: Insight, honesty and humour sit at the heart of Imogen Hewitt’s style. She is driven by walking the walk, not just talking the talk, and is vocal about the challenges of managing life and work. She embraces her role as a mother, celebrates her role as a leader and switches seamlessly between the two. Over the past 12 months Hewitt has been instrumental in the biggest single account win in Havas Media Sydney’s history, and has driven both her own and Havas’ profile through speaking engagements. She was selected as one of only nine media professionals globally to be on the Cannes Media Jury 2017. “She’s a lightning-quick thinker who inevitably takes team-thinking to an unexpected but wonderfully insightful level,” says Phil Johnston, joint executive strategy director Havas Creative Group. “Her directness makes her a strong leader amongst senior management and a role-model for younger staff.”
Bethany Hill | Programmatic planning director | PHD | Singapore:
With a proven track record in mobile marketing, Bethany Hill stepped up to lead PHD’s programmatic as well when the agency took the bold move to merge the two units last year. The gamble has paid off, as Hill has successfully handled the transition and managed to grow every single account in the process. Analytical, conscientious, proactive and creative, she has a genuine passion for programmatic and has shown she was the ideal choice for the role. The programmatic team has tripled in size, going from four to 12 staff, and increased revenue by 200 percent in the last 12 months. Intensely curious by nature, Hill is a true believer in continuous learning and has committed her team to over 1,000 hours of training in the past year, and she also leads the agency’s programmatic training across the region. Inspired by her experience of contributing to several Women in Ad Tech forums, Hill recently launched a group of her own to bring young female professionals together to allow them to share their experiences in a pressure-free environment.
Anisha Iyer | Head of digital strategy | Mindshare India: A “perfect integrator of insights, strategy, planning and execution”, Anisha Iyer serves in a role created for her, in which she has not only led the consolidation of digital business for ABG Group and GSK, resulting in a 30 percent yield increase, but also led digital strategy for seven key pitches, with a near 75 percent conversion rate. On her way to becoming a member of Mindshare’s ‘Highly Valued Purple People’, she made a substantial contribution to launching the content engine for GSK — an initiative that blends programmatic buying, content marketing and consumer insights. She has also helped convert more than 10 clients into programmatic activation. Earlier in her career, Iyer set up GroupM’s mobile practice in North India, which saw 70 percent to 100 percent year-on-year growth for five years. She has also trained more than 200 employees on digital fundamentals and leads the award committee for digital, helping secure more than 300 metal wins throughout her career.
Anjali Kapoor | Head of digital, APAC | Bloomberg Media | Hong Kong: When Anjali Kapoor joined Bloomberg in 2015, she was given the unique responsibility of building a digital strategy and team for Asia. Two years on, she has proven herself to be an innovative and strong leader. She successfully integrated her team within Bloomberg’s largest bureau in Asia and collaborated across the company’s various departments to develop compelling content for all of its digital platforms. Bloomberg.com’s average year-to-date UVs of the site increased by 26 percent in just a year. Kapoor has been instrumental in creating Bloomberg’s digital brand presence in core country markets in Asia, with active users across each country market on all of its digital platforms. She is also known for pushing the envelope in innovative story-telling and online executions. “Kapoor is one of the most innovative digital leaders I’ve worked with and is a driving force behind Bloomberg’s digital dominance in the region,” says Parry Ravindranathan, international managing director.
Klara Krok | Head of strategy Asia-Pacific | Joule | Singapore: Klara Krok is a digital evangelist. “She has a genuine passion for the vertical, pushing herself to be an expert on latest trends and innovations, thinking about them in a relevant way for our brands to harness,” says Joule’s CEO, Francesca Bateman. “Her enthusiasm brings fun to what can be a technical field. Our clients love her.” A team player, Krok helps her team to shine, mentoring them to take the lead on their accounts. This year, she single-handedly launched WPP Whip IT, a women-only leadership programme uniting middle managers at WPP with a common goal: to progress the gender balance in their company by cultivating leadership acumen and self-confidence. “Krok’s energy and dedication are contagious, giving people a strong sense of possibility as she strives to empower women around her to take a step further to be the best versions of themselves,” says Natasha Wijeweera, Whip IT candidate and junior strategist, Joule.
Nga Le | Project director | XLE Group | Vietnam: Nga Le first worked at XLE as an intern while she was at university and the fledgling business consisted of just four employees. The two have grown together: working to establish the agency as a major player in Vietnam’s sports-marketing field with a staff of 120, she has cemented her own position as an industry leader and trail-breaking pioneer in the market. Nga Le was pivotal in setting up Saigon Heat, the country’s first professional team to play in the ASEAN Basketball League, and went on to act as project director of the Vietnamese Basketball League, which launched last year. Having started out in one of Vietnam’s more disadvantaged towns, Nga Le has a strong sense of social commitment to help others follow in her footsteps. Still just 29, she has set up her own non-profit organisation, She Will Be Strong, which aims to help to develop more confident and heathier women in the country.
Lydia Lee | Chief strategist | Weber Shandwick | China: Lydia Lee is an invaluable employee with an impressive collection of interests: she has lived in 12 different countries, mastered four languages and is a licensed film producer. Her true passion and skill, however, lie in working with others, bringing communities together in a respectful, supportive environment and empowering individuals to challenge their limits. To this end, over the past 12 years at Weber Shandwick she has been instrumental in helping to connect China’s economy and culture to global markets, providing essential guidance to brands, professionals and networks throughout China. Lee’s ‘China Beyond’ series of presentations — now in its fifth year — has proven to be so popular that it is now being extended externally. Recent months have also seen Lee pioneer a different approach to B2B communications within the APAC technology sector, creating profitable new strategies
Emily Lim | Managing director | Lion & Lion | Malaysia: A belief in doing right by the consumer and the brand is at the heart of what drives Emily Lim, and this is evident every day in her work inspiring her team of 130 digital minds. Lion & Lion managing partner Casper Andersen says Lim has been “the driving force for growth” at this relatively new entrant to the Malaysian marketing scene. Described as “equal parts heart, craft, geek and strategist”, Lim is much admired within her company for the humble yet brave approach she takes to her work. The Malaysian office has enjoyed a 30 percent improvement in retention under her leadership. Clients, too, speak very highly of their interactions with Lim, particularly concerning her unconventional approach to solving problems and her drive to achieve both short- and long-term results. In the last 12 months, Lim has scored some major successes for her company, including a 30 percent boost to Lion & Lion’s topline and a 90 percent boost to profit contribution, as well as adding at least one new client every month, including giants Facebook and the Coca Cola Company.
Rebecca Liu | Director of communications | Publicis Communications | Greater China: Formerly the youngest member of the Saatchi & Saatchi Greater China management team, Rebecca Liu’s “rare talent for communications” and “sophisticated market sensitivity” has seen her recently promoted to her current role leading PR, marketing and communications for all Publicis Communications agencies in Greater China. A deep believer in the power of creativity to change the world for good, Liu is described as a “fearless leader” who constantly seeks radical innovations through her daily work. She has been responsible for many industry ‘firsts’, including engineering a campaign against air pollution, which just took 24 hours from planning to execution, and organising the promotion of the first Saatchi & Saatchi New Director’s Showcase, a popular feature at Cannes, in China. In the past year she has undertaken a wide variety of high-profile initiatives to boost SSGC’s reputation: one standout success has been the development of a new PR strategy, ‘Advancing creativity using digital’, to showcase the agency’s use of digital.
Aarti Lyall | Regional strategy director | AdParlor | Singapore: A natural detective with a flair for transformation, Aarti Lyall never shies away from asking the difficult questions, and is always ready to get her hands dirty when she uncovers an issue that needs her attention. She is known for her meticulous attention to detail, and her skill at communicating complex ideas as tangible concepts. Working with a range of teams across the Asia-Pacific region, Lyall’s down-to-earth charisma has enabled her to cut across cultural barriers and build rapport with ease. But Lyall is a disruptor at heart, and is constantly challenging the status quo, both within the workplace and in the wider industry. Lyall was the driving force behind AdParlor’s shift last year from ad tech company to consultancy firm, and she worked with teams across the region to ensure the agency was able to resonate with the current needs of brand CMOs. “Aarti’s ability to pivot effortlessly is impressive. She moved to another country, expanded from digital to integrated media, and took on a goliath client like Google all in her stride,” says Catherine Ganapathy, Lyall’s former regional account director at PHD Singapore.
Margi Lynn | Head of social and content marketing | Uber and UberEATS, APAC | Singapore: This multitasker balances working full-time at Uber, lecturing part-time at Nanyang Technological University and parenting two toddlers. It’s how she does it that makes Margi Lynn stand out. She demonstrates to other women that they can be working mothers in industries and organisations that challenge them. In the past 12 months, Lynn has shared her time, experience, network, and enthusiasm with over 100 upper-level communications students and inspired them to join the industry. In addition to teaching and mentoring, Lynn has demonstrated a heightened level of commitment to support the cultural shift at Uber from the inside out. “Beyond her subject expertise, Lynn has quickly established herself as a leader and a role model,” says Eshan Ponnadurai, director, growth marketing, strategy and campaigns, APAC. “As Uber’s most senior woman marketer in Asia, she has played a significant role influencing the culture of the organisation and the development of many careers across Asia.”
Roshni Mahtani | Founder and CEO | Tickled Media | Singapore: An insightful innovator, Roshni Mahtani has been able to identify a specific need in the market and foresee just the right product for it. Her parenting portal, TheAsianParent.com, is the largest parenting portal in Southeast Asia, reaching over 10 million mums and dads monthly across Singapore, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Further expansion plans to Hong Kong and Taiwan are also in the works. “Even if I could capture only 1 percent of the 20 million Asian families online, that’d be about 200,000 of next-generation kids,” Mahtani says. Starting with just five employees in the first year of Tickled Media in 2009, Mahtani now employs over 100 ‘Ticklers’ across eight countries. She’s also transitioned the company from a single digital platform to a tech company. She mentors Singaporean entrepreneurs and founded the Female Founders Network in 2015. She’s also an angel investor in some of the members’ startups.
Anita Munro | Head of trading, APAC | Maxus | Singapore: A driven, honest, collaborative and no-nonsense approach has this year seen Anita Munro propelled to her position as the first female regional trading head of any GroupM agency in APAC. As someone unafraid to challenge the status quo, she has developed a region-wide ‘Trading all-stars’ programme to introduce consistent best-practice policies to tactical planning and trading functions, which has been rolled out across all four GroupM agencies. Munro’s leadership strategy focuses on building the strength of her team; as such, she set up the NGen initiative in Australia to inspire the next generation of media industry leaders through training and networking events. In February she also launched, in association with Campaign Asia-Pacific, the first Women Leading Change awards to honour female industry leaders in APAC and drive industry diversity — 57 women from 15 countries made the shortlist.
Selonica Nalawansa | Director | Publicis | Sri Lanka: A results-driven powerhouse with a proven reputation for “making things happen”, Selonica Nalawansa is described by her superiors as having shown grit and determination “from day one”. Nalawansa has turned her team around, making what was known in the firm as a “second shadow agency” into a unit with a strong reputation for success. Starting with a small portfolio, she has built it up to include a number of challenging local and multinational clients. Last year, Nalawansa took on leadership of the Nestlé account for Sri Lanka, and in that short time has boosted sales by 40 percent, year-on-year. For the past three years, Nalawansa has also served as treasurer of the executive committee of Sri Lanka’s 4As association, and has played a key role in driving positive change across the industry, particularly in terms of nurturing the next generation of talent. In April, she and her colleagues in the association persuaded 40 agencies in the market to sign up to a landmark ‘Pitch Disbursement’ charter.
Cassie Ng Si Hui | Digital art director | Y&R | Malaysia: At just 23 years of age, Cassie Ng is easily the youngest on this list, but in her short career she has already shown the tenacity, energy and raw talent to prove she has more than earned her title as a woman to watch. This impressive young professional already had her first global award — an FWA Site of the Day — under her belt before her 20th birthday, and that has been followed by successes at Cannes, Spikes Asia and others. But it is the desire for greater responsibility that drives Ng, not a shelf of shiny baubles. Always striving to be another step above where she stands, she fought for a seat at the table in Y&R Singapore’s digital creative team, then volunteered to move to the Malaysia office last year to set up the equivalent team there. She has already brought in multi-million-dollar clients and grown her team to seven. Keen to help other young creatives get ahead, she is an active mentor both in Y&R’s Zed Academy internship programme and for design students at various colleges in the city.
Tan Nguyen | Managing director | TBWA\ Group | Vietnam: With an IT degree and experience as a graphic designer, web developer, producer and sales manager for film and digital agencies, Tan Nguyen is not afraid to challenge the status quo. At 35, and a mother of twins, Nguyen leads by example and is present at all events — even if they are during the weekends. Colleagues describe her as a nurturing mentor and firm boss; albeit humble and always encouraging. Nguyen is most passionate about strong ideas that truly drive business success. Last year, she led a pitch conversion rate of 60 percent (80 percent for local clients), increasing revenue by more than 15 percent, while maintaining 80 percent of existing clients’ business. With all her success in driving growth the past year, she was promoted to managing director in December, continuing to integrate and innovate the agency’s capabilities for regional and local clients.
Christine Park | Executive director, head of Edelman Digital Korea (brand and digital practice) | Edelman | Korea: Joining Edelman in 2015, Christine Park led Edelman Digital Korea, combining for the first time the agency’s brand and digital practices. Through merging these two teams, she increased the digital business by 250 percent by rebranding and positioning different brands through the creation of project-based specialists. Beginning with a team of 18 two years ago, she now leads 50 staff. She was the first person in Edelman Korea to orchestrate paid media campaigns, worth US$8 million, with a beauty brand. Park has earned the respect of her team members through leading by example and applying a management style that evolves individuals, motivates them and gets the best out of everyone. Colleagues say Park “lives in the future”. She is able to detect subtle changes in clients’ needs through her vision and foresight on business opportunities, and has a unique understanding of Korea’s rapid-changing consumer market and trends.
Brodie Reid | Group business director | Colenso BBDO | New Zealand: Brodie Reid has a hard-won reputation for being able to keep a cool head under the most demanding levels of pressure. An intuitive manager, Reid has a natural ability to build relationships, conceptualise, sell in and consistently deliver outstanding work. Direct yet approachable, she has created an inclusive environment at Colenso BBDO in which people feel empowered to do better work. Little wonder her career has been on such a dramatic trajectory, with major promotions each of the last three years. Standouts from the past 12 months include taking a “small banner brief” from Amnesty International and turning it into a global campaign on cyber censorship, and the mega-award-winning ‘Brewtroleum’ campaign for DB Breweries. Maud Meijboom-van Wel, the latter’s then-marketing director, says Reid was “critical to the success of our brand”. “The way she takes the lead in projects, from strategy all the way to execution, I haven’t experienced before. She manages every stakeholder in a way that they feel part of the team, that there is clarity and that things get done.”
Louise Romeo | Head of implementation and investment | Carat | Australia: Colleagues describe Louise Romeo as “a potent combination of ingenuity, tenacity and … humility”, and her long list of achievements at Carat mark her out as a force to be reckoned with. One of Romeo’s key recent innovations has been to collaborate with the data team in the creation of an automated TV-buying dashboard, which allows teams to complete TV reporting in less than a minute — a considerable saving on the three-to-four hours the task traditionally takes. She has also spearheaded a new set of best-practice guidelines for Carat Australia, setting out the agency’s position on everything from negotiation to post-analysis, which have been implemented across the Dentsu Aegis Network. Leading Carat’s team of 65 investment and trading specialists, Romeo has shown herself to be driven by the human factor, investing heavily in the development of her own staff and known as a champion for the power of knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the agency. She extends this approach beyond her own office, regularly hosting training seminars and ‘media inspiration breakfasts’ for the wider industry.
Phantom Shy | Lead data analyst | Amnet | Taiwan: Known for her deep commitment to the field of data analysis, Phantom Shy has demonstrated a passionate enthusiasm for new concepts and challenges — a crucial trait in the rapidly developing area of programmatic. She has played a key role in developing Amnet Taiwan’s DMP, the first locally scaled DMP in the market. Shy was responsible for managing the entire project, starting it from scratch and having the platform up and running within the year. Since the launch, Shy continues to manage the programmatic team, ensuring the system runs at optimum efficiency. The platform now enables some 50 of the agency’s clients to map complete customer journeys, and has delivered a reduction in CPA of 15 percent to 25 percent. Shy has a reputation for being unwaveringly strict with herself, yet understanding with others — qualities which have enabled her to be a great mentor and role model within Amnet.
Angelyn Soh | Social media director | IPG Mediabrands | Philippines:
Social media champion 29-year-old Angelyn Soh set up and grew IPG Mediabrands’ Philippines social media team from just three people to 15 in the span of 18 months. She has won new business clients and in the past 12 months handled a large variety of brands across the Philippines, from a leading presidential candidate to the 65th Miss Universe event. No wonder David Trovell, MD, Initiative, IPG Mediabrands, Philippines, says: “I always walk away from a conversation with Angie feeling inspired, and feeling that the business is in good hands. She is a pleasure to work with and definitely a person to watch.” Soh has been promoted every year since she started her career in social media five years ago. She is also an avid supporter and advocate for refugee rights and works with young people from refugee backgrounds to help them harness the power of social media to change the perception the world has of them.
Sorada Sonprasit | Chief executive officer | Brilliant & Million | Thailand: This former flight attendant and banker is the current key driver of Thailand’s digital industry. Sorada Sonprasit holds the rare distinction of being the only female digital leader (and founder and CEO) of the only digital company to be named Digital Agency of the Year for five consecutive years. She is a mentor and friend to her employees, who describe her as a “hybrid leader, compassionate mother duck and the people developer”. Sonprasit is also the only female member on the board of DAAT (Digital Advertising Association of Thailand). She insists on fresh graduates making up 15 percent of B&M’s workforce in order to develop new digital talent. An enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker, Sonprasit was the keynote speaker on digital and social media at this year’s Media Agency Association of Thailand and at the Asia Business Connect conference. She embodies the culture of her company where ‘Passion drives everything’.
Namita Sopal | Group director | Carat Connect | Australia: Hailed as an “outstanding strategic thinker”, Namita Sopal has, at the age of just 30, enjoyed a stellar rise through the ranks at Carat Australia and was recently promoted to group director of Connect. Here she leads a team of five specialists tasked with bridging the gap between stategy and media for clients such as Woolworths and Mastercard — and making big ideas happen. As such, Sopal conducted a research project for Woolworths that completely changed the way Carat optimises ecosystem planning for the firm, in turn contributing to Woolworths recording one of its most successful quarters in recent years. Sopal is also behind ‘Wave Lab’, an internal think-tank for junior team members that aims to promote alternative approaches to creative thinking. The winner of the highly competitive Carat Scholarship last year, Sopal’s “infectious energy” is expected to take her far. Considering candidates for this list, Carat chief strategy officer Sam Hegg says its gender filter is, in fact, irrelevant: “When I look at the 450-plus people at Carat Australia, there are very few, if any, male or female, that I would put ahead of her.”
Satoko Takada | Creative director | McCann Tokyo | Japan: Satoko Takada is a supreme creative talent, wining many awards for her work both in Japan and overseas as well as being responsible for a spectacular roster of new business wins. Alongside this success, what makes Takada truly stand out as a woman to watch is her single-minded passion for gender equality. Admired for her directness and candour, Takada’s mission to get the Japanese advertising industry to recognise the gender gap began when she noticed that men dominated the Japan Advertising Agencies Association’s ‘2015 Creator of the Year’ issue. She has since approached the association to start discussions on how to change this, while simultaneously establishing a “barrier-free project” within McCann Worldgroup to help make her company a better working place for women. These actions earned her one of 15 places on the See It Be It panel for future female creative leaders at Cannes this year.
Eugenia Tan | Managing director | Goodstuph | Singapore: From the humble days of sharing a single desk with one colleague in a 500-sqft office in a lowly Chinatown shophouse, to leading a 30-member agency as a respected and admired managing director, Eugenia Tan is without doubt a woman to watch. Her strong sense of ‘servant-leadership’ sets her apart from other top-tier managers. She is known by many of the industry’s veterans, yet her name remains relatively unknown. That is what sets her apart. Her modesty and disregard for fame have always been a virtue imperative to the growth of her agency. Tan’s passion shows in the work and in the way that clients have stayed with Goodstuph through the years, with more and bigger clients, such as Changi Airport and Singtel, signing on. Of the nine pitches that Goodstuph participated in in 2016, six were won in large part because of Tan’s guidance. The agency won several social marketing awards as well.
Bhavna Thapar | Director, consumer brands | Edelman | India:
Bhavna Thapar joined Edelman as an intern in 2004; today, she is the youngest, most vocal member of the leadership team, spearheading one of the most formidable brand PR units in the country. Thapar has secured high-profile global and local projects and spearheaded the launch of some of the most iconic consumer brands in the country. Over the last 12 months, she has led Edelman’s portfolio expansion, promoting its integrated communications marketing approach, pulling together the most relevant specialities and expertise and personally leading every pitch with creative and insight-led aptitude with a 100-percent conversion rate. “From client management to business management to people development, Thapar really has no weaknesses,” says Robert Holdheim, former MD, Edelman South Asia, Middle East, Africa. “Add to that smart, as hard-working as they come, and absolutely fearless. I always thought she would be my boss someday. That day seems to be fast approaching.”
Vivian Wang | CMO | iQIYI | China: Apart from heading sales and marketing for China’s largest online video site, Vivian Wang has also been a guest host on its food show and created and designed the brand’s fashion label, ‘i71’. As a founding member of iQIYI, Wang has taken the startup to the No 1 spot in advertising sales among China’s online streaming companies. She invented and successfully achieved the SWS (search-watch-share) video-streaming marketing model that helped maximise iQIYI’s screen-marketing and gain Rmb100 million (US$14.8 million) on title sponsorship of a single internet-original show. Last year, one of her clients achieved eight-fold sales growth in their Alibaba-powered T-Mall online store in merely an hour when their sponsored iQIYI show went live. Wang also helped iQIYI achieve more than Rmb500 million revenue on one single piece of iQIYI original content, creating yet another first for the industry.