By the time an OMMA Awards entry reaches the winner’s circle, it has survived two rounds of judging. Round One consists of the MediaPost editorial team reviewing and judging each of the categories. Our editors handpick three finalists per category and then send the results to the OMMA Awards judges, who choose a winner for each category, as well as a "Best in Show."
Finola Austin co-leads the Refinery29 Intelligence team—new media company Refinery29's research, strategy and measurement practice. Here she's worked for a plethora of brands across the Beauty, Fashion/Retail and Lifestyle space, helping them connect with young women. Prior to joining Refinery29, she had stints at Ogilvy & Mather in New York and Hill & Knowlton Strategies in London. She was part of the prestigious WPP Fellowship program and has two degrees from the University of Oxford.
Carl leads the strategic direction for the growth and seismic shift in data and digital services for MEC, a leading global media and marketing agency. He is a leader in the industry and a frequent speaker and consultant on the transformations occurring in digital and technology; often quoted in the press for his views on the future of marketing and media.
Carl has extensive marketing and media experience in a multitude of brand categories including automotive, financial services, consumer package goods, retail, eCommerce, pharmaceutical, telecommunications and travel.
Carl serves on the advisory boards of a select number technology, media and venture capital companies as well as a consultant for GLG, Guidepoint Global and Pacific Crest. These positions provide Carl with a unique view of the advances in the industry. Carl was elected to the Ad Club of New York Board of Directors in 2009 and in July 2015 became Chairman. He has also served as its lead for the I’m Part Media Action, which since its inception has raised over $10MM (US) for scholarships and training for diversity talent in the Marketing and Communications fields.
At Digitas from 2000 to 2013, Carl led the Global Media practice working with clients including America Express, Whirlpool, Delta, Sprint, Mars, Meade Johnson, AT&T and eBay.
Prior to joining Digitas, Carl was a Senior Vice President of Media Services at Wunderman; a leading performance based and CRM company. During Carl’s 16 year tenure at Wunderman, he managed all direct marketing activities for the company including Ford, Citibank, American Express and AT&T.
Suraj Gandhi is the Global Head of the Addressable Content Engine (ACE) for both UM Studios and J3 Studios. He has spent nearly a decade working in the digital creative and innovation space, developing strategic approaches to deliver on brand growth.
Suraj is responsible for Precision Marketing efforts across UM and J3, which leverage data and content to develop one-to-one personalization at scale for clients. He has been a key stakeholder in developing the agency’s data-driven content offering. Suraj and his team have been recognized more than 25 times with various awards including Adweek Media Plan of the Year, OMMA MediaPost, Festival of Media and North American Effie Awards.
Prior to UM, Suraj spent time at creative agencies and in AdTech working on clients such as Stoli Vodka, Comcast, ING Direct, Capital One 360 & EPM Intelligence. At UM, he focuses on key clients such as Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Fitbit, Hershey, Coach, Sony Pictures, TIAA, and BMW, among others.
Suraj’s passion sits at the intersection of media, content, data and technology where worlds collide to create the best results-driven marketing communications possible.
Stella Guan is an award-winning visual designer with experience spanning across multiple disciplines and industries. Started her career in broadcast design, Stella has been pushing the boundaries between the specialist and generalist role with her diverse experience in creating effective visual solutions for marketing agencies, advertising agencies, technology companies and global financial services firms.
She is a winner of the 2017-2018 A' Design Award in Web and Web Design Category, 2018 American Web Design Award by GDUSA Magazine and CSS Design Awards.
Currently, she leads major brand initiatives for J.P. Morgan, where she directs and creates impactful visual design for interactive webpages, videos, animations and brand guidelines. She is a proud member of the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts and the International Association of Designers. She also served as a judge for the A' Design Award, CSS Design Awards, Communicator Awards, W3 Award and Creativity International Awards.
Sarah Hofstetter is Chairwoman of 360i, a top advertising agency in the U.S. that has helped its clients capitalize on industry changes. During her 13-year tenure, including five years as CEO, Sarah has led the creation of best in class practices across creative, media and digital. Under Sarah’s stewardship, 360i has been named Adweek’s Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year and featured in Ad Age’s coveted A-List issue for eight consecutive years.
Driving Sarah’s success is her solutions-oriented mindset and ability to steer client business through disruption. Since joining 360i in 2005, Sarah has created and consistently evolved 360i’s capabilities, equipping brands such as Oreo, HBO, Absolut, FOX, Nestlé and others with the tools and knowledge to tackle their most pressing business challenges and leverage their paid, earned and owned media strategies through integration. Within the agency, Sarah cultivates a culture of curiosity and empowers employees to develop innovative marketing solutions on behalf of clients. Under Sarah’s watch, 360i has grown from a small startup with 30 employees to a household name within the industry, with offices across the country and a staff of 1,000 strong.
Throughout the agency’s growth, Sarah has kept client business at the forefront, producing years of award-winning work and receiving prominent recognition at Cannes and the Effies. Sarah has also shepherded many of the agency’s social good initiatives, including concepting and launching ‘the den’, a free workshop providing digital education to nonprofit marketers.
Sarah currently sits on the 4A’s Board of Directors, and was named to both the 2014 AAF Hall of Achievement and the 4A’s list of 100 People Who Make Advertising Great. Sarah has been recognized by Advertising Age’s "40 Under 40," the Adweek 50, Adweek Power 100 and has been inducted into the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame. She frequently lends her expertise for commentary in The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age and The New York Times. She has also taken the stage at Cannes Lions Creativity Festival and Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit, among others.
Before being named Chair in 2018 and CEO in 2013, Sarah served as 360i’s President and Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy & Emerging Media, where in 2006, she founded the agency’s social media practice, well before Twitter and Instagram even existed. Prior to joining 360i, she was President and Founder of Kayak Communications, a marketing agency focused on developing brand strategy and communications plans for new media brands. Before starting her own agency, Sarah spent 10 years at Net2Phone in a series of senior leadership positions, one of the world's first providers of VoIP technology.
As Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather, Kelly Kulaitis brings over 10 years of experience delivering award-winning ideas for clients in the retail, hospitality, travel and consumer entertainment industries. She has created and launched branding, loyalty and engagement campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands including Sony, Marriott International and United Airlines and Walgreens—where she won two Webby Awards for her loyalty work on the Walgreens mobile app. Kelly graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Political Science and later studied French language at Université Paris Sorbonne. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her dog, Bette Davis.
Steve Minichini is CEO of AboveNation Media. Steve is a 25+ year veteran in the advertising industry with a deep concentration in digital marketing. He began his career with Jordan, McGrath, Case, Taylor in New York and rose to the Media Director position within 10 years. The allure and rapid growth of digital media convinced him to join imc2, an independent full service interactive agency. As Senior Vice President, Managing Director of its New York and Philadelphia offices, Steve launched and managed all interactive media and optimization, as well as the search engine marketing team. Steve also served as President of Enversa™, a proprietary online media buying tool he created in 2004.
Ellen Mullen is the Associate Creative Director at Situation, a digital-first marketing agency specializing in entertainment and live events. Ellen leads the Content Team, who dream up content for a variety of accounts—from Stoli® Vodka to Meals on Wheels to The Tony Awards®.
With several years in the arts, Ellen is a theatrical badass. She received her MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University, worked in CAA’s theater department, and raised a joyful hell as the Flea Theater’s Audience Development Manager. She now spends her days writing, editing, and playing with words all day.
The line between online and offline is almost fully dissolved, and that really freaks some people out. Carren, on the other hand, specializes in user-focused ideas that live happily in the space between. She strives to create the kind of experiences the world would miss if they didn’t exist.
A writer by training and a conceptual creative leader in practice, Carren helped found AnalogFolk Portland after departing AKQA, where she built campaigns and experiences for brands such as Nike, Google, Calvin Klein, Kraft, and Anheuser-Busch.
Prior to joining D&G, she was Founder and Principal at Silicon Valley-based Manila Envelope Consulting, helping leaders of organizations at critical inflection points define their brand, messaging and go-to-market strategies.
Before that, Yumi spent over four years as SVP, Managing Director at T3’s San Francisco office, and held senior roles at WPP agencies including Grey San Francisco and JWT Asia (Bangkok and Singapore). Over the course of her career, she has led geographically and functionally matrixed agency collaborations and has overseen global, regional and national initiatives for clients such as Hotwire, Microsoft, Nokia, Charles Schwab and Unilever.
Josh Robinson is ECD/Principal of Atlanta-based, omni-channel creative agency, My Friend's Nephew (MFN). An art director by trade, Josh has spent the last 18 years of his career crafting ideas for Fortune 500 brands as well as nonprofits. His work has garnered recognition by the international creative marketing & design community, including the One Show and Communication Arts. In 2014, the United Nations honored his work for The End It Movement, an anti-human trafficking organization, with its Award for Public Service Advertising.
Since opening its doors in January 2015, MFN has added many impressive clients to its roster, such as Red Bull, Mizuno, General Mills and ESPN. The agency is also dedicated to taking on pro bono work for nonprofits and NGOs.
Josh is an Atlanta native with a heart for his home city and its people. He and his wife, along with their three children, are active volunteers in their community.
Having started her career as an art director in traditional ad agencies, Julia’s passion is creating experiences that marry brand, business and user needs. With over 15 years in the industry, she has helped lead the development of digital campaigns, sites and products across fashion, insurance, travel and hospitality, health & wellness, technology and financial services.
From launching Nivea’s first mobile site in the US to leading the design of a pioneering global mobile sales tool for MetLife Japan, Julia has helped teams define mobile experiences that align to customer needs and behaviors. Across responsive redesign initiatives for clients including David Yurman and Bed Bath & Beyond, she has helped clients adopt mobile-first design systems and UX methodologies that better connect design and development processes.
Throughout all of these initiatives, a core focus of Julia’s has also been helping clients evolve their design standards to consider mobile UI design and micro-interactions as an extension of their branding. An active member in the New York design community, Julia is committed to supporting future female creative leaders through her involvement in SheSays, Ladies That UX and the Women’s Leadership Network.
In the past year Julia has been invited to serve on the Addys and Caples Jury.
Julia is a champion for design thinking, lean methodologies and the relentless pursuit of greatness. She believes that creativity is an extension of empathy, determination often trumps talent, collaboration and competition can co-exist, and that being nice is supremely underrated.