IAB CEO David Cohen Reveals ALM's Diverse Agenda

As the advertising industry continues to embrace change, the planning committee for this year’s Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM) reached out to leaders outside the industry to maintain diversity of thought, gender, and ethnicity.

The IAB demonstrates that commitment with political leader and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stacey Abrams to take the stage as part of the diverse speaker lineup.

The event is scheduled to take place in March.

‘While Stacey doesn’t work in the media and marketing industry, she allows us to open our minds to the art of the possible,” said IAB CEO David Cohen. “If you dream it — it can come. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”

Cohen said the IAB is not looking to make a political statement, but rather to create a diverse roster of speakers.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has advised seven Presidents on a variety of domestic and global health issues, will speak at ALM on the convergence of science and data in a world of divided opinions.

“In the 25 years that the digital media and marketing ecosystem existed, there have been very few times more important than the precipice we’re on now as we re-architect the foundation of the internet,” Cohen said. “While media and marketing are important, we exist in a far larger and more important environment that has gone through a year unlike any other year — on many dimensions like health, racial equality, and economic uncertainty. We wanted to make sure we acknowledge all.”

The conference theme — the great reset — delves into a variety of topics, including resetting the industry’s foundation based on addressability, privacy, identity, and safety, as well as the progress made across the industry and the progress yet to come.

“We need national legislation to support privacy reform rather than state-by-state privacy laws,” Cohen said. “It’s a drum I beat often. We cannot afford a state-by state patchwork of privacy reform.”

For the week of the meeting (March 8-12), Friday's agenda is dedicated to public policy, while Section 230, the bill and protections and topics such as hate speech, misinformation and disinformation also are on the agenda.

Cohen said it will become apparent that the industry is ready for national privacy reform. Speakers on these topics include South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, and FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington.

Attendees also will spend most of a day speaking and hearing about the streaming revolution.

“The acceleration of advancement in that space over a concentrated period of time has led consumers to move faster than the advertising industry,” Cohen said. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, so we need to do more to make sure advertising and marketing grows with consumer activity.”

Themes for the conference also include commerce and what it means to be a retailer. Each of these have needed to become a media network.

The state of data is another topic that will be covered, with analysis of the implications around major brands ensuring they have first-party data.  

New speakers who have joined the week-long virtual summit include:

  • Stacey Abrams, Founder, Fair Fight
  • Conny Braams, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, Unilever
  • Heidi Browning, Chief Marketing Officer, National Hockey League
  • Albert Cheng, Chief Operating Officer & Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios
  • Danielle Lee, Chief Fan Officer, National Basketball Association
  • Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer, YouTube and SVP, Google
  • Brian Stetler, Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of Reliable Sources, CNN
  • Marisa Thalberg, EVP, Chief Brand & Marketing Officer, Lowe's
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