Empower Bulks Up Team, Focuses On Measurement 'Disruption'

Ashlee Clarke, CEO and owner of Empower Media, has been busy putting her stamp on the Cincinnati media agency she acquired in January. 

The most recent examples are the hiring of Meta veteran and machine-learning expert Yating Sun as executive vice president and head of marketing science and longtime GroupM veteran Art Zambianchi as chief operating officer.

Clarke has also made more effective integrated media measurement a top priority.



At Meta, Sun was global head of marketing science where she’s credited with playing a key role in the development of Meta’s real-time media mix modeling platform, Robyn, designed to optimize media strategies. 

Zambianchi is a 30-year veteran of the Chicago marketing community and most recently served as executive director for Mindshare, overseeing accounts and operations across the US network. Previously, he headed the Chicago office of Mediacom. Prior to joining GroupM, he was head of global advertising and brand for Motorola Mobility, where he helped launch the Android platform. He spent over a decade at Chicago agencies like DDB, Publicis/Hal Riney and Starcom. 

Other recent senior hires at Empower:  

  • Spencer Koch has joined as EVP, Managing Director; previously, he was managing director at GroupM at both Mindshare and Wavemaker. 

  • Marijke Woodruff, a highly awarded executive with 24 years of experience at P&G, now assumes the role of chief people officer.  

  • Brian McIntyre, renowned for his 22-year tenure at Publicis Hawkeye as COO and CFO, steps into the role of Empower CFO.  

  • Paxton Song, former executive in eBay's performance marketing division, assumes the position of EVP, performance marketing, contributing his strategic prowess to Empower's dynamic team. 

  • Lee Doyle, former GroupM executive and president of New York-based media agency NitroC (also owned by Clarke) joined Empower in March as EVP/group managing director.  

Clarke is also focused on a key industry issue — exploring more effective integrated measurement solutions that will help reduce what the agency calls the $130 billion in annual “media wastage.” 

To that end and in what the agency called a first, it hosted a two-day “summit” last month in Cincinatti that included agency client executives as well as representatives from Nielsen, VideoAmp, Comscore, and iSpot. Presentations focused on planning for what the agency described as the “expected and continued media measurement and currency disruption across the modern media landscape.”  

Stated Clarke: "In the last year we have seen Nielsen single currency be challenged by the Big Data offerings of VideoAmp, iSpot and Comscore. We see many multi-currency options across media companies today and predict a significant number of media companies will eliminate currency choice in favor of exclusive partnerships — much like we have seen in-market with Comscore and Scripps, and VideoAmp and Allen.” 

In the next 12 months, Clarke added, she anticipates more such partnerships, leading to further “industry-wide media currency fragmentation.” 

That in turn will “significantly impact the way media agencies and brands go to market in Q3, 2024,” Clarke added.  

“We see the absolute need to be on the frontline of this discussion and lead the change our clients must have to protect their media investments.” 

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