• Wednesday, Jul. 29, 2020
James Mejía named CEO of Denver Film
James Mejia

James Mejia has been appointed CEO of Denver Film, the non-profit cultural institution that produces the award-winning Denver Film Festival, the popular summertime series Film on the Rocks at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, and provides year-round film programming and education at the Sie FilmCenter. Selected after a comprehensive national search that attracted strong applicants from across the United States, the Denver native will begin serving in his new role on Aug. 10. 

Mejia brings a 25-year career to Denver Film. As CEO, he will be responsible for directing Denver Film’s overall operations, program delivery, outreach efforts and fundraising. In addition, Mejia will help guide the vision for Denver Film and build upon the organization’s 42-year history of community and industry impact.

He comes to the organization following nine years of operating his own business and political consulting firm, as well as the past three years serving as managing partner of Pan American Business where he helped diverse organizations access new markets across Colorado. 

“After some very high profile and significant challenges and successes in my career, I’ve had the opportunity to spend the better part of the past decade running a business where I’ve enjoyed premium flexibility of my time to raise my kids and bring our family to a point that I can now jump back into the fray of running one of our city’s major cultural institutions,” said Mejia who is the father of three children. “I’ve watched and admired Denver Film’s impact on this community for decades and I’m excited to bring my skills and experiences to a team of talented professionals as we help grow and expand this organization in the decades to come. When the diverse cultural patrons of our community look at their annual memberships and charitable commitments, I want Denver Film at the top of their list, right up there with the Denver Zoo, Art Musuem, the Botanic Gardens and the Museum of Nature and Science.”

Earlier in his career, Mejia was recruited by former Denver Mayors John Hickenlooper and Wellington Webb to lead and manage some of the city’s most important, complex and challenging agencies and capital projects. He served as the founding president/CEO of the nationally-recognized Denver Preschool Program, as well as project manager for the $425 million bond project to build the Denver Justice Center. 

Mejia has also served as manager for the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation; deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade; executive director for the Agency for Human Rights and Community Relations; as well as president/COO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His 2011 Mayoral run ended with Mejia in third place among the 10 candidates in what was Denver’s closest Mayoral race in history.

“James impressed our search committee, our board and our staff the way he has impressed our business, political and cultural communities throughout his career,” said Kevin Teng, chair of the Denver Film Board of Directors and the CEO search committee. “He defines commitment and dedication and his accomplishments and proven reputation, as well as his vision for how Denver Film and its programs can expand to impact even larger, diverse audiences, pushed him to the forefront of what was a very competitive field of candidates. Our board was unanimous in approving his appointment.”

A lifelong volunteer and community servant, Mejia was the first Latino elected citywide to serve a four-year role as at-large member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education. In addition, he has received numerous honors for his service and leadership on board and committees for some of the region’s most prominent organizations, foundations and charitable causes.

“From his work behind the scenes to playing a leading role, James is a highly respected and proven collaborator and leader in our community that delivers an understanding, appreciation and vision for Denver Film and the opportunities we have to help further define our city’s cultural influence,” said Denver Film Festival Director Britta Erickson.

  • Tuesday, Jul. 28, 2020
Renata Florio named chief creative officer of Ogilvy Health
Renata Florio

Renata Florio has joined Ogilvy Health as chief creative officer (CCO). She will have creative oversight of all of the agency’s U.S.-based offices. Florio comes over from Ogilvy’s New York office where she served as a global executive creative director overseeing creative for its health and wellness offerings for the past three years.

Florio brings a wealth of experience both within and outside of the healthcare marketing arena, having created and executed campaigns for major consumer and healthcare brands. With her extensive international marketing experience acquired over the course of her 25-year career, Florio has been responsible for brand campaigns in more than 80 countries covering all media channels. Florio will report to Andrew Schirmer and work closely with Kate Cronin in their roles as co-presidents of Ogilvy Health.

Florio is a highly decorated creative force with widespread recognition from some of the most prestigious creative competitions in the industry, including Cannes Lions, the Effie Awards, CLIO Awards, One Show Awards, London International Awards, and the New York Festivals Advertising Awards. Florio was acknowledged as one of the Extraordinary Women in the Makers@Ogilvy competition. Additionally, she has served as a jury member for Cannes Lions, One Show and the New York Festivals competitions.

  • Monday, Jul. 27, 2020
Mower adds SVP/CD Baron, account director Chapman
Michael Baron

Independent advertising, marketing, and public relations agency Mower has added two seasoned industry vets to its roster, naming Michael Baron as sr. VP and creative director for the agency’s Buffalo, Rochester, and Boston offices and Kelly Chapman as account director for both the Buffalo and Rochester offices.

Baron, who was with Mower earlier in his career, most recently served as the executive creative director at Partners + Napier where he oversaw creative work for clients including BMW Financial Services, Corelle Brands, and Highmark Health.

Baron’s work has been recognized by The One Show, The Tellys, Effie Worldwide, and the ADDYS—where he recently took home his second consecutive Best of Broadcast Award for Highmark’s “Six Words” campaign. Prior to joining Partners + Napier, Baron also spent time at Saatchi & Saatchi, Y&R, and Hill Holliday.

Chapman also joins Mower from Partners + Napier, where she helped to create and lead the agency’s Health & Wellness vertical. She has deep experience with a variety of healthcare accounts, including insurers, providers, and OTC, and will lead Mower’s healthcare specialty practice.

Her responsibilities will also include driving growth in the Buffalo and Rochester markets, as well as contributing to other new business and organic growth initiatives. Chapman, the past president of the Rochester Advertising Federation, will remain on the board and is actively seeking opportunities to support the Buffalo advertising community.

Mower has nine offices located in New York City; Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; and Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Syracuse, NY.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2020
Ester Harding joins Sweetshop & Green as development exec
Ester Harding
MELBOURNE, Australia -- 

Sweetshop & Green has appointed Ester Harding as development executive across its Australia and New Zealand operations.

Harding will join recently appointed development executive Katy Roberts, and will be responsible for identifying and leading the development of Australian and New Zealand narrative and documentary projects, with a focus on international co-productions intended for a global market. Harding will nurture talent relationships and oversee slated projects throughout creative development into production and distribution. 

Harding is a screen producer. Her most recent role was with Screen Australia as a development exec. Prior to this, she produced with See Pictures the award-nominated short Remembering Agatha for writer, director and artist Emma Magenta (Adelaide FF/ABC Arts co-commission). Harding co-produced feature comedy Swinging Safari for writer, director Stephan Elliott; and she was a production executive on the adaptation of Tim Winton’s best-selling novel, “Breath,” for writer, director Simon Baker. Her career spans drama, documentary (I Am A Girl, The Surgery Ship) and interactive projects (Storm Surfers "4D," After Six-Four), together with teaching (MetroScreen, AFTRS, ICE) and community management (StoryCode, Screen Producers Australia NSW Chapter).

Gal Greenspan, co-managing director of Sweetshop & Green, said, “Ester joins us with an absolute wealth of experience that exactly fits with Sweetshop & Green’s sensibilities and ambitions for film and TV series in a topical and diverse arena. She will be integral in producing content that will arouse discussion and connect with audiences on an international level.”

Harding said, “It is an honor to join Sweetshop & Green, a company poised for global reach. While the industry is in flux, we share a constancy of creative ambition and social values. I’m excited by the challenge and opportunity to build relationships with international co-producing partners, to collaborate across our slate of projects. Together, we will focus on bringing distinctive screen stories from diverse creators to local and international audiences.”

  • Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020
Oliver Fuselier joins Great Guns USA as managing director/EP
Oliver Fuselier

International production company Great Guns has named Oliver Fuselier managing director and executive producer for the U.S.

Fuselier’s 20-years-plus career has seen him produce for and manage high-profile talent including directors Michael Bay, Danielle Levitt, David Fincher, Alma Har’el, Jaci Judleson and Mike Mills. His work has been recognized at numerous awards ceremonies, including winning a Palme d’Or for Production Company of the Year at Cannes Lions and two Emmys. He has also served on juries for Cannes Lions, LIAs, AICP, and Ciclope and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Fuselier joins Great Guns USA from L.A.-based production company Keeper (formally known as Eskimo) where his role as MD, partner, and strategic consultant saw him orchestrate numerous projects end-to-end, leverage relationships with talented creatives, and fuel revenue growth. 

Prior to this, he was managing partner, live action at Tool of North America for eight years. During this time he oversaw every component of Tool’s operations, working closely with creatives across production to drive innovation and compelling storytelling.

In his new role at Great Guns, Fuselier will strive to keep “creative first,” raising the profile of the company’s global roster of talent in the U.S. and continuing to highlight the importance of diverse perspectives in production--championing the notion that talent is defined not only by the director but influencers, artists, innovators, and technicians. He will search for U.S.-based and global directors and artists, supporting the roster by sourcing creative opportunities wherever the path leads. He will confront, support, and keep talking about the efforts that need to be made in the industry and its approach to discovering talent and new partners.

Laura Gregory, founder of Great Guns, said, “We’d been planning our expansion in America for many months before the impact of coronavirus rippled across the globe. The U.S. now faces a more challenging future than we had imagined, so we couldn’t have asked for a better person to be on board to help our clients. It’s always been our philosophy to support young talent and Oliver’s ambitions fit perfectly with the ethos we’ve built across the years. He will no doubt push our global reach to new heights whilst making us question everything in order to drive forward.”

Fuselier is enthused over joining Great Guns where he will set out to help “continue the growth of a company where Laura has been such a trailblazer when it comes to supporting global talent. Great Guns’ incredible roster is testament to this – I’m looking forward to showing the U.S. ad community what we can offer. Clients and agencies are having to adjust to completely new ways of working and I believe with Great Guns’ capabilities we can help them navigate these challenges while offering a more innovative, inclusive approach to production. Now truly is the time for industry to embrace these changes and refocus on what is important in this day and age--we want to be at the forefront of this.”

  • Tuesday, Jul. 14, 2020
Gail Anderson, Sherina Florence appointed to One Club’s board of directors
Sherina Florence

The One Club for Creativity has enhanced diversity within its leadership with the appointments of Gail Anderson, chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and Sherina Florence, creative director at Ogilvy, New York, to its national board of directors.

Anderson and Florence were nominated by David Baldwin, head of Baldwin&, Raleigh, and Steve Sandstrom, creative director, designer and founder at Sandstrom Partners, Portland, who decided to step down from the board after each serving for nearly 20 years.

“Gail and Sherina are dynamic, respected leaders who will help us in our mission to support the global creative community,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO, The One Club.  “Diversity makes for a better organization, and enhances the programming and support we provide to the industry.  We’ll continue to take meaningful action on this front, and challenge other agencies, brands and organizations to do the same.”

More than 60% of The One Club board is made up of women and people of color.

Board responsibilities include providing input and feedback on the club’s more than two dozen annual professional development, education, inclusion & diversity and gender equality programs, connecting the club with advertising and design universities and schools, and recommending outstanding creative candidates to serve on juries for The One Show and ADC Annual Awards.

“I’m excited to work on The One Club education initiatives that can elevate our BIPOC colleagues and students worldwide, and help provide a more robust voice for all communities of color,” Anderson said.

“The One Club’s global impact on advertising is unparalleled,” said Florence.  “I’m honored to be joining a long legacy of distinguished creative leaders who’ve served the board, and humbled by David Baldwin’s choice to step down after 20 years of service. Both David and Steve are icons who have once again created space for more fresh perspectives. Thanks to the entire board for the appointment, I look forward to contributing for years to come.”

“We had the luxury of a tremendous list of candidates to fill our seats but Sherina and Gail stood out from all of them,” said Baldwin, who joined the Board in 2000.  “They are going to make a tremendous impact on the club’s future.”  

“It’s been a tremendous honor to have served on The One Club Board,” said Sandstrom, who has been on since 2003.  “I believe Gail’s and Sherina’s exceptional talent, wisdom and experience will add substantially to the club’s character and mission.”

  • Friday, Jul. 10, 2020
WarnerMedia Entertainment promotes Gagne, Jennings
Jackie Gagne

Jackie Gagne will be promoted from VP, Multicultural Marketing, HBO to SVP, Multicultural Marketing, WarnerMedia Entertainment, and Richard Jennings from VP, Design + Production, HBO to SVP, Design + Production, WarnerMedia Entertainment. Gagne and Jennings are based in New York and will continue to report to Lucinda Martinez, EVP of Multicultural Marketing, Brand & Inclusion Strategy, WarnerMedia Entertainment.
Since the consolidation of the Brand, Multicultural, International and Design + Production teams into one department earlier this year, the group has overcome a variety of challenges in order to support WME’s strategic priorities and the demands of an increased portfolio.
For the past six years, Gagne has been instrumental in establishing HBO’s multicultural marketing strategy and has succeeded in helping develop a unique team. From Game of Thrones to 2 Dope Queens, Insecure and On The Record, she has overseen an extensive list of audience-led, culturally relevant campaign initiatives and targeted brand experiences. Her team was recently named a “Center of Expertise” within WarnerMedia, and has begun sharing best practices across the company’s brand portfolio.
In addition to supporting HBO’s programming franchises, Gagne has used the multicultural platform to amplify diverse voices and uplift storytellers through a variety of initiatives, including HBO POV, which celebrates the diversity of the behind-the-scenes talent that brings HBO’s programming to life; the HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries short film competition for emerging directors of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent; and most recently, the “Our Stories to Tell” campaign, aimed at engaging and servicing diverse audiences through multicultural programming and relatable storytelling. In her expanded role, Gagne will lead the launch of audience hubs on HBO MAX designed to super-serve various multicultural audiences later this year.
Gagne and her team will continue driving audience-led campaigns and best practices across the WME portfolio via innovative strategies to maximize market segment engagement. She will also work closely with Enterprise Inclusion to develop an inclusive brand narrative.
Jennings was recruited to HBO from Warner Music Group, in 2013, to rebuild the Design + Production group and services. He’s positioned the D+P group as a premier one-stop shop for design and creative development, branding, environmental, copywriting, OOH production and project management.
The team services HBO, HBO Max, and Max Originals, as well as partners and collaborates with all WarnerMedia verticals.  Currently, the team is partnering with AT&T to develop assets for the launch and ongoing creative support for the Discovery District in Dallas.
In the fall of 2019, Jennings earned an MFA in Graphic Design. In his new expanded role, Jennings will oversee Environmental Design for WarnerMedia Entertainment (Hudson Yards, Burbank, Santa Monica, Ivy Station and Seattle), internal Key Art design resources across the portfolio, HBO Max Merchandise Production, Design Standards and Style Guides.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020
Scott Friske rejoins Hue&Cry as EP
Scott Friske

Scott Friske has rejoined Hue&Cry as executive producer in Richmond. Friske was previously EP at SHIPPING + HANDLING in Los Angeles. In his new position, he reunites with Hue&Cry founder and executive creative director Magnus Hierta in maintaining the company’s culture of creativity and will assume responsibility for ensuring financial growth. He’ll lead on sales, recruiting, and general business management, while championing the studio’s roster of talented artists on their creative output. Hue&Cry is known for its animation and design work on campaigns for agencies like The Martin Agency, FCB, and Ogilvy, network properties including NatGeo and MSNBC, and brands like Oreo, Capital One, Discover, and Chevrolet.

Friske makes the move to Richmond from Los Angeles after spending nearly five years on editorial house Spot Welders’ creative campus running the company’s VFX/design/animation division. During his tenure at SHIPPING + HANDLING, he worked on delivering notable projects for brands such as Beats by Dre, Google, Comcast/Xfinity, Oakley, Pandora, and Fox Sports, award-winning artists like Justin Timberlake and Billie Eilish, and directors including Paul Hunter, Craig Gillespie, Leigh Powis, and Paul Briganti.

A seasoned creative and advertising industry executive of 25 years, Friske also worked with Steve Humble to open The Martin Agency’s in-house editorial, animation, and social content unit Running With Scissors in 2009, helping to expand the agency’s capabilities across all creative production and post services. Ultimately, it was the catalyst that led to starting Hue&Cry with Hierta in 2013.  Friske and Hierta united upon the recommendation by a mutual friend when Friske was on the hunt for a CD to start an animation studio. 

Prior, Friske also spent two years at Rock Paper Scissors producing for Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, who teamed on two Best Editing Oscars for the David Fincher-directed The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Upcoming, Hue&Cry is currently working on projects for the VA Lottery, Epidiolex and MSNBC. In 2019, Hue&Cry released its first film, Into the Flame, an animated short that’s currently making the festival rounds and receiving acclaim, including becoming a Vimeo Staff Pick. 

  • Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020
Don Lupo succeeds Susan Franceschini as exec director of ThinkLA
Susan Franceschini (l) and Don Lupo

Susan Franceschini has stepped down as executive director of ThinkLA after leading the nonprofit association for 17 years. Succeeding her is Don Lupo who’s had a four-year tenure as director of marketing for ThinkLA.

Having previously coordinated three associations--the Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association, the Ad Club of Los Angeles and the Magazine Representatives Association--Franceschini led the merging of the three groups 14 years ago into a new organization called ThinkLA. Since then, ThinkLA has grown into the premier trade association for the advertising, marketing, and media industry in Los Angeles supporting hundreds of creative and media companies in the Los Angeles area.

Franceschini has been instrumental in building the organization, the board of directors, and key initiatives including LMU’s M-School, and the DIG (Diversity, Inclusion, and Gender) initiative. Franceschini will stay on as an adviser through September before expanding her consulting business, helping individuals and companies build community and connection through personal and professional development. 

“I have loved my role at the heart of our community,” says Franceschini. “It has been a privilege to know and work with so many inspiring, creative, and brilliant people over the years. ThinkLA stands as a model for other trade associations in the industry nationwide. I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. I am thrilled to turn over the reins to Don Lupo. He has the passion and creativity ThinkLA needs to evolve.”

The Board of Directors has named Don Lupo to the leadership role. Prior to serving as ThinkLA’s director of marketing, he led digital production and marketing teams with agencies throughout Los Angeles over the past 20 years. Lupo was also a professional photographer and public speaker.

“This is the dream job I didn’t know I wanted,” said Lupo. “When Susan asked me to join ThinkLA, it became the culmination of a long career and an opportunity to serve the industry which has truly given me everything. I have the honor of being part of a team that is dedicated to connect, educate, and inspire with everything we do, from events and webinars to professional forum groups and training. I look forward to continuing the legacy Susan has built along with evolving our ongoing mission to serve the Los Angeles advertising, marketing, and media community.”

  • Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020
Daimler's Conrad Fritzsch jumps to agency side as global transformation officer at Publicis Emil
Conrad Fritzsch

Conrad Fritzsch, former head of digital agency model & data activation at Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, has moved over to the agency side as global transformation officer at Publicis Emili, the shop which handles Daimler.
In the newly created role, Fritzsch will continue to drive the adoption and scaling of the new agency model in order to achieve Daimler’s transformation goal from car manufacturer to digital automotive champion, with a specific focus on:

  • Scaling the model to integrate all business units
  • Broadening the geographic footprint to include all regions, specifically Germany, the U.S. and China
  • Driving the connected hubs model and ways of working globally
  • Developing a global working and cultural model to drive the transformation

Fritzsch will also support Publicis Groupe’s drive in productizing, packaging and scaling the Publicis Power Of One model to other clients.

Fritzsch has been integral to the marketing and digital transformation of Mercedes-Benz over the past four years, and since Daimler appointed Publicis Groupe two years ago in one of the most significant holding company pitches of the year in 2018. Following the pitch, Fritzsch led the establishment of the new agency model to drive data-driven activation and marketing in cooperation with Publicis Emil, deploying the agency in 40 markets and reshaping how data is used at Daimler to engage, excite and win the loyalty of customers.

Fritzsch’s unique experience has been built over an interesting career and life: as an East Berliner pre unification of the wall, his experience in transformation began early. In 1993, he founded an agency that specialized in communications for people in East Germany which required targeted and personalized advertising to convey products and their campaigns from the West. He then founded the online music TV station tape.tv, before moving to Daimler in 2016 with the brief of establishing the “Digital House” which would accelerate Daimler’s vision to become the number one automotive digital champion. Under his leadership, he created the “Digital House,” desiloing critical departments of expertise spanning IT, marketing and developers, to bring together an integrated hub with locations including Stuttgart, Berlin and Portugal. The “Digital House” is building new and critical capabilities to be a key element in enabling and driving digital sales systems and customer engagement.

Justin Billingsley, global CMO Of Publicis Groupe and chairman of Publicis Emil, commented: “Conrad is a true change-driver and his partnership has been critical in enabling the rapid implementation and successes of the agency model created for Mercedes-Benz. The success of the model is not one sided, it takes change for both partners to create a team, without boundary or silo, dedicated to one vision: in this case achieving the digital transformation of Mercedes-Benz. Conrad’s appointment is the next natural phase of transformation for Mercedes-Benz and I‘m delighted that he’ll be working with us more closely than ever before.“ 
Fritzsch stated: “At its very core, transformation is a cultural mission. Cultural change is critical and over the past few years, my focus has been to drive this change at Mercedes-Benz through the unification of global processes and regions, destruction of silos and challenging the traditional ways of thinking. Through doing this, we facilitate a global transformation of marketing, a new and connected world in which Mercedes-Benz can make better decisions through data, with increased consistency, efficiency and effectiveness. Our focus is then to look at how we enable the Mercedes-Benz brand to connect with customers globally by delivering impactful stories and experiences, driven by data and connected by technology, to influence hearts and minds globally.”

Fritzsch’s appointment was confirmed in March 2020, prior to the Publicis Groupe hiring freeze response to COVID-19.

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