Agency Leaders Symposium logo


This carefully crafted program combines inspiring keynotes with informal activities and time to build real relationships.

AS21 agenda



Delegate registration


Welcome drinks

Sponsored by ThinkPremiumDigital, ThinkTV and ThinkNewsBrands

ThinkPremiumDigital ThinkTV ThinkNews



Breakfast and Opening Comments


Ashley Marshall
International Keynote

Ashley Marshall, Executive Creative Director, The Martin Agency (US)

The Martin Agency

Session details TBC


Venessa Hunt
Partner Keynote: Targeting – Do You Get What You Pay For?

Venessa Hunt, GM, ThinkPremiumDigital


Audience Targeting is common practice in the digital advertising landscape, with agencies often paying a premium for those audiences. Yet most purchases are made without giving any consideration to the quality of the underlying data that defines these “targets”. This is first look, hot off the press, research where Australian publishers put their money where their mouth is and show you the comparison of the relevancy and effectiveness of the most used targeting segments.


Coffee Break & Networking

Sponsored by


Track 1
The Marketer Lens

How do clients view and navigate the agency landscape? What would they change and what do they want?

A panel of top chief marketing officers will share candid views covering partner rationalisation, media mix shakeups, brand growth and more.

Simon Kuestenmacher
Track 2
Behaviour Change Realities

Simon Kuestenmacher, Co-Founder & Director, The Demographics Group

The Demographics Group

What are the new consumer behaviours and how can today’s leaders capitalise on such new and sustained changes?

In this session, Simon Kuestenmacher will look at current big picture societal trends and consumption habits and will discuss how the work from home shift has reshaped the world we now live in. He’ll also zone in on the role and changing face of trust.


Ezechiel Ritchie

Track 1
Why Context is King (and Content is the cherry on top).

Ezechiel Ritchie, Sales Director, Australia & New Zealand, Taboola


Time to turn the popular “Content is King” saying on its head.

We’ve all heard that Content is King – and of course the content of your ad is important for achieving your goals. But at Taboola, we believe that Context is actually even more important. Since summer is on its way, we’ll use an analogy of an ice cream sundae to explore how to think about your ads.

Build your ad campaign based on a foundation of three scoops of ice cream:

1. Placement: don’t underestimate the impact your ad’s surroundings can have on getting your message across, and ensure the platforms you use have adequate brand safety controls.
2. Targeting: avoid making assumptions about your audience’s interests based on their demographics. Instead, use readership insights to target a broad user base who is actually interested in what you are offering.
3. Data: monitor current trends and use data to ensure your ads are relevant to the target audience and are well placed to capture their attention.
Context is King – as summer approaches, don’t forget about the Sundae in favour of the Cherry.

Track 2
Partner breakout

Presented by Xandr


Session details TBC


Virginia Hyland
Track 1
The Devil is in the Detail

Virginia Hyland, CEO Havas Media Group Australia

Havas Media

You know the leader and have read the industry headlines, but what you don’t know is the devil in the detail behind one of the biggest media deals of the decade.

Join this legendary leader for a no holds barred look and candid account of the wild ride from indie founder to network CEO.

From sleepless nights and bankruptcy scares to letting go and losing control of the business you’ve grown for more than 15 years, buckle up for a raw, bold and refreshing account of leadership life.

Track 2
What’s Right and Wrong in Creativity Right Now?

Jenn Chin, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Consultant, Uncommon Kind
Jasmin Bedir, CEO, Innocean Australia
Micah Walker, Co-Founder, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire
Dee Madigan, Executive Creative Director, Campaign Edge and Gruen panellist

Uncommon Kind, Innocean, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire, Campaign Edge logos
Jenn ChinJasmin BedirMicah WalkerDee Madigan

Session details TBC





Track 1
WFH – at What Cost?

Jules Hall, CEO, The Hallway
Anathea Ruys, Chief Executive Officer, UM Australia
Chris Walton, Managing Director Sydney, Nunn Media

Jules HallAnathea RuysChris Walton
The Hallway UM Nunn Media

The work from home (WFH) lifestyle was forced on the industry some time ago, but why are we still grappling with it? What works and what difficulties have emerged?

The panel digs deep on the WFH ripples across agency brand, culture and client dealings.

We’ll hear about different models, why creative and media agencies have different approaches to this and question if what a leader wants is truly best for business, as opposed to what’s best for them.

Is there any proof of what works and can you really innovate and problem solve when you aren’t working side by side? All this and more will be discussed.

Track 2
Is This the Ideal Brand and Agency Relationship?

CMO and agency boss talk mending broken fences, conquering complexities and the wild ride to marketing transformation and agency rationalisation.


Wine Tasting

Kick back and relax with your fellow delegates on a wine tour experiencing some of the Hunter Valley’s finest vineyards.

Sponsored by Sesimi



Session details TBC


Enjoy 9 holes of golf and plenty of conversation on the beautiful Crowne Plaza golf course.


Relax + Recharge


Pre-Dinner Drinks Reception

Sponsored by ThinkPremiumDigital, ThinkTV and ThinkNewsBrands

ThinkPremiumDigital ThinkTV ThinkNews


Gala Dinner

Sponsored by vevo






Villa Checkout


Breakfast & Opening Comments



Session details TBC


Christian Juhl
International Keynote: Transformation Hype, Ethics Shakeup and Self-Reflection

Christian Juhl, Global CEO at GroupM


Session details TBC



Session details TBC


Track 1
Agency Sustainability – The Big Issues

Michael Rebelo, CEO, Publicis Groupe Australia & NZ
Angela Tangas, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network ANZ

Publicis Groupe, Dentsu Aegis Network
Michael RebeloAngela Tangas

Holding group CEOs unite for a much-needed deep dive into the big issues impacting the sector.

From talent shortages and holding company trends and strategies, to the devaluation of creativity and brand, and the obsession around short term marketing strategies, this experienced panel shares all.

The panel will also touch on current concerns around pitch practices as well as what they’ve learnt personally and professionally as a leader, during the turbulent pandemic era.

Colleen Callander
Track 2
Kindness is the New Currency for Leaders

Colleen Callander, Former Sportsgirl CEO, Founder of ‘Mentor Me’ and Author of ‘Leader by Design’

For many leaders, kindness isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think about great leadership.

However, Colleen Callander, Former Sportsgirl CEO, Founder of ‘Mentor Me’ and Author of ‘Leader by Design’, is set to challenge that thought.

Kindness is the new superpower for leaders, according to Callander, who believes kindness is a new form of currency, one you can trade for loyalty, commitment and high performance.

She strongly believes that leading with kindness is what will separate good and great leaders of the future and that kind leaders are very capable of making good and strong business decisions, even tough decisions with kindness.

When Callander talks about kindness, she’s not just talking about leadership, she’s talking about leading with kindness in all areas of our lives.

She’ll also discuss the much-overlooked area of putting people before profit and why leaders need to create environments where people feel connected, where their work matters, where they can contribute and feel part of something greater.

In her experience, if people feel valued, trusted and empowered, they will also feel engaged and motivated … and the profits will follow.


Coffee Break & Networking

Sponsored by


Track 1
Think Tank 1: Starting Your Own Agency 101

Jack Watts, Global CEO, Bastion Collective

Jack Watts

From legalities, investments and finding that important launch partner, we’ll hear from fellow founders around trials, tribulations and 101s when it comes to launching your own agency.

Regardless of whether you plan an agency there are still many raw and revealing leadership lessons for the taking.

Jack White

Track 3
Think Tank 3: Developing a Brand from Scratch – What More Can Agencies do?

Jack White, MD and Founder, Gen C

Gen C

Agencies have all the skills and relationships required to make products and build brands, but are they doing enough to push themselves, tap talent and to demonstrate skills to clients in other ways?

Join Gen C founder Jack White to hear the story behind the agency’s Pure Sh*t product that made global headlines by bagging up 2020 for charity.

Track 4
Think Tank 4: Trust Trumps Conflict – How to Push Back on Conflict Clauses

Nicola Mansfield, Co-Founder Agency10x & Founder TheDesignThinkers
Kathryn Williams, Co-Founder Agency10x & Founder KMint

Nicola MansfieldKathryn Williams

Consultancies are not constrained by conflict, why are agencies? When your client trusts your integrity, your sector expertise becomes an advantage. This becomes even more critical in a world where holding companies grow through acquisition, and sectors are blurring to create new competitors. Hear from both the consultancy perspective and agency experience on how to manage conflict with what you say, and how to change behaviours to build trust through what you do.

This Think Tank will be led by Mansfield, who was former global creative director at Jurlique, director in experience design at Deloitte and MD at Interbrand Australia, with entrepreneur, finance mentor and pricing consultant Kathryn Williams.


Why Launching an Agency in 2020 Wasn’t For the Faint Hearted

Chris Howatson, Founder + CEO, Howatson + White
Simon Ryan, CEO, RyanCap
Sarah Keith, Group Managing Director, Active International and Involved Media

Howatson RyanCap Active International
Chris HowatsonSimon RyanSarah Keith

2020 was the year that rocked the world – on many levels. Despite this, a whole host of bold leaders launched agencies.cWhy? What was gained and how do they see their position in a crowded and increasingly fragmented agency landscape?

Aunty Margret Campbell

Aunty Margret Presents: Aboriginal Cultural Inclusiveness Awareness

Aunty Margret Campbell

The sole survivor of her family of eight siblings, famed Aunty Margret’s sell-out corporate cultural awareness (Ngara Kungala) courses have been described as powerful, incredibly eye opening and vital, to any modern-day business leader.

Join Aunty Margret to learn more about the Australian landscape, Aboriginal rituals, belief systems and modern Aboriginal living and how this understanding strengthens mutual respect and meaningful relationships between all people across the workplace.

This abridged version of her popular course will help leaders gain an understanding of the skills required to enhance Indigenous cultural inclusiveness in the workplace, to increase knowledge of appropriate ways to supervise and mentor Aboriginal employees and to understand how this influences recruitment, training, communications, productivity and performance.


Lunch & close of Symposium

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