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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


Informal Welcome Drinks

Hosted by Ashton Media



Breakfast and Opening Comments

Chris Savage, Founder, The Savage Co


Ashley Marshall
International Keynote: Adapting and Surviving in the Ever-Changing Role of the ECD

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

The Martin Agency

A cynic could point to any “executive” role and think it’s the last stop on a career journey. For an Executive Creative Director (ECD), nothing could be farther from the truth. Today’s ECD goes much deeper than ever into a client’s business problems. The stakes have never been higher, and these leaders continue to shape the future of creativity and talent in remarkable ways.

Ashley Marshall, ECD at The Martin Agency (Adweek’s 2020 U.S. Agency of the Year), has a front-row seat in this journey for clients including Oreo, Old Navy, UPS, GEICO, DoorDash, CarMax, Buffalo Wild Wings and more.

In this keynote, Marshall, who held creative leadership positions at Wieden + Kennedy and Saatchi & Saatchi, talks about the importance of having a good mentor, career trajectory successes (and regrets) and how bumps along the way culminated into forming the leader she is today.

Obsessed with the industry and a masterful comedic mind that has driven success for some of the world’s most influential brands, Marshall shares the personal experiences that inform her positive outlook, pushing people (and clients) beyond their expectations.


Partner Keynote: Audience Targeting – Do you get what you pay for?

Venessa Hunt, GM, ThinkPremiumDigital
Clay Gill, Chief Executive Officer, Matterkind Australia
Minsun Collier, National Head of Data & Technology Acceleration, MediaCom Australia
Josh Slighting, Head of Data & Digital Audience, 10ViacomCBS

Venessa HuntClay GillMinsun CollierJosh Slighting

Audience targeting is common practice in the digital advertising landscape, with agencies often paying a premium for those audiences. Yet most are made without consideration to the quality of the underlying data that defines these “targets”. Amid a new era of privacy, we will look at the questions agencies should be asking vendors and follow with an industry expert panel discussion on the future of targeting.


Track 1
The Marketer Lens

Moderated by: Susan Massasso, Managing Partner, reThink
Eric Thomson, Global Marketing Director, Pernod Ricard Winemakers
Lucinda Barlow, Senior Director and Head of Marketing APAC, Uber Eats
Yash Gandhi, Head of Marketing, Baiada Poultry

Susan MassassoEric ThomsonLucinda BarlowYash Gandhi
Pernod Ricard, Uber, reThink, Baiada

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.


Coffee Break & Networking

Sponsored by


Dylan Robinson

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

Dylan Robinson, Country Manager, Taboola Australia


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.

Lara Brownlow

Track 2
The Millennial Migration: How to retain talent during the ‘Great Reshuffle’

Lara Brownlow, Head of Agency & Channel Sales, ANZ, Linkedin


Let’s talk millennials – the first generation of digital natives, who are fast transforming business decision-making as we know it. Known as the BETAs, they will make up 75% of Australia’s professional workforce by 2025. This highly adaptable, passionate, and determined generation is in the driving seat, and there are lots to be excited about. BETAs are rising up the ranks professionally, taking on roles as key decision-makers. They’re also expecting brands and employers to reflect their changing values, and in the midst of the ‘Great Reshuffle’, it’s critical that leaders respond, or they risk losing talent.

Join Lara as she delves into fascinating insights from the B2B Institute’s landmark study, “Work in BETA: The Rising B2B Decision Maker”. You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of how BETA attitudes and perceptions influence their decision making, and how best to engage them in a format they are familiar with, and a way they will respond to.

BETAs are everywhere and their impact on business and workplace conversations is set to be long-lasting. Make sure you’re ready for them!


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?

Moderated by: Kirsty Muddle, outgoing CEO, Cummins&Partners
Jasmin Bedir, CEO, Innocean Australia
Micah Walker, Founder/CCO, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire
Toby Harrison, Chief Strategy Officer, Ogilvy Australia

Cummins partners, Innocean, Bear Meets Eagle on Fire, Ogilvy logos
Kirsty MuddleJasmin BedirMicah WalkerToby Harrison

From brands to ‘blands’, rehumanising leadership and the whiffs of misogyny that still plague the sector, there is a lot wrong with creativity right now.

However, there are some great things happening and some smart work that cannot be overlooked.

In this session we’ll hear a range of diverse views about the good, the bad and the ugly and will discuss ways to raise the bar, win in craft and smash stigmas, goals and competition.


Partner Keynote: Pressing the Programmatic Reset Button for 2022

Erica Blakslee, Senior Account Director, Xandr
Nicole Prior, Managing Director ANZ, Xandr
Georgina Fox, Head of Operations, Finecast

Erica BlakseeNicole PriorGeorgina Fox
Xandr Finecast

What would programmatic look like if we reset and reimagined what our industry could be?

Join Erica Blakslee for a presentation on the building blocks required to create a better digital ecosystem for advertisers, publishers and consumers alike.

Erica will then be joined by Nicole Prior and Georgina Fox for a discussion on what this means for buyers.





Track 1
WFH – at What Cost?

Moderated by: Chris Walton, Managing Director Sydney, Nunn Media
Jules Hall, CEO, The Hallway
Anathea Ruys, Chief Executive Officer, UM Australia
Kristie Thistlethwaite, Managing Partner, The Works

Chris WaltonJules HallAnathea RuysKristie Thistlethwaite
The Hallway UM Nunn Media The Works

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
Triage, Myth Busting and New Beginnings

Amber Collins, Chief Marketing Officer, Australia Post
Paul McMillan, CEO – Melbourne, The Monkeys

Australia Post, The Monkeys
Amber CollinsPaul McMillan

When a new CMO arrives at a business this can create a few ripples with the current agency partner, or a tidal wave of change.

With trust arriving on a snail and leaving on horseback, this candid tale of highs, lows and in-between, for Australia Post and The Monkeys, is not to be missed.

The duo will cover dealing with respectful challenges over the work, why both sides needed to be prepared to change rather than end up with a change of agency, and much more.

From the triage stage of new beginnings to smashing myths about the relationship and building a better culture that sees a fully optimised and collegiate way of working – prepare for candour and true visibility into this relationship.

The top marketer will also explain why streamlining agency partners from almost 40 to single digits was the right move for the business.


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



Creative Smartphone Photography Workshop with Scott McGale, Professional Photographer

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

Chris Savage, Founder, The Savage Co
Hannah Sturrock, National Head of Engagement, The Advertising Council


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

Moderated by: Aimee Buchanan, CEO, GroupM Australia & New Zealand
Christian Juhl, Global CEO, GroupM

Aimee BuchananChristian Juhl

Agencies are not going to survive if they can’t meet the demands of brands that are increasingly scrutinizing new wave factors such as purpose statements and social impact.

Join Global CEO at GroupM Christian Juhl to hear about what is keeping him up at night, and how GroupM plans to meet its lofty promise of making advertising better for people.

In this candid fireside chat, hosted by newly appointed GroupM Australia & New Zealand CEO Aimee Buchanan, we delve into questions that will no doubt impact local operations. We’ll hear what the future of work looks like for the leader of 35,000 employees across 80 markets.

From ensuring he can connect with and understand a work force which only gets younger, making purpose-led decisions, to his views on the changing dynamics of how agencies make money, Juhl is unafraid to share his challenges as a modern leader amidst a world of transformation.

The US-based exec will share reasons behind hard decisions during the pandemic, lessons learnt in grappling with environmental, social, and corporate governance and what poignant moments of self-reflection as a leader arose during the past 18 months.


Track 1
Panel: Agency Sustainability – The Big Issues

Moderated by: Virginia Hyland, CEO, Havas Media Group Australia
Michael Rebelo, CEO, Publicis Groupe Australia & NZ
Angela Tangas, Group CEO, Dentsu ANZ
Mark Coad, Chief Executive Officer, IPG Mediabrands, Australia

Virginia HylandMichael RebeloAngela TangasMark Coad
Publicis Groupe, Dentsu, IPG Mediabrands, Havas Media

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
Hazelle Klønhammer, Marketing & Communication Consultant, Griffhammer

Bastion, Griffhammer
Jack WattsHazelle Klønhammer

From legalities, investments and finding that important launch partner, we’ll hear from those that have been there and done that.

From trials and tribulations to 101s and lessons learnt, regardless of whether you plan to launch an agency or not, there are still many raw and revealing leadership lessons for the taking.

Track 2
Think Tank 2: Mental Cultures – Changing the Way We Think About Work and Healthier Workplace Cultures Coming Out of COVID

Andy Wright, Managing Director, Streamtime, Creator of Never Not Creative, Co-Chair Mentally Healthy
Chris Freel, Group CEO, UnLtd and MOOD Tea

Streamtime, Unltd
Andy WrightChris Freel

Join Mood Tea’s Jenni Hayward and Never Not Creative / Mentally-Healthy’s Andy Wright as we explore the concept of healthier workplaces. Psst. It’s not about healthy snacks, fruit bowls and meditation sessions.

Kicking off with preliminary findings on the first study into the empathy of our industry, Andy will also explore the dynamics of ‘how’ we work and how we can create mentally-healthier workplaces without having to add extra-curricular activities, roles and responsibilities. Expect WHO frameworks and practical questions and checklists that you can take away to evaluate your own workplace cultures.

The second half of the session will be hosted by Jenni as we discuss the key themes of creating mentally-healthier processes, cultures, ways of working in a conversational style, open forum. It’s a chance to ask questions, challenge each other and share ideas on the future of our industry as we start to see substantial generational change in attitudes towards and expectations of work.

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

Jack White, MD and Founder, Sunday Gravy
Emily Perrett, Founder, CEO, Flavedo & Albedo

Jack WhiteEmily Perrett
Sunday Gravy Flavedo & Albedo

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 Sunday Gravy 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.

We’ll also hear from former MD of Clemenger BBDO, Emily Perrett, about the launch of her high performance & low waste makeup brand, Flavedo & Albedo, which has taken the beauty industry by storm.

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

Moderated by: Sarah Keith, Group Managing Director, Active International and Involved Media
Chris Howatson, Founder + CEO, Howatson+Company
Simon Ryan, CEO, RyanCap
Andy DiLallo, Founder, Milk & Honey United

Howatson RyanCap Active International
Sarah KeithChris HowatsonSimon RyanAndi Dilallo

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?


Jack Watts

Keynote: The Triumphs and Disasters in Brothers Building an Empire

Jack Watts, CEO, Bastion


In 2009, 24-year-old, recently delisted AFL footballer Fergus Watts and his 22-year-old, recently retrenched brother, Jack Watts, started Bastion.

Since then, the siblings have gone on to build the largest independent Australasian agency, with 300+ staff across three countries – with offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Los Angeles and New York.

From the early years of the wild, unknown and at time fraught and costly moves to the new pandemic-stricken world, Jack Watts shares first hand stories, successes and categorical failures of this 12 year journey and where to next.


Lunch & close of Symposium

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