Thirty under thirty

Our 30 Under 30 competition has once again attracted the cream of the media industry’s talent pool. The future of the business looks rosy in the hands of these bright, young things.

The tide of optimism currently engulfing the media world was reflected in the judging for this year’s 30 under 30 showcase.

Our annual competition to find the 30 hottest prospects working in the media industry once again attracted a sackload of entries, ranging from media sales executives and agency planner/buyers to budding media entrepreneurs attempting to carve out a new niche in the market.

Yet again, the quality threshold was raised, with almost everyone who entered making a real difference to their business.

And there was a handful of previous 30 under 30 winners who entered for a second time, proving that it is not just about being talented, but being a good self-publicist too.

The standard of entries left our panel of industry judges feeling overwhelmingly positive that the future of the industry is in safe hands.

This year’s judges were carefully selected for their wide ranging experience of working in the media industry.

They were Paul Farrer, chief executive of recruitment consultant Phee Farrer Jones; Christina Hartley, group ad marketing director at IPC Media; Sean Healy, director, strategic solutions division at MediaCom and Tim Burrowes, editor of Media Week.

Our judging quartet locked themselves away in central London to sift through the scores of entries and debate which ones should make our final shortlist.

It was not an easy task.

Some of the entrants leapt out immediately, gaining unanimous support from all of the judges. Others needed more careful cross-examination, as the judges looked at not only their achievements, but also their opinions on advertising and their motivation for working.

After several hours of discussion – and dozens of cups of coffee – the judges emerged, clutching the 30 entries that most excited them.

We gathered this year’s 30 under 30 at the beautiful Sketch bar in central London for a winners’ portrait, the result of which can be seen on our special edition front cover this week.

Over the next four pages, we have profiled the 30 people who made the final shortlist. For them, the glory. For those who missed out, why not try again next year?We will be launching the search for the 30 under 30 of 2005 later this year so keep an eye open for the entry form.

You never know – next year, it could be you.

Additional research: James Livesley

Jonathan Astor

Age: 29

Managing director, Vehiclemedia

Astor is the founder of Vehiclemedia, a specialist in transport media that has been pioneering courier bike advertising since 2001. Before branching out on his own, Astor was head of new business and PR with Carnegie Orr.

Astor attributes his success to “a new format” that “caught the eye of advertisers in a media recession when advertisers are not really testing new media”.

Courierbikemedia was Nestlé KitKat’s award-winning 2003 campaign and was part of Calor Gas’ IPR Pride Award.

Judge Sean Healy says:

“A supremely driven entrepreneur, Jonathan cruised into the top 30 on the back of demonstrating real flair and innovation. His Vehiclemedia operation is promoting a really impressive blue-chip brands. He is clearly one of ambient media’s great success stories and will, no doubt, be a name to watch in the future.”

Samantha Austen

Age: 29

Senior sales executive, IPC Media

Austen kicked off her life in the media as a research executive before moving to become a sales executive with IPC Connect.

Working mostly on Nowmagazine, she has been shortlisted twice for the IPC Advertising Awards and also for the PPA “Creative Pitch of the Year”.

Austen cites tenacity as key to her success and Nilufar Fowler, head of press at ZenithOptimedia, agrees. “She listens carefully and consistently shows a real determination to fully understand our needs and service them accordingly.”

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

“Samantha demonstrates the benefits of building a career within big publishers.

After starting life with Emap, she has grown her career with IPC – and based on her current progress she’s got a few more promotions to come yet.”

Alistair Ballantyne

Age: 28

Group account manager, IPC Media

Ballantyne was account manager with Marie Claireand Woman’s Journalbefore his promotion to group boss. He now oversees Marie Claireand InStylewithin IPC’s Southbank Solutions.

His first step into the media world was with Attic Futura, where he was account executive for Sugar, TV Hitsand B Magazine. A key moment in his career came when he turned down an opportunity in the brewing industry to take a job with Emap.

Judge Sean Healy says:

“Faced with the choice of Theakston’s Brewery or a career in media, Alistair chose the latter and has never looked back. He’s one of the most creative young salespeople in the business and his track record at Southbank Solutions swung the votes in his direction. His efforts in developing a pan-European campaign for Vodafone led Nick Bauer of Carat to describe working with Alistair as ‘an extremely smooth experience’.”

Daniel Barnes

Age: 27

Broadcast group manager, PHD

Barnes joined PHD in 2000, but before this position he worked at The Allmond Partnership as a TV buyer. He was introduced to the media business as a sales executive with Carlton Media Sales.

At PHD he has implemented and co-ordinated buying strategies for Adidas – the “Jonny and Becks” TV campaign – and refocused the Grouse TV buying approach. Nick Craggs, head of communications with Adidas, is full of praise. He says: “Danny’s knowledge of the TV community is second to none and his down to earth, no-nonsense approach always ensures that the brand he works on punch above their weight.”

Judge Sean Healy says:

“Daniel has a dream portfolio for any TV buyer. Adidas and Famous Grouse are a pair of brands to get passionate about.”

Lars Becker

Age: 29

CEO, Flytxt

Becker has headed up Flytxt as its CEO since the business was founded in April 2000. The past 12 months have seen Flytxt reach profitability, raise £2m in funding, grow geographically and become one of the leading mobile marketing providers.

Under Becker’s guidance Flytxt was chosen as one of the Tornado-Insider Top 100 start up companies for a second year running. The company was a finalist in the Marketing Direct Intelligence Awards 2003. He was also named in the Top 40 Digital People 2003 by Revolution.

In 2003, Becker became the chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association. As his 30 under 30 entry form states, he is “a leading evangelist for the mobile channel as part of the media mix.”

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“Clearly a pioneering entrepreneurial business person with a passion for mobile marketing. He has successfully funded and grown an embryonic business during a severe media downturn.”

Helen Beirne

Age: 29

Research manager, Carat

Beirne works within Carat Insight and has moved up to managerial level having started with the company as a research executive in 2001. Prior to this, she worked in research departments with both TDI Advertising and BMRB TGI Clientservice.

She was shortlisted for the Media Week Awards for her work on a cognitive tracking project with The Sun newspaper in 2003 and presented at the MRG conference in 2002.

“Helen is a bright and capable research manager, running the agency world’s largest syndicated survey on a day-to-day basis and leading consumer insight projects for the country’s top advertisers. An exceptional 30 under 30 candidate,” says James Smythe, associate director, Carat Insight.

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“Truly impressive track record combined with rapid promotion based on her performance. Clearly heavily involved in the media industry and highly respected by her peers.”

Chris Binns

Age: 29

Associate director, Mediacom

Binns’ six years in the media industry started with Carat. His first job was with Carat Direct as a graduate trainee, before moving up to become a media executive. The next step up the ladder was a switch to Result International where he was a business strategist working on several pan-European clients.

After a stint as media manager with MGM, Binns is now associate director at MediaCom across a portfolio worth £35m spanning leisure, banking, drinks, OTC medicines and partworks.

“Chris has a wonderful knack of articulating how to turn consumer behaviour into brand sales,” says Andy Bolden, UK director of advertising, GSK.

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“One of the few agency entries that clearly shone through. Has got to an influential position at the agency on merit and an outstanding client reference demonstrating his understanding of consumers, brands and business.”

Oliver Bishop

Age: 26

Senior agency sales manager, Espotting Media

Bishop has been with internet search firm Espotting since it launched in 2000.

Joining the company was a step in a different direction, as his previous job was as production assistant within Sky’s football division.

Since its inception, Espotting has moved from its UK roots into a 10-country operation and Bishop has played a pivotal role, managing key clients, maximising returns, and training junior sales managers. Jean-Paul Edwards, head of media futures, describes Bishop as “a charismatic individual who has been successful in his career”.

Judge Sean Healy says:

“Oliver has been with Espotting since its inception and has demonstrated the development of great relationships with some of Britain’s biggest agencies and brands. He has achieved a number of notable successes including bringing in over £1mworth of revenue in one month, coordinating panEuropean training within the organisation and championing Pay Per Click trading across the industry.”

Claire Bull

Age: 24

Ad manager, Hachette Filipacchi UK

Bull started her career as an editorial assistant with Cosmopolitan, but a stint as an ad assistant with Shemagazine made her realise that she wanted the buzz of the trading floor and needed a sales element to her job.

Bull joined IPC Southbank as a graduate trainee as part of the “fast track to display” scheme and worked her way up the ranks on women’s titles such as Essentials, 19, Mizz and InStyle. She was recently promoted to ad manager on Bmagazine and is the youngest ad manager at Hachette Filipacchi.

“Honest, trustworthy and delivers what she has said she will,” says Jo Blake, media director at Carat.

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Claire is a true salesperson, successfully working her way up the ranks at IPC Media and now, Hachette Filipacchi. She grows revenues and volume and loves negotiating – a valuable addition to any sales floor.”

Simon Cohen

Age: 24

Managing director,

Over the past year, Cohen has launched a website that “aims to engage an increasingly secular society with issues of faith and diversity”. This idea has already brought in thousands of pounds-worth of advertising revenue, according to Cohen.

His other achievements include writing an article on the war in Iraq that appeared on 20 websites with a combined readership of 1.5 million, fronting a religious programme on ITV and launching the first national conference on the role of the media in a multi-faith society.

Before setting up, Cohen was senior London account manager with Northcliffe Newspapers and, prior to that he was, a planner/buyer with Brand Connection.

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Simon is one of the most passionate entrants into this year’s 30 under 30. His ambition to take the power of media to its nth degree is admirable.”

Mat Court

Age: 26

Senior sales executive, IPC Media

“If you saw Mat Court in a dark alley you’d run; see him in a suit and you won’t want him to leave. In short, you can’t get better – we’d all be gutted if he were moved off our business,” says Stuart Mays, press director, ZenithOptimedia.

Court started in telesales, working for Newsquest North London on its recruitment and private ads before graduating to classified with the Evening Standard.

In 2000, he made the switch to IPC. Since then, he has been promoted to senior sales executive thanks to some proactive searching out of revenue opportunities, working on titles such as What’s on TV, TV Times and Satellite Week.

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“Fantastic sales achievements in difficult times, using creative solutions to increase business from a variety of advertisers. The agency reference was cream on the cake.”

Clare Dempster

Age: 29

Acting commercial director, Hachette Filipacchi UK

“She’s already a star and is destined to be one of the real movers in the media industry.” This glowing report comes from none other than Kevin Hand, chairman of Hachette Filipacchi UK.

And Dempster has the CV to back up these words.

She started in classified sales at Dennis Publishing, before moving over to Emap. It was at Emap that she reached managerial level.

In 2002, she switched to Hachette Filipacchi UK as advertising director, working on Redmagazine. In August of the following year, she was promoted to her current position, the first person under 30 to achieve commercial director status.

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

“Taking responsibility is a recurrent theme of Clare’s career. Her experience throughout the magazine market is another – it’s no wonder she’s been selected to be one of the PPA’s first magazine advocates.

Richard Dunmall

Age: 27

Sales director, Adlink Internet Media Ltd

Dunmall rose up through the ranks of sales executives with VNU Business Publications before moving over to Adlink where he became a group head.

After this, a stint as head of agency sales followed, before earning his current position.

Donald Hamilton, UK managing director of Adlink, is certainly impressed by Dunmall’s drive. He says, “Richard is unquestionably one of the brightest, most ambitious professionals I have worked with. Not only does he lead his team outstandingly, but shows a perception and understanding of the online market that is second to none.”

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Richard is part of the new breed that knows how to make money in the digital marketplace. He’s an ambitious professional whose insights into the market give him the skills to be successful year in, year out.”

Nina Faust

Age: 27

Media planning manager, Warner Music UK

Faust joined Warner Music in 2001 as part of their strategic marketing department. Initially she was a media and marketing analyst, but after a year she was promoted to her current position. This move upward meant a more pro-active approach to planning, setting advertising budgets and getting involved with the direct marketing side of operations.

Since joining Warner Strategic Marketing, Faust has worked on more than 150 releases and managed an annual advertising budget of around £10m.

Referee Mario Warner, WSM managing director, says the company had “phenomenal growth over the past three years” and Faust “has contributed greatly to our success.”

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Nina’s responsibilities and achievements are very impressive. Her views on the future of both her market and the industry show a real understanding which will take her a long way in her career.

Adèle Gritten

Age: 27

Group research manager, Clear Channel UK

Cambridge graduate Gritten has been in a position of management since the age of 24. She started as a researcher with BBC Radio Wales, before moving on to become a research executive with Mediaedge:cia and then research manager with PHD.

Gritten has been with Clear Channel since July 2003 and has already made a lasting impression with marketing director Yvonne Brien.

She says: “In her short time at Clear Channel, Adèle has already made a great contribution. She is innovative and has brought a fresh approach to our marketing and research department.”

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Adèle is an extremely bright and astute individual who has made her presence known in the research world from the start. She has a powerful vision of the role researchers can play in media, and will, no doubt, be at the forefront of making it a reality.”

Anna Hickey

Age: 27

Account director, Carat

Hickey had a vision of a future in advertising from a young age. After a degree in advertising and marketing at Lancaster University, she graduated straight into the arms of Zenith Media where she was a trainee in the TV department.

The switch to Carat came in 1998 when she gained the position of broadcast executive. She joined the communications planning department in September 1999 as an executive and has worked her way up to director.

Not surprising, as Hickey says: “Since joining Carat I have had only one ambition – to get to the top”.

Judge Sean Healy says:

“Anna manages to balance a hefty new business workload with planning on some of Britain’s most exciting drinks brands. She managed to find time to win both Aegis Group and industry awards for her work in 2003 and it would be a brave man that bet against her adding to these in the future.”

Nadine Joiner

Age: 28

Group ad sales manager, Lifestyle Marketing

“Demanding, determined, assertive, thoroughly professional – what more could you want in a manager?” says David Castle, database director at Lifestyle Marketing.

“Very persuasive when selling the value of the brand,” says Steve Newbold, managing director of Emap Fashion and Retail.

Joiner began her climb up the media sales ladder as a telephone sales manager with Newsquest. The next rung was with Emap Fashion, where she became deputy advertising manager with Drapers. In 2003, she made the move to Lifestyle, with her award for Emap’s Relaunch of the Year and a string of awards from Newsquest North London under her belt.

Judge Paul Farrer says:

Fantastic to see someone succeed in the media business when the cards are stacked against them. Obviously very successful and truly dynamic. How on earth does she find time to be a mother of three?”

Amanda Kiss

Age: 24

Founder, Xplicit TV and

After a stint moving up the ranks at The Dating Channel (production co-ordinator by the time of her exit), Kiss formed an alliance with a former Dating Channel manager and interactive gurus DITG. With this team she developed a business plan that resulted in, a sex shopping site for women and men, and Xplicit, an interactive porn channel on Sky.

And what reason does Kiss give for her success? “What’s got me here? 34DD? I wish! I like to think that I’m business-minded. Who cares that it’s porn? Sex sells and it’s about time someone took it mainstream.”

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

 “Amanda caught all of the judges’ imaginations, and not just because of the unusual sector she works in. Although she’s only 24, she has demonstrated that when it comes to marketing savvy and sheer entrepreneurial oomph, to some people it just comes naturally.”

Stacey Knight

Age: 23

Account executive, IPC Media

The jewel in Knight’s crown was winning IPC’s top accolade of overall sales person of the year 2003. As Knight says: “Being named best sales person in a 350 strong sales force was quite an honour!” She joined IPC as a classified sales executive in 2001, but it did not take her long to reach the level of senior sales executive. A team leader position quickly followed.

IPC bigwigs recognised her talent when she moved from the classified department over to IPC Innovator, responsible for inserts.

As Martin Corke, group advertisement director for IPC Innovatorsays: “Stacey is an extremely talented, tenacious and ambitious sales person. She is a definite star in the making.”

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

“One of the youngest in the 30 Under 30, yet Stacey has already been IPC’s sales person of the year – that says a lot. Her passion for magazines shines through.”

Siobhan Lockhart

Age: 24

Senior sales executive – digital, Amra

Lockhart spent three years with Centurian Publishing working on People Management and Professional Fundraising before moving to Amra.

At Amra she was promoted to senior sales executive after six months in the role. This promotion was in recognition of her efforts in promoting online advertising. She put together a training presentation for the online market that allowed press selling teams at Amra to include online deals while talking to their clients.

Sue Bebber, national sales director at Amra, says: “She has set up our digital department almost single-handedly and has projected a positive and professional image to both publishers and agencies.”

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Siobhan is one to watch in the online media market. She displays clarity of thought and understanding of the market’s potential and is evidently committed to taking it to its limit for both herself and Amra.”

Andrew Miller

Age: 28

Senior sales executive, IPC Media

After a spell as a trainee sheep shearer in New Zealand, Miller decided to stop giving haircuts to our woolly friends and move into the world of media sales. He started as an executive with Loot Newspaper Group before he moved to IPC Connect.

In 2002, Miller won IPC Advertising’s sales executive of the year. Key to this success was the instigation of quarterly reviews for agencies and clients, and his track record of winning new business.

Miller advocates a stint with a classified advertising magazine to help anyone’s sales skills: “Starting at Loot was a baptism of fire – lots of fun and very rewarding, but at the same time character building!”

Judge Sean Healy says:

“He’s already been voted IPC Salesperson of the Year and boasts an impressive new business record in 2003. His referee was Dan Pimm of Universal McCann, a high accolade in anyone’s book!”

Sarah Mitchell

Age: 27

Ad director, Heat

Mitchell began her career in sales at Media Week in 1998 – however, there is not even a hint of bias in her selection, as a look at her career since then proves.

In April 1999, she moved to Emap, working on classified, and a year later she moved to display, selling on the youth portfolio. By July 2001, she was account manager and the following year she was a key player in the Sneaklaunch team. In that year she was also named Emap sales person of the year. After a stint as ad manager of the entertainment group, Mitchell took over at Heatmagazine.

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

“Sarah’s no stranger to winning Emap’s internal awards. She’s obviously very good at her job, and it’s simple how – she makes sure she knows her market. Her focus on knowing her stuff better than anyone else is what sets her apart.”

Carrie Moon

Age: 28

Classified advertising manager, Emap

Moon works on Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and is responsible for recruitment advertising. She successfully identified social care, education, regeneration and environment as new growth areas for her title.

As a result she secured the backing and investment of her management team, leading to funding for a new telesales and field sales executive. In her short spell in charge of LGC she has also lead the way to some impressive revenue figures.

“Carrie is an exceptional classified manager. Against a background of increasing competition and tightening market she has built a wholly new team which is quickly achieving new business under her strong, competitive leadership,” says Ian Gerard, publishing director at Emap.

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“We were unanimous that not only do her impressive sales figures deserve recognition but also her obvious passion and commitment to the effectiveness of classified advertising.”

Charlotte Reich

Age: 29

Strategist, Guardian Newspapers

Reich prides herself on “raising the levels of creativity” in her department.

And it could be described as her department in more ways than one. She was instrumental in creating the concept of the new strategic team in which she works, gaining the trust of senior management to see the idea to fruition.

Helen George, head of sponsorship and commercial projects at GNL says Reich’s “creativity and innovative way of thinking has resulted in winning key business”.

She has excelled in her time at GNL, moving up through the ranks so quickly that by the age of 26 she was the youngest member of the Guardian’s sales management team.

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

“Clearly somebody who The Guardian talent-spotted early, Charlotte’s insights into the future of media show exactly why she made the final 30. She’s an obvious asset to any media team.”

Nicola Shubrook

Age: 29

Sponsorship Manager, Viacom Outdoor

Shubrook arrived at Viacom in January 2003 having set up an impressive CV during her time with IPC Media. After leaving behind a design career she started as a PA to the ad director for the Country Leisure and Media section.

The next step up was to ad promotion executive, and then account executive and account manager in the Southbank Solutions department. Her proudest achievement was winning the Newcomer of the Year award at the Viacom outdoor annual conference. As she says, “it sits very nicely alongside the Newcomer of the Year award I won at IPC Media in 2000!” In January this year she was promoted to sponsorship manager.

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Nicola is an extremely creative individual and has the awards to prove it. She demonstrates a deep passion to turn amazing ideas into great executions and agencies clearly recognise her tenacity to do just that.”

Romano Sidoli

Age: 22

Classified ad manager, IPC Ignite!

Sidoli is IPC’s youngest manager, having already cut his teeth as a business development manager and sales executive with the company.

He made his name with some innovative work for Loaded, including the introduction of Loaded World– a front page to the ads section that allowed the readers to talk to the sales team via an SMS or e-mail and win a prize donated by one of the advertisers.

As well as his work with Ignite!Sidoli was launch manager of IPC Recruitment advertising, set up by a marathon session of agency meetings.

Judge Sean Healy says:

“He’s only 22 years of age, but his vision and approach to delivering his objectives suggest someone with far more industry experience.

With his undoubted work ethic the sky is the limit.”

Karen Wall

Age: 29

Head of Marketing, Metro

Wall was promoted to head of marketing in 2002 having previously impressed as a marketing manager and media executive with the free newspaper. Her achievements have included sponsorship of a major event at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2003 and the launch of Chemistry, a Metro-sponsored dating event. She was also a key player in establishing a direct mail programme.

Before her time at Metro, Wall worked in the marketing departments of Northcliffe Newspapers and the Bank of Ireland.

Steve Auckland, managing director of Metro, says: “It is rare to find someone so passionate about the brand and calm, precise and determined at the same time!”

Judge Christina Hartley says:

“Karen’s entry screamed out loud: professional, committed and successful. She lives and breathes her brand, truly believes in its potential and clearly gets a kick out of working for Metro!”

Emma Wilson

Age: 25

Account director/company director, Harvest Digital

Wilson was a marketing consultant with Hyperlink Marketing when she was approached to start up a digital marketing agency to head client services and the media side of the business. After two years with Hyperlink, Wilson left to become an account director and shareholder with Harvest Digital. Since moving in 2002, Wilson has played a pivotal role in establishing the business as a successful online media agency.

David Barker, commercial director, Flytxt, says: “Having started as a tenacious, personable and intelligent media buyer, she has now already proved that she has one major advantage over her peers and that is her entrepreneurial vision. Founding a top 20 media agency is impressive by anyone’s standards.”

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“Very impressive media entrepreneur who’s clearly making waves in digital marketing by catapulting a fledgling agency into the Top 20. An easy decision for the judges.”

Anne-Marie Worden

Age: 27

Group advertising manager, Haymarket

Worden is one of the youngest group advertising managers at Haymarket and it is a mark of her achievements over her five years in the media world. She started as a sales executive at PR Weekin 1998 and by 2000, after a series of promotions, she was display advertising manager with Print Week. She moved to Marketingmagazine in April 2002 and in December of that year was named as Haymarket manager of the year.

In June 2003, Worden was promoted to her current position and is now responsible for the client, agency and consultancy teams for Marketing Recruitment.

Judge Paul Farrer says:

“A great advert for the career opportunities available in the business press market. Six promotions in five years, topped by a major company award speak volumes for a major achiever who has thrived in a meritocracy.”

Olivia Wright

Age: 28

Account director, Emap

Wright has remained loyal to Emap since joining as a radio graduate assistant in 1997. Within two years she moved up to radio account executive.

At this stage she took a CAM qualification (Communication, Advertising, Media) in her spare time and it obviously had the desired effect. In June 2002, she was promoted to cross media solutions account manager for Emap Advertising and just eight months later she became a director.

“One of my star players,” says Emap head of cross media, Jane Kesley. “ She always delivers innovative, commercial solutions for advertisers and can create, sell and deliver – a rare combination of deliveries.”

Judge Tim Burrowes says:

“Olivia may just have a handful of years in the business, but her insight into the key issues shows that she has more understanding than those who are years ahead of her. She is clearly one of Emap’s star players.”

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