Passion is no ordinary word. In the case of this

Passion is no ordinary word. In the case of this year’s Media All-Stars, it’s a fundamental element. Take Laura Desmond, this year’s Media Executive of the Year, who turned MediaVest into a $5 billion powerhouse in less than two years. Describing how she transformed the shop into a full-service media agency, Desmond quotes another person known for passion in his line of work, hockey great Wayne Gretsky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it’s been.” This year’s crop is also well-rounded: Initiative’s Stacey Lynn Koerner occasionally performs in her husband’s band; and Mediaedge’s Kim Vasey writes radio jingles when she’s not buying $200 million in radio time.

For the record, we reinstated the planning category due to the overwhelming number of nominations in the field, even though we never asked for planning nominees on our Web site. So Chris Boothe of Starcom, remember to thank all those who nominated you and your peers. —Michael Bürgi