CINCINNATI – (December 1, 2021) – With Empower’s rapid year-over-year growth over the past five years, The Un-Holding Company is planting roots in Atlanta and creating a cultural center hub for employees and clients to gather and collaborate. Anchored in West Midtown where people organically gravitate to for happy hours, shopping and artisanal food experiences, Empower’s Hub is located at 1115 Howell Mill Rd NW inside The Interlock development. Employees and clients have access to many amenities. The Bellyard boutique hotel sits above Empower’s space with a 38,000-square-foot rooftop with full-service restaurant, bar, pool, and gathering space with a scenic view of the Atlanta skyline. The lease was officially signed in November and Empower Atlanta is slated to open in Q2 of 2022.
“The Empower Hub model creates destinations that attract and retain talent, fosters culture-building and big-thinking,” explained president and chief operating officer, Rob FitzGerald. “Inspired by Cincinnati HQ’s Hukon space complete with velvet couches, dining tables, sound system, barista and bar, the Atlanta Hub is the first of four that we plan to open across the country,” FitzGerald said.
To support the agency’s expansion, Thomas Choi joins as SVP, Head of Strategy and Planning and will be the managing director of Empower, Atlanta. In May, Empower announced it was named Media AOR for Atlanta-based Newell Brands. Nicole Atabay, VP, Client Leadership is leading the client’s business in Atlanta. With increased media billings reaching $750MM, Krista Lang joins as SVP, Investment overseeing all paid media teams inclusive of search, social, audio, digital, commerce, print, and OOH.
“All three Atlanta-based leaders add significant bench-strength to Empower and are the right people to help plant the Empower flag in Atlanta,” said FitzGerald. “The Atlanta market is a hotbed for diverse talent and is a good culture fit for Empower,” he said.
Thomas Choi, SVP, Head of Strategy and Planning and Managing Director, Atlanta
By way of Publicis’ Zenith, Choi brings more than 20 years of vast media, digital and product development experience to Empower. Choi’s extensive category experience ranges from automotive (Honda/Acura, Nissan and Infiniti) to telecom (Verizon) to quick-service-restaurants (Arby’s and Sonic), just to name a few.
He’s held senior roles at RPA, MediaVest-Spark Foundry, OMD, and Moxie. Having worked for holding company agencies, Choi was drawn to Empower’s mission: to be the agency where clients and employees come to prove there’s a better way to do it.
“I’ve been really impressed with Empower’s growth and I attribute this to the company values which are truly differentiating compared to a lot of other agencies,” Choi said. “As we plant roots in Atlanta, I’m determined to build on the great strategic foundation of Empower and foster a tight-knit culture that thrives on problem solving, outperforming expectations and working as a united front across all three locations.”
Nicole Atabay, VP, Client Leadership
With more than 20 years of experience, Atabay joins Empower leading the Newell Brands business comprised of 25 well-known consumer brands. Prior to this, she was VP, media strategy at Zenith where she oversaw the Arby’s and Georgia-Pacific accounts. She also worked with Thomas Choi in her time there and will play a critical role in establishing Empower’s presence in Atlanta alongside Choi and Lang.
She has many years of agency experience across Ogilvy & Mather, Foote Cone & Belding and Mindshare with a proven track record of helping build brands including Coors Light, Dixie and Dove to name a few.
“I’m inspired by the agility and nimbleness of Empower and look forward to contributing to the agency’s growth as we build our presence in and around Atlanta,” Atabay said.
Krista Lang, SVP, Investment
Advertising is in Lang’s DNA. Raised by two ad execs, she’s grown up in this business. Prior to joining Empower, Lang was SVP, Executive Director of Media at 22squared where she oversaw a large and cross-functional team. Working under the leadership of Chief Investment Officer, Cathy Shaffner, Lang will be focused on solving client investment challenges and opportunities of today while Shaffner focuses on future-proofing media investment strategies 3-5 years out–always staying ahead of the curve.
Lang brings a wealth of big-brand, tech, retail, and finance expertise working on clients like MillerCoors, Nike, Microsoft, Mariott Resorts, Hawaiian Airlines, Publix, Weight Watchers and several financial institutions.
In her 20+ years working in media, she’s experienced both independent and holding company agencies like MullenLowe (IPG) and Razorfish (Publicis Groupe) and is ready for her “forever home.”
“I love the nature of an independent agency, so I was very drawn to Empower, The Un-Holding Company,” Lang said. “I’m energized by Empower’s in-house product development, savvy media prowess and commitment to clients–planning and investing their media dollars in the most economical and responsible way that delivers ROI,” she said.
Much like Empower’s headquarters in Cincinnati, West Midtown Atlanta has a rich industrial history that’s recently experienced a large amount of gentrification while retaining history of the buildings. According to its website, The Interlock building name comes from a historical marker down the street where four railroad lines converge–a vivid metaphor for the intersection of Southern culture, technology, living quarters, and commerce.