26 Agency Leaders Who Are Becoming the Industry’s New Icons

They're building brands, careers and new legacies

Headshot of Justine Armour for Adweek's Creative 100
72andSunny New York ecd Justine Armour has led attention-grabbing recent work for Cheerios and Halo Top. Dasha Pestrikova

Advertising will always have its share of young rising stars, quickly building a name for themselves as they climb the ranks. But rising leaders, while even more important to the health and future of advertising, are harder to spot. Their work often shifts behind the scenes as they privately offer guidance and quietly share in glories.

As part of Adweek’s Creative 100 each year, we take a step back and look at the emerging leaders who are charting a new course for advertising. Some are building new agencies, while others are building on the legacies of globally admired shops.

Read below to get to know this year’s senior agency talent on the Creative 100:

Mira Kaddoura

Founder and ecd, Red & Co

Photo: Jacob Hinmon

Based in: Portland, Ore.
Beirut, Lebanon

Recent work: “Make Room” for Netflix. “Netflix rarely does brand work, but felt it needed to stand up and stand out as a company that can disrupt culture (and the film industry) as much as it’s disrupted the technology with which we watch films and shows. We wanted to talk to everyone marginalized by the film industry (women, POC, LGBTQ, etc) to show how Netflix’s inclusiveness results in amazing stories.”

The most rewarding part of the job: “Being able to connect with, inspire and empower millions of people I will never meet.”

Secrets of being a good creative leader: “Making room for people with different POVs—women, people of color, people from different cultures, LGBTQ, etc. Not being afraid to fail. Being brave. Pushing people, internally or externally, outside of their comfort zone. Enjoying the process.”

Best advice for aspiring creatives: “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.”

Personal mantra: “As you worship, so you become.”
Doug Zanger

Andrés Ordóñez

CCO, Energy BBDO

Photo: Brian Cooper

Based in: Chicago
Bogotá, Colombia

Recent work: “Prescribed to Death” for the National Safety Council. “It’s the type of work that lives at the intersection between innovation and storytelling—which is something we really strive to do. Plus, it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to save a life and with this project, we did.”

What else he’s worked on: Jeep, while at BBDO Puerto Rico; Ford and SC Johnson while at Zubi

The most rewarding part of the job: “The people. There’s nothing better than feeling the energy of the people around the work and seeing their faces when ideas are out and recognized.”

Side hustle: “Running. I try to run at least 5 days a week because it clears up the mind.”

Personal mantra: “Always trust your gut. It knows what your head hasn’t figured out yet.”

Best advice for aspiring creatives: “Get into this because you love it, because it makes you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about a line, because the world is full of stories that you want to turn into something. And never forget that, while you’re at it, you have the chance to make this world a better one.”
Erik Oster

Casey Rand and Karen Land Short

Ecds, Droga5

Photo courtesy of Droga5

Based in: New York City
Montreal (Rand) and Austin, Texas (Land Short)

Recent work: “Class of 0000,” created by agency coalition Potential Energy, is a student-led campaign promoting climate action with graduation speeches demanding action from political leaders. “Essentially, we’re getting high school and college valedictorians across the country to work the same speech into their commencement addresses, all pledging to vote for political candidates who have a plan to get to zero emissions,” Rand says. “I’m most proud of this because, as we all know, the world is ending and our leaders refuse to take action. Karen and I are leading the project with a team at Droga5.”

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.