The MCTP Forum is an annual educational immersion into the media, marketing and advertising business, bringing multicultural students from participating colleges and universities to Atlanta.



Welcome to Multicultural Nation!

Today in the US, Hispanics (16.9%), African-Americans (13.1%), Asian-Americans (5.1%) and Native Americans/Pacific Islanders (1.4%) represent almost 115 million people, making up  over 36% of the country. For the past decade, the Multicultural population has been the driving force in the United States economically, culturally, and politically, and will only become more influential in the years to come. The Millennial Generation (also known as “Generation Y”), is on track  to become the largest consumer group in the country – and and approximately 40% of that group is made up of people from Multicultural backgrounds – and this cohort is only going to grow.


Despite the rise of the Multicultural population in the US, we haven’t seen exceptional representation of Multicultural talent within our industry – and we’re hoping to change that. It is well documented that Multicultural professionals are underrepresented across the board – within the media industry and beyond —  and with the MCTP, our goal is to bring awareness about careers in media to a completely capable yet underrepresented talent pool. Not only is it hard for young Multicultural talent to find career opportunities within the media industry, but it’s difficult for media companies to source multicultural talent as well – and that’s where MCTP hopes to bridge the divide.


While it may be hard for companies, it’s even harder for students. In an industry built on relationships, it is often difficult to make the right connections and meet the right people when you’re fresh out of university. Our goal is to make is easier for Multicultural students to get their foot in the door and start a career in the media, marketing & advertising industries. The talent gap is perpetuated by the lack of information about our industry being provided to students before they graduate and start the job search –until now!


As the leading Multicultural media holding company , Publicis Media has garnered the support of the best companies in the industry to support the Multicultural Talent Pipeline (MCTP). The MCTP is an annual educational immersion into the Media, Marketing and Advertising business, which brings Multicultural students from participating colleges and universities to Atlanta to meet industry leaders who will provide a real-world perspective on all the key areas of the business including media strategy, planning, buying, digital, analytics and branded entertainment.  Together, we’re confident we can  close the talent gap and build the pipeline for the next generation of Multicultural talent!



October 16, 2019

3:00 – 4:30 PM          Registration

5:30 – 7:00 PM          Welcome Reception at National Center for Civil and Human Rights

7:00 – 8:00 PM          Museum Exhibit Tour

October 17, 2019

8:30 – 8:45 AM        Welcome Remarks by Tim Jones

8:45 – 9:15 AM        Keynote with Lisa Torres

9:15 – 9:25 AM        The ANA Educational Foundation: Marketing Marketing with Elliot Lum

9:25 – 10:10 AM        Zenith: Rimmel Case Study

10:10 – 10:55 AM        Starcom: From “Hand Raisers” to “Game Changers”

10:55 – 11:05 AM        Break

11:05 – 11:35 AM        Publicis Media: Next Gen Board & MCTP Alumni

11:35 – 12:00 PM        Lunch

12:00 – 12:30 PM        How to Build Your Brand on LinkedIn with Ty Heath

12:30 – 3:00 PM        FutureX Lab Tour

3:05 – 3:15 PM        Break

3:15 – 4:00 PM        Spark Foundry: “What needs to be said” Straight talk about getting into the industry, considerations along the way and navigating success with purpose

4:00 – 4:45 PM        Digitas: Getting Real with CVS Beauty Mark

4:45 – 5:00 PM        Break

5:00 – 7:00 PM        Career Fair

October 18, 2019

8:30 – 8:45 AM        Welcome Remarks by Sandra Sims-Williams

8:45 – 9:55 AM        Body Language Expert Linda Clemons

9:55 – 10:40 AM        Publicis Health: The Power of One Purpose

10:40 – 11:00 AM        Break

11:00 – 11:45 AM        “Started From the Bottom” – Climbing the Different Ladders of Advertising

11:45 – 12:30 PM        BRG Activity

12:30 – 1:00 PM        Lunch

1:00 – 1:45 PM        You’re Hired! Now What?: Winning in Your First 30, 60, 90 & 120 Days

1:45 – 2:30 PM        Publicis Sapient Panel

2:30 – 3:30 PM       Convinced, Confirmed, or Confused

3:40 – 3:45 PM        Closing Remarks by Brian Vaught


Check out our lineup of speakers for the 2019 event.

Brian Vaught

SVP, Talent Inclusion, Publicis Media

Brian has over 14 year of experience in the advertising/marketing/media industry. During his time in the industry he has held roles in client management, new business development, recruiting, training, corporate social responsibility, and most recently overseeing talent inclusion.

In his role he leads Publicis Media’s US Talent Inclusion practice across its six brands – Starcom, Zenith, Spark Foundry, Blue449, Digitas, and Performics. Brian leads internal inclusion programs including the Publicis Media Multicultural Talent Pipeline and the agency’s Inclusion Council. He also serves as a mentor and coach to the company’s business resource groups (BRGs) and drives awareness of professional development experiences.

He is a member of Publicis Groupe’s Talent Engagement & Inclusion Council, a board member for the American Association of Advertising Agencies Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee, and the T Howard Foundation. He is a recipient of the 2018 Leadership Excellence Award by the Tri-State National Diversity Council.

Dana Bonkowski

SVP, Multicultural Lead Starcom USA

Dana is a 25-year Starcom veteran who has contributed significantly to the cultural expertise within the network. A founding member of Tapestry and Starcom Multicultural, she’s a pro at identifying multicultural business opportunities to give brands the necessary edge to win.

Her current role is SVP, Multicultural Lead for Starcom where she is charged with advancing culture-driven understanding across the agency. In this function she helps teams realize untapped business potential by infusing culture at the onset of planning to deliver best in class human experiences.

A little bit about Dana:

She wears her intentions on her sleeve and puts everything on the table to deliver results.

She loves developing ideas for challenger brands. There’s a certain freedom that comes with being scrappy and having to do more with less.

Lastly, she’s lauded as a trusted and provocative leader among peers and vendor partners. Her door is always open and she loves helping young Starcommers reach their potential.

A graduate of Ohio University (Go Bobcats!), Dana graduated cum laude with a BSJ in Broadcast Journalism. She’s a proud aunt to her 5 year old niece Addy and loves teaching her French and Spanish for their future travel adventures.

Dana is a multi-year Effie judge, member of the Portada Agency Council, supporter of the performing arts, and a Multiple Sclerosis activist.

Esther “E.T.” Franklin

EVP, Managing Director, Strategy and Cultural Fluency, Spark Foundry

Esther “E.T.” Franklin has changed the way the advertising industry looks at multiculturalism. By encouraging marketers to take what she calls an “inside out” perspective, she’s helped iconic brands understand cultural identities and media consumption habits of local and global audiences.
As EVP, Managing Director of Strategy and Cultural Fluency at Spark Foundry, Esther develops and drives the agency’s strategic vision in the marketplace and within its own agency’s walls. With her pulse on what’s next and the ability to synthesize trends, Esther leads her team in the ideation and execution of cutting-edge approaches that deepen relationships between brands and high-growth, diverse audiences. As a result, clients do not merely respond to culture, they comfortably engage with it.
Before transitioning her expertise to Spark Foundry in 2016, Esther led the creative vision for Starcom Mediavest Group’s (SMG) Human Experience Strategy, and most recently, the multicultural division of Publicis Media. At SMG, her passion for culture and identity inspired the creation of Beyond Demographics, a proprietary research exploring the role of subculture in redefining communities—notably African-American, Latino, Asian-Amerian and LGBT—and guides clients to better engage with these audiences. Additionally, Esther pioneered Cultural Communication Anthropology, which explores cultural behaviors and communication consumption patterns to understand the impact on people’s adoption of brands, services, message engagement and content development. She also spearheaded the creation of Consumer Context Planning, which transformed SMG from media company to marketing partner with a stronger emphasis on emerging communication vehicles and human understanding.
Esther spent the early part of her career at Leo Burnett working on various Philip Morris brands as VP, planning director for Marlboro USA. She was instrumental in launching several corporate trend initiatives, including LeoShe, Foresight Matters and 20Twenty Vision, focused on the female consumer and twenty-something audience.
From being named an Advertising Age “Women to Watch” to receiving the “Changing the Game” honor from Advertising Women of New York (now She Runs It), Esther is celebrated industrywide for shifting the paradigm on how marketers view and communicate with consumers. Black Enterprise named Esther one of the Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016, and in 2011, AdColor honored her with its “Legend Award.”
Esther is a board member of the Family Institute at Northwestern University and the Chicago Urban League. And was previously chair of The HistoryMakers National Advisory Board's Advertising/Marketing Committee.
A Chicago native, Esther received a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and her master's of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School.

Ivy Chang

Associate Director of FutureX Labs, Moxie

Ivy leads Moxie’s corporate incubation initiative, ProjectX, which pushes employees to invent new prototypes, drive disruptive innovation and experiment with emerging technologies. As part of Moxie’s FutureX Labs, she develops forward-thinking marketing strategies and solutions to help future-enable Moxie and its clients. Ivy has leveraged her expertise to help drive success for brands like L’Oreal, Georgia-Pacific, 20th Century Fox, Verizon, Wells Fargo and more.

Lisa Torres

President, Publicis Media Cultural Quotient

As President of Publicis Media’s Multicultural Practice, Cultural Quotient, Lisa has created a new and more modern, data-centric way to approach the multicultural marketplace. By linking culture to science, Lisa leads what collectively is now #1 spender in culturally targeted campaigns in the US with $1.7 billion in billings. Powered by over 140 multicultural experts across Publicis Media’s brands, Cultural Quotient is the largest targeted cultural digital investor across channels including social, mobile, and gaming.

Lisa ensures Publicis Media remains a leader in the industry by continually conducting custom research to help our clients better understand their diverse consumer segments, thereby pushing the marketplace forward with the latest data and insights, inclusionary marketing strategies, and thought leadership. Lisa is heavily involved in our Talent Engagement and Inclusion initiatives and is a founding member of the Publicis Media Inclusion Council. Additionally, Lisa leads Publicis Media’s renowned Multicultural Talent Pipeline, a program built to introduce college juniors and seniors to the opportunities within Publicis Groupe and the industry at large. Lisa is also the executive sponsor of Publicis Media’s Young Professionals Network business resource group.

Because of her breadth of knowledge and experience, Lisa is consistently sought out for speaking engagements at multicultural marketing and advertising conferences across nationally. Lisa has spoken at events ranging from the ARF’s Leading with Multicultural Speaker Series to the Horowitz Cultural Insights Forum, has been an instructor for the ReFrame the Brand Masterclass and was the keynote speaker at B&C’s Hispanic TV Summit in 2017. Lisa was also named to the Steering Committee for the ARF’s newly-formed Cultural Effectiveness Council and is on the Multicultural Board with the ANA.

Prior to her current role, Lisa served as the President of ZenithOptimedia Multicultural from 2011 through 2016, where she worked closely with ZenithOptimedia’s strategy and investment teams to equip their clients with integrated and dedicated multicultural expertise. With over 25 years of experience, has held positions across agencies including MPG (Havas Media), Carat (Aegis), and others. Last year, Lisa was named to the Steering Committee for the ARF newly for formed Cultural Effectiveness Council. She has been honored by the Association of Hispanic Agencies (AHAA) as Hispanic Executive of the Year (2012), named President of the 4A’S Multicultural Committee (2008), and was named to Crain’s New York Top 40 Under 40 and Mediaweek’s Media All-Star lists in 2004.

Sandra Sims-Williams

Chief Diversity Officer, Publicis Groupe

Sandra Sims-Williams believes that diversity is a vital part of an organization’s competitive advantage and merits inclusion in the business goals and outcomes of an organization. As Publicis Groupe’s Chief Diversity Officer, Sandra is charged with developing and sustaining diversity and inclusion strategies, initiatives, tools and measurement for nearly 24,000 employees working in all brands and business units operating in the US. She also chairs the Publicis Groupe Talent Engagement & Inclusion Council which is made up of leaders from across Publicis Groupe’s agency network.

A 20+ year veteran, Sandra has worked tirelessly to champion talent engagement, diversity and inclusion efforts across Publicis Groupe’s agencies and the industry-at-large. Within Publicis Groupe, she is the lead for the Publicis Groupe launch of VivaWomen! USA and continues to develop opportunities to empower women through conference attendance (Black Enterprise Women of Power, ColorComm, Out & Equal etc.), professional development venues, e.g. Odyssey Network (for senior level women from all industries). Sandra has organized a weekly women’s group called “Journey to the Well,” which takes its inspiration from the popular book of the same name, written by Bishop Vashti McKenzie – the first female bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and first female president of the church’s Council of Bishops.

She is also an industry-recognized authority in diversity who has facilitated and authored a “go to” resource for the 4A’s Diversity Committee, “The Competitive Edge” which was launched in 2012. Sandra also organized and chaired the Roundtable for Advertising Diversity Executives (RADE) to address diversity and inclusion in the advertising/communication industry. She has worked with the NY Ad Club and New York Department of Education to increase the awareness of advertising as a career to high school students. Sandra has received numerous awards and recognition for her contributions including: President’s Award, NY Ad Club; Global Visionary Award, Howard University School of Communication; Rosoff “Mentoring” Award, Boston Ad Club; Academy of Women Achievers, 2010, Boston YWCA.

Sandra holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a M.A. from Hunter College in New York. She is passionate about counseling and guiding young women and is an involved member of her community serving as a executive board member of the Advertising Club of New York and the boards of ColorComm and the New York Women in Communications group. Previously, she has served as a member of the Women’s Executive Committee of the Boston Chamber a member of the Diversity and Advisory Committees for the Boston Ad Club; as a member of the Executive Council for WGBH, Boston’s PBS station; and is an alumnus of The Partnership, an organization to help attract and retain people of color to Boston.

Tim Jones

CEO, Publicis Media, Americas

As the CEO of Publicis Media, Americas, Tim is committed to ensuring that each agency and client receives the resources in talent, tools and technology necessary to drive competitive advantage.
In the past two years, Tim has overseen the reorganization of Publicis Media, including the establishment of a new investment arm, PMX (Publicis Media Exchange, the largest media investment operation in the US), and the realignment of its brands as Blue 449, Digitas, Moxie, MRY Performics, Relevant24, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith. At the same time, the company has enjoyed strong growth with reported total media billings of some $40B, including a number of new business wins such as Audible, DeVry University, Discover, Henkel, KFC, Lionsgate, Lowe’s, Mattel, MillerCoors, Motorola, MTV, Red Bull, Telemundo, Tempur Sealy, Southwest Airlines and USAA.
Prior to his current role, Tim was the CEO of ZenithOptimedia, North America. Under Tim’s leadership, the agency experienced unprecedented growth over a ten-year period, resulting in Zenith becoming a top three media agency in the US.
Tim also acts as Chairman of Performics, overseeing its global rollout plan from the US to over 50 countries worldwide to become the pre-eminent global performance marketing agency. Similarly, Tim now oversees Digitas globally, which became part of the Publicis Media family of brands at the end of 2017.
As a market leader, Publicis Media has developed a number of industry-leading programs including a Graduate Training program that now hires over 500 fresh graduates each year, as well as a comprehensive training program from Associate to President levels, and multi-faceted social responsibility initiatives rendered though each of the Publicis Media brands, including Give Back days and pro-bono support.
Tim gives support to several charities and non-profit causes, including Autism Speaks, where the agency is the pro-bono AOR, and Tim is a board member. He also sits on the executive board of the Ad Council (where Zenith, and now Publicis Media, has pioneered the adoption of media agencies within the AdCouncil agency support model), in addition to the board of the ANA and its Education Foundation (the AEF).
Emigrating from the UK in 1999, Tim and his wife and three children became US citizens over 10 years ago and live in Connecticut with their Golden Retriever dog. His passions surround anything involving “live” performance: music, acting, sport and dance.

Linda Clemons

Body Language Expert

Linda Clemons from Indianapolis, Indiana is the CEO of Sisterpreneur® Inc. Linda is an award-winning a record setting sales producer as well as one of the top sales trainers in the world in the resort/timeshare industry where clients have generated over two billion in sales.
A Body Language Expert trained and certified in Analytic Interviewing and Statement Analysis ™ which is a process used to detect deception.
Her clients and audiences to include Southwest Airlines, Coca-Cola, Spanx, Publicis, Nielsen, National Urban League, Nestle, MGM, Major League Baseball, Wells Fargo. Leo Burnett Worldwide, US Customs, FBI, Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham and Starwood. Her client list includes celebrities, executives, politicians, and entrepreneurs.
Linda has opened for or shared the stage with such notables as Oprah Winfrey, President Obama, Steve Wozniak co-founder of Apple, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Mary Jo White former SEC Chair.

Awards to include but not limited to:
• Office Depot National Entrepreneur Award
• Women of Wealth Top Mentor Award
• A listing in the United States Congressional Records for community work.
• Sagamore of the Wabash the highest civilian award given by the governor in the State of Indiana.
• Memberships-Rotary International
• National Board member for the National Congress of Black Women
• Recognized by President Obama for community work

Colleen Hotchkiss

EVP, Managing Director, Zenith

Colleen Hotchkiss is Executive Vice President and Managing Director, New York at Zenith USA, and a member of its Management Committee. She began her career at Zenith working on the Verizon account.

After a short stint away from the agency, she returned to work on the General Mills business where she honed her portfolio management experience. She eventually ascended to lead planning for key divisions at General Mills, including Yoplait & Pillsbury, during her tenure on the account.

Colleen was a key driver of the Media Vanguard award-winning launch of a recipe driven VOD channel for Pillsbury with Cablevision. In the early stages of Advanced TV, the site showcased Pillsbury’s ‘How To’ recipe videos and content.

Most recently, Colleen was also recognized by She Runs It in their 2018 Changing the Game Awards in partnership with AdWeek. Colleen was recognized in the Brainwave Category, for changing the way a product is marketed.

Ronnie Dickerson

SVP, Career Advancement & Inclusion, Digitas

Sparkle Sprinkler. People’s Champ. Change Agent. Coach.

Ronnie Dickerson Stewart is Senior Vice President of Career Advancement & Inclusion at Digitas, a global connected marketing agency, and founder of OhHeyCoach, LLC. (a career navigation consultancy).

In her role at Digitas she leads the firm’s Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility practice across North America & oversees Digitas’ Performance Management & Career Advancement efforts.

Due to her various contributions to advancing agency culture and talent during her time in the ad industry, she was named the 2017 ADCOLOR Industry Change Agent. Most recently, in 2018 she received the Paragon Award from the American Association of Advertising Agencies for her efforts toward supporting and nurturing diverse talent throughout her career.

As a certified Career Management & Executive Leadership Development Coach, Ronnie spends 200% of her professional time dedicated to the growth, success and advancement of others. From interns to C-Suite leaders, she’s coached and consulted with countless individuals to support them in navigating their most critical career moments.

Ronnie’s most cherished roles are wife to Christopher, and #MamaBear to her sons, Carter Jeffery & Lennox Jett!

Social: @ohheyronnie @ohheycoach

Shannon Watkins

Head of Brand and Creative Services, Aflac Incorporated

Shannon Watkins, Aflac’s Head of Brand and Creative Services, is responsible for brand strategy, advertising, media, experiential marketing, creative services and event production. Prior to joining Aflac, she served in various brand and general management roles at several companies including The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods and Procter & Gamble.

In 2017, Shannon was recognized with a Cannes Award for her work on POWERADE’s “Just a Kid” campaign that featured actors Tupac Shakur and Al Pacino, and athletes including NBA’s Derrick Rose, NFL’s Jimmy Graham, U.S. Soccer’s Alex Morgan and Olympian-turned-professional-boxer Claressa Shields. Other honors include being recognized as a “woman to watch” from Brand Innovators and the recipient of the Kelly Brand Leaders award from Indiana University in 2018.

Shannon is currently on the board of the alumni association at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America.

Shannon holds a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and an MBA from Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She lives in Columbus, Ga. with her husband Rashaad and daughter Zoie.

Valencia Mitchell

Director of Brand Strategy, Insights, & Advertising, Aflac Incorporated

Valencia Mitchell takes a vision and makes it a reality through sound marketing/brand strategy development. She instinctively sees the opportunity within an organization and enjoys bringing people together to achieve common business goals. Valencia is an inspirational leader who motivates action while anchoring in insights to help drive growth. With over 17 years of marketing experience, she is respected and a credible voice in decision making and known for nurturing strategic partners. Valencia earns a seat at the table wherever she serves.

Currently, as Director of Marketing at Aflac Incorporated, the largest provider of supplemental insurance in the United States, Valencia oversees brand strategy, insights, and national advertising for the 25 billion dollar plus organization. She leads redefining the category from a marketing perspective, evolving the brand strategy beyond awareness to knowledge and connection, driving more integration between marketing plans and activities, and support the company’s recruiting efforts with a marketing strategy and breakthrough creative execution.

Previously, as Director of Marketing for Sparkling Brands at The Coca-Cola Company, she oversaw a 650 million dollar portfolio of non-cola brands leveraging a $40 million marketing budget to grow market share (+10 points), revenue (+4%), and volume (+10%). By creating an aggressive roadmap for growth and launching key innovations in products and packaging, the Fanta brand moved to #1 in market share in a very mature category. Another success story was the launched of the “Be More Than One Flavor” marketing campaign for Fanta beverages, delivering 855 million impressions along with (+4.2%) in revenue growth.

Valencia holds an MBA from Clark Atlanta University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tuskegee University. She is a board member of Feeding the Valley Food Bank and a member of the following organizations; National Black MBA Association, American Marketing Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club. She also served as a volunteer for Meals on Wheel Atlanta and Habitat for Humanity (Atlanta Chapter & Hurricane Katina Relief Work).

Elliot Lum

SVP, Talent Strategy & Program Initiatives, Advertising Education Foundation

Elliot Lum is currently Senior Vice President, Talent Strategy and Program Development at the Advertising Education Foundation (AEF) where he is leading their efforts to shape the future of marketing talent. Prior to this role, Elliot was Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Columbia Records where for six years, he put together marketing partnerships between brands and artists. Prior to Columbia Records, Elliot was a brand manager for the Max Fresh business at Colgate-Palmolive. He received his MBA from MIT Sloan, where he won a Leadership Award for putting together the school’s first-ever marketing conference. He received his BA in art history from Columbia University.

He finished his first book entitled "My Entrepreneurial Confessions" where he spent one year interviewing more than 300 millennial founders across 24 states that was published in the fall 2018.

Tiffany Smith

Supervisor, Coty Content Team, Zenith

As a Supervisor on the Content Team at Zenith, Tiffany strategizes and executes custom content campaigns for Coty brands such as COVERGIRL, Rimmel, Clairol, Sally Hansen, and Salon Professional. Tiffany began her career in media at Publicis Groupe as an Operations Associate, working on the Coca-Cola account. She then obtained a position on the LiquidThread Content Team where she developed and managed custom programs for the Procter & Gamble retail partners. Tiffany's various roles at Publicis Groupe has led to her current position, where she continues to drive success for the Coty brands and advance her career as a media professional.

Melanie Liu

Producer, Digitas

Melanie is a video producer at Digitas Boston, where she produces video and stills content for clients like Bank of America, CVS, Playstation, Delta, Goodyear and Dunkin Donuts. She leads Perspectives, a business resource group dedicated to inspire, include, and project the voices and experiences of our multicultural employees and allies. She also sits on the Digitas Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is dedicated to recruiting and retaining diverse talent at all levels. Melanie is also an avid cook and baker in her spare time, usually joined by her sidekick pup, Bacon.

Julia Grasso

Account Manager, Digitas

Julia Grasso is the Account Manager on the CVS Health business at Digitas. For the last 7 years, Julia has always been up for new challenges and new business. She has helped build brands across various categories, from large financial institutions and sporting goods companies to impactful pro-bono initiatives. With CVS and Digitas, Julia played a vital role in the creation, planning and execution of the award-winning Beauty Mark campaign—which gave her an opportunity to help make a difference and empower women across the country.

Instagram handle: julesgrass

Marissa Murray

NextGen Board Member, Starcom

With over 10 years’ experience in marketing and advertising, Marissa is a holistic & fearless marketer, dedicated to providing relevant, innovative and effective media strategies in today’s rapidly changing media landscape.

Her expertise spans across all channel media planning, execution and strategic leadership, enabling her to provide breakthrough, functional insights across multiple sectors including: alcohol, CPG, oil & gas, tourism, film, entertainment, retail, finance and cannabis.

Marissa currently runs both the Entertainment One film and Cronos Group cannabis businesses at Starcom in Toronto. She specifically has an innate passion for the film business in Canada, previously leading the Walt Disney Studios Canada theatrical business for five and a half years.

At Starcom, she is the only Canadian representative on the Next Generation Board and thrilled to be a part of it.

In her spare time, she watches a lot of movies, is an avid traveler and a proud mentor with Women in Communications and Technology, dedicated to helping women advance their careers and thrive in tech in Canada as well as Pioneering Women, supporting advancement of women in Canadian film.

Jake Mann

NextGen Board Member, Zenith

Jake Mann embodies the best of what our industry has to offer, as well as, what it can become with the right balance of talent, drive, innovation and adaptation. Naturally adept at bridging the complex technological and strategic aspects of our business, Jake has been exemplary in leading the development of best in class solutions for our clients and our brand which both have been quick to recognize in his ever growing list of accolades/acknowledgments.

Demonstrating a remarkably advanced grasp of his field, Jake is a central component to the development and success of our data and media programs. A constant innovator and accomplished technological expert, Jake is known by his leaders, peers, and clients as the go to individual to solve Ad and Martech problems great and small. His ability to apply his advanced knowledge to new innovations has cultivated a reputation of achievement that has company leaders consistently vying for his talent, especially in new business pitches.

Jake’s initiative marries strategic ingenuity with execution to set a standard that commands a respect that is quickly identified by those who work with him within the agency and clients.

Carlos Rodriguez

NextGen Board Member, Starcom

Carlos Rodriguez is a Director at Publicis Media on Fiat Chrysler, specializing in digital strategy and investment. Throughout his 7 years with the company he has worked across various accounts including T-Mobile, Pizza Hut, Puma and Fiat Chrysler. After graduating from Baruch, Carlos started his career in NYC working at Blue 499 but in 2019 moved to Michigan to help work on Fiat Chrysler, specifically leading the Jeep and local digital business. Carlos started his career at Blue 449 as a media trainee. He spent all of his career working primarily on Pizza Hut until his most recent move to help lead the FCA digital business. In his time at Publicis, Carlos was selected to join the Publicis Media Americas Next Generation Board. The board allows Carlos to work with the future leaders of Publicis Media solving industry issues. Carlos has been on the board since 2016 and now serves as the Lead for the Americas Board.

Omari Francis

NextGen Board Member, Digitas

Omari joined Digitas in 2011. His focus on delivering purposeful B2B and B2C digital experiences has brought enterprise digital solutions to life for brands such as General Motors, OnStar, STARZ, Bank of America and Dow Chemical. As an active member of Digitas’ North American Project Management leadership team and the Project Management lead for the Detroit office, his role is to drive value operationally, develop teams of experienced digital project managers and continue to foster the culture and the mindsets that drive success for our clients and make Digitas an incredible place to be.

Bhavna Mahadevan

Second Story Engineer, Publicis Sapient

Bhavna graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, focusing in Digital Media and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and earned a Master of Entertainment Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center. Bhavna has worked with a variety of hardware and software and has completed projects for clients such as the World of Coca-Cola, Michelin, NRG, and Southern Company. Bhavna currently works as an Associate Creative Technologist at Second Story in Atlanta, where she has lived for the past four years, developing physical activations and immersive experiences to engage audiences in unique and interesting stories. Outside of her career, Bhavna is a gamer, a dog mom, and a fan of all kinds of music. In her free time, Bhavna attends as many concerts as she possibly can, and practices the martial art, Cuong Nhu.

IG Handle: @bhavnator

Brandi Watkins

VP, Digital Investment, Zenith

Brandi Watkins is Vice President, Digital Media at Zenith. She is a passionate advertising veteran who has spent her 13-year career on the agency side of the business leading digital strategy and performance marketing campaigns for brands such as Verizon, AT&T, NBA and Lenovo. She is a proud alumna of Georgia Southern University where she obtained her Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing. Brandi was born in Birmingham, AL, but considers herself an ATLien as she has lived in Atlanta since childhood. From its roots in the Civil Rights Movement to its contribution to hip hop, her love for Atlanta and its history runs deep. She gives back to the city through volunteer work with local nonprofits such as “Kids in Need” which collects school supplies for students in low-income neighborhoods. Brandi loves to travel and has a life goal of visiting every continent, including Antarctica! She enjoys spending time with her husband Stephen, their daughter Harper and dog Winslow.

IG Handle: @brandi__watkins

Brandon Hampton

Creative Director, Moxie

Brandon is a Creative Director at Moxie. He’s currently the lead on the agency’s creative and social media work for Delta Air Lines. Brandon has also been instrumental in the creation of Unit3C, Publicis Media’s social creative and production agency, driving the nimble and agile content production model.

Before joining Moxie, Brandon has been a copywriter and creative lead at DDB New York, Digitas, and TM Advertising. A native of Arkansas, Brandon attended Southern Methodist University with a BA in Advertising.

Elisa Soares

Digital Product Manager, Publicis Sapient

Elisa is a Digital Product Manager at Publicis Sapient on the Mercedes-Benz account (Vans project) since January 2017. She’s been at Publicis Sapient since January 2015. She has a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design / Visual Communication from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (Santa Maria, RS, Brazil). Her areas of study were visual identity and brand management, human-computer interaction, web usability, graphic and web design. She’s worked with big institutions, agencies and independently as a consultant, in three different countries (Brazil, US, and Denmark). She has almost 19 years of experience in front-end web development, product and project management, and functional analysis, and has also worked in managing client accounts, teams, task forces, and vendors.

Erin Shattles

Senior Account Executive, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness

Erin Shattles graduated from the University of Georgia in 2017 with a degree in Public Relations and moved up to New York City upon graduation to begin her career in pharmaceutical advertising at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. She has had experience in both the project management and account management departments but found she fits best on the account side with her desire to be client facing and more involved in the strategy and creative process. She has worked on HUMIRA Complete all of her career and mostly on the consumer-facing materials, both digital and print pieces. After two years in the city, Erin wanted to be closer to friends and family so moved back home to Atlanta this past summer and is continuing to work remotely with SSW!

Instagram: @erinshattles

Jason Pettis

Account Supervisor, Moxie

Lizzy Michan

Senior Analyst, Starcom

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Michan is a Senior Analyst in the Advanced Analytics and Insights department at Starcom. Working across industries on brands such as Mars-Wrigley, Lionsgate, Best Buy and fairlife, Lizzy develops key insights, whether it be on audience strategy or campaign performance, to ensure campaigns are delivering on key points of interest for the clients. She’s also the co-lead for the Multicultural Affinity Collective within Starcom, working with her partner to bring multicultural campaigns to the forefront of the agency and clients. Lizzy has a passion for merging data insights to drive multicultural thinking to the forefront of every client and continuously seeks opportunities to merge the two in ways that are impactful to the industry and clients. Outside of work, Lizzy spends her time volunteering at her local animal shelter and exploring Chicago through concerts, street fests and museums (or anywhere inside during winter months).

Michael Irvin

Project Manager, Moxie

Michael Irvin is a Project Manager-CRM at Moxie. He is a proud alumnus of Morehouse College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing. He is a veteran of the marketing industry, with more than 20 years of corporate marketing experience with brands such as Foot Locker, Foot Action, Calvin Klein Underwear, and AIG. While he is New Jersey born and bred, he has called Atlanta home for the past eight years. Michael is a member of the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA), and also volunteers with mentoring underprivileged youth in the Atlanta area. Michael’s passions outside of work include smoking cigars, drinking fine whiskeys, and dancing to a Jersey house mix.

IG Handle: @irvgotti10

Touraan Pickens

VP, Media Director, Moxie

Touraan Pickens, a native New Yorker, is a passionate and pragmatic media professional.

From the start of her career, Touraan jumped at every opportunity to learn each aspect of local media- first in client finance, then broadcast buying and, eventually, client service for Blue Chip clients in New York and Atlanta. Seizing an opportunity for growth, Touraan relocated to Houston to lead a local broadcast buying department. However, she was drawn back to Atlanta. Initially at Zenith, but in 2018 she was asked to build a local investment department at Moxie from the ground up. Touraan thrives on collaboration and building partnerships, whether internal or external. She consistently looks for ways to drive growth for Moxie and value for its clients. Recently married in Cape Town, South Africa, she enjoys travel, a slight obsession with Harry Potter and binge watching episodes of Succession and 90-Day Fiancé (no judgment please.)

Ty Heath

Global Lead, The B2B Institute @LinkedIn

Ty is the Global Lead, The B2B Institute @LinkedIn, the former President of LinkedIn’s Black Inclusion Group (BIG) and Co-Founder of TransformHER. Ty is passionate about connecting people with information needed to make intelligent decisions, delivering educational content to help marketers stay on top of the latest in digital marketing strategy with a bit of humor. Ty teaches B2B marketing, inbound marketing strategy, account based marketing, social selling, content marketing as well as leadership, diversity and inclusion. Ty is also author of "Marketers of Tomorrow: A Step by Step Toolkit for Inbound Marketing."

Vanessa Toro

VP, Creative Strategy, Digitas

Vanessa Toro is Vice President of Creative Strategy at Digitas. She is responsible for providing strategic and creative direction for clients and partner agencies alike. Relentlessly focused on helping brands harness culture, she has led the thinking for clients such as SunTrust, Delta Air Lines, BlackRock and T-Mobile.

Vanessa believes advertising, at its best, propels culture forward rather than merely functioning as its mirror.

She hates jargon.

Twitter/IG: @fridasbrow




210 Peachtree Street

Atlanta, GA, 30303, US

For more details about driving directions, please follow these directions provided by the THE WESTIN PEACHTREE PLAZA ATLANTA.

Rising 73 floors above the heart of the city, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta features world-class service, superb amenities, and an unparalleled location. Our hotel is moments away from Atlanta’s best-known attractions – from the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola to Philips Arena, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

100 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard

Atlanta, GA 30313



Publicis Northyards Campus

384 Northyards Blvd NW #290

Atlanta, GA, 30313



What is the Multicultural Talent Pipeline?

The Multicultural Talent Pipeline (MCTP) is an educational immersion into the media, marketing and the advertising businesses. The MCTP brings multicultural students from participating colleges and universities together, giving them access to industry leaders who can provide a real-world perspective on key areas of the business, including media strategy, planning, buying, digital, analytics,  branded entertainment and more.

What should I wear to the event?

Dress to Impress! We like to call our attire “Fashion-forward / business casual”. Confidence is grounded in comfort and we want you to feel good so you can be at your best over the next two days. Dress nicely but be comfortable as well so you can make the most of this opportunity!

What should I bring to the event?

Please bring a valid photo ID as well as several copies of your resume.

As the faculty chaperone, how should I register?

2019 event registration is now open. Go to the registration page for details.

Will meals be provided?

Meal information will be provided closer to the event.

Will travel to and from the airport be covered?

No, we will not be providing reimbursement for travel to/from the airport.

What is the event agenda?

Please visit the itinerary page for details.


Thank you for your interest, but registration for the 2019 Multicultural Talent Pipeline is closed.


Thank you to our sponsors for their support of the 2019 event.