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Faculty Roster Filling Up for 2016 SoDA Academy

by SoDA Communications / June 30, 2016

The development of the SoDA Academy faculty is continuing apace, with new faces coming on board, joining some returning track leaders from 2015’s strong inaugural effort. We’re excited to say that our lead faculty roster is nearly complete!


We’ve continued to collaborate with and recruit agency leaders possessing the depth and breadth of experience—along with the urge to collaborate, engage and inspire—that have been the key characteristics of the SoDA Academy.


As you can see, this year’s Academy is developing quickly, so stay tuned in this space for the announcement of the remaining faculty leaders, as well as guest speakers and other featured presenters.


The SoDA Academy tracks and faculty in place to date include:





New in 2016!


Regardless of what specific agency discipline is being discussed as we plan and develop this year’s curriculum, one key issue continually arises: the challenges of attracting, nurturing, and keeping productive talent.


In this track, delegates will explore the models and ‘best known’ practices top digital agencies are using to recruit, cultivate and retain talent. Session topics will include:


Developing strategies and staffing plans to scale intelligently

Effective methods for recruitment, onboarding and ongoing training

Innovative (and less painful) approaches to employee and leadership evaluations

Building and maintaining culture as you grow

Keeping employees and management engaged and loyal

Compensation best practices


Anthony Onesto, Vice President at Razorfish is a business leader with more than 18 years of strategy, product, recruiting, and human resources experience. At Razorfish, Onesto is focused on global strategies for both technology and data science practices.


As the first head of human resources for FreshDirect, he took the company from 30+ employees to 2,000 within 5 years and to 20,000 orders per day. He has built many high growth startups in his career including, Zeta Interactive, Big Fuel which grew by 500% in two years and then exited to Publicis, plus VC-backed Savos and Solidstreaming.


Tamara Hlava works as the Director of People Operations for Column Five and Visage in Irvine, CA, and Brooklyn, NY. Her passions for creative talent acquisition and harmonious work life combine with her career experience in pragmatic and perceptive HR & OD leadership to play an integral role in shaping company culture and work environment. Tamara truly thrives on helping organizations take care of their people, hire well and facilitate solutions that help teams execute amazing work. A dedicated yoga practitioner, Tamara believes teams and individuals stand to learn the most when open-minded, flexible and scrutinizing assumptions. Meditation helps, too.


Tamara has over 20 years of experience working in the interactive & print media industry in a variety of HR, talent management and production roles. She is based in Laguna Beach, CA.


Account Management


The Account Management role within an agency is a unique one, spanning client relationships, project management, business development and strategy. Account management leaders need to be well-versed in all of these disciplines, and be able to combine these skills in a cohesive, dynamic way.


In this track, delegates will explore the models, practice and value of account management in digital agencies. Returning to lead the Account Management track this year will be:


Pauline Ploquin, Partner and Chief Relationship Officer for Struck. With a background in communications and nearly 20 years in the creative industry, Pauline has mastered the art of left brain/right brain integration. As CRO, she is focused on developing satisfying relationships for Struck including current accounts, strategic partnerships and attracting new clients. Pauline holds a Master’s degree in Journalism from UCLA. Pauline also currently serves on SoDA’s Board of Directors.


Andy Parnell, Chief Client Officer, Lane Terralever. Parnell has 20+ years of business development, traditional marketing communications and digital marketing experience and has proven C-level experience at multiple agencies.





While digital agencies are often defined by their technological excellence, the skills, processes and tools necessary to excel are continually shifting and adapting.


In this track, delegates will share best practices on fundamental issues and challenges agency tech teams face – both today and in the foreseeable future. Session topics will include:


Best practices for managing technology teams

Workflow challenges and methods

Recruiting and the culture of engineering

The role of technology throughout the project lifecycle

Developing for emerging technologies (wearables, IoT, VR, AR)

Workshops with hands-on exploration of emerging technologies


Steve Glauberman, General Manager at Perficient, Formerly Founder and CEO of Enlighten. Glauberman founded Enlighten in 1983 as one of the nation’s first interactive agencies with a vision for how technology could be used to help companies market their products more effectively. Under Steve’s leadership, Enlighten quickly established a sterling reputation for creating work that was visually stunning, technically powerful, and conceptually groundbreaking. As Enlighten remained committed to creating integrated brand experiences that forge meaningful relationships with consumers, it saw a unique opportunity to build an even larger customer experience focused agency platform within a traditional IT consulting organization and has been recently acquired by Perficient, Inc. Steve is a graduate in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.




To genuinely maximize the role and function of strategy within agencies, it’s essential to move beyond broad overviews of what strategy is to more practical and concrete questions of strategic development and implementation.


In this track, participants will be challenged to rethink and ‘level up’ their skills and practice when it comes to strategy within a digital agency setting. Session topics will include:


Effective strategy workflows and deliverables

What are the best tools, models and methods that should be in a strategist’s toolkit

Integrating strategy throughout the project lifecycle

The consultants are moving in – how do we compete?

How to propose, plan and scope strategy

How to hire and train strategists

New forms of qualitative and quantitative research for strategy engagements


Andrea Ring, Chief Strategy Officer, Big Spaceship, is responsible for leading Big Spaceship’s burgeoning strategy discipline and sharpening the overall strategic vision and approach for the agency. Previously, Andrea was the SVP of Planning/Experience Planning at R/GA, where over the course of her 9 ½ year tenure she built up a team of 40 planners and helped brands such as Nike, Google, and Samsung figure out how to rethink their businesses and develop meaningful relationships with the right consumers.


Before joining R/GA. she worked as a brand planner with J. Walter Thompson, Bigchalk.com, and Digital Pulp Advertising. And in a prior life, Ring was president and co-founder of KUSH yoga mats, a successful TV writer, and a research associate for the New York City Mayor’s Office. Over the course of her career, Andrea has been awarded numerous strategy and creative awards, and has spoken passionately about the future opportunities for brands in the connected age. She believes that every project, regardless of its form, should start with a crisp and inspiring human insight.


Tina Glengary Cordes of Instrument. As a strategist, Tina asks a lot of questions, then calculates ways to create effective, beautiful and meaningful solutions to real business problems. She believes in efficient strategy — quickly providing teams and clients with actionable insights and plans.

She built Instrument’s strategy discipline, working alongside and leading a talented team. She also worked at Big Spaceship and Odopod both as a strategist and account director. Her unique perspective on creating memorable experiences stems from a background in museum exhibit design and library science.



Small Agency Leadership


NEW IN 2016!


Agency leadership has never been more daunting, as the perennial challenges of successfully leading a growing agency, combined with the increasing complexity across the agency landscape, continue to test the abilities of even the most skilled agency leaders.


SoDA has a broad range of member companies, not only in terms of geographic location and areas of digital expertise, but also in terms of size. However, in this track, we’ll focus on the unique needs, challenges and opportunities faced by leaders of shops in the <50 FTE range. Session topics will include:


Leadership: How should a CEO of a small shop spend his or her day/week/month?

Evolving your agency strategy as you grow

Org Structures for smaller agencies – are you optimally organized?

Transitioning from project shop to AOR engagements

Successful approaches to partnerships


John Kaminsky is the Managing Director of Canvas, responsible for establishing the overall direction of the agency and its client engagements. After graduating with an architecture degree from the University of Virginia and short stints at The New York Times and About.com, John founded his first digital agency in 1999 which subsequently joined the Omnicom Diversified Agency Services group. In 2005, John founded Canvas with a four-person team and Madison Square Garden, Intel and Corning as anchor clients. Since then, the agency has grown to 25 digital professionals working collaboratively to set new standards for clients such as Showtime, NBC, Credit Suisse and Estée Lauder.


Product Development


The nature and scope of innovation within agency settings is continuing to grow and evolve, encompassing both product development for clients as well as the cultivation and nurturing of an agency’s own intellectual property.


In this track, delegates will be immersed in the growing field of product and IP development within agency settings. The track will feature new workshops and collaborative exercises focused on two key areas: 1) instances where agencies are bringing their own IP to market and 2) scenarios where agencies are developing new products and platforms in partnership with clients. Session topics will include:


Case studies of success and failure in spinning off new business through agency-owned R&D

Case studies of success and failure in developing new products for clients

How to budget for and scope product development initiatives

How to design and develop business models for new products

Workshops to apply best known practices in product development to ideas generated by delegate teams.


Andrew Howlett, Chief Digital Officer, Rain. Leading Rain since 2003, Andrew has mixed his finance and business background with his digital knowledge to lead company and client strategy from early concept ideation to go-to-market rollouts. Product development is what he really loves to talk about and has helped create one of the world’s largest cloud-based fitness platforms, the most used digital platform for digital sheet music, the largest digital scrapbook application ever created and a leading smart sprinkler controller, as well as many other digital and physical products.


Project Management


Project managers need to be both leaders and collaborators, acting as leaders within a discipline with increasing challenges, questions and complexity. Project managers’ skills need to be similarly broad and diverse, able to shift easily among a range of different roles and settings.


In this track, participants will explore the models, practice and value of project management and production in digital agencies. Session topics will include:


Where, when and why things go wrong

Best practices for early stage price and time estimates

Our biggest mistakes and what we learned from them

Scoping in agile or non-fixed cost environments

Collaborating with account management to shepherd client relationships

Collaborating with creative to enhance quality, workflow, delivery & margin



Wesley ter Haar, Founder and Head of Production at MediaMonks. Wesley spent 14 years fighting mediocrity in the trenches of digital development, 12 of which as Co-Founder of MediaMonks. He describes himself as a lifeline for deadlines and project-manager of project-managers across three continents. In case that seemed to be too good to be true, you should know he is also impervious to stress, while maintaining standing as a professional tea drinker and a more than decent giver of high-fives.


Katherine Struck, Director of Production at Struck. Project Management is more than an on-time and on-budget mantra for Katherine—she is constantly planning for the unexpected and rolling with the punches to deliver something even greater than expected. With over 18 years of project management experience, Katherine began her career in the telecom industry, moving on to obtain over 12 years of experience in the Marketing industry managing projects with a focus on digital. Her portfolio incorporates work with a broad range of clients, including Visa, Allstate Insurance, Dreamworks, Disney, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, McDonald’s, Hewlitt Packard, Columbia Sportswear, Mountain Hardwear, Nike and ASICS.





While the challenges raised by operational issues are perhaps more consistent than in any other discipline, the best approaches and optimal solutions to these challenges are far from static.


In this track, delegates will focus on improving the way agencies, production companies and others in our industry operate, structure teams, and orchestrate workflows to create innovative, collaborative and effective businesses. Session topics will include:


Exploring different management models, including team-based structures

Running a tight ship while enabling creativity and collaboration

Improving internal communications

Growing teams for scale

To outsource or not to outsource

Best practices for estimating and alternative compensation models


Tom Beck, Managing Director, Perficient. Tom is Managing Director of Perficient and was previously President of Enlighten (who was acquired by Perficient), an independent digital agency based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For the past 20 years he’s focused on how market dynamics, digital technology and experience design are reshaping our relationships with people, places and things. Tom is a trusted, strategic advisor to Enlighten’s eclectic roster of clients and he leads the agency’s management team with an uncommon blend of humor, irreverence and humanity. He holds a BA in English from Indiana University.




Perhaps more than in any other area, the strategic and tactical decisions and processes employed within financial roles contribute to the overall health, and ultimate growth, of an agency.


In this track, delegates will focus on the role of finance in guiding growth and innovation for digital agencies. Session topics will include:


Models and drivers of revenue and growth

Methods for setting profit targets and protecting margins

Financial management challenges and opportunities – for agencies and projects

KPIs that drive sound financial decision making

How systems and tools impact methods and outcomes

Establishing (and monitoring) early warning indicators and managing risk


Tamir Scheinok, Co-founder and COO, Fluid. An entrepreneur in digital marketing since 1990, Tamir played a central role in shaping Fluid’s hybrid agency/SaaS business model and its growth from a two person office in West Berkeley to an organization with multiple offices and staff in a dozen states and few countries. He is tenacious with goals, meticulous in tracking progress, skilled in negotiations and uncompromising about integrity. His functional expertise includes managing legal (commercial and corporate), financial planning, information systems and human resources.


Jeff Mikes, Managing Director at Zemoga, is SoDA’s Financial Management Advisor. He leads the annual SoDA KPI Survey as well as Digital Marketing Roundtables for members on how to improve their operational structure and profitability. Outside of SoDA, Jeff is a management consultant with deep experience in agency finance and operations. He has spent the last decade working with digital agencies to improve the business management fundamentals necessary to scale product and service offerings and drive shareholder value.



Business Development


While the ultimate goals of successful business development—new and expanding client relationships, agency revenue and reputational growth—remain relatively constant over time, the challenges faced and strategic paths to success vary wildly.


In this track, senior business development talent will leverage the insight and expertise of the SoDA community in developing the business of digital agencies. Session topics will include:


Strategies for evaluating client opportunities

Pricing strategies and alternative compensation approaches

Evolving from project-based new business to AOR engagements

Lead generation

Cultivating long-term, repeat and referral-based business

RFPs and how clients search for and evaluate agency partners


Leslie Bradshaw, Managing Partner, Made by Many, is a battle-tested innovator, operator, leader, and growth-driver. In addition to serving as managing partner of Made by Many‘s New York office, she is a fellow at the US Chamber of Commerce’s 501c(3) Foundation and co-founder of her family’s Willamette Valley-based pinot noir vineyard.


Previously, Leslie built a data visualization agency, which under her leadership was twice-named to the Inc. 500, awarded “Small Agency of the Year” by AdAge in the southeast region, and counted Nike, Google, Intel, NASA, and C-SPAN as its top clients. She was also named one of FastCo’s Most Creative People in Business for “making data science cool.”




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