Top Executives in Advertising & Marketing

Our editors identify the innovators who drive sales of the world's leading brands

Richelle Parham
Chief Marketing Officer
eBay, North America

Just five weeks into the job, Richelle Parham was clear about her first priorities as CMO at eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace. They include understanding eBay’s broad customer base—both the buyer and seller —as she develops a marketing plan for activity on the site as well as one to drive traffic to the site. With 40% of revenues from auctions and 60% from “buy it now” products, she wants eBay to be first in consideration for shopping enthusiasts. Parham’s last position was head of global marketing innovation and initiatives for Visa and she began her career in direct marketing roughly 20 years ago. She believes this is the most exciting time to be in marketing because of the ability to thoroughly engage with consumers and gain accurate insights to better create the right experiences to drive business.      —Sonia Alleyne

Jimmy Smith
Group Creative Director
TBWA\Chiat\Day, Los Angeles

Jimmy Smith has produced an incredible body of award-winning work. From Nike to Snickers to Gatorade, he is an advertising tour de force. Smith sparked a national frenzy of blog chatter and industry discussion with his “What is G?”commercial, which became a viral sensation. The ad featured a voiceover from Lil’ Wayne and was crammed with celebrities but never mentioned Gatorade as the actual product. Smith notes it was a move designed to revamp Gatorade and bring back its “cool factor” across generations—“There are a lot of things represented by “G” from God to gangsters to gravity.” Before TBWA\Chiat\Day, Smith was executive creative director at BBDO and creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, where he was the chief artisan behind some of Nike’s most memorable commercials, including the merger of hip-hop and basketball ad classic “Freestyle” and LeBron James and Bernie Mac in the church-themed ad “Book of Dimes.”                       —Carolyn M. Brown

Steve Stoute
Founder & CEO
Translation L.L.C.

Steve Stoute believes in creating the right alignment to develop messages that resonate with audiences. He can take a traditional blue-chip company and make it appealing to a younger, often urban, demographic with a reported spending power of $1.2 trillion. He does this by leveraging music and celebrity, skillfully and creatively pairing people such as Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and No Doubt front woman Gwen Stefani with companies such as Reebok, McDonald’s and HP.  In addition to his successful branding strategy, Stoute has lent his savvy to the Carol’s Daughter beauty line, helping founder Lisa Price grow from a mom-and-pop to nine stores across the country and into major department stores. He has also joined forces with R&B artist Mary J. Blige to launch Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN). In 2008, Stoute was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement.    —Sonja D. Mack

Aaron Walton
Co-Founder and Co-CEO
Walton | Isaacson

Walton | Isaacson’s creed is: We do one thing. Whatever needs to be done. “It speaks to our single-minded focus and priority—our clients’ connection with the right consumers in the right ways, whatever ways those may be,” explains Aaron Walton, the company’s co-founder and co-CEO, whose drive and creativity have fueled his marketing service agency’s impressive growth. “I love when a client gives us their toughest challenges or those assignments that aren’t perceived as glamorous or desirable. When I can roll up my sleeves with our amazing team and dedicate all of our best thinking into turning those assignments into real success stories, there is no describing that sense of collective achievement and purpose.” As a result, they have developed innovative advertising, consumer promotion, and event marketing campaigns for companies such as Lexus, Pepsi, and Pond’s. Says Walton,  “Consumers decide what interests them and where they will or won’t receive and respond to messages. Our [business] model was developed to be better, faster, and more relevant to consumers and to our clients.”                              —Carolyn M. Brown & Sonja D. Mack

Richard Williams
Executive Director of
Multicultural Marketing
Verizon Wireless

Executive Director of Multicultural Marketing at Verizon Wireless is Richard Williams’ most recent appointment in his impressive eight-year career with Verizon. He was a management consultant when Verizon hired him for a project and he’s been with the company ever since. He spends a quarter of his time traveling, gauging the needs of the Verizon Wireless customer and making sure Verizon service providers are equipped to fulfill those needs. The remainder of his time is spent learning about developments in the industry, new applications and technologies, and, of course, keeping an eye on the competition.

Williams enjoys every aspect of his job, from working with new technologies to seeing a project go from ideation/strategy to finished product. And he credits everything he’s learned at Verizon as well as his prior professional experience, which includes a stint on Wall Street, with his ability to negotiate well and thrive in a high-pressure environment.     —S.D.M.

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