Brilliant Marketers: A Year Round Celebration of Marketing Excellence
Showcasing marketing excellence is a point of pride for AMA New York. Our platform provides opportunities for us to learn from each other’s experiences and celebrate our successes. In pursuit of our mission and as part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are using our platform to launch a year-round Brilliant Marketers series to highlight diverse individuals who are making their mark in the marketing industry with the hope that you will use this opportunity to learn more about who they are and gain valuable insights that will bolster your own career path.
The #BrilliantMarketers series kicks off in honor of Black History month and launches in cooperation with other local AMA chapters using #celebrateAMAzingYou. This post will be updated frequently in a continued celebration of brilliance in marketing.
Lesleigh Irish-Underwood was most recently named MetroPlusHealth’s first Chief Brand & External Relations Officer. As a visionary leader, influential strategist, and innovative brand builder, she will lead the charge to strengthen the five-star rated health care plan’s role in promoting over 600,000 New Yorkers’ health and wellness.
Lesleigh has built her career on serving her home city’s most challenged and underserved communities. During her tenure at the United Way of New York City (UWNYC), Lesleigh played a pivotal role in strengthening its brand and significantly increasing its annual revenue. Before she transitioned to the nonprofit sector, Ms. Irish-Underwood was a 25-year veteran of the consumer publishing industry, holding leadership roles at the Knopf Publishing Group of Random House, and Pearson Kensington Publishing. Learn more about Lesleigh here.
Preston Kevin Lewis
For Preston Kevin Lewis, the customer is his business. As SVP of Latin America for Warner Brothers Consumer Products, he is responsible for iconic brands that range from DC SuperHeroes like Batman and Wonder Woman to Harry Potter and Scooby Doo. In fact, many of the brands you grew up with have been under his charge in all parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, India, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. He also managed marketing and retail at HBO, MTV, and the Walt Disney Company setting the international stage for growing their respective retail, theatrical, and television businesses.
Though Preston is a career entertainment executive, he is not one for being in the spotlight. However, he offers some savvy advice about leadership and strategic partnership that stands the test of time. He once said, “Building partnerships was the next crucial piece in the puzzle. “It’s about building strategic alliance partners, so you are just as important to them as they are to you. That way partners like that very quickly become steeped in the DNA of Warner Bros. They know Looney Tunes deeply, they know Superman deeply and they become great partners in delivering solutions in the marketplace.” Read more of the InTheBlack Interview here.
Jason White went from selling soap to managing major agency accounts including Nike at Weiden + Kennedy until he was tapped to make W+K a category leader in China. He then jumped to the brand side where he became EVP of Global Marketing for Apple brand Beats by Dr. Dre. After five years, he made a shift to the cannabis industry where he is now Chief Marketing Officer of Curaleaf, the largest cannabis operator in the U.S.
In a Forbes interview, Jason talked about his mentors. He said, “You wouldn’t believe the mentors I’ve had over the last 20 years. Truly a gift from above…I feel like I cheated and got way too many industry superstars at incredible moments of growth in their careers. They were breaking rules and kicking butt and they let me go along for the ride provided I worked my tail off.” Learn more about the branding and legislation challenges he faces, pandemic pivots, and how he’s bringing his corporate mindset to this fast-emerging market in this WARC article.
Nadja Bellan-White recently became Vice Media’s first Global CMO. In this role, she is responsible for Vice News, Vice.com, Vice Studios production unit, the Vice TV cable channel, in-house ad agency Virtue, and women-focused brand Refinery29.
In Variety, Bellan-White said, “I’m hugely excited to be joining the Vice family and to play my part in realizing Nancy’s vision for the business. Vice is one of the most unique brands in media and one I have admired from afar. We have the opportunity to continue to build a brand that embodies the pillars of truth and culture — at a time when it is so important to our audience to tell those stories that reflect their lives.” Read more about Nadja’s historic appointment in Variety.