Winners of The Media Leaders Awards 2021 revealed
Hearst’s James Wildman, MediaCom’s Kate Rowlinson and Spotify’s Rak Patel were among the winners of the inaugural awards from Mediatel
Judges Special Choice Award: Christopher Kenna
Finally, the Judges Special Choice Award was presented to one of the four industry figures nominated by the judges themselves. This year’s award went to Christopher Kenna, CEO and founder of Brand Advance, a business which connects brands with diverse audiences globally through insights, media and creative that aim to authentically engage with these communities.
He also created and launched two global sister companies in DECA, a media consultancy helping to leverage the diversity media landscape, and Sentiment, a platform that uses AI machine learning to provide contextual tagging across every article on the Brand Advance Network. He has also launched a global publication, ChapterZ magazine.
Additionally, Kenna is the director of diversity and inclusion at Outvertising, the LGBTQ+ advertising and marketing advocacy group, a member of the WFA Diversity Advisory Board, and is a strong advocate for diversity and representation within the wider industry.
The judges who nominated Kenna noted that he has not only launched his own business, but a business “that makes a real difference to the world”.
“The combination of his entrepreneurship with his championship of diversity and ethical media is unique and sets him apart from all other contenders for this special award,” the judges said.
Reacting to his win, Kenna commented: “It is an absolute honour to have been awarded the Judges Special Choice Award – Mediatel is one of the most respected voices in the industry and it means a lot to me that they have chosen me from such an amazing shortlist.
“The work that I – and my teams – are doing to further diversity globally in media spend & advertising representation is business critical; change that must happen. Awards like this show we are making progress – thank you.”
Left to right: Brand Advance’s Christopher Kenna with Mediatel Events’ head of events Steven Scaffardi
Mediatel Group CEO Greg Grimmer was joined in the judging by 14 industry experts, including: Pippa Glucklich, former CEO of Amplifi UK and chair of Liberty Hive; Naren Patel, founder of mentoring network Media For All; Tony Effik, managing director – global display, video and creative at Google, and founder of advocacy group Black and Brilliant; Lauren Ogúndèkó, head of response and board director, PHD Media, and member of MEFA; and Michaela Jefferson, news editor at Mediatel News.
Representatives of the industry’s main trade and marketing bodies also joined the line up, including Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association; Lindsey Clay, CEO of Thinkbox and president of the global TV group; Phil Smith, director general, ISBA; Paul Bainsfair, director general, IPA; Lucy Barrett, client director, Radiocentre; Jo Allan, managing director, Newsworks; Sue Todd, CEO, Magnetic; Jon Mew, CEO, IAB UK, and Fredrik Borestrom, president of the IAA UK and head of agency, international at LinkedIn.