2022’s luminaries have proven themselves essential to their company’s growth and success
Behind every successful brand—and its CEO—stands the person who keeps the organization running smoothly and efficiently.
That’s why we dedicate our Adweek 50 award every year to those working behind the scenes to drive growth in big ways at their respective companies, bringing recognition to those who may be overlooked today but will be running the show tomorrow.
This year, we went beyond the CMOs, CEOs, chairmen and founders of the industry to showcase a host of C-suite and vp-level positions in creative divisions such as culture and capabilities, data privacy, supply and demand, and the electric vehicle ecosystem. In another year of profound change across marketing, media and tech, marketers have turned their creative instincts toward new roles, responsibilities and organization structures, with almost no two honorees sharing a title—and in a major shift from previous lineups, no repeat winners from the prior year.
Our sprawling list includes Richard Sim, Roblox’s senior director of product and monetization, who has pushed new ad formats and safety measures on one of the biggest platforms of the internet’s next frontier; Andy Pearson, vp of creative at Liquid Death, a brand whose “improbable” and seemingly overnight success comes from its slew of celebrity partnerships and out-there creative; Kai Deveraux Lawson, svp of diversity, equity and inclusion at Dentsu Creative, who is making a tangible impact on representation within agencies and creative content, and has been described by company leadership as someone they’d trust with their lives; and Bharat Krish, president of digital and chief technology officer at Time, whose startup mentality guided the nearly 100-year-old publisher’s approach to a new digital infrastructure and NFT offerings.
Check out the full list for more on what these unsung heroes have accomplished in 2022 and how they got it done. —Will Russo
FY 2021 revenue: Tripled its 2020 revenue, with current company valuation of $110 million
With the pandemic bringing a new set of difficulties, such as how to approach workplace culture in a work-from-home era, supporting a company through growth and change is crucial. For Willis, the focus has always been building a community within the agency and working toward a better work environment. “It’s less about what inspires me and more about who inspires me,” Willis said. “We are driven by a sincere desire to change the way work works, and change it for the better.” We Are Rosie’s partnership with Align Capital Partners (ACP) in December provided Willis the opportunity to help guide the company through growth and change. As a result, her operational role at the company expanded quickly and she was promoted to chief of staff. We Are Rosie’s team doubled in the first half of 2022, reaching more than 50 employees. As she continues to work closely with the executive team, Willis has maintained and achieved best practices for the team around its operating and board meetings to ensure it is maximizing the value of everyone’s time and input into vital strategic conversations. – Natalie Venegas