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IAB Honors Digital Advertising Leaders With 2018 Sales & Service Excellence Awards

Recipients Recognized For Exemplary Work On Industry Initiatives That Fueled Digital Media & Marketing Growth

PALM DESERT, CA (February 11, 2018) —The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) awarded recipients of the 2018 Sales & Service Excellence Awards during the opening ceremony of the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, CA. The IAB Sales Excellence Awards recognize select individuals and IAB member companies that have demonstrated superior levels of client service, expertise, and innovation in digital advertising sales. The IAB Service Awards honor those individuals at IAB member companies who have exhibited notable leadership and guidance on specific digital advertising initiatives over the past year.

2018 IAB Sales Excellence Awards

As in previous years, Advertising Perceptions and IAB leadership identified digital advertising skills and achievements, which should be measured in order to merit a Sales Excellence Award. Based on those identifiers, Advertising Perceptions developed and disseminated a two-part customer feedback survey to senior agency and marketing executives who pinpointed the sales organizations and individuals that have excelled in these areas over the past year.

Over 520 leaders from the ad buying community answered the questionnaire, nominating and then voting on the best sales teams and individuals across four main categories—large organization, small-to-medium sales organization, leadership through mentoring, and sales person of the year in four key U.S. regions. Respondents represented companies that spent at least $1 million on interactive advertising during the last year.

2018 IAB Sales Excellence Awards Winners are:

  • Overall Sales Excellence for a Large Sales Organization: Amazon
  • Overall Sales Excellence for a Small-to-Medium Sales Organization: The Trade Desk
  • Leadership through Mentoring: Meredith Kopit Levien, Executive Vice President & COO, The New York Times
  • Sales Person of the Year:
    • East Coast: Jared Lefkowitz, Head of East Coast Ad Sales, Roku
    • West Coast: Susan Edmonds, Director of Sales, Teads
    • Central: Erin Harris, Multicultural, Pandora
    • South: Jessica Chiu, Partner Manager, Facebook

In conjunction with the announcement of this year’s winners, IAB is releasing “The Sellers’ Intelligence Study,” a comprehensive research report, which shows that formal training and industry certification in digital media sales increases company revenue and employee retention. The study, conducted by PSB, also finds that the overwhelming majority of senior digital media executives credit professional educational programs for improving digital sellers’ job performance. The report is available at

“The 2018 Sales Excellence Awards honors those individuals and teams that have gone above and beyond their peers to deliver the highest quality of digital advertising service and execution,” said Christa Babcock, Vice President, Learning and Certification, IAB. “The Interactive Advertising Bureau will continue its work with members, including these winning companies and individuals, to better understand what factors drive superior sales performance—so we can not only celebrate today’s achievements, but help build pathways to improve sales acumen and strengthen the media and marketing industries in the years to come.”

2018 IAB Service Excellence Awards

The IAB Service Excellence Awards recognize individuals from IAB member companies for their outstanding contributions and thought leadership on IAB initiatives over the past year. Members of IAB committees, councils, and working groups select the winners based on nominations made by IAB staff.

“We are honored to recognize and celebrate those individuals and companies that have tirelessly helped guide and direct the important work of various IAB initiatives in a way that breathes new life and drives the agenda forward,” said Anna Bager, Executive Vice President of Industry Initiatives, IAB. “They have undoubtedly left a mark on the industry with their thought leadership and innovative solutions for digital video, DOOH, mobile, advanced TV, and more—all of which will help continue to shape and advance the power of interactive.”

2018 IAB Service Excellence Awards Winners are:

  • Finola Austin, Senior Brand Strategist, Refinery29, for her leadership and providing strategic direction and helpful insights that led to the publication of the “Influencer Marketing for Publishers Guide.”
  • Harry Clark, Partner and Executive Vice President, Market Enginuity, for providing significant thought leadership that led to the development of the “IAB Podcast Playbook,” the organization’s first-ever comprehensive buyer’s guide designed to help brand marketers navigate the podcast media landscape.
  • Chris Gordon, Vice President, Business Development, XUMO, for his key efforts, insights, and editorial input—especially in the areas of OTT and cross-platform video advertising—during the publication of the “IAB Guide to Digital Video Advertising.”
  • Stacy Graham, Senior Director of Audience Development & Digital Marketing, BET Networks, for her guidance in setting the agenda and securing senior leaders to speak at the IAB’s Cross-Cultural Marketing Day event and for her instrumental help in raising awareness of the importance of cross-cultural understanding in the marketplace.
  • Kurt Hawks, Senior Vice President, Cross-Device and Video, Conversant, for his passion in solving the cross-device identity challenge and for his execution of strategic ideas that led to the publication of the “Mobile Identity for Marketers Guide.”
  • Margit Kittridge, Vice President of Digital Products, Critical Mix, for her contributions toward a successful Digital-Out-of-Home Metrics Summit, and bringing together a blend of senior agency leaders, location-based marketing vendors, fellow trade association leaders, media owners, and researchers at the event.
  • Rainbow Kirby-Stearns, Director, Marketing and Communications, Clear Channel Outdoor, for spearheading the working group that gathered and designed the “Digital-Out-of-Home Case Studies Collection” intended to showcase the incredible opportunity in DOOH media, for marketers and the wider business community.
  • Gefen Lamdan, Senior Vice President of Product, Celtra, for serving as Supporting Member of the IAB Mobile Center of Excellence, and for preparing an insightful blog post that specifically addressed how the IAB New Ad Portfolio is a force for good in the creative domain of mobile advertising.
  • Hernan Lopez, Founder and CEO, Wondery, for his instrumental leadership in bringing together member companies to fund, support, and underwrite the first-ever IAB Podcast Advertising Revenue Study—a widely referenced benchmark resource for ad spending in the industry.
  • Adam Lowy, Director, Advanced TV and Digital, DISH and Sling TV, for bringing to the forefront the need for an Advanced TV buyer’s guide that led to the development of the Advanced TV Targeting Primer, a resource that offers practical tips and best practices for both the addressable TV and OTT/Connected TV landscape.
  • Pooja Midha, Senior Vice President, Digital Ad Sales and Operations, ABC, for her leadership in a joint IAB-4A’s working group that developed a key addendum to the long-form video T’s and C’s that serves as a starting point for buyers and sellers to address advertising issues specific to long-form video.
  • Max Nelson, Director of Marketing, AdColony, for his guidance in developing the “Vertical Video Best Practices” report so that it would be relevant for the target buyer audience and for specifically providing insights into the challenges that brands and agencies face when developing assets for new creative formats.
  • Kjartan Slette, Co-Founder & COO, Unacast, for offering insightful case studies to the “IAB Location-based Marketing Playbook for Retailers” and for his passion to help elevate the industry through this initiative.

2018 IAB Tech Lab Service Excellence Awards

Selected in similar fashion to the winners of the IAB Service Excellence Awards, service awards given by the IAB Tech Lab are determined through staff recommendations and member affirmation and presented to both companies and individuals.

The 2018 IAB Tech Lab Service Excellence Awards winners are comScore, DoubleVerify, Google, Integral Ad Science, Moat, and Pandora for their collective work on the Open Measurement SDK working group. Representatives from these companies demonstrated exemplary industry leadership in coming together and collaborating to develop a shared standard software development kit for mobile in-app measurement, for viewability and beyond.

In addition, the IAB Tech Lab gave a Service Excellence Award to Dr. Neal Richter, Chief Technology Officer, Rakuten Marketing, for his significant contributions in developing trustworthy supply chain specifications and OpenRTB 3.0, and for his instrumental thought leadership and participation on the working group that helped spur rapid adoption of ads.txt.

“The success of the technical standards and software released by Tech Lab is largely due to our members,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “We have collectively made great strides over the past year in reducing friction in the supply chain and addressing ad fraud, and I am thrilled to celebrate members that made such meaningful contributions to our work to move the industry forward.”

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising or marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, it develops technical standards and best practices. IAB and the IAB Education Foundation are committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., IAB advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City and has a San Francisco office.

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]