‘Women Come First’ for International Women’s Day, and Deutsch L.A. backs Black entrepreneurs: Agency Brief

women come first for international womens day and deutsch l a backs black entrepreneurs agency brief

More big hires

This week saw a spate of more new hires in agency leadership ranks. O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul has tapped agency production vet Elena Robinson as its head of production. In her post, she will lead the agency’s production work for clients as well as its own independent production capabilities. The agency’s senior production exec Scott Mitchell, who had last overseen OKRP production, takes on the new title of executive producer and will refocus on producing the shop’s key projects. 

Robinson previously held lead roles at agencies including Energy BBDO, R/GA and Leo Burnett, after starting her career in TV with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions series “The Women of Brewster Place.” Her last role was at Allstate, where she managed client-side production. 

Translation added more creative muscle to its ranks with the addition of four new creative leads. Matt Herr joins as a creative lead overseeing the State Farm account, and brings with him 20 years of experience from agencies including BBDO N.Y., Goodby Silverstein & Partners and BBH. Ex-Johannnes Leonardo creative Ray Smiling becomes the creative lead on the Beats by Dre account. He will partner with Translation’s Castro Desroches, who also moves into a creative lead role. Desroches also previously worked at Droga5, where he worked on Under Armous, Twizzlers, NBA and Pandora. Former McCann creatives Alex Little and Karsten Jurkschat come on board as creative leads on the AT&T account. While at McCann, they worked on the Grand Prix for Good-winning campaign “Generation Lockdown” for March for Our Lives.

Brian Murray, who previously served as chief creative officer of Ogilvy Canada in Toronto, joined Zulu Alpha Kilo as exec creative director. (Murray’s chops aren’t only creative—he also has an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman business school).

In Los Angeles, B-Reel has tapped Yujin Lee to become the first executive creative director in the company’s L.A. office. Lee has 15 years of experience developing consumer experiences in emerging technologies. She previously served at R/GA and Nike’s Innovation Lab, where her projects included Nike’s first smart shoe and Fossil’s first smartwatch. At B-Reel, she will help to develop One of B-Reel’s first in-house products, the breathing app State. “As the industry shifts from an Information Age to the next decade of Innovation Age in new experiences, creativity in design will play a more vital role than ever in the world of product development,” Lee said in a statement.

Agency YML has restructured the creative departments of its Silicon Valley headquarters and Atlanta flagship under the leadership of two new group creative directors, who will oversee a staff comprising 60 digital and UX designers, copywriters and content leaders. Shannon Walters, former senior manager of user experience at Salesforce, joins as group creative director in YML’s Redwood City office. She also previously held roles at AKQA in London and Gothenberg. Joe Johnston steps up to the role of group creative director in Atlanta and will continue to oversee the east coast design team and accounts. Prior to his two years at YML, Johnston was a group creative director at Huge in Atlanta and the head of UX and service design at North Highlands. 

Huge also made a big hire this week with the appointment of Kali Beyah as its chief talent officer. Beyah will start at the global experience agency on March 15 and will lead the agency’s talent discipline across its 13 global offices. Her responsibilities comprise recruitment, talent management and DE&I. Beyah arrives with two decades of experience under her belt and most recently served as head of talent for Delta Air Lines. 

Duncan Channon is the latest to beef up its DEI ranks with the appointment of Kumi Croom as its first director of collaboration and equity. It’s a new role that tasks Croom with leading the agency’s entire DEI group. She will also be charged with integrating the inclusive mindset and collaborative process she developed with the agency’s largest client, the California Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, across the entire agency.