Under 40 and Overly Ambitious


The emails start like this:

“It’s my honor to nominate…”

“There’s no one…more deserving of this recognition.”

“He is a young and amazing leader and overall industry talent, well beyond his years.”

“A bold leader who’s driven outstanding results…”

“He’s an incredible marketer.”

“An amazing leader who makes an impact every day…”

“She’s a model candidate for 40 Under 40…a fantastic, up-and-coming, inspirational marketer; an inspiration to us all here every day.

Attached to those nearly 200 emails were nomination forms for the Direct Marketing News 2014 40 Under 40 Awards. The achievements cited within them were abundant. So much so, that there were several rounds of tie-breaking judging. After we tallied the final scores, 40 accomplished marketers had risen above a galère of amazing talent.

So, who exactly are the Direct Marketing News 2014 40 Under 40 Award winners?

They’re a group of young, standout marketers whose work has already left an indelible mark on their organizations, clients, and the industry as a whole. They’ve launched and led initiatives that have helped to significantly grow their companies; devised creative and strategic plans that have made a major impact on their clients’ businesses; and influenced the industry in numerous ways—from reinventing marketing strategy, to advancing measurement, to hatching new technologies, and much more.

Their inspirational work is helping others in marketing to go beyond simply conquering the challenges of ever-increasing customer expectations, integrating digital and traditional marketing, using cross-channel data to inform marketing decisions, and building loyalty at a time when customers churn at the click of a mouse. Instead, their handiwork is helping their organizations and clients create a sustainable competitive advantage in a time of rapid change and uncertainty. Their stories are ones of determination, creativity, and adaptability.

It’s an honor to showcase the accomplishments of such an exceptional group of young marketers. You can read about their accomplishments here.

The Direct Marketing News 2014 40 Under 40 winners are:


Greg Alvo, CEO & Founder, OrderGroove
“If you have confidence in yourself, in your idea, and in your business, ignore the naysayers and go for it, because most of the time you’re right.”

                Kim Land, Marketing Director,


“Find your niche in something you love to do because you can’t market something you don’t believe in.” 

  Jenne Barbour, Solutions Strategist,
Marketing Applications, Teradata

“Figure out what it is that you love.”

    Amanda Levy, SVP, Managing Director, Critical Mass 
“Always meet your commitments. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. It’s simple, but few people actually do it.”


Jared Belsky, President, 360i
“Clients tend to trust those who speak simply, use real words, and don’t hide behind acronyms, so speak simply and fail fast.”
    Sean Lyons, Global Chief Digital
Officer, Havas Worldwide

“Listen a lot, be curious, and ask to get involved—don’t wait for someone to ask you.”


Josh Blacksmith, SVP, Management Director at FCB Global
“Surround yourself with good people, never lose your passion to keep learning, and regularly push yourself to break out of your comfort zone.”
    Josh Martin, EVP, ZenithOptimedia Direct
“Don’t overthink, use common sense, and when you’re creating ideas, think like the consumer.”
  Ryan Bonifacino, VP, Digital
Strategy, Alex and Ani

“It’s all about the team.”

    Matt Mierzejewski, EVP of Client Service & Delivery, RKG
“Be ambitious. There’s so much opportunity to seize.”
  Bryan Brown, VP, Product Strategy,
Silverpop, an IBM Company

“Focus on your results and the path will find you.”
    Sally Mundell, Senior Director, Direct to Consumer Marketing and CRM, Spanx
“Be curious and ask a lot of questions. Don’t just deliver the data; ask why.”

  Cari Bucci, EVP/General Manager,
MARC USA Chicago

“Always take the hard assignments, especially the ones other people are avoiding because they’re too much work.”
    Iryna Newman, Head of Mobile Growth, OpenTable
“The reality today is that marketing and technology is developing so fast that you’ll have to pioneer to meet new, unforeseen needs.”

  Melissa Burdon, Director of Marketing
Optimization, Extra Space Storage
“Learn as much as you can and be open to things you’d never expect to be your career path.”

Amber Olson Rourke, Cofounder and CMO, Nerium International
“Never become complacent. Even after executing the most brilliant idea, be ready to figure out how to make it better.”


  Michael D’Adamo, CEO, T.O.P. Marketing Group Inc.
“Stay in front of trends and you’ll make millions; get on your surfboard and ride the waves up. Don’t build a business on the tail end of the wave.”
  Carina Pologruto, GM, EVP Client Services, Marketsmith Inc.
“Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.”
  Zak Garner, Director of Customer Success, 6Sense
“Immerse yourself and be curious.”
  Dwayne Raupp, Executive Creative Director, Organic Inc.
“Empathy is the key to understanding how to unlock what your audience cares about, but also how to get it approved and how to inspire those around you.”

  Darr Gerscovich, VP of Marketing,


“Chase the job that’s beyond your reach. It will stretch you, make you work harder, force you to grow and open new doors.”


Kane Russell, VP of Marketing, Waterfall
“Meet as many people as you can and develop authentic relationships with them.” 

  Lee Goldstein, President, DiMassimo Goldstein
“Don’t call it direct marketing. Try to influence people directly, but realize it’s all integrated.”
    Adriel Sanchez, Head of Marketing, Americas, CommVault
“When you hear hoof beats, don’t think zebras. Look for the simplest, most obvious explanation to a problem first.”

  Jeannie Green, VP, Fundraising
and Nonprofit, Epsilon

“Learn from others, leverage each other’s experiences.”

    Mike Santoro, President/Principal,
Walker Sands Communications

“Be hungry for knowledge.”
  Matt Greitzer, Cofounder & COO,  Accordant Media
“Find a problem to tackle. Find the job nobody wants and do it better than anyone thought it could be done.”
    Leerom Segal, Cofounder and CEO, Klick Health
“Be fearless and surround yourself with people that are incredibly more experienced and can complement your skill-set.”

  Uwe Gutschow, VP, Digital and
Engagement Strategy Director,

“Spend more time talking to people, be humble, and learn.”
    Ron Selvey, VP of Marketing, WebDAM, a Shutterstock Company 
“Be fearless, drink lots of coffee, never be afraid of success, and work harder than your competition.”

  Amy Hoopes, CMO & EVP, Global
Sales, Wente Family Estates

“Marketing can be like quicksand. The more you scramble in different directions, the harder it is to break out.”

    Erik Severinghaus, Founder & CEO, SimpleRelevance
“Learn the fundamentals of statistical analysis and computer programming because the future of marketing is all about data analysis.” 
Kristen Kaefer, Senior Director, Digital Marketing, NetApp Inc.
“Work really hard, work really smart, and try not to be a jerk while doing it.”

Julia Smith, VP of Technology, Epsilon

“Take the time to understand the meaning behind the request. Understand the project and get feedback.” 

  Nataly Kelly, VP, Marketing, Smartling Inc.
“Push yourself.”


Lauren Tetuan, EVP, Director of Digital Media, Deutsch LA

“Take every opportunity to learn what you can and be proactive.” 

  Michelle Killebrew, Program Director, Strategy & Solutions—Social Business, IBM
“The best thing for [young marketers] to learn is the desire and passion to keep learning.”
    Mitch Wainer, Cofounder and CMO, DigitalOcean
“I’m a big believer in learning by doing…. It’s when you execute, test, actually do it, and fail is when you really learn.”

  James Kugler, Director, Global Digital Marketing, Sigma-Aldrich
“Empathy, empathy, empathy. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. It helps you understand customers and connect the dots.”
    Jacqueline Yu, Senior eCRM Manager, LG Electronics USA
“In the early years, keep your head down and focus.”

*Originally published on July 14, 2014, when DMN announced its 2014 40 Under 40 Award winners.

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