Aaron Walton

Aaron

Walton

Steering Committee


Recognized as a trailblazer and thought leader, Aaron Walton’s focus on innovation and cultural engagement has transformed traditional marketing and advertising strategies, driving unprecedented results for clients. As the CEO / co-founder of Walton Isaacson (WI), a full-service advertising agency, with offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and New York, Aaron’s focus is squarely on identifying unseen opportunities rooted in cultural insights and connections. He is transforming the definition of the agency model by prioritizing diversity of thinking, encouraging disruption, and homing in on strategic solutions that defy tradition. In recognition of his contributions to and ongoing impact on the industry, Aaron was inducted into the AAF Advertising Hall of Fame Class of 2023, an honor only bestowed upon 275 individuals in its 74-year history.

Under Aaron’s guidance, WI engineered the partnership between the luxury automaker Lexus and Disney’s Marvel Studios for the international blockbuster film, Black Panther which garnered much recognition, including an ANA Award for Best Multicultural Campaign, an AAF Mosaic Award for Best Integrated Campaign, Campaign of the Year and Auto Campaign of the Year at the Think LA Idea Awards and Best Multicultural campaign at Media Post’s Marketing Automotive Awards.

Founded in partnership with famed NBA superstar and entrepreneurial legend, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the agency has built inventive and dynamic business relationships with brands and organizations such as Lexus, McDonald’s, American Airlines, Bristol Myers Squibb, PNC Bank, and Amazon.

Walton began his career as a marketing executive with PepsiCo where he was quickly promoted to brand management for the Pepsi and Mountain Dew brands. After his stint at PepsiCo, Walton started his own company, Aaron Walton Entertainment (AWE), which he sold in 2002 to Omnicom Group’s DAS division. Aaron was named President of Omnicom’s Radiate Entertainment Group and led over forty networked agencies in strategic growth initiatives.

Walton grew up in Massachusetts and attended Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree with a double major in Management/Organizational Behavior and Communications. As just one of two African-American students in his graduating class, Walton served as Student Body President, and completed a term as a Trustee at Babson.

Aaron’s commitment to valuing differences and building cultural inclusion has helped WI win recognition as an agency from Advertising Age, Black Enterprise, Inc. magazine, OUT magazine, the Hispanic Public Relations Association, and The Internationalist. ADCOLOR, one of the industry’s most influential diversity change agents, recognized Aaron with an Advocacy Award for his exceptional contributions to the LGBTQ community, and Business Equality Magazine named him a Pride Legacy Leader. Additionally, WI was named Southern California’s Minority “Supplier of The Year” for their work with Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.–Lexus Division for an unprecedented six times in eight years.

His leadership in the advertising community has led to several industry Board positions including a 2023 appointment to The Ad Council Board. In 2022, Aaron joined the National Board of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). During 2020, he was elected Co-President of ThinkLA after serving on the Board of Directors of this prestigious nonprofit advertising trade association for three years. In 2023, he was named to The International Radio & Television Society Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to creating future media leaders. Aaron is also a member of the National Advertising Review Board, the Ad Age Diversity Council and the AIMM/ANA Catalyst Committee.

Walton’s commitment to societal change is also reflected in Board and Advisory roles for some of the nation’s most influential cultural and advocacy organizations. In 2021, he was named to the Board of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation. Walton had previously served on the Board of GLAAD from 2009-2011. He is also a board member of Young Audiences New York, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Tectonics Theatre Company, and a member of the San Francisco Symphony Advisory Council.

In 2023, Aaron was named Agency Executive of the Year by Ad Age. He is a recipient of Babson College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award, recognized by the American Association of Advertising Agencies as one of the 100 People Who Make Advertising Great, and has twice been selected as a recipient of the Ebony Magazine Power 100 list—an award given to the nation’s most influential Americans from the worlds of religion, business, media, and the creative arts.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee


Katie Williams

Katie

Williams

Steering Committee


Katie Williams is the US Chief Marketing Officer at Haleon. In this role, she works to shape the future of consumer experiences with our iconic portfolio of Haleon brands like Advil, Sensodyne, Tums, and Centrum. She is a leader in CPG marketing with extensive experience and proven success in delivering growth, creative courage, digital transformation, and employee development. She is best known for her relentless focus on equity and inclusion as a critical pathway for business and brand growth.

Katie joined Haleon in 2020 with +20 years of CPG experience at companies like Procter & Gamble where she started her career in R&D, Kraft Foods and most recently Mondelez International where Katie was charged with modernizing the brand and consumer engagement approach across the North America portfolio as the VP of Marketing Transformation.   Prior to this role, Katie held various commercial and enterprise marketing roles at Kraft and Mondelez helping to build brands in the US and globally including such iconic brands as Oreo, Ritz, Sour Patch Kids, and Halls. 

Katie earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Katie lives in Montclair, NJ with her two sons CJ (14) and Chase (10) and her husband of 20 years Cameron.  

Steering Committee

Steering Committee


Alia Kemet

Alia

Kemet

Steering Committee


Alia serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of Shipt, a subsidiary of Target and a leading same-day delivery service. With a comprehensive role, she directs all aspects of marketing, brand management, and consumer experience, including creative direction, production, advertising, consumer strategy, membership loyalty, and insights. Drawing from over 25 years of marketing expertise acquired from notable positions at McCormick & Company, IKEA, Whole Foods Market, and BET, Alia’s leadership has earned her industry accolades such as Adweek’s Brand Leader of the Year and inclusion in Ad Age’s Leading Women Class.

Beyond her professional achievements, Alia holds influential roles within the advertising community, serving on esteemed boards such as the National Advertising Review Board, and the University of Maryland Flex MBA Advisory Council. Committed to community service, she actively engages with organizations including Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., Girl Scouts Council of America, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and serves on the Maryland Food Bank Board of Directors.

Alia’s passion extends beyond her professional endeavors; she has produced The Phenomenal Grit podcast, hosting insightful Career Conversations for Women of Color. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Howard University, and amidst her 25 years of marriage, she is a devoted mother to four children.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee


Trevor Edwards

Trevor

Edwards

Steering Committee


Trevor A. Edwards, former President of the NIKE Brand. He resigned from his position in August 2018. Mr. Edwards was responsible for leading all category and geographic business units, the Jordan Brand and Action Sports, which includes Hurley International LLC, Digital Sport and brand management throughout the world as well as leading NIKE’s wholesale, retail and e-commerce operations.

Mr. Edwards was previously Global Brand & Category Management Executive Vice President, where he was responsible for helping to drive the NIKE Brand growth strategy by leading its category business units globally. Mr. Edwards joined the company in 1992 as a Regional Marketing Manager and has held senior marketing positions in the Americas, the Europe/Middle East/Africa region, the U.S. and Global Brand Management. Mr. Edwards has led some of the brand’s most significant break-through innovations, including spearheading the creation of Nike+, a revolutionary sports training experience that connects digitally enabled footwear with digital services. He has also helped transform the digital landscape and position Nike as a leader by using social media to connect with consumers globally.

Mr. Edwards earned a BA, business, 1984 and MBA, international marketing and finance, 1989 from Baruch College.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee


Ross Martin

Ross

Martin

Steering Committee


Emmy and Peabody award-winning marketer and business leader Ross Martin is President of Ad Age Agency A-List marketing firm Known and the Founder of venture capital fund Lunch Partners, an early-stage private investment vehicle for some of the world’s most inspiring CMO’s. He is the Executive Producer of Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy and the five-part docuseries Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space, both for Netflix, as well as Meal Ticket, the upcoming documentary about the McDonald’s All- American Games for Amazon Prime Video, and Deep Dive, a new series with Universal Music Group and TIME Magazine. He is the Executive Producer and Co-Host of the popular iHeart Media podcast “Future Legends of Advertising,” now entering its second season. Ross is a member of the National Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation, the Yale University Center for Customer Insights and the Digital & Innovation Council for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Recent accolades include Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People In Business,” an Advertising Age “Media Maven” distinction, Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” top business leaders and Adweek’s “50 Most Indispensable Executives in Advertising.” In 2014, he was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee


Madeline Nelson

Madeline

Nelson

Steering Committee


Madeline Nelson is an Emmy-nominated producer and Grammy Award winning Artist Manager, who currently serves as the U.S. Head of Independent Label Relations at Amazon Music. Nelson is also the founder of Heads Music, a boutique music management company, and co-founder with Wyclef Jean, of SodoMoodLab, a scoring and jingle company.

Heads Music is led and staffed entirely by women, a reflection of Nelson’s dedication to making sure that women have a voice within the music industry. Her dedication to her work and fighting for her beliefs has been forged through Nelson’s illustrious career in the music industry, which can be seen in her work as a mentor in the Next Gen Femme mentorship program within the Femme It Forward umbrella, and her recent invitation to participate in the American Association of Independent Music’s annual Indie Week event as their Keynote Speaker.

Madeline has been instrumental in the shaping of entertainment and music culture behind the scenes in her roles as producer, executive, artist manager, and trusted advisor for over three decades. Her repertoire ranges from her work as manager of Grammy Award winning R&B supergroup Blackstreet in the 1990s, to her A&R work with Michael Jackson, followed by her role as SVP of Artist and Label Relations at Sony Music, and now, her current role at Amazon Music as well as management of Wyclef Jean.

In addition to her work at Amazon Music, Madeline recently signed on as the consultant to the “Wyclef and TIAA: Music for a New Legacy” campaign, which aims to raise awareness among America’s youth, in particular the large percent of African American youth, on the importance of investing into a financially secure future. This campaign saw the release of the Wyclef track “Paper Right” featuring Pusha T, Lola Brooke, Capella Grey, and Flau’jae, with streaming proceeds being donated directly to the non-profit organization First Generation Investors.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee


Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary

Vaynerchuk

Steering Committee


Gary Vaynerchuk is a serial entrepreneur and serves as the Chairman of VaynerX, the CEO of VaynerMedia, and the Creator and CEO of VeeFriends. Gary is considered one of the leading global minds on what’s next in culture, relevance, and the internet. Known as “GaryVee,” he is described as one of the most forward thinkers in business. He is a New York Times bestselling author, a sought-after public speaker, and a prolific investor in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, Snapchat, Coinbase, and Uber. Gary serves on the board of Bojangles Restaurants, Global Citizen Forum, MikMak, and Pencils of Promise. He is also a longtime Well Member of charity: water.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee