Verizon Media Academy Class of 2020: Top Kiwi talent recognised and rewarded

Dede Stewart

Group of people partaking in workshop from Verizon Media Academy 2019

New Zealand (March 4, 2020) -- Five Kiwi rising stars have scored coveted places in the prestigious Verizon Media Academy talent development program.

The Class of 2020 was chosen by our judges from a pool of more than 200 nominations submitted from senior leaders in brands, advertising and media agencies across Australia and New Zealand. 

Kiwi talents Annie Bramwell from MBM, Kate Hopkinson from MediaCom, Kevin van Wyk from Rocket Network (PHD), Kirsty Jury from Vodafone NZ, and Lydia Sutton from Starcom have been selected into the Class of 2020.  Future leaders have been chosen from five different markets across the media, marketing and advertising spectrum and will be flown to Sydney for the event. 

The Class of 2020 will gather on March 25 and 26 in Sydney to attend the two day educational program which is  jam-packed with expert advice to help delegates  ‘Build Brand You’ and assist their professional development. Attendees will hear from a range of world-class speakers in sessions curated to teach creative brainstorming techniques, nurture personal wellbeing and offer handy tips to navigate their careers. 

The top 40 were selected based on their exemplary passion, ability to go above-and-beyond, active involvement in the industry, and displays of leadership.

Nick Scott, Partnership Director at PHD, who successfully nominated Kevin van Wyk, Associate Digital Director at Rocket for the program, commented on the process: “One of the biggest challenges we face as a smaller market is retaining our talent from being poached overseas. To remedy this, senior leaders need to actively invest, support and take on any opportunity that helps the professional and personal development of our talent.  

 “I’m incredibly proud of Kevin for being selected into the Class of 2020 and thrilled to support him through the Academy. I can’t wait to see what he will gain from the experience.

Commenting on the announcement, Managing Director of Verizon Media ANZ, Paul Sigaloff said: “I’m very proud to announce this year’s Verizon Media Academy Class of 2020. It was a difficult decision to narrow down just 40 delegates, but these talented individuals have proven they are truly future leaders.

“Verizon Media takes our responsibility to foster the development of our industry’s talent very seriously which is why we're so heavily invested in maintaining such a high standard for the Academy.  We have an incredible program lined up this year and can’t wait to see the Class of 2020 in action.”


The Class of 2020:

  • Andrea Potter - PHD
  • Ankita Mehta - Starcom
  • Annett Schultz - Performics
  • Annie Bramwell - MBM
  • Billy Choi - Havas Media
  • Brittany Auchterlonie - Mad Mex
  • Brittany Wrightson - MediaCom
  • Carmen Vienings - Pearman Media
  • Caroline Seow - Ikon Communications
  • Christina Diomides - The Media Store
  • Claudia Domingues - MediaCom
  • Conor Riordan - Kaimera
  • Eliot Thompson - Half Dome Digital
  • Ella Stewart - Wavemaker
  • Erin Shaffrey - Mindshare
  • Georgina Debenham - PHD
  • Harry Ingham - UM
  • Hayden Simons - Starcom
  • Heloise Parlett - iProspect
  • Jarrod Macfarlane - Initiative
  • Jason Cole - OMD
  • Jayden Harris - Media Lab
  • Jennie Gilbert - OMD
  • Jessica Ferguson - Resolution Media
  • Josh McDonnell - Mi3
  • Karl Cheung - Zenith
  • Kate Hoare - Mediacom
  • Kate Hopkinson - MediaCom
  • Kevin van Wyk - Rocket
  • Kirsty Jury - Vodafone NZ
  • Loreli De Jesus - Qantas Trade Desk
  • Lydia Sutton - Starcom
  • Peter Madani - Cadreon
  • Rob Christian - Carat
  • Rob Ebach - Wavemaker
  • Sasha Phillips - CHE Proximity
  • Senna Spear - Spark Foundry
  • Surya Shenbagamurthy - Woolworths Group
  • Teddy Lewis - Ikon
  • Tyler Owen - Zenith