The 2017 Folio: 100 — Innovators
VP Audience Development and Analytics, Penton MediaAbi Ahrens oversees one of the most ambitious data initiatives in b2b media.
Over the past 10 years at Penton Media, Abi Ahrens has focused her efforts on audience development, and has led successful teams that have an eye on multichannel marketing. In a variety of positions, Ahrens has generated millions in revenue for the company as a result of creative and entrepreneurial campaigns that have left both clients and audiences satisfied. Nowadays, she’s the company’s vice president of audience development and analytics, and colleagues say that Ahrens, who holds an MBA from Baker University, is a rare talent that comes complete with analytical smarts, budgeting prowess, a sharp imagination, and managerial savvy.
Director, Programmatic, Bonnier CorporationSemande Agosa developed campaign and optimization strategies to grow Bonnier Corporation’s programmatic display business, a significant component of the company.
Semande Agosa serves as director, programmatic at Bonnier Corporation, where he develops campaign and optimization strategies to grow the company’s programmatic display business across all groups. Since he started his new role last year, Agosa has helped the company expand programmatic sales, a significant component of the company’s business, by forming new partnerships with technology vendors.
Prior to joining Bonnier, Agosa served as senior strategic account manager at PubMatic. He has extensive experience in digital advertising and has worked across different mediums and platforms throughout his career.
Senior Politics Editor & Washington Bureau Chief, The AtlanticYoni Appelbaum is the online commenter-turned-editor who is new leading Washington coverage for one of America’s oldest political news outlets.
Appelbaum doesn’t hail from a traditional journalistic background, and that may be why he’s been able to work his way up so quickly at The Atlantic. Before becoming a columnist at The Atlantic in 2012, Appelbaum, a historian, was a lecturer on history at Harvard University and Babson College. In fact, The Atlantic noticed him because he was commenting on articles under the online pseudonym Cynic. Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic, saw Appelbaum’s insight in the comment section, and it led the publication to offer him a position. In 2015, he was installed as Washington bureau chief.
VP & Editor-in-chief, Men’s Health (Rodale)
Bean serves as the VP and editor-in-chief at the leading men’s lifestyle brand Men’s Health, where he launched a successful redesign and expanded the brand’s video content this year.
Bean serves as VP and editor-in-chief at Men’s Health, where he supervises editorial print, digital, social, television, and book platforms for the leading men’s lifestyle brand. Earlier this year, Bean saw his vision come to life in a successful redesign of the magazine, changing its look, shifting its focus and mission, adding new themes and sections, and expanding the brand’s video content. Under Bean’s leadership, the brand has developed live content, web franchises, e-commerce plans and workouts for the Men’s Health app.
Alison Cooke Mintzer
Global Editor in Chief, PlanadvisorThe woman leading one of the top global trade magazines for financial planners.
Mintzer serves as global editor-in-chief of PlanSponsor and PlanAdviser magazines at Asset International, Inc. There, she oversees all content for publication as well as email newsletters and conferences that are attached to both brands, which aim to provide comprehensive industry news, as well as regulatory and investment information to retirement plan sponsors, advisers, and consultants. Back in 2014, she was named one of Folio:’s Top Women in Media, and she continues to be a leader in business-to-business magazine and digital media. Colleagues often say she’s highly respected for her in-depth understanding of the many issues facing the industry.
Staff Writer, St. Louis MagazineJeannette Cooperman is an award-winning journalist and staff writer at St. Louis Magazine, where she covers city and regional social justice issues, crime, culture and more.
Cooperman, a staff writer at St. Louis Magazine, has become well-known in the regional magazine world for her detailed, deeply reported profiles and long-form articles, earning honors from the Missouri School of Journalism, the City and Regional Magazine Awards, and being named Magazine Writer of the Year in the 2014 and 2012 Great Plains Journalism Awards.
Two particularly powerful pieces include a December 2015 piece on the conviction and subsequent acquittal of Cornell McKay, and “The Cure,” a profile on a man’s experience with and subsequent recovery from conversion therapy. In addition to her local and national recognition, Cooperman was formerly editor-in-chief of the magazine, and has written several non-fiction books, as well as a murder mystery.
Editorial Director, SGC Horizon Building GroupA seasoned publishing vet with nearly 30 years of experience, Denise Dersin is carrying b2b brand forward.
Before she was promoted to the position of editorial director back in 2014, Dersin was the editor-in-chief of Professional Builder magazine. Nowadays, Dersin is at the editorial helm of the SGC Horizon Building Group’s fleet of print, digital, and web products that deliver industry news and product information to professionals within the residential construction industry. She recently established the company’s annual Women in Residential Construction Conference.
“The conference provides a forum for the attendees to meet and speak with peers and create their own networks for the sharing of ideas about achieving success in a male-dominated industry,” she says.
Editor-in-chief, The National Law JournalBeth Frerking is the editor-in-chief of The National Law Journal, where she oversaw the shift to a monthly print magazine, as well as a newsroom restructuring earlier this year.
As editor-in-chief of The National Law Journal, Frerking is responsible for the management of reporters and editors across the country. Under her leadership, Frerking has headed changes at the publication this year, such as a newsroom restructuring and a shift from a weekly to a monthly print magazine, complemented by constant online news coverage.
Under her management, the publication staff has been honored at the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ annual Azbee Awards and Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards. Frerking formerly served as an assistant managing editor at Politico.
Editorial Director, Bauer Media GroupAs editorial director of Bauer Media Group, Brittany Galla helped lead the company through its launch of six new magazines, including J-14 Magazine, a market leader in the teen category.
Brittany Galla is the editorial director of Bauer Media Group. Last year, she headed the launch of a series of publications targeting female teens, with new magazines: Puzzle Fun, J-14 Decorate, Star-tastic Coloring Book, Girls’ World’s Bake It Up and Dot Dot Dot, and Coloring With Mommy. Under her leadership, J-14 Decorate was selected as one of 2016’s 30 Hottest Launches by “Mr. Magazine,” Samir Husni.
In her role, Galla oversees the publications and teams who produce them. She began her time at the company in 2008, and was most recently editor in chief at M Magazine.
Director of Sales, SGC Horizon Building GroupFrom integrated marketing to digital strategy, Adam Grubb has set an ambitious agenda at Scranton Gillette Communications.
In his current position, Grubb is responsible for managing media revenue as it relates to print, events, and digital content marketing, in addition to overseeing video, social, and lead generation platforms across a number of brands. Grubb pursues a hands-on strategy. Back in 2016, for example, he was the host and executive producer of the SGC Horizon Building Group’s Inside Video Series, which reveals the science, technology, and R&D of a product or project of a participating manufacturer. The series was selected as one of three finalists in the Best Video Series category in min’s 2016 Magazine Media Awards.
Assistant Director of Global Advertising and Sales, American Chemical SocietyStephanie Holland is a fast-climbing media executive just 10 years into her professional career.
Holland joined the American Chemical Society in 2009 as a market development manager for online advertising and was promoted to her current position last year. In addition to sales, she manages marketing for ACS’ weekly magazine, Chemical & Engineering News.
In May, Holland helped to launch the association’s BrandLab, which is billed as “one of the first custom content-development studios in the scientific publishing marketplace to offer publisher expertise in content creation and distribution services.” With this content marketing division, ACS is hoping to give partners access to the association’s 26 million annual web visitors and 157,000 society members.
SVP, Strategy & Channel Relationships, The EconomistAs SVP, strategy and channel relationships at The Economist, Lydia Kaldas is an innovator in multichannel content strategy and creating relationships with platforms.
In her role, Kaldas has led The Economist team in strategically adapting to the digital era, launching the brand’s content on 10 new platforms (including Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Line, Medium, Snapchat Discover, and Amazon Video Direct), as well as in participating in beta programs and optimizing existing platforms (including Instagram and LinkedIn). Last year, the brand expanded its content to Snapchat Discover, where it features editions created by the editorial team with four advertising slots, in a move to appeal and expand to new audiences.
In her position, Kaldas helps develop content distribution platforms, expanding audience reach and brand awareness, works with teams to create and manage relationships with technology partners, and helps establish strategies for the monetization of video and audio content on and off platforms.
Editor-in-chief, SelfKylstra is an ascendant digitally minded editor, setting traffic and engagement records everywhere she goes.
Handpicked by Anna Wintour, Carolyn Kylstra is currently tasked with retooling SELF as a digital-first brand after the closure of its print edition last year. In just one year as executive digital director of the brand, prior to her promotion, she redesigned the site and set traffic records, including 5.3 million unique viewers in September 2016. As if that’s not impressive enough, she also was responsible for launching BuzzFeed’s health vertical and served as editorial director at WomensHealthMag.com where she tripled site traffic there. Kylstra is a digital guru that’s leading an industry dead-set on finding digital success.
Global Head of Advertising Operations, Bloomberg Media GroupFrom print to radio, TV and beyond, Latham is leading a platform agnostic ad team that stretches from New York to Mumbai.
Latham is the global head of advertising operations for the Bloomberg Media Group, where she oversees planning and campaign management, pricing and inventory, programmatic, trafficking, ad technology, and ad product for the company. Over the last two years, Latham has rebuilt the structure and all processes around how the team works. Latham’s 85-member team is now fully cross-platform.
“This wasn’t change for the sake of change,” Latham said back in March. “We wanted to build a structure that could evolve and change over time, that could organically spot and respond to new information, new trends, new patterns of behavior.”
Marketing Services’ Director of Market Research, InformaKristin Letourneau is the marketing services’ director of market research at Informa, where she focuses on quantitative methods, an integral component of the company’s business.
Back in November of 2016, Informa, an international business intelligence, exhibitions, events and academic publishing group, completed its $1.56 billion acquisition of Penton Information Services. As marketing services’ director of market research, Letourneau, who holds a Ph.D. in social psychology with a focus on quantitative methods, is an integral part of the Informa business. She currently oversees a team that carries out customized research programs designed to address client-specific objectives. Her team conducts over 150 primary research studies each year. Following an overhaul of Informa’s business intelligence division, the company predicts $18 million in net operating synergies.
Senior Vice President, TEN: The Enthusiast Network, and Editor-in-Chief, Motor TrendEd Loh is the senior vice president at TEN: The Enthusiast Network and editor-in-chief of Motor Trend, where he has helped the company and the publication transform through video, mobile apps, and social platforms.
Loh is the senior vice president at TEN: The Enthusiast Network and the editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. Under his leadership at Motor Trend, the brand has become the largest automotive channel on YouTube. Additionally, he oversaw the launch of Motor Trend OnDemand, the publication’s subscription-based on-demand video platform. In total, Motor Trend is home to over 6.7 million print subscriptions, over 5 million YouTube subscribers and 11.5 million social followers.
Over the past ten years, Loh has been a vital member of the Motor Trend staff, starting as senior editor and rising to editor-in-chief in 2011. Last year, in addition to his role as editor-in-chief, Loh added senior vice president of TEN: The Enthusiast Network to his impressive portfolio.
VP, Retail Sales & Special Issues, National Geographic PartnersJohn MacKethan is an ambitious worldwide publishing executive looking for innovative new strategies.
MacKethan oversees offline retail and worldwide financial management of the consumer side of National Geographic, and he drives the publication’s entire North American circulation marketing strategy.
“In 2017, I have instituted a highly consumer-oriented publishing equation for our (relatively new) History magazine, executed a more premium-priced solution for National Geographic, evaluated and reevaluated the concept of content consumption by younger aged kids, and refocused the staff toward digital marketing from traditional direct marketing,” he says. “I love product development. Mining audience data, seeking out creative and opportunistic partnerships, and using technology to speak to our file in catered messages is my focus today.”
Global Head of Marketing, Bloomberg MediaAs global head of marketing at Bloomberg Media, Amy Marks is turning ideas into action across print, digital, TV, radio, and live events.
Back in April 2016, Bloomberg Media went all-in on Marks when the company promoted her to the position of global head of advertising sales marketing. But she had been creating multimillion-dollar campaigns long before that. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Marks had previously held positions with Fitness and People magazines before joining Bloomberg in April 2015. She helps clients capture market share, while also driving advertising revenue. Marks consistently delivers measurable, tangible results, one of the many reasons why Bloomberg elevated this creative powerhouse who has become a true leader in cross-platform, digitally-led marketing.
SVP, Omnimedia, L’OréalNadine McHugh is the strategist behind one of the largest print advertisers in the U.S.
McHugh isn’t technically in the magazine media or publishing business, but she certainly plays a critical industry role. She’s senior vice president of Omni Media, Strategic Investments and Creative Solutions at L’Oréal USA, one of the largest print advertisers in the United States. In May, along with Maybelline New York, L’Oréal USA partnered with Time Inc. to launch The Pretty, a standalone social video brand for a millennials and Gen Z audiences.
“This partnership provides a multi-brand platform for L’Oreal brands to reach audiences who are passionate about beauty through snackable, compelling content,” McHugh said while announcing the launch.
General Manager, Government Executive Media GroupChristine Mitchell is a creative and solutions-oriented tech executive turned media executive.
What do Uber, Google, and IBM have in common? They have all been lucky enough to call Mitchell an employee. Mitchell left Uber for Government Executive Media Group (GMEG) in July 2016. The public sector division of Atlantic Media, GMEG’s portfolio includes titles like Government Executive, Nextgov, and Defense One. GMEG’s newest brand, Route Fifty, which launched in April of 2015, aims to connect state and local government leaders. In the last year, Mitchell led a team in growing Route Fifty’s audience by over 146 percent. Taken together, these Atlantic Media properties reach over one million government influencers nationwide.
Editor, Cosmopolitan.comAmy Odell has overseen a period of impressive audience growth for the iconic young women’s magazine while expanding its coverage of political and feminist issues.
Rethinking what Cosmopolitan can be in the digital space, Amy Odell’s new initiatives include a wedding vertical and a career/personal development content strategy. In 2013, she arrived from Buzzfeed as editor of Cosmopolitan.com, where she now oversees all of Cosmopolitan’s digital presence, including editorial content, social media and original video production. Under her leadership, Cosmopolitan.com has more than doubled traffic to reach over 35 million monthly unique visitors, and the brand’s social media following has ballooned to nearly 15 million. As a result, Odell was named to Forbes’ 2015 list of “30 Under 30” in media, and a year later, Hearst added editorial oversight of Redbook to her responsibilities.
Art Director, Yankee MagazineLori Pedrick is executing the visual strategy for a regional magazine that captures the voice and culture of New England.
For the last decade, Pedrick has overseen all visual aspects and elements of the editorial pages in Yankee Magazine, including photography, illustration, and art production. The 82-year-old regional publication, which claims a total circulation of nearly 300,000 and a total audience of 1.8 million readers, is also leveraging Pedrick’s visual prowess online: The regional title has more than 46,000 instagram followers, who regularly engage with Yankee’s sharp photography and slick cover designs. Before joining Yankee in 2007, Pedrick was art director for Philadelphia and Boston magazines.
Editor, Roast MagazineEmily Puro is the editorial force behind a b2b magazine that looks and feels more like a coffee-table book.
Roast, a bi-monthly trade magazine, reaches 8,000 readers per issue. The look and feel of the book might make it seem more like something you’d pick up off the newsstand, but don’t let that fool you. The trade journal serving all aspects of the specialty coffee industry is packed with technical knowledge and coverage of innovations and market trends.
“By far my greatest accomplishment with Roast during the past year was completing The Book of Roast, a 461-page compilation of articles previously published in the magazine, along with some book-only exclusives,” Puro says.
Manager of Magazines, Rotary InternationalJohn Rezek is a nimble, people-focused thinker and problem solver.
Rezek is the manager of magazines for Rotary International, a global organization of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs, and editor-in-chief of The Rotarian. In June, Rezek’s work was recognized when Association Media & Publishing awarded The Rotarian the 2017 Excel Extra Award for taking “bold chances and successfully innovating an association media product.”
Rezek has done more with less — early this year, he told Folio: that he was able to trim $350,000 from the budget without losing any staff. “The biggest professional accomplishment of the last year isn’t mine, it’s the staff’s,” Rezek said in August. “They performed well beyond expectations during a period when we’ve been asked to do more with fewer people. They rose to this and other occasions with competence and grace.”
VP Content and EIC, Associations NowAssociations Now has improved under Julie Shoop’s watch, and is focusing more on digital content for it’s readers.
Shoop leads the editorial team at ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, which produces Associations Now magazine. As the vice president of content and editor-in-chief, she oversees AssociationsNow.com, Associations Now Daily News, and the members-only Associations Now Plus newsletter.
“A new membership model at ASAE has changed the composition of the Associations Now audience, challenging us to find ways to engage new readers,” she told Folio: in August. “We’ve taken a closer look at our analytics over the past year and are holding ourselves accountable for adjusting our content mix to meet the demands of this wider audience.”
Managing Director, StudioTenSolomon joined TEN: The Enthusiast Network from the advertising world, heading up a major push into original video programming.
As part of a major expansion of the company’s video operations, TEN: The Enthusiast Network CEO Scott Dickey brought in veteran commercial producer Jerry Solomon to head up StudioTEN, the company’s in-house content studio as managing director. The company claims to reach 162 million individuals each month, including 27 million on Motor Trend’s YouTube channel alone, and is placing an increased emphasis on original video production–both branded and editorial—under Solomon’s watch.
“One of my biggest challenges is determining how a brand gets their voice into [an] arena, not just in the original programming, but also across advertising, delivered to that enthusiast in a way that’s authentic and genuine and doesn’t interrupt their experience,” Solomon told Folio: in January.
Director of Advertising for The Crisis, the official publication for the NAACPReginald Thomas is an association media sales innovator.
Founded in 1910 by W.E B. Du Bois, The Crisis is the NAACP’s quarterly journal of civil rights, history, politics, and culture that seeks to illuminate issues facing communities of color.
“Our accomplishments at The Crisis are the result of teamwork,” Reggie Thomas says. “In looking back over the past year, I feel our biggest accomplishment is that The Crisis magazine has successfully reached its 106th year as a publication in America, and we’ve been able to merge our national radio show, The Crisis Today, to illuminate the work of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).”
Executive Editor, The AtlanticMatt Thompson is executive editor of The Atlantic, where he has helped oversee rapid digital growth for the iconic print magazine.
In July, The Atlantic promoted Thompson executive editor, a role in which he oversees all the brand’s cross-platform projects. He formerly spent about two years as deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, and helped build the brand’s digital presence, with audience up by 36 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to the same time frame last year, and an increase to 42.3 million monthly unique visitors in May of this year.
Thompson has been a critical member of the The Atlantic’s team throughout his time at the company, aiding with the launch of Notes, which brought blogging to its site; Life Timeline, an achievement in repurposing archived content; and The Atlantic Daily, the publication’s newsletter that has seen its number of subscribers more than triple in the past year.
Creative Director, Bloomberg BusinessweekRob Vargas is the creative director for Bloomberg Businessweek, where he headed a successful redesign and re-launch earlier this year.
Known for his stunning covers, Vargas joined Bloomberg Businessweek seven years ago, starting as art director and rising to creative director in 2014. Under his leadership and artistic talent, the magazine successfully re-launched earlier this year, showcasing a significant aesthetic redesign. Additionally, at the 2017 Design & Art Direction (D&AD) Awards, Bloomberg Businessweek won Best Single Issue Design for The Electorate special issue, which arrived on newsstands last September. Throughout his tenure at Businessweek, Vargas’s covers have helped shape the magazine’s offbeat and unapologetic identity–always memorable and effective, if often unorthodox.
Vice President of Content Operations, SourceMediaPaul Vogel serves as the vice president of content operations at SourceMedia, where he has helped transform the company’s content organization.
Vogel’s role as vice president of content operations at SourceMedia was specifically designed to support the continuing transformation of the company’s content organization. He led the implementation of SocialFlow into SourceMedia’s integrated Content Technology Stack, which has increased social media referral traffic by 300 percent.
Additionally, Vogel helped establish the SourceMedia Content Studio, a unit tasked with fulfilling custom and native content for clients, including art direction, video, animated infographics, and more. In partnership with his editorial colleagues, Vogel generated an initiative to grow SourceMedia’s referral network both organically and through strategic partnerships with other news and data outlets.
Creative Director, ESPN The MagazineChin Wang is the creative director for ESPN The Magazine, where she has led the brand’s artistic design and taken the magazine in a fun new direction.
Under Chin Wang’s leadership, ESPN The Magazine has been recognized through dozens of awards, including: Society of Publication Design (SPD), Best American Infographics, Society of News Design (SND), American Illustration, and ASME. For the past three years, ESPN The Magazine has won Cover of the Year in the Sports & Fitness category in ASME’s cover of the year competition, and has had multiple finalists in multiple years. Earlier this year, Wang was a contributor to the team that won a National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
Wang’s covers and features embrace the idea that design tells a story, and that sports are meant to be about fun. No two ever seem to look the same, but all of them tend to surprise and delight—no small feats on a biweekly publishing schedule.
Editor, GQ StyleWill Welch is the editorial force behind one of the magazine industry’s youngest brands.
Launched in 2015 shortly after the shuttering of Details magazine, GQ Style is Condé Nast’s quarterly print publication that takes readers into the heart of high fashion. Welch was tapped as the editor-in-chief, but he spent nine years heading up the fashion beat for GQ before assuming his current role.
Welch’s approach in building GQ Style for a digital era but recognizing the value of print content has been well-received. The brand’s Summer 2017 issue featured a 6,000-word interview with actor Brad Pitt in America’s National Parks that garnered 3.4 million minutes of engaged reading time in a 24-hour period, nearly doubling the previous record for any GQ article. Welch followed up with a Fall issue covered by Aziz Ansari, who speaks, fittingly, about quitting the internet.