AWNY 2016 GenNext Awards - She Runs It
Event Recaps

AWNY 2016 GenNext Awards

By She Runs It

The inaugural GenNext Awards took place in the chic, new Forbes on Fifth event space. This award was created to celebrate the next generation of leaders in marketing and media. Each honoree was selected based on her impressive career trajectory, measureable accomplishments, and leadership.

2016 GenNext Honorees:

  • Caitlin Bergmann, Director – Content & Creative at MediaCom, @Pasty
  • Ella Chinitz, GVP – Data Science at Razorfish, @EllaChinitz
  • Laura Correnti, EVP Managing Director – Media at Giant Spoon, @Laura_Correnti
  • Lindsey Cox, Associate Marketing Director at Martha Stewart – Meredith Corporation, @LindseyrenaeCox
  • Melina Ex, Managing Director – East Coast at Fetch, @MelinaEx
  • Natalie Kim, Director of Strategy at Firstborn, @NatalieyKim
  • Maggie Kiselick, Director of Ad Partnership & Innovations – Auto, Tech, Telecom at The New York Times, @Maggiemae7734
  • Melissa Lentz, Founder of M. Hatter Consulting, @MelissaLentz
  • Kate Paulin Charles, SVP Head if Insights and Planning at 360i, @KatePaulin


Lynn Branigan, President & CEO of AWNY, opened the ceremony by announcing the launch of AWNY in Chicago and the opportunity to rebrand our organization. “Our industry has grown beyond advertising and AWNY has grown beyond New York, so a name change is required. We have the opportunity to sharpen our focus and remind people why we do what we do.” Stay tuned during Advertising Week when we unveil our new name!

As Lynn discussed how women make great leaders and create cultures that future generations want to be part of, we shifted our attention to the fabulous women we were celebrating that evening. “Tonight we’re talking about the next generation of leaders. We know [millennials] want power and influence, but what we want to talk about tonight is what they contribute and what they do.”

We began by thanking co-chairs Betsy Bartosiak and Kayla LaFata for spearheading and organizing the event. Steve Goldberg – Managing Partner of Media Recruiting Group, the presenting sponsor for the event – welcomed everyone and introduced our moderator for the evening, Jenny Rooney – Editor of the Forbes CMO Network.

Ms. Rooney explained to the audience that a panel of 11 judges reviewed 75 submissions to select the 9 GenNext winners. “Our honorees are pooled from a broad range of companies, but they have all achieved great things in their careers and are an inspiration to others.” Before bringing the recipients to the stage for a quick Q&A, we played a video asking each woman: What is your greatest accomplishment thus far?

Caitlin Bergmann
Q: What is the best piece of advice that has helped you become so successful?
A: “There is no such thing as a bad job, just a bad boss. That has been an important navigational north star for me. Interviewing is like dating; are we going to jive when I see you for 12+ hours a day? Take the time to get to know who you’re going to report to, because that is everything.”

Ella Chinitz
Q: What excites you most about the ad industry today?
A: “I didn’t expect to be in the ad space, but after ten years, what I like most is the pace of change. I am in the data science side with constant new tech, products, solutions, and data. The pace of change in my field is so great; to be part of that and create new solutions is very exciting and motivating for me.”

Laura Correnti
Q: What makes you most excited to go to work every day?
A: “It’s the people; their creativity, curiosity, and desire to move the industry forward is what drives me day in and day out. Also working for a client like GE is fantastic.”

Lindsey Cox
Q: What advice would you give to individuals beginning their careers?
A: “Have you mind set on what you want your brand to be, you’ll discover your voice and how you want your career to move forward.”

Melina Ex
Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
A: “After living in 4 different continents, having to start over again and again has been my biggest challenge. Beyond finding the supermarket, I had to restart my network, reputation, and brand each time I relocated, but it has been so fun and I’ve developed a global mindset.”

Natalie Kim
Q: Who is your mentor?
A: “My mentor is my boss. He is the most considerate mentor; he studies how people learn and communicate and adjusts to their needs. He teaches by doing. I admire how he deals with problems and decision making, plus he always has an open-door policy.”

Maggie Kiselick
Q: Who is someone in the industry that you admire?
A: “I admire Meredith Levien (Chief Revenue Officer of the New York Times). She is such an inspiration and I learn so much from her business sense. She is an incredible communicator and understands what we need for customers as well as what we need internally. And my dad! No bad work situation can’t be fixed with a call to him.”

Melissa Lentz
Q: Where do you want to be in 10 years?
A: “Where will our industry be in 10 years? I love this industry and I love fortifying industries and their future business models. I want to create impact and drive value for my clients.”

Kate Paulin Charles
Q: What made you want to do what you do?
A: “Watching The Price Is Right when I was a kid, I was more interested in the commercials. I am always wondering what people are thinking and doing. I’m curious about what motivated them to do something and what will entertain them.”

We closed the award reception by playing another video asking each of the honorees: If your coworkers could describe you in one word, what would it be?

Special thanks to the AWNY Young Executives and Leadership Development Committees for organizing the first annual GenNext Awards, our Presenting Sponsor – Media Recruiting Group, our in-kind sponsor – Forbes, and Grey New York for editing the video content.