Then, a successful career that transcended traditional agencies, digital marketing and advertising technology, reached a pivotal moment in 2007. “At the time, most people in the industry felt like programmatic was a fad or a fleeting trend. I disagreed. I thought programmatic was fundamentally different. I thought it would change everything.”

This prophetic hunch led Brian to create Xaxis, one of the industry’s first programmatic media businesses. As part of WPP, Xaxis would go on to put the technology of the future into the hands of thousands of advertisers across the world. This was Brian’s first experience creating a company within a company, and Xaxis became a multi-billion dollar business operating in 40 markets across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Programmatic, it seemed, was not a fad after all.

Later, as CEO of GroupM in North America, Brian ran over a dozen media agencies and specialist businesses. He further applied data and technology in an effort to modernize the media agency business, launching broad platform initiatives focused on audiences rather than the traditional media buying strategies of his father’s time.

As CEO of AT&T advertising & analytics, Brian is responsible for building a new kind of advertising company - one that combines vast data and technology resources with mass distribution and world-class content. It’s an opportunity to reinvent advertising again, marrying the creativity and humanity of the business he knew as a kid, with the data and technology he’s helped pioneer.

But more than anything, he hopes that one day his kids won’t find it the worst thing in the world to watch a commercial with their dad - whether that be on a TV, handset, tablet, or holographic headset. 

AT&T advertising and analytics team

Tim Barnes’ passion for his work is no secret. He’s known for emphatically communicating his excitement by talking with his arms, making him slightly dangerous for anyone holding an uncovered coffee cup at close range. Tim’s golf game, incidentally, makes him dangerous at long range.

Tim is one of the most widely and deeply experienced executives in the industry. He served as SVP, Global Business Intelligence Group at Razorfish/Aquantive, transitioning into a similar role at Microsoft after its acquisition. He was founder and president of Fabric Worldwide, a DMP acquired by WPP. He moved on to be Chief Product Officer at Placed, and subsequently AudienceScience. He joins AT&T advertising & analytics as the Chief Data Officer, bringing his incredible passion at what he believes is a rare and unique time in the history of the business.

He is characteristically excited about the opportunity that AT&T advertising & analytics has to transform advertising. Although he believes the timing is right, and the combined expertise of the company’s “dream team” is truly industry-leading, for Tim it comes down to one thing:

“It’s all about passion. We’re trying to achieve something incredible for our customers. Being passionate about that means understanding our customers and driving value for them. It means delivering excellence but not being afraid to make mistakes. It means treating your coworker with respect and growing not just as an individual, but as an organization.”

Tim understands, more than most, the value of data, but realizes that data comes from customers — the real-life people using our services. He believes AT&T advertising & analytics can be the company to finally prove to customers, in a transparent and trustworthy way, the value that data can provide while still maintaining their privacy and security.

Outside of work, Tim is just as passionate about spending time with his family and supporting their respective passions, giving his time to a number of industry and charitable organizations, and working on his golf game.

Christina Beaumier can get by in a few languages. She can order street food in Spanish and handle tribal negotiations in Burkina Faso in French. She understands the artist’s argot of her Northampton, MA hometown; comprehends the brainier dialects that originate at MIT, her alma mater; and is attuned to the intricacies of the Brooklyn accent, where she now lives with her family.

After a Peace Corps stint in Burkina Faso, and business school at MIT Sloan, Christina started her post-MBA career in investment banking, learning an analytical linguistics based on rigor and numbers. She was then exposed to the more creative syntax of the marketing world.

This path led her to Xaxis where she had a meteoric rise, starting as Director Strategic Engagements, then VP Global Client Development, then VP Media Product Development, and ultimately becoming SVP and leader of their digital ad unit. She was most recently a Strategic Partner Lead, Video Distributors and Telco, at Google, further solidifying her position as the Most Interesting Women in Ad Tech.

Her combined studies across continents and industries have made her into one of the most fluent translators in ad tech:

"Within ad tech, nothing is a silo! There’s always a business development angle, a client angle, a technology angle, a media angle, a product angle… so being able to speak different languages and relate to different stakeholders is a powerful tool to help bridge gaps and bring people together."

Christina now brings her encyclopedic experience and comprehensive understanding of the industry to her role as VP Advertising Technology at AT&T advertising and analytics. She considers this to be the perfect place to bring everything together: the rigor of analytics and the stories of brands, finally translated into a message that people care to hear. The future at AT&T is exciting and not without uncertainty, but Christina finds herself comfortable in imbalance. She believes that the essence of business and life is a commitment to always correcting those imbalances, and finding the best way forward.

Advertising needs to relearn how to communicate with humans; Christina is the polyglot for the job.

Anyone who’s coached football knows that having a plan is great until the whistle blows. No coach should show up to the game unprepared, but as the on-field situation develops, they should be willing and able to make adjustments to that plan. And anyone who’s tended bar knows that communicating with the customer is the most basic skill in business.

Ray Carpenter is that anyone. He worked both of these jobs before attending business school at Texas Christian University, after which he began his career with AT&T. Since joining, he’s been involved in some of AT&T’s most important work. He helped build and launch the AT&T Partner Exchange, worked on one of the company’s most important mergers, did a stint as Director of Investor Relations and went on to be CFO of AT&T’s Entertainment Group.

He has a history of taking the best-laid plans and bringing them to execution, even in some of the business world’s most dynamic fields, all while keeping in mind the bigger goal of the business: making things better for the customer. He comes to AT&T advertising & analytics as a CFO with big plans for the future:

“At AT&T advertising & analytics we can really shape and change this industry in a way that is better for consumers, better for advertisers, and better for publishers.”

Having served as a financial analyst for Morgan Stanley and by earning his CFA accreditation, Ray has always had a quantitative and analytic perspective on how data can shape and drive a business. He believes deeply in the power of data, and that the ability to bring data to life can uncover immense value.

Ray views this opportunity as truly world-changing in its potential. No one else, he points out, sits in the position of AT&T advertising & analytics, at the nexus of data, content, distribution, and technology. No one else has such an incredible chance at changing the way brands communicate with consumers, and vice versa.

In his spare time, which is often spent on the train, Ray enjoys reading everything from Pulitzer-prize-winning fiction to business theory, and most of all, loves forcing his wife and two daughters to watch educational programming with him.

After graduating from Western Illinois University and Washburn Law School (Go Ichabods!), Lori started her career as a Law Clerk in the United States District Court in Kansas and then at a Topeka, Kansas law firm. A job with the Kansas Corporation Commission brought her into the world of regulatory law, and she eventually made her way to Southwestern Bell in Topeka. There, she spent time as a legal generalist, pinch-hitting for multiple parts of the business.

As she began work with the corporate communications and strategy units, unanswered questions surrounding the advent of big data, and its implications for privacy, started popping up more and more. She later became Chief Privacy Officer and was an integral part of the business world’s initial development of strategies around big data and privacy on global scales.

Having touched all parts of law at all levels, Lori believes one should be curious as to new ways to do things, and flexible enough to capitalize on those opportunities. These values are foundational to AT&T advertising & analytics:

“Flexibility is part of the culture. Even with a roadmap, new data or innovations may create unexpected forks in the road. We need to be able to pivot where it makes sense.”

Lori’s recent career at AT&T has been spent mastering data protection and consumer privacy, something that many of today’s businesses are trying to get right. Some of her earliest, simplest learnings still apply: data protections and privacy won’t be solved with a checkbox right before deployment; it must be “baked in” to any product or strategy from the get-go, what she calls “privacy by design.”

After a career of navigating how the world’s largest companies deal with the privacy issues of the future, Lori understands the power of data to affect our lives better than just about anyone. But ask her what she thinks AT&T advertising & analytics’ greatest asset is, and she will tell you:

“It’s people. Some would focus on the data, but it takes people to unleash the opportunities behind that data in the right way. People are the innovators and the creativity.”

Lori looks forward to building something truly great with those people.

Rick Gomez likes to work on his house. The renovation has gone long, as they tend to do. But a house is always under renovation, and perhaps it should be. A light fixture burns out, or you get sick of that door that opens the wrong way, and before you know it Rick’s fixed everything in the house and is on the second round of upgrades. In his more than 20 years at AT&T, Rick takes the same approach to the teams he works with, enacting a philosophy of always making things better for his team members.

Rick understands and cares for the people in this company like no one else. He has worked tirelessly, in a variety of roles, to make AT&T a better home for everyone, whether straight out of college, through a merger or acquisition, or at the highest executive levels.

One of Rick’s most rewarding roles was Executive Director for AT&T College Recruiting, where he architected AT&T’s companywide strategy for attracting new talent in a time when young grads have more options than ever before. He then moved to a role he was extremely passionate about – the Executive Director for Workforce Diversity and Inclusion. This position was the culmination of a deep, career-long commitment to equitable representation and diverse, welcoming, inclusive workplaces.

Rick’s ability to read (and now draft) blueprints at a corporate level is one of his greatest skills. He believes that for HR to have the place at the table it deserves, the people strategy needs to overlay and interplay with the business strategy. This alignment depends on an understanding of the feedback loop of what people can accomplish for its business, and what the business can accomplish for its people.

Now as the VP of Human Resources at AT&T advertising & analytics, Rick looks forward to building the new team that will take the annoyance factor out of advertising. He will measure his impact with a few questions:

“Did you do the right thing? Did you do well for your people? Did you do well for your family and the people you care about? Did you do well for the company & shareholders?”

Rick looks forward to building the team that will take advertising into the future, and building a home that is welcoming, inclusive, caring, and ever-improving.

Now hand him that hammer.

It’s safe to say Kirk McDonald has earned his stripes. Though he has more than 25 years of experience working with the world’s top brands, media companies and technology providers, it’s Kirk’s personal history that inspires his present role as Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T advertising & analytics.

The heights by great men reached and kept
        Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
        Were toiling upward in the night.
                -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Ladder of St. Augustine

Kirk’s mother chose the above quote for her son’s yearbook entry upon his graduation from The Bronx High School of Science, and its lesson about hard work has been Kirk’s guiding mantra ever since. It also planted a seed of interest in computer science and programming – an early example of Kirk’s knack for predicting trends.

And if hard work is Kirk’s engine, curiosity is its fuel.  

Kirk’s first job post-college was at Condé Nast, where hard work meant getting in a bit early and often staying a little late. Those extra hours proved fortuitous for him, opening doors for the occasional elevator conversation with early-rising editors and executives who had a bird’s-eye-view of Condé’s publishing brands. There, Kirk’s curiosity kicked into high gear, and he learned how stories were developed and, in a larger sense, how the magazine business worked. This intimate exposure ignited his interest in the publishing/media industry, and he hasn’t looked back since.

With a desire to learn and do more, Kirk’s insatiable curiosity led him next to Ziff Davis Publishing’s PC Magazine and Computer Life Magazine. Here, he married his newfound love of publishing and media with his interest in computer science and programming, which proved to be the perfect match. Kirk also gained valuable international marketing experience while brushing up on his sales leadership skills.

As the world went digital, Kirk again followed his curiosity to a then fledgling media company known as CNET. He would be one of the first to hold an executive-level sales position in the “Wild West” of digital media and advertising.

After leading revenue and marketing for Aquantive’s DRIVEpm/Atlas Enterprise, Kirk pivoted back to publishing as Chief Revenue Officer of Time Inc.’s Fortune/Money group and ultimately became President of Digital, guiding Time Inc.’s overarching advertising strategy across all digital assets. He then moved on to his next challenge as President of PubMatic, one of North America’s fasting-growing advertising technology companies.  

Now, Kirk believes, the media and advertising industry is craving another story – and he wants to help write it. With challenge comes opportunity, and Kirk envisions a day where advertising captures the true potential in its future.

The marriage of art and science in persuasive storytelling holds rich rewards for consumers, brands and publishers alike. Kirk works to inspire wonder and curiosity, which have guided him throughout his career, and to retain a sense of fearlessness — perhaps even irreverence — as he and his team build a consumer-based advertising company at AT&T. When he’s not at work, Kirk is a happy husband and proud father in North Stamford. He and his family find inspiration in this motto:

“A lot of innovation and invention comes from not knowing that you can’t do something. There’s something very powerful about that — because you don’t know you can’t do it, you somehow find a way.”

Mike Welch has always found it amazing that he could have so many careers all at the same company. He’s seen AT&T grow out of the shadow of the “Ma Bell“ era and become an entity that is forward-thinking, innovative, and, more importantly, an incredible place to work. What Mike won’t tell you is that he, in large part, is responsible for many aspects of this transformation.

After college at Indiana University Bloomington, Mike started his career in CPG as a sales representative with The Pillsbury Company. After that, he came to AT&T via SBC (Southern Bell Company). Here, he has worked in marketing, supporting consumer call centers, in the enterprise business division handling some of our biggest customers, with the Yellow Pages, and most recently, leading advertising-related merger planning efforts associated with the Time Warner acquisition. 

Mike has always been cognizant of the scale of his work in advertising, and views his work with AT&T advertising and analytics as the start of something even bigger. The willingness to be aggressive about growth and try really big things, he believes, are crucial to the new company. AT&T, he would remind you, doesn’t really do ‘small’ acquisitions — we make big, industry-changing moves.

AT&T Aadvertising and analytics will be entering uncharted waters, and he and his team respect the size of the undertaking, but are excited to get to tackle it:

“Every time you’re getting ready to do something big — the big game, the big concert, the big meeting — if it’s something you really love to do, you have that nervous energy, the butterflies in your stomach. And as soon as you start doing whatever it is you love to do, the butterflies vanish. You just perform.”

For him, AT&T advertising and analytics is a culmination of the convergence around video, which has become the lingua franca of modern media consumption. For those with doubts, he asks you to count how many screens are in whatever room you are in right now, including your pockets. What connects all those screens? It’s AT&T.

Mike has served on the boards of Invidi Technologies, the Cable Television Advertising Bureau, and the IAB. His passions outside the workplace include being a professional fan for his kids’ various sports, golf, and travel. And while traveling for vacation, he will even leave the beach, occasionally.

For Rick Welday, the only constant is change. He thrives on change, and that has made him one of AT&T’s most dynamic (and well-traveled) leaders. He began his work with the company when it covered about five states (previously SBC and Southwestern Bell). The company now touches more than 240 countries, thanks in no small part to Rick. He has held international positions in Mexico, where he helped to revolutionize the customer service experience, and in Switzerland, where he served as the President of the company’s entire Swiss business.

Rick theorizes that his comfort with constant change stems from personal experience. Even before he got to AT&T, Rick had relocated nearly 10 times with his family. He grew accustomed to meeting new people, learning new things, and re-establishing that feeling of home. Soon, he found that these experiences held great value for him and, if approached correctly, could become powerful catalysts for improvement.

He’s served in a wide range of roles on a wide range of continents (Asia, too!) but within those roles, Rick has pushed himself and his teams to be the heralds of transformation. It is a value shared within the DNA of AT&T:

“This is a company that has been reinventing itself constantly, and AT&T advertising & analytics has a great opportunity to drive even more change. Having a higher degree of flexibility, even in the face of risk and uncertainty, is the most important thing. We can’t just be caretakers, we have to strive to be transformational.”

As an agent of transformation and a veteran of advertising, Rick believes there is no better place to be in the ecosystem than AT&T advertising & analytics. This belief is well-informed too, having previously served as CMO for AT&T’s consumer segment, covering all video and Internet consumer marketing, and helping to launch U-verse® TV, AT&T’s award-winning, IP-based TV offering.

As a thought leader in the advanced TV advertising space, Rick serves on the board of the IAB and VAB, and is active in various community and non-profit organizations including the Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Committee for AT&T.

He is also thankful for his greatest constant, his wife of 28 years, and his kids, who continue to give him career advice far beyond their years.

In between amassing hotel points and miles, a management consultant learns to examine the world through a very specific lens. They are tasked with developing a 360-degree view of a business – and an innovative road map forward – all at breakneck speed.

Despite the pace at which she is used to working, Lauren Wetzel is thoughtful and deliberate in everything she does, both personal and professional. She cultivated that sensibility during her time as an engagement manager in Deloitte’s strategy practice, which ultimately led her to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

There, she further finetuned her business and leadership experience, inspired by legendary Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who once said, “Teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” Here, she learned that people were the connective tissue that kept an organization running on all cylinders.

Lauren put that value of teamwork into practice during her time at digital agency Razorfish, video ad platform FreeWheel and digital strategy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Corporation.

Her wide-ranging experience in digital and advertising prepared Lauren to tackle her latest challenge, joining AT&T advertising and analytics to help build a new kind of advertising company in an industry undergoing seismic change.

"The advertising industry hasn’t necessarily taken on the responsibility commensurate with the billions of dollars that they handle. There’s the privacy issues, transparency issues, brand safety issues… in building a safe, clear, transparent marketplace, I feel we can help brands and consumers alike."

To Lauren, leadership is a journey, not a destination. She hopes to apply that same mantra at AT&T advertising & analytics, where every day will be about leveraging a balance of her leadership skills and tenacity required to help disrupt digital and TV advertising.

After reinventing advertising, Lauren, an avid baker, plans to open a pastry shop on the Upper West Side, and before you ask, no, it will not sell any pretzels.

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