Gareth Leck
Group Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, Joe Public United

Gareth Leck completed his B.Com. degree at the University of Cape Town in 1994 and in 1995 he completed a postgraduate in Marketing at AAA School of Advertising. March 1998 saw Leck and Pepe Marais open the doors to their own advertising agency, Joe Public Take-Away Advertising. In their second year the business was nominated by Financial Mail as The Emerging Agency of the Year and in 2000 Joe Public was named as one of “South Africa’s most promising Companies” by the Research Foundation of South Africa. In 2001 they went on to sell their revolutionary Take-Away Advertising concept to DraftFCB America.

On the 26th of January 2009, Leck and Marais purchased Joe Public back from DraftFCB in order for the company to once again be a 100% proudly South African entity. Gareth currently sits on a number of boards including the Association for Communication and Advertising, the Loerie Awards as well as being Chairperson of the Apex Awards for the last ten years. In 2014 The Annual Adfocus awards ranked the agency as the Agency of the Year and in 2015, for the second consecutive year, awarded Joe Public Agencies’ Agency of the Year, as voted for by our industry peers. In the same year the agency poll saw Joe Public United rated as the Most Admired Ad Agency Group in the country. In 2016 and 2017Joe Public was the most awarded agency at the Apex Awards, which focuses on campaigns that are effective and drive business results for their clients, in line with the agency’s purpose of Growth.

Joe Public United is currently ranked as one of the top independent South African advertising groups, which includes a brand design agency (Joe Public Shift), beyond-the-line agency (Joe Public Ignite), a PR agency (Joe Public Engage) and a digital agency (Joe Public Connect) in Johannesburg, with an expanding network into Africa boasting partners/affiliates in eight different countries. Gareth’s passion and belief lie in the creativity of business and the business of creativity.

Serah Katusia
Managing Director, Mediacom (Scan)

More than 10 years in the ad world, Serah was appointed the MD for Mediacom Eastern Africa, this came after years of working for brands across the continent from Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Mozambique, Ethiopia as well as Central Africa.

She has moved from Client Service, to Strategy and finally settled in Media. “I love the knowledge gained across categories, but media is my heart, driving system thinking with media as the lead is the core of what I drive at Mediacom.”

She's a lecturer and speaker at the International School of Advertising, which enables her to drive media excellence beyond Mediacom to the rest of the industry. She is passionate about people, nurturing talent and driving excellence.

Logan Allanson
Innovation Creative Director, Ogilvy

Learning an economics degree wasn't for me, I found myself drawn to the creative industry. I currently serve as the Innovation Creative Director at Ogilvy Dubai and have been instrumental in making Ogilvy Dubai one of the most successful agencies in the Middle East.

Together with my incredibly talented team, I strive to create ideas that transcend advertising. This has resulted in some highly successful campaigns, including Rescue Radio, Lifebuoy's Handle on Hygiene, Back Off Radio, Nestle’s, behavioural changing mobile App called Tummyfish and our latest campaign got the world talking about Potatoes which won the first Innovation Lion ever for the Middle East.

My constant push for innovation and groundbreaking work has helped me win over 300 regional and international awards, including Grands Prix at London International, New York Festival and Dubai Lynx, as well as metal of every colour from the One Show, Clio, Cannes Lions, D&AD, Effies and the highly acclaimed, 4A’s Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence. 

I'm an avid collector of marbles, yo-yo’s, vinyl records and prefer Bovril over Marmite. I believe that creativity can change the world and this is at the heart of everything I do.

Dale Tomlinson
Chief Executive Officer, The Hardy Boys

Dale Tomlinson studied Fine Arts at the Natal Technikon and kick started his career as a designer working in studios in London, San Francisco and his native South Africa, before launching his own business, Durban design agency Stable Graphics. Dale Tomlinson is currently founder and CEO of The Hardy Boys, an 80 strong multi-disciplinary agency based in Durban. A highlight in Dale’s career was being the only African to speak at Cannes to an audience of some 3000 creatives and marketers at the Cannes Lions Awards in 2013. The Cannes Lions is the pre-imminent annual global event for the creative industry. 

In 2014 The J Walter Thompson Company acquired a 60% stake in The Hardy Boys, JWT is a part of WPP Global, the largest communication group in the world. In his current role he will expand the THB brand further into Africa and currently holds the WPP Group-Unilever relationship for Southern Africa, reporting into London. Dale also sits on the board of Hilton College and the ACA and, the governing body for the communication industry in South Africa. Dale is married to Kerrie Tomlinson and has two children, Emma and Rhett.

Heidi Brauer
Chief Marketing Officer, Hollard

Passionate South African, wife, daughter, sister, mother of 2 sons (aged 22 and 25), voracious reader, collaborator, lover of challenge & change, fiercely loyal to the notion of the power of single actions enabling quantum changes, reluctant gym-goer, erstwhile boxer, speaker of some Greek, learner, teacher, mentor, mentee and deep believer in the power of brands and humans. Heidi joined Hollard in May 2013 as Chief Marketing Officer, and her role includes all group brand activities including marketing and communications, internal comms and culture, digital marketing and sponsorship as well as the group’s Customer Centricity initiatives. 

Heidi was previously Executive Manager, Group Marketing, Loyalty & Strategic Partnerships at Comair taking care of, British Airways, SLOW lounges, Daddy’s Deals, kulula credit card, jetsetters and Executive Club. Before that she was Deputy CEO & Marketing Director at research house Ipsos Markinor, after some time in the pharmaceutical industry following a BSc degree in nursing at Wits. Heidi has been a Member of Vega Brand School National Advisory Council. She served for 7 years as a Board member and Deputy Chairman of the Marketing Association of South Africa and as Board member of ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations). 

She has judged the Association for Communication & Advertising’s APEX awards, the PRISA Prism awards, the FM AdFocus awards, the AMASA Roger Garlick Innovation in Media award and the Loerie Awards. She is a silent partner at Halo – The Brand Led Communications Agency and a business partner on the Partnerships for Possibility Programme where she partners with a school principal in an under resourced school.  In 2017 Heidi was nominated for PRISA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She believes in sprinkles and chocolate cake, and knows that it takes a village to raise a brand and loves to speak or write about both at every given opportunity.  

James Barty
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, King James Group
Cape Town

James is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the King James Group, which comprises multiple specialist company disciplines working collaboratively to explode brand ideas into powerful business-shaping communications. The company is best known for its work on brands such as Bell’s, Johnnie Walker, Allan Gray, Sanlam, Santam and He has spent the major portion of his career in advertising itself, but is fortunate enough to have worked on both sides of the fence, so to speak, as both marketer and adman.

James was named Agency Leader of the Year 2011 at the Financial Mail’s AdFocus Awards. He is a former Vice Chair of the ACA and has recently been appointed Chairman of the ACA Board for 2018/19. In 2013, James’s peers voted him the most admired agency leader in SA ( and again in 2016 and 2017. His outlook on the communication industry and for King James is simple: “Hard work and passion really count. We must respect the people around us, continually change to reflect our society, know that we can always do better, but above all, remember that our strength is in the quality of our ideas”.

Kirsty Niehaus
Art Manager, Nandos

Kirsten Niehaus is the Internal Communication and Art Manager at Nando’s, South African where she overseas communication and sponsorship in all things art and internal messaging. Kirsten has an eclectic mix of skills and experiences drawing input and insight from a variety of sources including her Business Science Finance degree from UCT, time in property development in luxury apartments, 4 years in Botswana where she founded and managed a casual dining restaurant known as “The Chicken Chief’ and several years involved in marketing, communication and sponsorship in the marketing department at Nando’s.

With a rare balance of creativity, strategic thinking and implementation skills, she has proven herself as a formidable force. She is skilled in the creation and implementation of strategy, sponsorship and communication. Having won several awards including multiple BASA Awards (Business and Arts South Africa) as well as, a Loeries Bronze (2015) and the Loeries Grand Prix (2016) for various innovative Nando’s art and design initiatives, she is now focusing on the development of the internal communications strategy for the 8000 Nando’s staff with a focus on building culture and sharing information through an effectiveness and relevant multi-platform approach.

Stacey Grant
Consumer & Market Insights Director for Africa, Unilever

Deeply passionate about people, Stacey Grant leads the Africa Insights Team and is a member of the Unilever South Africa leadership team. In this role, she is ultimately responsible for showing the business where and how to win – through leveraging consumer and shopper insights that ensures the business provide solutions to the unmet needs of consumers across the continent. A strong believer in African creativity and solutions, Stacey has led her team to a number of major Global Unilever honors, including awards for Innovation and Communications excellence.

Her biggest passion is centered on building sustainable businesses and Stacey believes that this is one of the key elements in unlocking the potential of the African continent.In over 13 years of Unilever experience, Stacey has continuously leveraged her ability to empathise and advocate for the needs of the consumer and combined it with her technical expertise to lead for innovation. Some notable highlights include her work on the development of Unilever’s internal AI (Artificial Intelligence) platform which has become a critical component of how key business insights are distributed and utilized across the business. Furthermore, under her leadership, the Africa insights team have also become recognized as thought-leaders and pioneers in the research industry in areas such as wearables in core research, mobile surveys, social media listening, and crowdsourcing.

Sydney Nhlanhla Mbhele
Chief Marketing Officer, Liberty

Sydney Mbhele is a marketer with a proven track record in building brands and markets. His experience stretches from Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), to Telecoms and Financial Services (Banking). He has worked in Sales & Marketing and led major brands for organisations like SABMiller, Unilever (both locally & globally in London), Nedbank, Diageo South Africa, Simba (FritoLay International) and Cell C (mobile telecoms).

During this time Sydney has won numerous Gold awards, in various categories, including Effective Creativity and Integrated Campaigns at Loeries, Best Branded Content at Apex Awards, and Best use of Digital Communications at Sports Industry Awards. Sydney is currently the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for the Liberty Group (Financial Services), and a board member of the Marketing Association of South Africa. 

Thabisa Mkhwanazi
Corporate Affairs Director, KFC

Thabisa Mkhwanazi is the dynamic Public Affairs Director for KFC Africa. She was born and raised in the beautiful hills of the Eastern Cape and was from an early age captivated by the simplicity of life, the resilience of the people and passion for education. She pursued her interest in Marketing and Communication at University of Natal in Durban. In 2004 she graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Marketing Honours Degree. Thabisa began her marketing career at Unilever in 2005, unleashing her love for brands and marketing. With Local and global experience she has managed some of South Africa’s biggest brands and joined Yum  2012 as a part of the KFC South Africa Marketing team. 

In 2015 Thabisa was promoted to the Marketing Director for KFC, SA’s most loved fast food brand and 3rd most loved brand and lead the iconic brand into new and uncharted territories. She describes her recent appointment onto the Yum Africa Executive Leadership team is a humbling and exciting career highlight. Thabisa is energised by the talented people she gets to work with daily and the leading edge work that is developed with key partners. Thabisa continues to grow herself and those around her, establishing herself as an inspiring leader, outstanding communicator and world class marketer.

Thabisa’s greatest passion and most valued and role is that of being a wife to Sizwe and mom to their daughters Nikita and Zenande. Their support and love encourages her to stretch herself every day to be the best she can be and make a meaningful contribution to progressing South Africa and the African continent.

Yegs Ramiah
Chief Executive, Sanlam Brand, Sanlam

An experienced, financial services, marketing and brand executive with sound strategic ability, an independent mindset, strong negotiation skills and levels of accountability which results in effective decision making. Lead the rebrand of Sanlam in 2014 and the rebrand of Santam in 2011. Awarded Loeries Marketing Leadership and Innovation Award in 2016. More recently lead the 100 year  strategy  and creative direction  for the Sanlam Group.

With strong presentation skills, detailed understanding of the legal and regulatory environment and a passion for building value for organisations through value adding customer focused strategies. Drives a culture of marketing metrics and ROI. Yegs is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa with a MBA.