Finalists revealed for Mediaweek’s inaugural Next of the Best Awards

Mediaweek unveiled the finalists for its inaugural Next of the Best Awards. The latest entry in Mediaweek’s event calendar will celebrate people under the age of 40 in the media industry.

What are the Next of the Best Awards?

The awards ceremony takes place Friday, May 26 2023, the first night of Vivid Sydney, at Doltone House – Heritage Wharf at Jones Bay Wharf. Mediaweek’s awards recognise exciting talent in the industry under 40 across media agencies, media sales, content creators, and marketing. The night will feature 12 awards selected by a panel of 10 experts making the Next of the Best Awards the most prestigious young talent awards in the media industry.

To be eligible for the awards, one must be aged 40 or under and work in Sales, Advertising, PR, Ad Tech, Marketing, Media Buying/ Planning, Radio, Television, and Publishing.

Who are the finalists for the Next of the Best Awards?

The awards ceremony will also name a Grand Prix Award winner, chosen from the winners of the first 17 awards. Also, the awards will also name the top 50 influencers in Australia, using data to rank the Influencers who cut through the most in the past 12 months. The awards will be followed by an after-party, featuring a musical performance to be announced soon.

Ad Tech

  • Nik Kontoulas – Founder and CEO, JustEggs Digital
  • Dylan Dharmadasa – Head of Product, Finecast
  • Richard Palmer – Director of Market Development APAC, Triton Digital
  • Berina Colakovic – Director of Sales APAC, StackAdapt
  • Luke Spano – Founder & Managing Director, Avid Collective
  • Robert Perry – Regional Director APAC, Taboola
  • James Betlehem – Head of Operations, Finecast Australia
  • Joshua Wilson – Commercial Director JAPAC, Crimtan
  • Joshua Lee – National Head of Digital & Data, Zenith & Performics Australia
  • Giuseppe Martoriello – Co-Founder,

Radio Producer

  • James Willis – Executive Producer, Ben Fordham Live (2GB Breakfast)
  • Andrea Thiis-Evensen – Supervising Producer, News Corp
  • Zach La Cava – Executive Producer, “Smallzy’s Surgery”
  • Pedro Vitola – Executive Producer, The Kyle & Jackie O Show
  • Millie Michael – Executive Producer, Jonesy and Amanda, WSFM
  • Ashleigh Smith – Executive Producer, B105 Brisbane for Stav. Abby & Matt
  • Siobhan McDonnell – Executive Producer, 4BC Breakfast
  • Jenna Benson – Senior Digital Content Producer & Podcast Lead, Jonesy & Amanda, WSFM
  • Madeleine Wilson – Producer, Mike E & Emma on RNB Fridays Radio
  • Romy Sher – Podcast Producer, Factual & Drama – LiSTNR Original Podcasts

TV Producer

  • Mike Searle – Supervising Casting Producer, Endemol Shine Australia
  • Jasmine Kostas – Managing Editor, Sunrise, Seven Network
  • Dave Emery – Executive Producer, Farmer Wants A Wife (S1) Eureka Productions for Fox Entertainment USA
  • Emma Lamb – Founder, Mischief Maker within the Dreamchaser Studio
  • Mitch Finlayson – Creative Producer/Director, The Moments Company and JAMTV
  • Lizzie Bampton – Creative Producer, Paramount ANZ Brand Studio
  • Maddie Cook – Line-up Producer, The Morning Show, Seven Network
  • Nick Everard – Chase Producer, The Morning Show, Seven Network

Marketing – Media

  • Stephanie Stone – B2B Marketing Manager, TikTok AUNZ
  • Georgi Oates – Head of Media, Southern Cross Austereo
  • Novy Wong – Marketing Manager, SBS
  • Sam Trevethan – Head of Design, Seven Network
  • Megan Parkes – Senior Trade Marketing Manager, SCA
  • Alicia Brown – Trade Experience Manager, ARN
  • Jules Martin – Product Marketing Manager, TikTok
  • Heather Jenaway – Digital Marketer, Tonic Media Network
  • Alyce Zerner – Client Solutions Manager, NewsAmp, News Corp Australia
  • Katie Hughes – Digital Trade Marketing Manager, SCA

Marketing – Agency

  • Rosie Baker – Group Communications Director, GroupM Including Mindshare, Wavemaker, EssenceMediacom, GroupM Nexus, Finecast, Sightline, INCA
  • Chris Parker – Founder and Group CEO, Awaken Media and Awaken Creative
  • Hannah McElhinney – Chief Creator & Co-Founder, Snack Drawer
  • Lauren Thornborough – Senior Client Director, UM Sydney
  • April Ford – Chief Innovation Officer, April Ford
  • Corey Middleton – Planning & Strategy Director, Red Hat Enthusiast
  • Emily Cook – General Manager, dentsu Queensland
  • Chloe Leamon – Marketing Manager, Half Dome
  • Robert Millett – Group Digital Director, Starcom Melbourne
  • Hannah Eastwood – Experience Design Director, Starcom

Marketing – Corporate

  • Alexander Concannon – Head of Growth Marketing, Employment Hero
  • Joey Nguyen – Partner, Deloitte Digital
  • Tess Herrett – Marketing Manager, Michael Cassel Group
  • Elysse Jones – Brand Marketing Manager, Sky News Australia
  • Georgina Gellert – Marketing Lead APAC, Channel Factory


  • Katya Wachtel – Editorial Director, Broadsheet Media
  • Julia Naughton – Head of Life – Culture, Lifestyle and Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday
  • Chris Paine – Head of Premium Content, Nine Metropolitan Publishing
  • Poppy Reid – Editor In Chief, The Brag Media, Rolling Stone Australia & New Zealand, Variety Australia
  • Jessica Chandra – Audience Editor,
  • Tanya Hennessy – Freelance author/comedian/tv presenter/tv panelist/creator
  • Freya Noble – Digital Chief of Staff,
  • Lauren Meisner – Co-Founder & Director of Content, Centennial Beauty
  • Crystal Andrews – Founder & Editor, Zee Feed
  • Emma Shepherd – Head of Editorial APAC, The Current (The Trade Desk)

New Business/Growth- Agency

  • Matt Stephens – Head of Client Engagement, Finecast Australia
  • Rory Heffernan – Managing Director, Atomic 212
  • Taylor Murray – Head of Growth, Alley Group
  • Sam Geer – National Managing Director, Initiative Australia
  • Joe Frazer – Head of Growth/Founder, Half Dome

Creative Agency & Content Agencies

  • Olivia Warren – Managing Director, MBCS
  • Tiff Ng – Founder and Chief Storyteller, The Social Story
  • Psembi Kinstan – Executive Creative Director, DDB Group Melbourne
  • Michelle Lomas – Co-Founder / General Manager / Chief Strategy Officer, Ampel
  • Emily Naismith – Branded Content Director, frankie magazine
  • Chloe Mckenzie – Director of Entertainment Partnerships, OMD Create
  • Davy Rennie – National Managing Director, Tribal Australia
  • Adam Ireland – Managing Director, BRING Agency, Universal Music for Brands (AU & NZ)
  • Tim Collier – Strategy & Planning Partner, Connecting Plots

TV Talent

  • Sarah Abo – Co-Host, Today
  • Brooke Boney – News and Entertainment Presenter, Today
  • Tanya Hennessy – Freelance comedian/tv presenter/tv panelist/creator
  • Georgie Tunny – Co-Host and Reporter, The Project
  • Michael Hing – Co-Host, The Project

Radio Talent (Audio)

  • Brittany Hockley – Podcast and Radio Host, ARN
  • Mitch Churi – Radio Host, ARN
  • Chris O’Keefe – Radio Host, 2GB Sydney’s Drive Program
  • Jack Laurence – Podcast Host, ‘One Minute Remaining – Stories from the inmates’
  • Allan Aldworth – Announcer, Hit WA Breakfast

PR – Media

  • Tess Fisher – Senior Publicist, Paramount ANZ / Network 10
  • Robert Sharpe – Head of Corporate Communications, Seven West Media,
  • Eliza Elliott – National PR Manager, SCA
  • Jessica Seaborn – Senior Publicist, Stan
  • Vanessa Menser – Manager Corporate Communications, Paramount ANZ
  • Jana Hocking – National PR Manager, SCA

PR Agency- Independent

  • Kate Lord – Managing Director, Akin Agency
  • Alex Hayes – Principal, Clear Hayes Consulting
  • Grace Garrick – Director and Founder, MVMNT Agency Pty Ltd, No Boundaries
  • Adelaide Haynes – Communications and Media Consultant, Akin Agency
  • Sari-Elle Kraemer – Managing Director, Alpha Consult

PR – Agency

  • Rosie Baker – Group Communications Director, GroupM
  • James Griffiths – Executive Creative Director, BRING Agency, Universal Music for Brands (AU & NZ)
  • Candice Jackson – Senior Publicity Consultant, Ogilvy PR
  • Josh McDonnell – Marketing Director, PHD Australia

Media Agency Specialists – Independent

  • Jimmy Hyett – CEO and Founder, This Is Flow
  • Jonathan Henshaw – Head of Product & Innovation, Ryvalmedia
  • Isabella Jackson – Head of Client and Talent, Ryvalmedia
  • Sam Enshaw – National Strategy Director, Match & Wood
  • Catherine Edghill – General Manager, Hatched Sydney
  • Jessica Bray – Head of Media, Audience Precision Media Agency
  • Sally Lawrence – Group Director, Enigma Media
  • Daniel Molyneux – Head of Digital Performance, The Media Store
  • Sasha Smith – Head of Digital Performance, The Media Store
  • Rory Heffernan – Managing Director, Atomic 212

Media Agency Specialists – All agencies

  • Philipa Noilea-Tani – Chief Investment Officer, Wavemaker
  • Chris Colter – Chief Strategy and Product Officer, Initiative Australia
  • Tom Kirkham – Head of Transformation, OMD Sydney
  • Kate O’Loughlin – Associate Strategy Director, Initiative
  • Devla McGivern – Head of Group (Executive Client Lead), OMD
  • Tara Duncan – Consortium Advertising Sales Manager, News Corp
  • Justin Arlt – Head of Investment, Initiative Melbourne
  • Rebecca Ho – Sydney Head of Investment, Starcom
  • Georgina Wall – General Manager, Product & Partnerships Resolution Digital

Salesperson – Media

  • Rachel Miller – Senior Group Business Director, Foxtel Media
  • Stephanie Evans – Account Director – Independent Agencies, ARN Brisbane
  • Michila Macleod – National Sales and Partnerships Director, Broadsheet Media
  • Rian Wisemantel – Head of Melbourne Sales, Digital, Foxtel Media
  • Jem Salcedo – Head of Sales, Azerion in Australia and New Zealand
  • James Rose – Head of VIC/SA/WA, Channel Factory
  • Adriana Mastroianni – Strategy Manager, Paramount Brand Studios, Paramount ANZ
  • Rob Maclean – National Sport Sales Director, Seven West Media
  • Emma Jones – Strategy Manager, Paramount Brand Studio
  • Tammy Dobrow – Group Sales Manager, SCA