Winners of the AMA’s 2017 4 Under 40 - Emerging Leaders Award

Hal Conick
AMA Annual
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Key Takeaways

​Winners of this year’s award have furthered marketing in a variety of industries, including data analytics, cannabis, anti-tobacco advocacy and asset management. 

​September 12, 2017

The winners of the AMA’s 2017 4 Under 40 - Emerging Leaders Award are revealed

Four marketing leaders will be honored for their leadership, service and contributions to the marketing industry at the 2017 AMA Annual Conference

The winners of the AMA’s 4 Under 40 - Emerging Leaders Award will receive their awards during a Wednesday luncheon ceremony at Annual. 

Successful candidates make a demonstrable commitment to the marketing industry—whether via advertising, analytics, branding or data—are passionate leaders with a love for collaboration and are under 40 when nominated.

Marketing News spoke to this year’s award winners about what the award means to them, the future of marketing and their advice for students of marketing. Read up on marketing's rising stars before seeing them speak at Caesars Palace. ​

Gareth Davies

Co-founder and CEO


Q: What advice do you have for marketing students? 

A: As a student of marketing, I believe there has never been a more exciting time to join this profession. Few professions offer the breadth of skill sets required of a modern marketer. Left- and right-brain synapses need to be continually firing  to balance quantitative and analytical understanding of consumers with creativity, insight and emotional connection. Smart, hungry and curious are must-have qualities for today's marketers. Truly exciting challenges are out there to be solved for those who dare.

Q: What does the AMA award mean to you? 

A: I am thrilled and honored to be recognized for the prestigious AMA 4 under 40 Award. Having devoted my career to helping marketers better understand and connect with their customers through data and technology, it’s an honor to receive this award. While the pace of technological change in marketing is staggering, it is but a mere reflection of the pace of consumer change. This change, while at times daunting, represents a huge opportunity for marketers to hone the craft and bring art and science to their quest to understand and engage with their customers in new, authentic ways. 

Q: What does the future of marketing look like? 

A: Undeniably, the future of marketing will be driven by quantitative data and technology. Marketers need to be fluent in the language of data and software, students of anthropology and consumer behavior, all while remaining true to the 5 P's—product, price, promotion, place and people—the core tenants of marketing. Marketers who become fluent in these various languages have the opportunity to change the way brands engage with consumers and the way businesses consider, measure and invest in marketing. 

Dionisios “Dio” Favatas

Managing Director of Digital Marketing

Truth Initiative

Q: What advice do you have for marketing students? 

A: Make sure to learn hard skills like math and analytics. Data-driven marketing and martech are revolutionizing organizations and the way that they do business. Creative and user experiences are now driven by analytics and machine learning, so graduating with a baseline in these skills is a must, not just nice to have.

Q: What does the AMA award mean to you? 

A: I was born to immigrant parents with limited education and being one of the only members of my family to have received a bachelor’s and master’s degree. To have excelled in a critical business field like marketing makes this the single greatest professional accomplishment in my life. It proves that I have the data, tech and creative skills to be one of the top four marketers in this discipline.

Q: What does the future of marketing look like? 

A: Marketing will always be about experiences, but those experiences will largely be driven by data. The trend will be to target and automate media to actual people instead of browsers (e.g., IP address + Chrome). Displays will become unified, so the 3.5 devices in the average household will become one targetable person, where different experiences can be delivered to any device without overlap. Marketers will increasingly become data architects that leverage science and math to produce stunning visuals that captivate audiences and lead to higher ROI. Point of sale will also come back with a great resurgence, but it will be powered by connected devices and digital storefronts that optimize the cash register experience. 

Do you know someone under 40 who should be nominated in 2018? Nominations are now open for next year’s award.

Andrew Modlin

COO and co-founder


Q: How do you define success?

A: Making a difference. The day when buying marijuana is as normal as buying a bottle of wine, I will know I have made a difference. We are not quite there yet, but we are getting there thanks to the hard work of creative marketers who now see cannabis as a viable career path. That’s why this recognition is so important.

Q: What does the AMA award mean to you? 

A: It is an incredible personal honor to be recognized by the American Marketing Association, but more importantly this award is validation of the work that MedMen does to change people’s perception about marijuana. Our marketing team works hard every day to be at the forefront of marijuana’s move to the mainstream, so this award will empower us to continue creating that next generation of businesses and consumers in this industry.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring marketing leaders? 

A: Challenge everything. Every impactful creative innovation starts with asking “Why not?” When I began creating the vision for MedMen, I asked myself, “Why can’t cannabis provide a premium consumer experience?” Do not accept the status quo; be an agent of change. Marketing is a creative endeavor and nothing creative has ever come from following the crowd.

Mona Dess



Executive Director

J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Q: What advice do you have for marketing students?

A: The exciting thing about coming into the industry now is the extraordinary amount of consumer data available to marketers. With so much information at your fingertips, there are almost endless opportunities to create unique marketing experiences for your customers. The role of a marketer is changing—as is the digital landscape. My advice is to embrace how quickly technology is evolving and use it to your advantage to stay relevant.  

Q: What does the AMA award mean to you?

A: I am honored to receive AMA’s 4 Under 40 Emerging Leader Award. Having spent the last decade focused on leveraging data and technology to create compelling, personalized marketing experiences, it is amazing to see one-to-one marketing becoming pervasive and for me to be recognized for being at the forefront of that trend. 

Q: What does the future of marketing look like? 

A: When I started my career in digital marketing I had a very small budget to work with and a tiny fraction of the overall marketing spend. Over time, digital has grown to become a very significant portion of the media budget for many brands. As a result, marketers should feel an increased sense of responsibility and ownership to quantify the value of their efforts to drive revenue for the business.

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Author Bio:
Hal Conick
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @HalConick.
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