More than ever before, advertising and marketing firms are pushing the limits to interact with audiences, using cutting edge and creative techniques. This industry will feature professionals who are champions for superb and increasingly customized customer experiences, both domestically and internationally, for digital agencies,
private corporations, and nonprofits. Learn how these alumni have made a mark in the marketing industry from a range of vantage points, including strategy, creative direction, and C-Suite leadership. If you have an interest in graphic design, data analytics, or psychology, this is the industry for you!
Alexandria Batdorf, AB'12
Co-Founder/CMO, ZipFit Denim
Ms. Batdorf graduated from the College in 2012 with a degree in sociology. While in the College, she was involved with Student Government, HYPE, MODA, and OBS. After graduating from the College, she worked in marketing for a CPG brand and did some freelance consulting. She is now Co-Founder and CMO of ZipFit Denim, an eCommerce company helping you find your best fitting designer clothing with free tailoring & shipping.
Brianne Caplan, AB'14
Analyst, Starcom Mediavest Group
Ms. Caplan graduated from the College in 2014 with a degree in Near Eastern languages and civilizations. While in the College, she was involved with Built at UChicago, Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity and Hillel internship programs. Outside of campus, she was the Marketing Manager at ClassroomIQ and an English Language Instructor at the Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem. After graduating from the College, Ms. Caplan joined Starcom Mediavest Group as a Digital Media Planner for the Kraft Heinz Company. She currently works jointly on the Data & Analytics team and the Engineering team. Her work focuses on database management, predictive modeling, data strategy and software development.
Noemi Garcia, AB'13
Strategist, We Are Unlimited
Ms. Garcia graduated from the College in 2013 with a degree in political science. She dedicated her time at UChicago to building a presence for students of color through organizations like MEChA and Lambda Theta Alpha. Since graduation, she's dabbled in just about every type of agency: from multicultural advertising - working on brands like American Family Insurance and the Illinois Lottery - to social and PR, helping Edelman's CPG clients navigate the new media environment. Most recently, she joined newly-founded creative agency, We Are Unlimited as a Narrative Strategist working on the McDonald's business. She currently lives in Chicago and remains active in the local Latino art community.
Carla Hendra, AB'77
Global Chairman, OgilvyRED, Ogilvy & Mather
Carla Hendra graduated from the College in 1977 with a degree in general studies in the humanities designed around history of the arts (fine art, music & theater). Following a post-graduate year at UCLA where she completed pre-medical studies, Ms. Hendra began her career in marketing services at three agencies, including Ogilvy & Mather, which she joined in 1996. Prior to OgilvyRED, she was CEO of Ogilvy North America from 2005-2010. In 2010, Ms. Hendra was named founding Global Chairman of OgilvyRED, the global strategy and innovation consultancy of Ogilvy. This unique strategic group offers growth, integration and innovation consulting to C-suite clients for global brands including IBM, BP, DuPont, Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Kimberly Clark. Ms. Hendra also serves on the Board of Caleres, a global footwear firm, and Edgewell Personal Care, a global consumer products company. She is married and a mother of three.
Jean-Michel Hoffman, AB'13
Sr. Creative Strategist, DigitasLBi
Mr. Hoffman graduated from the College in 2013 with a degree in political science. While in the College, he started a music discovery and artist management company called FindNewJams with fellow alumnus Cyrus Eslami and was involved in on-campus organizations Money Think and Delta Upsilon. Following graduation, he joined the global digital advertising firm DigitasLBi where he is now a Senior Creative Strategist in their San Francisco office. His work focuses on developing socially driven, digital and experiential projects for clients such as Sony PlayStation, Taco Bell, and eBay. He and his team have been recognized with numerous awards including Cannes Lions, Effies, and The One Show. Most recently he was named one of San Francisco's 32 Under 32 by AD2SF and the San Francisco Egotist.
Ken Kabira, AB'85, MBA'92
Chief Strategy Officer, Edlong Diary Technologies
Mr. Kabira graduated from the College with an AB in behavioral sciences in 1985 and an MBA from Booth in 1992. He was born and raised in Japan and moved to the US in 1979. His first work experience was as a nurse's aide at a psychiatric hospital in Kansas. After starting his business career at Inland Steel, he became a brand manager at the Kellogg Company in 1994. Since then he has held progressively larger roles managing world-class brands. He is one of the few executives who has served as a CMO in the for-profit (McDonald's Japan), non-profit (National-Louis University, Lions Clubs International), and the public sectors (Chicago Transit Authority). He is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at Edlong Dairy Technologies. He was active with the Univ. of Chicago Velo Club when he was a student and still rides in their jersey.
Alma Klein, AB'98
Creative Director, Arc / Leo Burnett
Ms. Klein is a creative director at Arc, the intelligent brand activation agency within Leo Burnett Group. During her 8 year tenure at the agency, she's lead creative on a number of P&G, KraftHeinz and MillerCoors brands. A passionate advocate for diversity and gender balance in the creative department, she serves as co-director of the Leo Burnett Employee Resource Group ParentKind and volunteers her expertise to local non-profits. Prior to joining Arc, she spent 8 years as a copywriter at the agency now known as Geometry Global. She received her bachelor's degree in general studies in the humanities, studying English as well as performing and fine arts.
Emily Laackman, AB'14
Senior Analyst, DigitasLBi
Ms. Laackman graduated from the College in 2014 with a degree in comparative human development. While at the College, she was involved with MAB, The Mark, and AOII. Following graduation, she began working at DigitasLBi, where she had previously interned, in the Strategy and Analysis capability. Her work focuses on the intersection of data-driven insights and human behavior, as it can be applied to marketing. She lives in Chicago and is active in the Chicago story-telling community.
Hewon Park, AB'15
Ms. Park graduated from the College in 2015 with a BA in international studies. During her college years, she took advantage of a myriad of internship opportunities with the Chilean Ministry of Finance, the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles advertising agency, Wongdoody, and Chicago advertising agency Young & Rubicam. After graduation, she joined DigitasLBi's Chicago office as an Analyst in the Strategy & Analysis capability for the TransUnion credit monitoring business. She focuses primarily on the Paid Search and Affiliate channels, identifying opportunities to improve performance through testing in order to increase ROI.
Prunil Patel, AB'11
Strategic Analytics Supervisor, FCB Chicago
A 2011 UChicago graduate, Mr. Patel received his AB in economics with a minor in south asian languages & civilizations. He has served as social chairman of Alpha Delta Phi, was active in CCIB, and co-directed the 24th annual SASA show. He joined FCB, a global agency with a flagship presence in Chicago, to champion quantitative creativity in advertising. As a Supervisor of Strategic Analytics, he helps brands pinpoint where behavior, technology, and culture intersect to drive bold, imaginative solutions in Brand and Direct Response advertising. Prunil's analyses span CRM, social video, owned and paid digital media, and shopper marketing in Pet Food, Telecommunications, and Pharmaceuticals. A proponent for the power of content, he has jumped head-first into an increasingly experience-driven marketplace and is committed to finding new ways to measure its impact.
Lakshmi Shenoy, AB'05, MBA'10 (Harvard Business School)
Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, 1983
Ms. Shenoy is the Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at 1871, Chicago's tech entrepreneurship hub. In addition to focusing on strategic growth initiatives at 1871, she works to help corporations and other organizations develop valuable relationships with the 1871 community. Prior to to 1871, she worked at Prophet Brand Strategy, Time Inc., Procter & Gamble and Leo Burnett. She graduated with a bachelors of arts in sociology from UChicago in 2005 and an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 2010. While at UChicago, she was the Chair of the Prospective Students Advisory Committee, Senior Class Gift Co-Chair and Founder of The Mark. She is a 2016 Recipient of Chicago Scholars' 35 Under 35 Award. She is also active on the Urban Alliance Advisory Committee and the Chicago Scholars Associate Board.
Deborah Solomon, AB'72, MA Psychology'73 (Duke)
Managing Partner, Media Research, MindShare
Ms. Solomon graduated with honors in Psychology from the College, where she was involved in FOTA and SVNA. After getting her MA at Duke, she worked in marketing and media research at Milton Bradley, Quaker Oats, Leo Burnett and JWT. Most recently, she was Managing Partner, Research Director at MindShare USA. Her work encompassed all media disciplines, global insights and all the agency's clients. She won a number of industry honors including AdWeek's Media Research All-Star and Esquire's Woman We Love in Advertising. A career highlight was when she met with the International Olympic Committee to advise them on the state of media in the future. She is married to an alum, lives in Chicago, enjoys silversmithing and continues to participate in the University through CWA and contributing to Odyssey Scholarships.
Katerina Steele, AB'03, MBA'16
Associate Director of Business Development, AbelsonTaylor
Ms. Steele graduated in 2003 from the College with a degree in music. She spent a post-collegiate year in the traditional manner (underemployed, studying for graduate school aptitude tests and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life) before ultimately finding her calling in advertising. She joined AbelsonTaylor, a Chicago-based advertising agency with a specialty in the healthcare industry, where she has worked previously as an account executive and now leverages her Core-honed critical thinking skills as the associate director of business development and analysis. She recently completed her MBA at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, with concentrations in Statistics and Analytics Management.
Sara Wolfson, AB'98
Producer, Daily Planet Productions, Ltd.
Ms. Wolfson graduated from the College in 1998. She started her illustrious career as a cocktail waitress, then worked at a small real estate appraisal company, before spending some time doing short form improvisational comedy at Navy Pier. She worked on new business at tiny advertising agency, switched gears to the College Programming Office at U of C, before eventually moving to DDB, where she was a creative assistant before becoming a production business manager. After 8 years with DDB, she moved to the same role at agency element79, then later to Leo Burnett, then Cramer-Krasselt. After nearly a decade and a half on the agency side, she became a producer at production/post-production company Daily Planet (note bene: Clark Kent does not work here). Sara enjoys referring to herself in the third person and has two cats.