Host/Havas Sydney associate creative director, Josie Burns, has become the AWARD School national & NSW co-head for 2019, alongside Leo Burnett senior copywriter, Karen Ferry, who has been in the role since August 2017. Burns succeeds Clemenger BBDO’s Brendan Willenberg as national and NSW school co-head.
Jess Wheeler, associate creative director & partner at Fenton Stephens has been appointed Victoria School Head. Rikki Burns, associate creative director at Meerkats has been appointed Western Australia School Head.
AWARD Chair, Mike Spirkovski, commented, “We’re thrilled to welcome Josie, Jess and Rikki as our newest school heads – their experience, leadership qualities and commitment to AWARD School are all factors that made them the perfect candidates for the position.
“Josie has demonstrated her long-standing dedication to AWARD School, and has an in-depth understanding of our values, which is really the icing on the cake. That is why we are also excited to welcome her to the AWARD Committee.”
Josie Burns started her advertising career in Canberra as a copywriter and radio producer, and was promoted to the associate creative director role with Host/Havas in 2017. In 2010, she was recognised as Queensland’s AWARD School Top Student. More recently, she has been involved with AWARD School as a tutor and judge, and in 2018, she was appointed as an AWARD committee member.
“The AWARD School community was incredibly supportive of me when I entered the industry from a different career seven years ago,” Burns commented. “Now I feel just as lucky to be helping make others feel as welcome as I did, and playing a part in bringing new, diverse thinking into advertising.”
Wheeler, previously a student, judge and tutor of AWARD School, is behind some of Fenton Stephens’ most internationally recognised work. In 2018, he was recognised as the Top Tutor, after five of his students finished in the top ten.
He stated, “An eternal misfit up until that point, AWARD School is where I finally discovered what I wanted to do in terms of a career and so it will always hold a special place. I loved every (somewhat torturous) minute of it and was lucky enough to have some incredibly supportive tutors. I’m super excited to now have the chance to be co-head of such an important institution as AWARD School.”
Rikki Burns was poached by The Brand Agency while attending AWARD School in 2004. She stayed for seven years, then with the digital tsunami looming, she shifted gears to digital-first agency, Longtail, as head of art, before moving into her current role at Meerkats in 2016.
Rikki Burns commented, “After two years of tutoring AWARD School students, I feel privileged to step into the WA School Head role. WA never disappoints in the talent department, so I’m excited to see what we’re working with, and to help this new generation of creatives get off to the best start.”
The AWARD School state heads for 2019 are:
National / NSW School Heads
Karen Ferry, Senior Copywriter, Leo Burnett Sydney
Josie Burns, Associate Creative Director, Host/Havas Sydney (newly appointed School Head)
VIC School Heads
Sarah McGregor, Creative Director, Cummins&Partners
Jess Wheeler, Associate Creative Director & Partner, Fenton Stephens (newly appointed School Head)
WA School Head
Rikki Burns, Associate Creative Director, Meerkats (newly appointed School Head)
QLD School Head
Benjamin Davis, Executive Creative Director, McCann Queensland
SA School Head
Nick Brz, Creative Director, NATION Creative
l-r top: Karen Ferry, Josie Burns, Sarah McGregor, Jess Wheeler. l-r bottom: Rikki Burns, Benjamin Davis, Nick Brz
Spirkovski added, “Brendan [Willenburg] was a true champion of diversity inclusion and made a lasting contribution to AWARD School through a number of initiatives since his appointment in November 2016.
“During his appointment, AWARD School introduced the Tutor of the Year Award, the AWARD School mentoring program and signed on Facebook as its newest sponsoring partner. And we have a lot more in store for 2019.”
Registrations for the AWARD School Application Workshop are now open here. The one-day workshop, running in Sydney and Melbourne (25 Nov) and in Perth (23 Nov) consists of 4 modules, including practice briefs and insider tips on how to make your 2019 application grab attention.