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Advisory Board

Peter-Merholz1Peter Merholz, Vice President Global Design at Groupon, San Francisco (USA) 

I am a user experience and design executive with 20 years experience across a broad range of digital media. 

And I’m looking to figure out what’s next. I’m one of the few people on LinkedIn who won’t be annoyed by recruiter emails.

In 2001, I co-founded Adaptive Path, perhaps the world’s premier firm dedicated to user experience. I’ve been instrumental in its growth from a small boutique firm to an international consultancy, with offices in San Francisco, Austin, and Amsterdam. 

More recently, I lead the global design team at Groupon, including product/UX, marketing, and brand design. I grew the team from 30 to 60, and was instrumental in the first redesign of Groupon.com since the company launched.

I am passionate about the potential of design’s impact, for making the world a better place by improving people’s lives. Even as an executive, I’ve kept my hand in as a user experience practitioner, most recently with a focus on strategy, research, and conceptual design. For over 10 years I’ve been a dedicated thinker, writer, and public speaker about user experience. 

In 1999, I coined the word “blog.” Really. In the OED and everything.

Specialties: user experience, interaction design, information architecture, design research, product strategy, practice development, service design, organizational operations for design, recruiting and hiring, design vision and leadership.

Michael-Stopford1Michael Stopford, EVP at Weber Shandwick, Global Corporate Strategy Washington D.C. Metro Area (USA), Public Relations and Communications

Global corporate strategist for Weber Shandwick. Focus on international strategic communications, global public affairs, crisis communications and issues management, stakeholder engagement, partnerships and multi-sectoral CSR as core platforms for sustaining and enhancing corporate reputation and corporate brand. Clients include leaders in private sector (major multinationals), global public sector and international higher education.

Lead company’s global higher education practice. Currently teaching MA International Communications at Milan’s IULM: University of Languages and the Sciences of Communication. Previously Adjunct Professorships at Georgetown School of Foreign Service; American University School of International Service; Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Sergei-Mitrofanov1Sergei Mitrofánov, Founder at Mitrofanov & Partners, Moscow (Russia)

First Media Owner in Russia with assets inside social networks. 

We develop and implement sophisticated integrated advertising campaigns for our clients across all social media channels and platforms – from social apps and gamification, to online community management and user engagement strategies. Our clients have access to the best tools to implement social media companies and promote their brand.

We believe that social media goes beyond being just an aspect of the Internet; it’s more than software, more than just a platform for below the line and above the line advertising, and more than only a PR tool; Social media is the catalyst behind all of our marketing tools and underpins our strategy, focus, and creativity.

We are lucky to have the unique opportunity to not only witness the change in today’s media space, but we are also the ones who create it – and that gives us the drive and passion to help our clients keep pace with ever changing technologies while meeting their customers’ needs.

Yacoff-Serkovas1Yacoff Sarkovas, CEO Edelman Significa, Sao Paulo (Brazil)

Communications in this new world begins with the company’s purpose – its reason for being – and its values. These elements define the gravitational field of a brand, attracting people through identification and keeping them in orbit through reason and emotion. A brand becomes relevant to its stakeholders when it shares aspirations, opinions, styles and causes. The brand is strengthened and minimizes risk when it is genuine, true, fair and proactive. Relevance and transparency, therefore, is what gives substance to communications.

The means by which brands transmit their messages has also expanded. The reign of traditional media is over. Today, every medium can be considered strategic for establishing dialogues: blogs, social media, search engines, the companies’ own channels: All companies are also media companies.

Public relations is the discipline that best responds to all of these changes, because in its nature lies consideration for the views and interests of others. Its historical focus is the conversation and the sharing of value, established in complex and fragmented environments.

Simple brand exposure, paid or unpaid, endorsed by quantitative metrics is no longer enough to ensure a brand’s survival in the new market. Nowadays, brand purpose is as critical to the business as is strategic management of its relationships.

Marc-Finsterlin1Marc Finsterlin, Chairman at Aquarius Digital Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. Hong Kong, Marketing and Advertising (China)

Marc Finsterlin is a postgraduate from Global MBA University of Maryland (USA/China), Lorange Institute of Business (Switzerland) and Fudan University (China).

Marc W. Finsterlin is the Managing Director of Aquarius Asia. He is based in Hong Kong.

He looks back on consulting experience in the field of corporate strategy and global marketing in China, and in the US at O’Brian Cox. Before that he was Marketing Manager (Group Marketing) at Allianz on a global engagement and worked for several multimedia agencies.

Mr. Marc Finsterlin, Managing Director of Aquarius Asia, a German company with a regional office in Hong Kong, will also share with the audience his experience regarding present opportunities which Hong Kong renders possible in these fields.

Tobias-Sievers1Prof. Tobias Sievers, Creative Director at Luxoom / Associate Professor for Digital Media Design at Shanghai Institute of Design, CAA (China)

henesUlrich Henes, Brand2Global, Specialist in international business and localization, Madison/Wisconsin (USA)

Ulrich Henes is the founder and president of the Localization Institute, a Madison, Wisconsin, based consulting and event organizing company. Already in his early years, Ulrich was fascinated by language, cultural differences, and global business.

He spent the first decade of his career organizing international campaigns against the arms race, apartheid and promoting social justice. For the past 25 years Ulrich has channeled his passion for all things global into promoting awareness and respect for differences among people, countries, and languages in the international business community.

sasserathMarc Sasserath, Sasserath Munzinger Plus, Markenberatung und Markenentwicklung, Berlin (Germany)

Founding partner of Sasserath Munzinger Plus as well as the brand holding company Supermarque.
CEO and Managing Partner of Publicis Sasserath and CSO of Publicis Deutschland from 2001-2007. Prior to this, Chief of Strategy at McCann and BBDO. Career launched at Saatchi & Saatchi after being shaped in a family firm.
Study of economics and humanities in Germany, France, and the UK. Diploma in Business Administration, DipCCC HEC & INSEAD, Master’s in Clinical Organizational Psychology (HEC). Advisory Board member of gut.org and betterplace.org. Board of Directors at Vocatus AG, founding chair of apgd, and proud supporter of the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance.

bremerUlrich Bremer, Member of the Managing Board at IUBH School of Business and Management, Cologne (Germany)

Thorsten-Oltmanns2Prof. Dr. Torsten Oltmanns, Partner & Global Marketing Director, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Holding GmbH, Berlin and London (Germany/Great Britain) 

Torsten Oltmanns studied Economics at the University of Cologne (Germany). He underwent training as a journalist on economics and politics. With a thesis on journalism, he obtained his diploma from the University of Cologne in 1993.[1][2] He published several articles touching on economic themes.

He held positions at McKinsey, the executive board of Booz Allen Hamilton and the administrative staff of the German Federal Ministry of Defense,where he oversaw the implementation of budget controlling.Since 2004, he has acted as the Global Marketing Director of Roland Berger Strategy, working from its offices in Berlin (Germany), London (England) and Zurich (Switzerland).From June 1 until December 31, 2011 Oltmanns headed the communication of the conglomerate Haniel as an interim manager. Oltmanns returned to Roland Berger in January 2012.

Since 2004, Oltmanns has been the editor of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants’ think:act brand, which appears in various formats and which recently received the “Best in Corporate Publishing” award from the International Corporate Media Awards

Torsten Oltmanns is an Assistant Professor for Executive Communications at the University of Innsbruck (Austria)and a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford at the Oxford University Centre for Corporate Reputation, a part of the Saïd Business School.Since 2014 Torsten Oltmanns is Professor & Founding Dean of the Department of Management and Economics at the Quadriga Hochschule Berlin.

As a member of the delegation of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a Strategic Partner of the World Economic Forum, Oltmanns has participated in the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. His commentary and impressions of the world’s most important economic summit were published in his blog Bulletin from Davos.

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