Winner: Sam Ford, Peppercomm
As the Director of Audience Engagement at Peppercomm, an award-winning strategic communications/marketing firm, Sam Ford helps clients think about how to better tell stories that matter to the publics they seek to reach, and also helps companies better listen to, empathize with, and engage their audiences. As such, Ford is no stranger when it comes to being honored for his work—he was named the 2014 Social Media MVP by PR News and 2011 Social Media Innovator by Bulldog Reporter.
Ford exemplifies thought leadership in the areas of digital strategy/communications. He advocates for the importance of these issues and the consideration of ethics in marketing/communications via his writing for Inc., PR News, etc. He's also co-chair of WOMMA’s Ethics Committee, and was instrumental in helping them issue new disclosure guidelines.
Ford serves as Research Affiliate-MIT Program in Comparative Media Studies/Writing; teaches Western Kentucky University’s Popular Culture Studies Program; is the Chair-elect of the WKU Communication Department Advisory Council; and is a member of the Professional Advisory Council for WKU’s Ad+PR Program.
Ford has helped lead research and improvement of digital footprints for corporate leaders at various Peppercomm clients. He also helped manage social media strategy for EY’s Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs last November.
• Andrew Bowins, MasterCard
• Mitzi Emrich, MWW
• Ian Cohen, Weber Shandwick