ADCOLOR® Announces Winners For The 9th Annual ADCOLOR Awards In New York City

Evening Hosted by Janet Mock; MC Lyte, Brian Ellner, Bethann Hardison and More Honored

For the first time in New York City, ADCOLOR® celebrated a collection of the best and brightest in the advertising, marketing, PR, media and entertainment industries at the annual ADCOLOR® Awards ceremony September 19th, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers.



ADCOLOR® is a not-for-profit 501(c) (6) organization whose mission is to celebrate and champion diversity in the advertising, marketing, media, PR and entertainment industries. ADCOLOR champions diversity and inclusion in the creative industries. Theirr process is twofold. First, it help individuals and organizations RISE UP, letting their accomplishments and ideas shine. Then it teach these new leaders and would-be-mentors how to REACH BACK and find others who deserve to be noticed and promoted. The ultimate goal is to create a community of diverse professionals who is there to support and celebrate one another.

The Awards ceremony is a part of the 9th Annual ADCOLOR Industry Conference and Awards, held September 16 -19 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers and is the premier diversity gathering for professionals at all levels. This year’s ADCOLOR theme was MOVE, a call to action for people to act now, to do something, to make a difference, to move away from old mindsets, to move out of their comfort zones and get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

The event, hosted by Janet Mock, was filled with exciting moments from the evening’s honorees, including legendary lyricist and entertainer MC Lyte, Brim+Brew Founder and Creative Director Maurice Marable, Edelman Executive Vice President and Group Head for Public Affairs Brian Ellner, NBC Chief Marketing Officer Pam El and many more. Awards were presented throughout the night by entertainment industry elite, including Aisha Tyler, Jay Manuel, Baratunde Thurston and Laz Alonso.

Janet Mock is the New York Times best-selling author of Redefining Realness and the host of MSNBC’s “So POPular!,” a weekly series about popular culture, politics, identity and representation. She also serves as Contributing Editor for Marie Claire – the magazine where she first stepped forward publicly as a young trans woman. Her writing, work and media advocacy has been recognized by the Ms. Foundation, Planned Parenthood, ADCOLOR, TIME, which dubbed her “one of the 30 most influential people on the internet,” and Fast Company which named her “one of the most creative people in business.” Hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, Janet lives and writes in New York City.

Each year, the ADCOLOR® Award nominees and honorees are selected based on criteria surrounding ADCOLOR’s motto “Rise Up and Reach Back”. Those recognized work not only to go above and beyond in their own careers, but also go out of their way to help others and make an impact on their peers. Eleven awards were distributed throughout the night. The full list of this year’s winners is as follows:

Rock Star is someone who, whether through their primary role or extracurricular activities, stands out as a leader and visionary in the industry.
WINNER: Ingrid Otero Smart, President/CEO, Casanova Pendrill

New to this year’s event, the Ad of the Year awards a campaign or single execution that pushes boundaries, promotes conversation and highlights the lives of multicultural, LGBT and/or other under-represented Americans in the mass media.
WINNER: “Love Has No Labels” | CLIENT: The Ad Council | AGENCY: R/GA

A Rising Star is an up-and-coming young gun with less than seven years of experience. A Rising Star is someone who stands out among their peers as someone who is raising the bar of excellence as they move forward in their career.
WINNER: Justin Adu, Creative Lead, Open Channels Group PR

Established in 2007, an Innovator is an employee who embodies progress and imagination.  Someone who stands out among peers as a game changer and pioneer in their role, creating breakthrough developments and/or improvements, whether tangible or intangible.
WINNER: Julie Ann Crommett, CS Education in Media Program Manager, Google

A Change Agent is the individual within a company who is using their talents and position to enhance the corporate culture and create a more inclusive environment.  This can be part of or beyond the scope of that person’s primary role.
WINNER: Kat Gordon, Founder, 3% Conference

A Legend is a seasoned industry veteran, a trailblazer who pushed the boundaries and created positive change, who wasn’t afraid to be different and who showed brilliance in his/her actions, setting the stage for other generations to take the opportunities made by this legend, even further.
Pam El, Chief Marketing Officer, NBA
Luis Miguel Messianu, President and Chief Creative Officer, Alma DDB

This award is presented to two people/companies that work together to provide exceptional and highly effective diversity solutions within their organizations and industries. They may be an agency, marketer, media company or diverse supplier with NMSDC or WBENC certification that teams up for a short or long-term project that furthers diversity and inclusion.
WINNER: Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies + Target 10

The One Club|ADCOLOR Creative Award recipients are creative professional of multicultural background who have demonstrated noteworthy talent and achievement within the media, creative, digital and traditional advertising disciplines. These recipients are chosen by The One Club and will be announced at ADCOLOR Live!
Alberto Ponte, Global Creative Director, Wieden + Kennedy
R. Vann Graves, President/Chief Creative Officer, Fancy Rhino

The Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are inductees of the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame. Their inspiring stories of professional and personal success exemplify Rising Up and Reaching Back. Recipients will be announced at ADCOLOR Live!
Catherine L. Hughes, Founder and Chairperson, Radio One, Inc. (2015 AAF Advertising Hall of Fame Inductee)
Bethann Hardison – Model, Founder of Bethann Management Co. Inc., Producer & Fashion Advocate

This is presented to an individual who uses his or her platform to serve as the voice of a cause or community – educating and inspiring current and future generations of advertising, marketing, media, PR and entertainment professionals.  Each one’s provocative courage, professional brilliance and selfless community outreach have sparked change and propelled progress within their respective industries and the world.  The Catalysts are chosen by the ADCOLOR Board of Directors and recipients will be announced at ADCOLOR Live!
MC Lyte, legendary lyricist, DJ, actress, entertainer and icon
Maurice Marable, Founder and Creative Director, Brim+Brew
Legendary lyricist, DJ, voice over talent, actress, entertainer and icon,
MC Lyte is still making the crowds move across the globe. MC Lyte first appeared on the scene in 1988 with her debut album Lyte As A Rock. At the tender age of 17 she began schooling other MCs in the art of rhyme, and since that time she has proven that greatness always prevails with a total of ten albums (9 plus a “GREATEST HITS”) to her credit. Lyte is the FIRST rap artist ever to perform at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall and the FIRST female rapper to ever receive a gold single. Lyte is still a much sought-after concert act. You can find her performing throughout the year. She recently returned from a very successful nationwide tour with The Roots. Lyte is the founder of the Hip Hop Sisters Network which promotes positive images of women of ethnic diversity, bringing leaders together from the world of Hip Hop, the entertainment industry, and the corporate world.

Maurice Marable is a creative force to be reckoned with. As a filmmaker, he has moved seamlessly between Feature Documentaries, Episodic Television, Commercials and On-Air Promotional Campaigns. Maurice’s television tenure began as a freelance production manager in HBO’s Creative Services, eventually becoming the creative director of on-air promos for original programming. Eventually leaving HBO, he returned to helm numerous memorable on-air campaigns for the network including promos for “Boardwalk Empire”, “Six Feet Under”, “True Blood” and “Big Love”.

The Season 2 promo for the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” received 3 gold awards at the 2012 PROMAX. Marable was also the V.P. of Creative Services at BET Networks where he helped navigate the rebranding of the network as it transitioned to original scripted programming. In 2012, he was recognized by EBONY magazine as one of the Top 100 most influential African Americans. In 2014 he was featured on as he launched his newest venture Brim+Brew, a creative production shop.

ADVOCATE Award Presented by GLAAD
An Advocate is an LGBT advertising, marketing or media professional who increases awareness of LGBT causes within and outside of the communications industry.  The Advocate recipient is chosen by GLAAD and the ADCOLOR Board of Directors and recipients will be announced at ADCOLOR Live!
Brian Ellner, Executive Vice President and Group Head for Public Affairs, Edelman
Brian Ellner is a leader and innovator in the interconnected worlds of politics, government, media and communications. He is the newly named Executive Vice President and Group Head for Public Affairs at Edelman in New York. Brian was the senior strategist for the Human Rights Campaign’s successful effort to win marriage equality in New York in 2011. In that role, he launched New Yorkers for Marriage Equality, a communications campaign featuring iconic New Yorkers — from Julianne Moore, Anna Wintour and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Barbara Bush and Russell Simmons — expressing support for equal marriage rights. Brian created HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign and provided strategic counsel on the marriage wins in Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington. He also co-founded the Four 2012, a national social media effort to support the four marriage campaigns. Brian is an attorney and practiced with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison and O’Melveny & Myers LLP and is a recipient of LGBT Bar Association’s 2014 Community Vision Award.

For more information about this year’s Awards and ADCOLOR’s events throughout the year, visit

Presenting Sponsors for the Awards were GSD&M and the Omnicom Group. Other sponsors included
ADWEEK, Diageo, APPLE, DAS Group of Companies, Google, St. John & Partners, Wieden+Kennedy, BET Networks, BBDO Worldwide, BING, DDB Worldwide, Deutsch Inc., Digitas LBi, Facebook, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Edelman, TBWA\, APPLE Music, Ogilvy & Mather, OmnicomMediaGroup, One Solution, PepsiCo, Publicis Groupe, Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Twitter, Pam El, Verizon and Interpublic Group

Corporate & Coalition Members are The American Advertising Federation, The Advertising Club of NY, 4A’s , GLAAD, GTM, The One Club, StickyDocs

Preferred Partners includes Adrianne Lipscomb Graphic Design, Akande Music, DDB Studio 8, EG+ Worldwide, Enhance a Colour, Inc., GSD&M, Margarita Corporan Photography, SLATE PR, STAMP Event Management, So We Gather Productions (SWEG), St. John & Partners, The STUDIO NYC, and TAG | THE ANSAH GROUP