2019 AWARD School Heads announced


2019 AWARD School Heads announced

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

2019 New Award School HeadsAWARD School is pleased to announce Josie Burns as the new National School Head for 2019, including two new appointments across Victoria and Western Australia.

Host/Havas Sydney’s Associate Creative Director Josie Burns has been appointed as 2019 National/NSW AWARD School Head, alongside Leo Burnett’s Karen Ferry, who has in been in the role since August 2017. Josie 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.”

Commenting on Josie’s national appointment, Spirkovski said: “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 CD role with Host/Havas in 2017. In 2010, she was recognised as Queensland’s AWARD School Top Student. More recently, Josie 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,” Josie said. “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.”

Joining her from the Melbourne post is Jess Wheeler, who is behind some of Fenton Stephens’ most internationally recognised work. Previously a student, judge and tutor of AWARD School, he was recognised as the ‘Top Tutor’ in 2018 after five of his students finished in the top ten.

Commenting on his new role, Jess said: “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.”

While attending AWARD School in 2004, Rikki Burns was poached by The Brand Agency, where she stayed for seven years. With the digital tsunami looming, Rikki shifted gears to digital-first agency, Longtail, as Head of Art, before moving into her current role at Meerkats in 2016.

Rikki said: “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.”


Karen Ferry, Senior Copywriter, Leo Burnett Sydney
Josie Burns, Associate Creative Director, Host/Havas Sydney (newly appointed School Head)

Sarah McGregor, Creative Director, Cummins&Partners
Jess Wheeler, Associate Creative Director & Partner, Fenton Stephens (newly appointed School Head)

Rikki Burns, Associate Creative Director, Meerkats (newly appointed School Head)

Benjamin Davis, Executive Creative Director, McCann Queensland

Nick Brz, Creative Director, NATION Creative

In thanking outgoing national school head Brendan Willenberg, Spirkovski said: “Brendan 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. To book visit https://awardonline.com/education/award-school-application-workshop.

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 pop.

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