The new faces of Pause Awards from agency and media innovation

25 July, 2023
The new faces of Pause Awards from agency and media innovation | News | Pause Awards
George Hedon, founder and CEO, Pause Fest & Awards
George Hedon
25 July, 2023

Discover industry leaders from top agencies and innovators in media growth. An inside look into their career accomplishments and anticipation for this year’s entries.

The Pause Awards ‘23, in partnership with VicGov, is open for entries until 1st September. The Standard Entry deadline is on Friday 18 Aug, at midnight AEST.

Anticipation is brewing for Pause Awards ‘23, a platform celebrating and recognising audacious innovation in the dynamic landscape of Australian businesses. This year, the award entries will be evaluated by two additional groups of experts in their respective fields, the ‘Top Agency Executives‘ and the ‘Media Growth & Innovation‘ tribe.

Let’s delve into the profiles of these visionaries who will be evaluating this year’s entries.

Lachie and Ben

First up, meet Lachie McKernan, the dynamic CEO of Huckleberry. A guide and mentor for some of Australia’s most influential brands such as Frank Green, Reece Group, Bunnings, and IGA, he believes deeply in the transformative power of creativity and innovation. Lachie, just like you, is excited to see what the world-changing potential of these awards will uncover.

Then we have Ben Flint, the Principal of the Supernormal Agency. Fluent in Mandarin and educated at Harvard in disruptive strategies, Ben’s global experience encompasses operations across the USA, Japan, China, and Australia, and his portfolio includes names like Red Bull, Boost Mobile, and Shopify. Ben sees the Pause Awards as a platform to foster boundary-pushing and informed risk-taking among Australian business leaders.

Fiona and Judy

In the midst of our line-up is Fiona Triaca, CEO & Founder of Naked Ambition. Fiona is a design-led innovation evangelist who is not just fostering growth of local and global brands, but is also exploring enterprise innovation and AI through her podcast. She’s thrilled to be part of championing Australia’s most ambitious companies.

Next is Judy Sahay, the founder and CEO of Crowd Media Group, a passionate influencer who has made a mark on the industry. A member of the Forbes Business Council and Australia’s Top 50 Influencer, she’s looking forward to engaging with the talented individuals that Pause Awards attract every year.

Emile and Veljko

Emile Rademeyer, the Executive Director of Creative Strategy at VANDAL, is another accomplished figure on our panel. Emile is known for bridging art, advertising, digital media, content, and culture, and has a rich experience as a speaker and judge at prominent industry events. He is passionate about innovative thinking and is honoured to judge the most ambitious and forward-thinking ideas at the Pause Awards.

Also joining our panel is Veljko Golubovic, an Executive Creative Director at New Moment. With numerous awards from major advertising festivals and a background in psychology, Veljko’s field of interest extends to the psychology of artificial intelligence. He’s thrilled to be at the verge of tomorrow, witnessing the creativity of the human mind in full bloom.

Chris and Sergio

Chris Jeffares, a partner at Safari, is another esteemed member of our panel. A two-time finalist in ‘Executive of the Year’, he’s led his agency to numerous accolades. With his unique ability to weave captivating narratives, Chris will be looking for the most compelling brand stories.

Our panel also includes Sergio Brodsky, an internationally experienced brand and foresight strategist from Landor & Fitch. A contributor to the Davos Agenda at the World Economic Forum and the author of “Foresight in Marketing and Marketing Research,” Sergio’s insights will be invaluable to those who can think ahead and strategize accordingly.

Melissa and Tori

Melissa Voderberg from Publicis Sapient is our resident expert in customer experience and innovation. An award-winning consultant, she’s excited to celebrate the best new start-ups that demonstrate innovative strategies to improve customer experience.

Representing the vibrant world of media is Tori Benzie from LinkedIn. Tori brings over 20 years of experience in Media and Technology to the table and looks forward to seeing the positive impact of the most innovative and creative ideas from across Australia.

Jocelin and Kate

We’re also pleased to introduce Jocelin Abbey, the Director of Growth at The Guardian in Australia and New Zealand. With nearly 20 years of experience, Jocelin works at the intersection of storytelling, creativity, and commerce, and is thrilled to be a part of rewarding organisations making a positive impact through innovation.

Also joining the panel is Kate Thompson, the Strategy & Innovation Director at Hardie Grant Media. With over 15 years’ experience in brand, marketing, and communications strategy, Kate is excited to witness the diverse thinking and creativity that Australian companies bring to the table.


Last but certainly not least, is Sarah Greenan from B&T. As Strategic Partnerships & Growth Manager, Sarah has a passion for recognising the exceptional work and ingenuity that drives progress for business and humanity. She sees the Pause Awards as an essential platform for acknowledging this creativity.

With this remarkable panel of judges, your submissions will be in the hands of the best in the business. We wish you the best of luck and look forward to celebrating the most ambitious minds in the industry!

Pause Awards ‘23

Pause Awards recognises the most ambitious and effective companies in Australia, powered by over 60 independent senior experts who set an industry benchmark for evaluation criteria annually. We take a more holistic approach to awards, by entering your breakthrough moment we measure how ambitious and effective your company is. And from this year, how investable you might be!

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Category tracks

The Culture track seeks entries that exemplify the development of an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, crucial for organisational success and growth. Submissions should illustrate transformative strategies implemented across core business functions, reflecting expertise, leadership, and a clear vision. These strategies should demonstrate a positive impact on the business, its employees, stakeholders, and customers, showcasing how a nurturing culture contributes to overall growth and innovation.

The Excellence track celebrates businesses that have demonstrated remarkable success and impact within their industry, regardless of their size. Entries for this category should illustrate how the business's strategic execution, guided by visionary leadership and exceptional expertise, has significantly influenced the industry. The focus will be on the tangible outcomes of these strategies, highlighting the company's ability to innovate, lead, and leave a lasting impression in its field.

The Good track is focused on recognising companies dedicated to their mission of creating a positive societal impact. Entries should highlight innovative solutions aimed at addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability, social equity, and community well-being. Successful submissions will demonstrate how their initiatives contribute to significant changes, tackling issues like gender inequality, social imbalance, and injustice, thereby setting a precedent for responsible and impactful business practices.

Awarded to a single entry in a category, Grand Prix is the top accolade in that category. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in that category.

The Growth track is about showcasing how businesses have enhanced productivity and execution to make a significant impact in their market. Entries should highlight innovative strategies that have optimised the customer journey, leading to increased engagement and commercial success. This track is for those who have effectively used their understanding of the market and customer needs to scale their business and achieve notable growth.

The Operators track seeks entries that showcase leadership in fostering innovation within their ecosystems. Ideal submissions will highlight how your initiatives have catalysed the creation of new products or services, bolstered by a culture that uplifts internal teams and the wider community. This track celebrates those who drive progress by empowering voices and forging transformative connections in their industry.


  • Always Evolving New

    Acknowledges a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a company, encourages employee development, and always looks for ways to optimise and innovate operations.

  • Big & Mighty Culture New

    Recognises companies (51-1000 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Diverse Co.

    Celebrates workplaces dedicated to fostering innovation through a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

  • Small & Mighty Culture New

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 50 employees for their remarkable ability to foster innovation and set new benchmarks in their domain.

  • Work Sweet Work

    Acknowledges companies that have achieved extraordinary employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, creating an exemplary workplace culture.

  • Company of the Year

    Honours an outstanding company that not only showcases exemplary leadership and resilience but also demonstrates a clear, quantifiable impact over the past year.

  • Customer Obsessed New

    Applauds prioritisation, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, including feedback, personalised services and ensuring high satisfaction.

  • Defiant Ones

    Recognises firms that lead technological innovation, setting new standards and defining the future of their industries.

  • Hammer

    Celebrates companies that have not only defined success on their own terms but have also concretely demonstrated their triumphs over the past year.

  • I Wish I'd Done That

    Applauds ingenious, simple solutions in niche markets that spark a universal sentiment of admiration.

  • On the Rise

    Celebrates early-stage startups, under 4 years, that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

    Recognises young visionaries under 30 with outstanding talents and achievements, setting them apart in their fields.

  • Singularity

    Highlights AI-driven companies that are pioneering new services or integrating AI to create innovative products.

  • Women in Business

    Celebrates female entrepreneurs and leaders who are forging paths for future generations by creating more equitable opportunities.

  • B-Good

    Recognises businesses that redefine commercial success by positively transforming our economic system for the benefit of all stakeholders.

  • Circular Pioneer

    Celebrates companies at the forefront of circular economy practices, making substantial and sustainable differences.

  • Ethical Leadership New

    Commends companies exemplifying leadership in environmental and social governance, setting standards in corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

  • Going Green

    Acknowledges companies leading large-scale sustainable initiatives, addressing critical areas like clean energy and environmental justice.

  • Collab New

    Honours strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses to leverage complementary strengths, access new markets, and share resources for synergistic growth and innovation.

  • Design First

    Celebrates companies where design is the heartbeat of innovation, engaging the whole team in crafting groundbreaking products.

  • Going Global New

    Applauds companies that have expanded their reach globally, showcasing exceptional growth and international success.

  • Great Pivot

    Acknowledges companies that adeptly navigate change, leveraging insights to pivot towards delivering outstanding products.

  • Movement

    Recognises unforgettable event experiences that resonate emotionally, drive social change, or achieve viral status.

  • New Model

    Honours businesses revolutionising markets with elegant and disruptive business models.

  • Next Level New

    Applauds companies which had successful strategic acquisition and integration of another entity, staff or an asset that allowed them to further grow and scale their services.

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, online and offline, setting new standards for success.

  • Angel

    Honours visionary angel investors who've significantly contributed to early-stage startups, guiding them toward success.

  • C-Suite

    Recognises exceptional leadership qualities in high-ranking executives, showcasing their management and interpersonal excellence.

  • Creative Maverick New

    Honours unconventional thinkers with exceptional abilities to execute typically unimaginable initiatives, expertly coordinate teams, secure funding or successfully launch multiple ventures.

  • Ecosystem Star

    Celebrates individuals who energise and nurture their communities, fostering engagement and advocacy.

  • Future Builder

    Recognises the determination and resilience of founders who've embarked on the challenging journey of starting their own ventures.

  • Quiet Achiever New

    Applauds the unsung heroes whose behind-the-scenes efforts have led to flawless project executions and exceeded expectations.

  • Splash Down Under New

    Acknowledges international companies making a noteworthy entrance into the Australian market, enriching the local business ecosystem.

  • TopCoder

    Recognises developers for their outstanding technical skills, clean code, and collaborative spirit.

  • Venture Cap

    Salutes venture capital firms with a track record of backing transformative businesses, contributing significantly to Australia's economic growth.

  • Visionary New

    Recognises effective leadership by setting a clear vision, motivating the team, and making strategic decisions that guide their business towards its goals.

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