New York Festivals created the Torch Awards as part of our commitment to the development and promotion of the next generation of creative talent. We’ve harnessed the power, knowledge, and experience of our World’s Best Advertising™ Executive Jury to not only promote the mission of Road Recovery, an important non-profit organization, but also to help young creatives learn one of the most difficult exercises in the advertising industry: the pitch.

Before the Finalist teams pitch their ideas to the jury panel and representatives from Road Recovery, they’ll have the unparalleled opportunity to hone their presentation with an intensive work session with their mentor, a member of the Executive Jury and an industry super star, someone respected worldwide as a leader, as a creative with great ideas and talent. It’s a lesson that will most certainly have long-reaching effects on a young creative’s career.

The 2014 Torch Awards:
Pitch Challenge Mentors

Bridget Jung

Chief Creative Officer Paris & Regional Creative Director for Europe West
Paris, France

Bridget Jung is Chief Creative Officer at DIGITASLBi Paris across all clients including Nissan, Evian, Hennessy, Wonderbra, and most recently Hermès. As regional creative director for Europe West, Bridget drives creative in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

She is Australian but has called Paris home since 2001. She graduated from Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor in Visual Design.  Bridget started at Wunderman, Sydney when it was all about CD-roms and banner ads. Moved to Euro RSCG, London when it was all about microsites and flash. Then OgilvyOne, Paris as Creative Director when it was all about Apps and Social. Today at DIGITASLBi Paris, Bridget is excited about a new type of digital storytelling that harnesses technology to create engaging experiences between brands and their audiences.

Bridget is a member of Creative Social and an editor at Adverblog. She enjoys red wine, cocktails and rugby but not in that order.  Jury Nominations

2013 Cannes Lions / Cyber Jury
2013 Connections & Nowness / Film Jury
2012 Art Directors Club New York / Interactive Jury
2011 Cristal Festival / Cyber Jury
2011 Art Directors Club Paris / Digital Jury
2010 iAB Mixx Moscou / Digital Jury

Chris Kyme

Chief Executive Officer
Kymechow Communications
Hong Kong

Chris started life as a copywriter with FCB London in the early 1980s (true to popular advertising legend, his career actually began in the mailroom). His early years were spent cutting his teeth on TV commercials, and poster and press advertising for clients like The Daily Mail, Cadbury's, Dulux Paints, London Transport, British Airways and Heinz Foods.

In 1987, he accepted an offer to come and work in Hong Kong with Leo Burnett, where during his first year he created an acclaimed TV campaign for property developer Hong Kong Land which won ‘Best TV Campaign for Asia’ at the Media and Marketing Awards. Thus marking his arrival on the scene.

He then joined Grey Hong Kong where he became Executive Creative Director, creating some of Hong Kong's best known TV campaigns during the first half of the 1990s, helping build Grey’s creative reputation locally, as well as serving as Chairman of the Hong Kong 4As Awards several times.

In 1997 he joined FCB Asia, and was soon posted to Singapore to help drive the newly formed office for FCB there. As FCB began to make its mark in award shows, Chris was appointed regional creative director for Asia, and was made a member of the worldwide creative board. He was also voted Singapore Ad Man of the Year in 2001, thanks to his efforts helping set up creative workshops for young people.

In 2002 he returned to Hong Kong for personal reasons, and after a brief spell twiddling his thumbs, joined Eight Partnership as a managing partner and Creative Director. During a 5 year spell, he helped develop Eight from being a relatively unknown small company into an award-winning brand communications agency with offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. Eight’s ‘MC Farmer’ viral film for Nokia was one of the most talked-about pieces of work to emerge from China in recent years.

In 2010, Chris set up Kymechow, his own creative services agency in Hong Kong. With life in the old dog yet, Kymechow picked up a Gold and 4 Silvers for one of its regional Sun Life Financial short films at the 2012 Hong Kong 4As Creative Awards.

Chris is an active speaker and presenter at industry events in Asia, and a part-time Associate Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University where he helps train students looking to get into the industry. He has also been working on a book which charts the creative history of Hong Kong advertising.

Gaston Legorburu

Worldwide Chief Creative Officer

Gaston Legorburu sets the strategic and creative vision for SapientNitro and its integrated marketing, brand communications and commerce services. He has a passion for bringing organizing ideas and connected thinking to the table and has been instrumental in expanding SapientNitro’s capabilities beyond digital and landing several AOR relationships.

Recognized by Adweek 50 and TED as a game-changer who is modeling the agency of the future, Legorburu has constantly challenged the advertising industry since co-founding Planning Group International (PGI), now the core of Sapient's Miami presence. Three years later, he turned industry heads when Sapient became the first interactive agency to acquire an above-the-line shop, Nitro Group, best known for its award-winning “Best Job in the World” campaign.

Legorburu has been a driving force in the constant evolution of SapientNitro into a new breed of storyteller for an always-on world. His unique storyscaping approach and Idea Engineering framework mixes multi-disciplinary teams of strategists, creatives, and technologists to shape brand storytelling through experiences that interweave physical and virtual spaces, and deepen consumer connections.

In the company's constant quest to find new ways for brands and consumers to connect, SapientNitro has grown into the largest independent agency worldwide and racked up fourteen Cannes Lions for its signature look of "advertising as experiences."

Throughout his career, Legorburu has helped clients gain unparalleled insights into effectively marketing their products and services in today’s increasingly complex marketplace. He continues to provide clients like Citi, Coca-Cola, ESPN, VISIT Florida, Chrysler, among others with innovative solutions to critical business challenges.

Widely recognized as a thought leader, Legorburu is frequently quoted in publications such as Advertising Age, Adweek, Bloomberg, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal, and is a member of TED. He is a sought after speaker who has presented at notable industry conferences including Cannes Creativity Festival, Digital Brands, Ad:Tech, OMMA Global, and SHOOT.

Gaston is the recipient of numerous awards across the creative and advertising industry and has served as a judge for several prestigious award shows including: D&AD, Cannes Festival of Creativity Mobile Lions and the Webby’s. He is also an active member of the Webby’s International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

He currently works in SapientNitro’s Miami office.

KV Sridhar

CCO India Sub Continent
Leo Burnett

From humble beginnings as a bollywood film billboard painter to the Chief Creative Officer India Sub Continent of Leo Burnett , Pops has seen it all and today is widely respected as a creative leader in Indian Advertising. Pops has not just won more than a bounty of International metals including 22 Cannes lions and a Grand Global at NYF, over 230 international recognitions and over 500 Indian awards. He is known for his vision and understanding of where brands and brand communications are going.

Under his creative leadership, Leo Burnett India went on to win agency of the year in the Leo Burnett global network, twice. Pops, as he is popularly known, is credited with the emergence of Leo Burnett as a creative powerhouse in India. Creativity magazine ranks Leo Burnett India among top 20 creative agencies in the world. Pops has been on many Indian & International award juries. Back in 2006-07 he was nominated for the ‘Teacher’s Achievement Awards’. In 2008, he was recognized by the United Nations for his contributions made against Gender bias in Media & Advertising. In July 2009, Pops was honoured with the New York Festivals Creative Achievement Award and in November of 2010 he was cited with the 2010 creative of the year (Indian Subcontinent) award by Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Agency of the Year awards.

Debbi Vandeven

Global Chief Creative Officer
United States

Debbi Vandeven is the global chief creative officer at VML, a leading digital marketing agency. Throughout her career at VML, Debbi has continually fostered a collaborative creative environment that delivers innovative solutions to clients around the world.

Debbi’s creative philosophy is to always focus on the idea not just a specific channel and encourages teams to approach any project from this perspective.

Since joining VML in 2000, she has led creative engagements for global brands such as Carlson Hotels, Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, Gatorade, Kellogg’s, Revlon, Southwest Airlines, U.S. Bank, Wendy’s and Xerox.

Her creative leadership has enabled VML to become one of the top global digital agencies with 20 offices on six continents and 1,500 employees worldwide.

She has served on several international award juries, including for Art Directors Club and New York Festivals. This past fall, she served as the first international digital jury chair for the Loerie Awards during Cape Town’s Creative Week.

VML’s creative teams have earned recognition from top international shows, including Cannes Lions, London International Awards, ANDY Awards, Art Directors Club, CLIO, New York Festivals, Webby Awards, One Show, IAB MIXX, OMMA and Effie Awards, among others.

Recent achievements include being named a Standout Shop by Advertising Age in 2012 and awarded with seven Lions at Cannes in the same year. Additionally, VML received a shortlist in the Innovation Lions in 2013 for Guide Dots, an app to help the visually impaired navigate public spaces.

Debbi is a strong supporter of initiatives advancing women in creative leadership and mentoring talent to help women develop the interpersonal skills it takes to succeed in today’s industry.


Finalist Teams will pitch their ideas and creative to a jury panel including representatives from Road Recovery and members of the 2014 New York Festivals World’s Best Advertising™ Executive Jury.

The panel will evaluate each Finalist Team based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to and understanding of the Road Recovery brand and mission
  • A clear demonstration of campaign goals and strategy
  • Adherence to the brief, including scope and budgets
  • Creative idea

Additional considerations for their presentation performance will be made to determine the Grand Winning Team.

The 2014 Torch Awards: Jury Panel

Rodger Beekman

Chief Creative Officer
Havas Worldwide

Started in advertising in 1989 at Saatchi & Saatchi.  Followed by Y&R, McCann and BSUR. Then I took a year off to travel the world. Alone. Back in 2000. Went to DDB. Became CD at TBWA, BBDO and BSUR. Then in 2007 I founded 60 layers of cake, my own agency. We opened offices in Amsterdam and Capetown and where in the middle of opening an office in Moscow when Havas asked me to become CCO of Havas World Wide Amsterdam.  Which I proudly accepted.

I lived in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Capetown and Moscow. Now back in Amsterdam. Won some awards, 5 lions among them....and some more. 2 NY medals including. 

Jack Bookbinder

Road Recovery

Jack Bookbinder understands the importance of doing service and giving back to young people, while receiving support himself in the process as a Diabetic Type II, after 20 years of experience in the music business as a manager and consultant to artists as diverse as Gregg Allman, Jeff Buckley, The Strokes, Ben Folds, and many others. For Road Recovery, Bookbinder utilizes his experience of marketing artists through both grass roots methods and the Internet to help bring awareness, credibility and word-of-mouth endorsement for the non-profit organization. After 16 years of service, Bookbinder looks forward to guiding the steady expansion of Road Recovery, while retaining that personal touch distinct to its programs that reach thousands facing addiction or other adversities and receiving ever widening recognition within the entertainment industry and mental health field.

Gene Bowen

Road Recovery

Gene is one of the lucky ones who has embraced recovery since 1992. Before entering treatment, he had been a tour manager for a variety of artists for 10 years. After getting clean and sober, he understood how lucky he was to survive, so he set out to build an organization to educate young people about addiction and other adversities in the hopes of helping them find their way towards a healthy and happy future. He looked to publicize the many strengths and resources available from the music/entertainment industry and the mental health field. With the support of Sony Music Entertainment and Dreamworks Records, as well as mental health/substance abuse specialists, entertainment industry professionals who faced their own personal adversities, Road Recovery, a non-profit (501c) organization, was established in February 1998.

Polly Chu

Chief Creative Officer
JWT Beijing

With 20 years advertising experience, Polly started her career in Hong Kong but stayed 10 years in China working on both international and local Chinese blue chips brands. From Shanghai to Guangzhou, and now Beijing, Polly is one of the most reputed creative leaders in China.

Polly has won many notable awards. Her recent international achievements include 51 awards namely, silver and bronze Cannes lions, Gold pencils in One Show, Grand Prix China4A, Gold Kam Fan Awards, Silver at the London Festivals.

Merlee Cruz-Jayme

Chairman & Chief Creative Officer
DM9 Jayme Syfu

Before this, she was the Executive Creative Director of BBDO GUERRERO and the Vice President/ Executive Creative Director of ACE SAATCHI & SAATCHI.

Since starting her small shop 8 years ago, DM9 Jayme Syfu, an affiliate of DDB Worldwide, is ranked the Philippines’ no. 1 in the 2010 Campaign Brief Asia Ranking and awarded the very first Campaign Asia Pacific Creative Agency of the Year for the Philippines 2012 in Singapore.

Aside from the impressive number of metals from local and international Awards in the past years, it has been blessed with the following this year:

  • 2013 the Philippines’ very first Cannes Lion GRAND PRIX for Mobile
  • 2013 Grand Prix for Mobile ADSTARS Korea
  • 2013 Grand Prix of the Year ADSTARS Korea
  • 2013 the Philippines’ very first Grand Prix for Mobile
  • 2013 the Philippines’ very first Grand Prix for Direct in SPIKES Asia
  • 2013 2 Golds in LIAA
  • 2013 2 Golds in The Digital Asia Festival Awards
  • 2013 Silver in Epica Awards

She was awarded with two major citations in 2009: -The HALL OF FAME AWARD from the Creative Guild of the Philippines -NEW YORK FESTIVALS CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.

Her recent international jury duties include: - 2012 Jury President for Outdoor Lotus in ADFEST, Pattaya, - 2012 jury member in the prestigious Cannes Lions Festival in France for the Outdoor Lions category - 2012 Jury Head and speaker for Indonesia’s biggest award show Citra Pariwara - 2013 Executive Jury and speaker in New York for the New York Festivals - 2013 Jury Head for Radio, Kancils in Malaysia - 2013 Member of the Cannes Chimera for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Active as well in the local industry, she was the Chair of the recently concluded 4As Agency Of The Year 2013.

Wright Ferguson, Jr.


Wright runs the US operations on AdForum, a worldwide information provider and community site focused on the global communications industry. AdForum provides marketable information on 23,000 agencies, 150,000 advertisements and has partnered with all major advertising award shows. AdForum's Agency Preview is used by advertisers, large and small, in the process of selecting a new agency or for other agency research needs.

Prior to that he ran Ferguson & Associates where he consulted to (an image recognition search platform via mobile) on sales strategy and (a revolutionary advertising model in India which paid viewers for their time and attention) on sales and marketing. Wright was also VP of Sales for Eye Corp, an Australian out-of-home media company.

He spent the majority of his career as EVP, Group Publisher of Adweek Magazines (Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, Editor & Publisher) where he oversaw advertising and marketing strategy for six magazines, 18 online products, custom-publishing and seven events/awards shows.

A long time board member of the Advertising Club of New York, he has served on the Advertising Club of New York's executive board, and chaired the nominating and events committees.  He served on the board of the American Advertising Federation (the governing body of ad clubs), judged four National Student Advertising Competitions and chaired the annual Hall of Achievement event.

Pancho González

Chief Creative Officer & Co Founder

Pancho González studied advertising in the “Universidad de Santiago” with additional Business Administration studies, currently coursing an EMBA, Berlin School at Steinbeis University. He has worked in the best Chilean advertising agencies (Ogilvy&Mather, IDB/FCB, Lintas, adn/Y&R, Wunderman, BBDO, RNL) and currently is Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Inbrax Chile.

He has been judge at major worldwide advertising festivals, including Cannes, Art Director's Club, LIAA, Mobius, Webby Awards, Ad Stars, Grand Jury at Cresta, FIAP, Effie Awards, The New York Festivals, Golden Awards of Montreaux, Mercury Awards, Eagle Awards, El Ojo de Iberoamerica, Bestadsontv and Achap (Chile), among many many others and was the first Chilean to chair the jury of the AME Awards (2009) in New York and teaching at Miami Ad School (2010). He has been speaker in Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, United States, Korea and all Chilean universities that dictate advertising career. Also, Associate Member of IADAS (USA) and Mentor at Red de Mentores (Chile).

With more than 100 national and international recognitions (Cannes, ADC's, The New York Festivals, FIAP, Ojo de Iberoamerica, Young Creatives One Show, Effie, Grand Effie, Young Guns, Creativity Awards, Eagle Awards, AdStar, IAB, Achap, Archive, AdAge, Bestadsontv, Caracol de Plata, Mags, Caribe, Premios Queveo) and been director of the Chilean Creative Circle, is one of the most influent creatives in his market. Professor at several universities, active member of ACT (Advertising Community Together), located in the top 10 worldwide creative raking at Bestadsontv (2009-2010-2011) and ranked number 3 overall Chilean creative directors at Lüerzer's Archive.

Throughout his career he has worked with brands like Cencosud, Domino's Pizza, 3M, Jumbo Hypermarkets, Duracell, Sony Ericsson, BancoEstado, Amnesty International, Natura, Movistar, Blockbuster, Publimetro, Unilever, KFC, British Airways, Bata, Tramontina and Parmalat, among others.

This year: He was invited to be jury at Webby Awards (USA), Mercury Awards (China), Cresta Awards Grand Jury (USA), Avonni (Chile), Final Jury at Festival of Media Global (USA), Creativity Awards (USA) and speaker at Commercial Association of Maranhão, Brazil.

Michael Kadin

Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director for Volkswagen
Deutsch L.A.

Since teaming up with Deutsch LA in 2001, Michael Kadin has only managed and created impactful brand advertising for clients such as Volkswagen, Coors Light, Mitsubishi, California Milk Advisory Board, and DIRECTV. He’s achieved record sales and his work has been recognized at industry award shows around the world.

Some of his most memorable work includes Cannes Lions-winning “The Force” for Volkswagen, the most-viewed Super Bowl ad ever, on YouTube, as well as Super Bowl ads such as “The Dog Strikes Back” and “Get Happy.” He also worked on Mitsubishi’s Are You In?” campaign, which helped, win the agency the account before going on to become part of the American lexicon, Coors Light’s award-winning “Wingman” television spot. He led the pitch to win DIRECTV, and created DIRECTV’S breakthrough “Fourth Wall” campaign.

Prior to Deutsch LA, he worked at some of the industry’s top agencies, including BBDO, TeamOne, and DDB. His first job was at Leonard, Monahan & Lubars in Providence, Rhode Island where he was lucky enough to work on Keds, Polaroid and American Tourister.

His body of work has been celebrated at Cannes Lions, D&AD, the Clios, Communication Arts and the One Show. Michael lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife Kim and his daughters Campbell and Quincy.