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2022 Winners

Here you will find a list of last year’s winners and their entries in full. These demonstrate what both our judging panel and public voters thought were worthy winners and are great examples of what to consider when writing your own (or nominating someone else) this year.

Publishing Collaborative Champion

Marios Perrakis

News UK

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There is one thing doing your job and another striving for excellence.

Marios, our Head of Data Science at News UK, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in his field, uplifted his colleagues and revamped how we circulate content in our key publication, The Sun – all in a very short span of time.

Alongside The Times, News UK publishes The Sun, UK’s top newspaper by circulation, with millions of online readers at and The Sun app. Data Science predictive algorithms are integral in optimising The Sun’s print distribution across retailers in the country, enabling targeting marketing and advertising for its digital sites / app, but perhaps most importantly fueling higher customer engagement through personalisation and content recommendations. Since he joined in the summer of 2021, Marios has re-architected our Content Recommendations Engine making it more future-proof, and allowing us to not only support content recirculation but also promote marketing calls-to-action (newsletters, e-commerce articles), brand building campaign initiatives and cross-/up-selling opportunities in a single system. This has now become a key stepping stone towards our ideal aim of predicting the ‘next best action’ for our users. Equally importantly, the system is more sophisticated as it comprises a novel optimisation self-learning algorithm with minimal to no reliance on manual, trial-and-error A/B testing, freeing up resources for the business. The excitement this has brought to the Data Science team but also technology and business colleagues at News about the opportunities available going forward has been palpable and made our product roadmaps more ambitious. Sun Recommendations has already been short-listed by the International News Media Association (INMA) for an award this year, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the project and the experience of our readers.

More than technical innovation, Marios has exhibited true Though Leadership in his field. He swiftly conducted a capability review for his functional area, which manifested into proposing a novel operational strategy, applicable to many Applied Data Science teams in media and beyond. The “0 / 1 / Done” strategy has been promoted through our department’s publication, and has since been picked up by top newsletters in the field globally such as Data Science Weekly, the Royal Statistical Society’s Data Science Section and Data Elixir (coming up). The strategy is already rigorously been implemented internally.

Furthermore, Marios has managed to grow the size and the capabilities of his team by bringing together Data Science and Machine Learning Operations into a single function, defining ways of working with product and business analysis roles, being very open, collaborative, organised and overall infusing positive energy in his colleagues, as evidenced by own team feedback. All this change occurred without decreasing team delivery velocity, which proves that strategic initiatives do not always need to be disruptive to deliver true change.

Given his prior media background, I believe there is a bright future for him in our industry, and I wholeheartedly nominate him for this award.


Publishing Hero

Mary Keane-Dawson

Time Out

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A HERO – Mary has a long and remarkable career traversing creative and agencies, media owners and Adtech. This has afforded her a truly unique perspective and many opportunities to be at the forefront of the involving ecosystem, cultural shifts and new commercial models that have continued to emerge in the advertising sector.

Fearless in championing equality of opportunity for all, she has promoted, mentored and encouraged talent whatever the persons background, ethnicity, sexuality or gender.

Having faced her own experiences of sexism and bullying in the media world, Mary has never given in or given up. Known for growing companies and developing new business strategies, her career with global advertising clients, from Amex to Zenefits ( via British Airways, Ford and many more in between) has led to her leading companies as diverse at Neo@Ogilvy, Time Out Media, Spafax, Collective London and Steak Media.

Agency Collaborative Champion

Rachel Pyke


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Rachel joined our agency as a Producer with little industry experience. In the last two years, Rachel has become the ‘people’s champion’ this was not her role but a voluntary role that she took on in order to support the agency in onboarding new starters. Rachel has not only revolutionised how we onboard employees to the McDonald’s account, but she is also there when every new starter joins. She continues to be there as a support and has in turn become a go-to for much of the agency. When we talk about collaboration she not only lives and breathes it but she also has used her role as people’s champion to ensure others understand the importance of this company value.If every new person in the agency was like Rachel then collaboration would not be a value but a part of everyday life. I believe she will go far in our industry and I could not find a better way to thank her for all she has done.

Agency Hero

Ali Smith


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In my line of work I work with clients direct predominantly, and dare I say agencies at times.

One agency I have consulted at more than once (and the only one) is MG OMD. They are an award winning agency and always wining agency of the year etc etc. Just look at their most recent work for Specsavers to know see why.

There is a reason for boomeranging. And that reason is Ali Smith.

She is, on a personal level, the most empathetic thoughtful person as well as being an absolute assassin knowledge wise with both clients an internal stakeholders.

Her cross digital media knowledge is exemplary and is nothing but a support and friend when I need it, especially as an outside consultant when it can be challenging to get buy in and to get things over line wherever you are.

Underpinning this, her understanding of mental health and wellness is critical, and on my first stint in 2019 when I was in not such a good place, she propped me up to enable me to do the work I needed.

What more do you need to know? Personally and Professionally – a total HERO, let alone Agency.

Adtech Collaborative Champion

Dianka Bohuslaw


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Dianka began her career in AdTech at Xandr and rose through the ranks to Manager of Client Operations five years later.

Her first role as People Operations Coordinator for International, saw her working as a part of Talent Acquisition, and being responsible for the talent Xandr would attract. She oversaw the whole candidate experience, creating and implementing a statement of procedure for the new hire process. She made it her mission to get to know hiring managers on a one-to-one basis and build the foundation necessary for a great working relationship. She built the same relationships with candidates and a good first impression was paramount to her in welcoming new faces.
After a year, she sought a different challenge and took an internal move in the Client Operations Team. She transitioned from being the first point of contact and the ‘face’ of Xandr to being the ‘gatekeeper’ and the final checkpoint to onboard clients onto the platform.

She ensures a seamless internal Client Experience, from contracting set-up to ongoing client support. Collaborating with global commercial teams in EMEA, APAC, LATAM, and the US, she is adept at identifying and implementing growth opportunities and works directly with the commercial leads to ensure business needs are met. Building strong relationships is a particular skill and passion, which has led her to create rapport across all levels of the business. She is a team player and keen to motivate others. She thrives in mentoring new team members, sharing her knowledge, and leading interactive training sessions.

Dianka is a born leader and turns her ideas into reality, steeped in supporting others. As Xandr’s Mental Health Ambassador, she works tirelessly to increase awareness of Mental Health and Wellbeing in the workplace. She is a qualified Mental Health First Aider and stands up for new initiatives such as ‘Deskercise’, leading different Wellbeing workshops i.e. Energy Session, and partnering with NABS and other organisations to promote the importance of these initiatives. Deskercise was an idea she had at the start of lockdown when she personally felt the lack of movement and facetime with colleagues. Knowing that others felt the same, she wanted to do something to make a difference. She launched a 4 week programme for the London Office as part of Mental Health & Wellbeing Month. It was so successful that the sessions are now run for the whole of EMEA.

Her passion and energy is infectious and has transformed the motivation and attitudes of many staff to be more positive. This quality was invaluable during the pandemic, and Dianka has set up a working group for employees to help spread awareness on mental health issues, and to discuss any current problems.

Her conscientious “can-do” attitude means that she is a highly approachable member of the team, and she is always available to support colleagues regardless of her personal workload. She is also part of the Women’s Network, and is always promoting and advocating Women in Sport.

Adtech Hero

Dom Kozak


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Dom has been central to the UK’s programmatic OOH journey. From helping build out JCDecaux’s product, onboarding new partners, through to exceptional client engagement, he’s overseen many programmatic firsts: JCDecaux’s first programmatic campaign which effectively launched scalable programmatic DOOH in the UK; the UK’s first programmatic campaign with dynamic content; and the first ever DV360 DOOH campaign. As JCDecaux enters its 4th year of trading in the UK, he’s also knowledgably supporting other JCDecaux markets through their programmatic journey. In 2022 99% of our inventory now available to buy programmatically and this milestone achievement has been made possible in no small part thanks to Dom. Our partners think the same too:

“The true potential for programmatic DOOH is considerably more exciting than many currently realise. I say this with absolute confidence thanks to the work we at Scoota have been fortunate enough to be doing with Dom Kozak at JCDecaux. Apart from being a real pleasure to work with, Dom has made it his mission to drive pDOOH to new levels from the moment he picked up the reigns. It is extremely refreshing to work with someone who cuts through the rhetoric to uncover the best solutions available and to push those into being real and tradable. Dom has been absolutely instrumental in making pDOOH what it is today and such is his energy and enthusiasm for it, I know there’s a lot more incredible work to come.” – James Booth, Founder & CEO, Scoota

And Dom’s achievements are best summed up by JCDecaux’s Chief Commercial Officer:

“Dom regularly goes above and beyond for our clients and partners, and he’s an enormous support to the team here at JCDecaux too. He demonstrates genuine knowledge, passion and is a brilliant advocate for Programmatic OOH”. I couldn’t be prouder of his achievements and I believe he is thoroughly deserving of this award” – Mark Bucknell, CCO, JCDecaux UK

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