Luca Gallarelli, the group CEO of TBWA\South Africa, looks after TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, GRID Worldwide, Yellowwood, Magna Carta and Sting Content. Under his leadership, TBWA\SA was named Creative Circle Agency and Creative Circle Group of the Year for four years in a row. Luca was personally acknowledged by industry peers as the most admired agency leader by the Marklives Agency Leaders poll. Luca believes that the Student of the Year category is one of the most important in the whole of Adfocus, and says, “it’s a brilliant platform for the students themselves, for the Judges, as well as for the industry at large – to see some of the very best young talent showcased.”
Suhana Gordhan is an Independent Creative Leader – An Alchemist of Words & Ideas and A Chief Aunty to Young Creatives. Her previous role placed her as Chief Creative Officer of DUKE Group.Gordhan represents South Africa and Africa alongside 21 global leaders on the International Board for The One Club. She also serves on The Loeries and the Creative Circle Exco - key industry boards in South Africa. She is the former Chairperson of The Loeries.
Noelle Hardy has over 25 years in the ad and media industry and is an award-winning creative director and founding partner at Tukio Media, a specialist media and creative agency that focuses on designing and implementing creative media and sponsorship solutions for media houses and direct clients. She is presently consulting as commercial creative director for Financial Mail and other brands within the Arena Holdings stable.
Raphael Kuppasamy describes himself as the kid who sat at the back of the class with a pencil in his hand, a head full of dreams, and a heart overflowing with passion. An integrated art director at Joe Public United and the No. 1 Young Creative in Africa and the Middle East, last year Raphael was awarded the Loeries Young Creative in 2022. This year he represented South Africa at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where he and his partner won the Gold Young Lions for Film. 2023 is Raphael’s second year judging the student category and describes the experience as “incredible!”
Pepe Marais believes accolades are merely the building blocks toward a vision of creating an environment that inspires greatness. He lives for creativity that deeply connects with people. He has annually served on various judging panels of the Loerie Awards since 2004, has judged at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival twice, has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Creative Circle since 2007 and is currently ranked as the ‘Most Admired Creative Leader’ in Johannesburg.
Melusi Mhlungu has over 12+ years of experience in the industry and has worked across well-known brands such as Vodacom, Toyota, Old Mutual, FNB, DStv, KFC, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Burger King, City of Chicago, Black Lives Matter, Goodbye Malaria, Nandos, Adidas, Uber, Instagram. While at David in Miami, he created two Super Bowl commercials (for Budweiser & Kraft Foods). In 2016 he was named Young Creative of the Year in Africa and the Middle East, and won the Young Lions competition in 2018. No stranger to awards, he has also won awards from the Cannes Lions, One Show, Clios, Sport Clios, and D&AD Awards.
Thule Ngcese is an entrepreneur and multi-awarded creative director and art director, who has won two Loeries Grand Prix and was ranked #1 Art Director by the Loeries 2021. He also received an Honorable Mention in Fast Company's 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards for Shwii by Nissan
Nicole Ravenscroft is an Executive Creative Director and producer, with a simple goal: to live a life where she consistently gets to make magic, with rad people, for clients who want craft and believe in trailblazing. She plays firmly in craft, experience, and content. Culture, fashion, lifestyle, liquid, sports and technology are the arenas she resides in. She is always striving to create work with the mindset of social impact and participating in global and societal growth. Not your typical ad girl, she is an entrepreneur who is passionate about ideas that move, creative excellence and a ride or challenger spirit. She also has a side hustle called Styled, a wardrobe, prop and art department rental business and workshop for unique builds with her business partner.
Kagiso Tshepe is a multi-diverse creative with a great passion for human-centric ideas that mean something to real people. Kagiso’s bio should just read, ‘Kagiso Tshepe — Ideas. Ideas. Ideas.’ Three year ago, at the young age of 32, became ECD at Grid Worldwide. He has worked at some of South Africa’s world-class agencies like The King James Group, M&C Saatchi Abel, Net#Work BBDO, Ogilvy, and Metropolitan Republic, working on big local and global brands, before joining the leadership team at Grid. Over the years, he’s served on multiple jury panels at Loeries, AdFocus, and The Art Directors Club. He also played an instrumental role in creating effective communication for brands and impactful work for society, work that got a few nods from local and global award shows — from The Loeries, One Show, and Effies all the way to the prestigious and most coveted Cannes Lions.
Tian van den Heever is an independent director with over two decades of being an award-winning ad guy. With a wealth of experience, Tian is a passionate problem-solver and ideator who has the backing of some of South Africa’s best production companies.