David Aaker, vice chairman, Prophet and professor emeritus, BerkeleyHaas School of business, UC Berkeley
David Aaker has been called the father of modern branding because of his pioneering work to define brand equity and provide concepts and tools to build and manage brands and brand portfolios. He was also once profiled by California Magazine and called “the Plato and Newton of Branding.” Aaker is the winner of three career awards for contributions to the science of marketing (the Paul D. Converse Award), marketing strategy (the Vijay Mahajan Award) and the theory and practice of marketing (the Buck Weaver Award).
Aaker has published over 100 articles and 17 books including Strategic Market Management, Managing Brand Equity, Building Strong Brands, Brand Leadership, Brand portfolio Strategy, From Fargo to the World of Brands, Spanning Silos, Brand Relevance, and his latest book Aaker on Branding. Professor Aaker’s books have sold over one million copies and have been translated into 18 languages. Named as one of the top 5 most important marketing/business gurus in 2007, Professor Aaker has won awards for the best article in the California Management Review and twice in the Journal of Marketing.
Yvon Chouinard, founder, Patagonia
Yvon Chouinard was born in Lewiston, Maine in 1938 and raised in Southern California. As a teen, he taught himself how to climb, surf, skin dive—and blacksmith. By the early 1970s when he founded Patagonia, Chouinard Equipment pitons, carabiners and ice axes had become the world standard.
Spending 140 days a year in the natural world, Chouinard learned early in his life as an alpinist, surfer and fly fisherman the seriousness of the environmental crisis—and he brought this knowledge to bear on his work. In the late 1980s, he instituted Patagonia’s earth tax, pledging 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.
In the 1990s, Chouinard encouraged Patagonia to consciously reduce the environmental footprint of its products and activities, beginning with a 100% switch from conventional to organic cotton and the introduction of fleece clothing made from recycled polyester. He then sought to work with other partners to companies to reduce environmental harm on a global scale. Chouinard, either independently or with Patagonia, helped co-found with others the Fair Labor Association, One Percent for the Planet, the Textile Exchange, the Conservation Alliance and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. In addition, Patagonia has been a B Corp member since 2012.
Chouinard continues to surf and fly fish. He is the author or co-author of Climbing Ice, Let My People Go Surfing, The Responsible Company and Simple Fly Fishing.
Trevor Edwards, president, Nike Brand, Nike, Inc.
Trevor Edwards was born in London, England, growing up there and in Jamaica before attending Baruch College, City University of New York, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business in 1984. Five years later, while also working full time, he returned to Baruch College to receive his MBA and went on to begin his professional career at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., before joining Colgate-Palmolive Company to work in marketing. In 1992, Edwards joined Nike as a regional marketing manager.
In his role of president, Edwards provides long-term business vision for one of the world’s most iconic brands and leads Nike’s deep understanding of consumers worldwide. His successful career at Nike showcases his ambition to put the consumer and the athlete at the center of all the company does. A true global citizen, Edwards’ unique outlook drives Nike’s approach to making profound, long-lasting connections with people in more than 160 countries across six continents.
Throughout his storied career at the world’s most innovative and inspirational sports brand, Edwards has led some of Nike’s biggest breakthroughs, including a transformation of the digital landscape through the creation of Nike+ and was instrumental in Nike becoming the world’s leading football (soccer) brand. His responsibilities include leadership over the Nike brand, which includes the company’s entire geographical business: wholesale, retail and e-commerce operations. Edwards has been widely recognized for his influence in sports and business in publications ranging from Sports Illustrated to Fast Company. He has served on the board of Mattel, Inc. since 2012.
Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
Shelly Lazarus has been working, as she would say it, “In the business I love,” for more than four decades. She rose through the ranks of Ogilvy & Mather, assuming positions of increasing responsibility in the management of the company including president of O&M Direct North America, Ogilvy & Mather New York and Ogilvy & Mather North America. She was named worldwide CEO of Ogilvy & Mather in 1996, chairman in 1997 and became chairman emeritus in July 2012. Under her leadership, David Ogilvy’s essential mission — the purpose of advertising was to build great brands — has remained the centerpiece of the company’s philosophy, extending across regions and marketing disciplines, and attracting some of the world’s largest and most respected brands including American Express, BP, Coca-Cola, IBM and Unilever among many others.
Lazarus has been a frequent industry honoree. Advertising Women of New York selected her as its Woman of the Year in 1994; she was honored by Women in Communications with their Matrix Award in 1995, named Business Woman of the Year by the New York City Partnership in 1996, and Woman of the Year in 2002 by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). She has appeared numerous times in Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of America’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. Lazarus was the first woman to receive Columbia Business School’s Distinguished Leader in Business Award, as well as the Advertising Educational Foundation’s (AEF) Lifetime Achievement Award. She was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 2013 and is also a member of the DMA’s Hall of Fame.